Dr. Pretlow’s Presentation and BrainWeighve

The core of the reconceptualization proposed by BrainWeighve is,

Moving the opposing drives out of equilibrium, by resolving the person’s underlying problem/stressful situations, theoretically should mitigate the displacement mechanism and serve as a treatment for addictive overeating.

In addition, people are able to retrain their brains to accept, and work with, alternative displacement mechanisms that are less harmful and more helpful than eating. Other ways to use mental and physical energies include hobbies, breathing practices, running around outside, and many more. They can be called upon to substitute for the unhealthful types of eating, like recreational eating, emotional eating, and eating that happens in a futile effort to resolve the conflict of competing drives.

The Dread List

(If someone hasn’t registered that horror movie title already, it would probably be a good investment.). The Dread List feature is very popular with the kids who have given it a test run so far. For each tempting or repulsive situation, the object is to develop a specific plan and try it out. (And of course, it’s never too late to mention, the subconscious part of your brain is much more likely to join in a group effort, if you take the trouble to communicate with it by hand, either in writing or printing.) If that plan doesn’t give satisfaction, then regroup, course-correct, and devise a new plan.

A road out of the swamp

Help is available in the form of coping strategies suggested by other young people who have found them useful. By the same token, every new participant in the BrainWeighve program has the opportunity to contribute to the world by adding their successful strategies to the community’s wisdom trove.

Of course, a person can make a dread list and a plan list for personal use only. There is no compulsion to share. But then you start to realize that, if you share, someone very much like you will discover that they’re not the only 14-year-old who hates to shop for clothes, and that will be a good thing. So you take as much privacy as you need, until you feel comfortable contributing to the conversation.

But wait, there’s more

The purpose of the BrainWeighve phone app is not just to encourage the user to adapt to different, non-caloric displacement activities. That might be called (unkindly) just another method of running away from problems. Learning to make constructive use of the overflow brain energy is a step, a necessary and very useful step, and a powerful tactic that can help every day as life progresses.

But non-fattening activities alone are not the whole answer, or the ultimate solution to any one problem. Discovering more adaptive displacement activities is a stage, not a destination. The program goes further, and actively encourages facing up to difficult situations and dealing with them in appropriate and effective ways. What’s not to like about that?

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: Robert Pretlow, M.D., Suzette Glasner, eHealth International of Seattle, WA, and UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Program

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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