Continuing Lifestyle Intervention, Part 1

We have been looking at the idea that the need for lifestyle intervention of some kind might be necessary throughout life. There is nothing wrong with that. Take religion, for instance. No devout believer of any variety would say, “My relationship with God is just a temporary thing, to help me get through a difficult time. But the day will come when I won’t need that connection anymore.”

If something in a person’s life helps to overcome challenges, treat fellow beings with lovingkindness, and become one’s best possible self, why on earth would anyone want to step in and say, “Yeah, but one of these days you’ll have to learn how to make it on your own”?

Take the simplest and most elementary kind of lifestyle practice, and one that is widely recommended: journaling. To take a daily inventory, in the morning or at night or both, and jot down some important realizations and intentions, is a very useful practice. To reference formal religion again, one purpose of morning prayer is to ask the higher power, “Please help me not mess up too badly today.” One purpose of evening prayer is to say, “Thank you for understanding today’s mistakes, and I’ll do better tomorrow.”

The secular version is to stay committed to some kind of structured accountability system. (And yes, a person could do both if that is what works.) Why would any supposed authority feel entitled to announce, “That won’t be needed anymore”? For some third party to step in and decree that there is no further need for either a supreme being or a lifestyle that helps a lot and does no harm — well, it would just be silly. And of course, no responsible medical practitioner would tell a patient with diabetes, “That insulin stuff is fine for now, but eventually you will have to learn to cope without it.”

Back to the question at hand

Practically every inhabitant of the planet has heard about the success of, and demand for, the drugs that have been receiving such rampant publicity — and that will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. It’s a whole new genre of weight loss medications, so what should we expect in terms of their ability to do the job alone? Many enthusiasts are dismayed to find that maybe a prescription cannot carry the whole load, for myriad reasons. For instance, no matter how efficient the medications may be, people are still people.

Take the example of bariatric surgery. Effective as it can be for a great number of dangerously obese people, there are always the few who manage to mess it up. It’s as if they are determined to prove how successfully the stomach can be either stretched or ruptured, whichever comes first. This would be a good time to look into how continuing lifestyle intervention pairs up with surgical intervention.

(To be continued…)

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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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