Weight Loss Confidential: How Teens Lose Weight and Keep It Off - and What They Wish Parents Knew


The only book to go to the real experts on how teens lose weight successfully: teens who have actually done it.

Using the approach that made her book Thin for Life an award-winning bestseller, Anne M. Fletcher interviewed and surveyed more than 100 teens who had lost weight - some as much as 100 pounds - as well as their parents. Many of these teens came from overweight familis and had been heavy since childhood. Yet they were able to turn ...

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Boston, MA 2006 Hard Cover First Edition, First Pinting Collectible-New in New jacket First Edition, First Printing BRAND NEW Copy w/trace wear to dust jacket. Practical ... strategies to help teens address excess weight from health and medical journalist Anne M. Fletcher. "Confidential" only in the sense the book is a personal and private dialogue to teens from teen who have successfully lost weight against all odds (for instance, coming from overweight families and having been overweight themselves since childhood). Read more Show Less

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The only book to go to the real experts on how teens lose weight successfully: teens who have actually done it.

Using the approach that made her book Thin for Life an award-winning bestseller, Anne M. Fletcher interviewed and surveyed more than 100 teens who had lost weight - some as much as 100 pounds - as well as their parents. Many of these teens came from overweight familis and had been heavy since childhood. Yet they were able to turn things around and make important lifestyle changes.

How did they do it? What works? What doesn't? And what can families do to help?

In Weight Loss Confidential, you'll meet: -Taylor S., who lost 100 pounds when he was sixteen and has kept the weight off for about four years.
-Joelle T., who watched the scale climb beyond 200 pounds when she was in the eighth grade. She's lost 55 pounds.
-Robin S., thirteen, who weighed 170 pounds by the time she was nine and who has since slimmed down. "I have a lot more friends now and more energy," she says.
-Wes G., Fletcher's own son, who was inspired to lose 65 pounds after meeting another boy who had lost weight. That's when Fletcher realized that teens listen more readily to other teens than to adults.

Challenging conventional assumptions about teen weight loss, fletcher distills the results of the latest scientific studies and findings of the countless authorities in the field, weaving them together with her own conclusions. In so doing, she shows that there is no one-size-fits-all presccription for teen weight loss but a variety of strategies that make a difference.

With the number of overweight children and teens skyrocketing, Weight Loss Confidential offers solutions - healthy approaches that families can use for a lifetime.

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  • Weight Loss Confidential
    Weight Loss Confidential  

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Eye opening and useful." - Holly Wyatt, M.D., University of Colorado Health Sciences Center

"A must-read book for teens and their parents." -James O. Hill, Ph.D., author of The Step Diet Book, professor of pediatrics

"it's rare to find a book like this one. It tells it like it is." -John Foreyt, Ph.D., Behavioral Medicine Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine

"Inspiring, informative, engaging...."- Nancy Sherwood, Ph.D., psychologist and adolescent researcher, Health Partners Research Foundation (Minneapolis, MN)

"Sensible and realistic guidance" - Julie N. Germann, Ph.D., clinical director, FitMatters Program, La Rabida Children's Hospital (Chicago, IL)

"I can't wait to share it with my teen clients who are trying to lose weight." Kerri Boutelle, Ph.D., adolescent weight and eating disorders expert

"This book offers hope and help to both children and parents." Ann S. Litt, M.S., R.D., nutritionist, Washington Redskins

“This pioneering look...will inspire and motivate your entire family to embrace healthy habits.”—Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., author "The Volumetrics Eating Plan"

"Engaging, authoritative, and above all hopeful" - Sharron Dalton, Ph.D, R.D., author, "Our Overwight Children and Associate Professor, New York University

Publishers Weekly
With teen obesity a big issue in the U.S., the author of Thin for Life turns her expertise toward helping overweight teens and their parents adopt proven strategies for weight loss-together. As a dietician whose son, Wes, was an overweight teen, Fletcher learned firsthand that "pushing" a kid to lose weight does not work; the teen must want to lose weight for himself, and then decide what will work for him. Fletcher interviewed 104 teens from various walks of life who had successfully lost weight and, most importantly, kept the weight off. She found several commonalities: increase in physical activity, better food choices and portion control, coupled with the unconditional support of the parents. Though none of this is surprising, Fletcher presents it in a "from-one-teen-to-another" fashion, using real-life case histories and interviews. This book is more about fostering a positive attitude toward weight loss than a step-by-step diet guide. By examining how teens have successfully taken control of their own weight, other young people may become inspired to do the same. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Health journalist Fletcher (Thin for Life: 10 Keys to Success from People Who Have Lost Weight and Kept It Off), M.S., R.D., intends this work as a mouthpiece for teens trying to lose weight. She's taken the success stories of more than 100 teenagers and arranged them to illuminate effective weight-loss strategies and practices. Inspired by her own son's victory, Fletcher began to question other teens on what worked best for them. Their answers have been translated into ways parents can assist their teens in losing weight as well as tactics parents should avoid, which works well only to a point. Because Fletcher has broken down the narratives to fit into her chapter headings, readers never have a chance to get to know or find accord with any of the teens. As a result, the chapters, although informative, feel stilted. Still, this work provides insight into the battle teens face in losing and keeping off weight. Large public libraries with strong YA or consumer health sections might find it a good buy. Smaller public libraries with limited budgets should probably pass.-Rachel M. Minkin, Graduate Theological Union Lib., Berkeley, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618433667
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 1/4/2007
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne M. Fletcher, M.S., R.D., is the author of Thin for Life, the Thin for Life Daybook, Eating Thin for Life, and Sober for Good. As a registered dietitian, she has counseled hundreds of clients with weight problems in clinical settings. Fletcher was executive editor of the Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter and a contributing editor for Prevention. She has won several National Health Information Awards as well as awards from the American Medical Writers Association and the American Psychological Association. She has raised three teenagers.

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Read an Excerpt


As with all my books, Weight Loss Confidential was in my head for years before it came to be. You see, I have a child who became overweight—not just a little, but a lot. By the end of eleventh grade, my oldest son weighed 270 pounds—a weight far too heavy for the well-being of his psyche and his large-boned 6'2" frame.
Wes’s weight problem started when he was in sixth grade, and he gained steadily as he turned from the athletic interests of his elementary school days to the sedentary pursuit of high school debate championships. Despite my expertise in the area of weight management, little I said or did made any difference in the habits that led Wes to pack on the pounds. And when he would attempt to cut back, his peers, many of whom could eat whatever they wanted without gaining weight, made fun of him.
I first got the idea for this book from an experience Wes had at a summer academic camp when he was thirteen. While standing in the cafeteria line, he noticed that the kid in front of him was ordering his salad dressing on the side and reaching for a can of diet soda instead of regular. Wes asked him why, since he was so thin. “Oh, yeah?” the boy replied as he pulled out a photo of himself when he was at least 40 pounds heavier. “Everyone in my family eats like a slob, and I didn’t want to be like them!” Wes and the boy proceeded to share weight management tips—something neither one had ever been able to do before with other kids the same age: “Did you know that kids are less likely to make fun of you if you drink Fresca, since the word ‘diet’ isn’t in its name? Did you know that if you dip the tips of your fork in a thick salad dressing instead of dumping all the dressing on top of your salad, you can get the taste without a lot of calories?” When Wes shared this experience, the realization struck me: teens typically don’t listen to adults—their parents, dietitians, or other health care professionals—but they do listen to each other. Who better to help teen- agers manage their weight than young people who have done it themselves? Thus, the seeds were sown for this book, but more important, hope was kindled in Wes that he’d eventually be able to slim down. Even though he didn’t lose weight until years later, he now says, “I remember thinking, ‘If this kid with overweight parents and negative influences could do it, so can I.’ Now twenty-one,Wes has kept off 60-plus pounds for three years—a journey he began during his senior year in high school.
What This Book Is—and What It’s Not

This book is not a one-size-fits-all prescription for teen weight loss, nor is it intended for teens who want to lose five or ten pounds to look better. Rather, it’s a book about healthy weight management for overweight teens and their families—written from the perspective of young people who used to be overweight and who found a variety of sensible means to arrive at a weight that’s right for them. (These teens don’t necessarily fit society’s definition of “thin,” but they’re healthier and happier than they used to be.) Weight Loss Confidential is not only about how the teens got to a just-right weight; it’s also about how they stay there.
The teens and their parents share firsthand insights into what works and what doesn’t in weight management. I’ve pored over the latest research studies on the issue and interviewed countless experts, distilling the best of what’s out there and putting it all together to come up with sound advice for overweight young people—all the while keeping their best interests in mind from a health and a psychological standpoint. I’ve also considered the very real concerns that teens face in wanting to fit in with their peers and in feeling pressured to look like the skinny models and celebrities they see in magazines and on TV—at the same time that they’re trying to cope with an environment that encourages us all to sit around and eat too much.
In the three years that it’s taken me to research and write this book, I’ve learned that there aren’t many well-designed studies on what works for overweight children and teens. In fact, most of the good studies have involved younger children rather than adolescents, and most have involved relatively small numbers of young people. And state-of-the-art child obesity treatment programs generally do not have high success rates. Moreover, a recent review of studies on interventions to prevent child obesity concluded that many were not effective in preventing weight gain.
With more and more children and teens becoming overweight, it’s clear that we need to think about this problem in a new way—perhaps by listening more closely to what young people themselves have to say.

A Contrroversial Subject

Although I’d been thinking about this book since 1997, I held off on writing it in large part because talk about weight llllloss for teens even if the teens are truly overweight isn’t considered politically correct in some circles. Some experts don’t think we should even talk about weight loss for teens. A number of them subscribe to the “fatness (or size) acceptance” or the “health at every size” philosophy. They suggest putting less emphasis on appearance and on what the scale says and more on healthful eating and increased physical activity, then accepting the weight that results—even if that means a teen remains overweight.
Although we need to continue to work on changing the stigma associated with being overweight, we can’t afford to ignore the very real problems of overweight teens or what the teens who have succeeded at weight loss have to say. In the United States, 1 out of 3 children and adolescents ages two through nineteen is overweight or at risk for being overweight. Indeed, the proportion of children and adolescents who are overweight has tripled in the past three decades, and the numbers continue to rise. Similarly, in the past two decades, weight problems have nearly tripled in Canadian children, and societies that never had weight problems have become part of what’s called a global obesity epidemic. As a result, overweight teens face health issues that were virtually unheard-of in young people until recently.
Although some children do outgrow their weight problems, most do not. Several studies suggest that up to 8 out of 10 overweight teens will become obese adults. Both groups are at increased risk for a number of health problems.
When I first became a dietitian, type 2 diabetes, a weight-related health problem, was called adult-onset diabetes because it was seen only in adults. This problem is increasing in young people, particularly in minority teens, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans. A growing number of kids also are developing conditions such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, both of which increase the risk of heart disease. According to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine by renowned child weight expert William Dietz, M.D., Ph.D., about 6 out of 10 overweight children and teens have at least one of these risk factors. More and more children have other weight-related ailments, such as sleep apnea, which is a nighttime breathing problem.
As the teens in this book make clear, our society isn’t kind to overweight people. Taylor S. says,“Regardless of how they may appear on the outside and how content they might seem to be, the majority of overweight teens deal with a lot of emotional anguish. It will almost always be hidden, but it’s there.”After being reduced “to the point of tears” because of teasing, Taylor lost 100 pounds when he was sixteen, and he’s kept the weight off for about four years.
Only If It Comes from Them

As the stories of the teens and parents in this book suggest, children of any age should never be given the message that their weight determines their value; they need to be loved without conditions. Over and over, both teens and parents told me that the incentive for arriving at a healthier weight has to come from within the teen, not from the parents.
Taylor S. says, “If a teenager is really concerned with losing weight and has good reason to believe he’s overweight, don’t tell him he’s fine just the way he is. Let him know he’s loved unconditionally. However, if he feels he needs to change something about himself, within reason, he has every right to do it and needs to be supported 100 percent.” Tom C.’s mother says, “We should not have told him he looked good when he did not. He eventually resented us for lying to him.” The strategies in Weight Loss Confidential are intended for teens who have already shown some interest in changing, not for parents to use to persuade teens that they should change, by saying, in effect, “Look, this is what you need to do.” It presents options that teens may choose to attempt or reject—suggestions to be tried on for size.
The good news is that many teens—like Wes, Taylor, and Tom—have found an approach that has worked for them to arrive at and stay at a weight that’s right for them. And they’ve done it without compromising their mental or physical health. I invite you to listen to these teens’ stories.

Copyright © 2006 by Anne M. Fletcher. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

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Table of Contents

Foreword xv Introduction 1

1 Turning Things Around: Moving Beyond Weight Problems 7 2 Being Realistic: Finding a Just-Right Weight 33 3 Letting Teens Take the Lead: How Parents Help (and Don’t Help) 51 4 Discovering What Works: Individualizing Weight Loss Strategies 72 5 Getting Moving—and Having a Good Time 110 6 Eating to Keep It Off: The Teens’ 10 Keys to Success 132 7 Keeping Track: Developing a System of Checks and Balances 156 8 Tuning In: Putting Mind and Body Together 171 9 Staying Pumped: Remaining Motivated to Keep the Weight Off 181

Weight Programs Used by the Teens 193 Internet Resources for Teens and Parents 226 Web Sites Recommended by the Teens 232 Selected References 234 Index 243

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  • Posted February 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Mom's Choice Awards Recipient!

    Weight Loss Confidential: How Teens Lose Weight and Keep It Off and What They Wish Parents Knew is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS's Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books; and Tara Paterson, Certified Parent Coach and founder of the Mom's Choice Awards. Parents and educators look for the Mom's Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2007

    Buy this book today!

    A wonderful, quick, and captivating read! This book belongs on the bookshelves of teens, families, AND healthcare practitioners! ¿Weight Loss Confidential¿ is a great ¿how to¿ manual for teens who want to lose weight, and the book also serves as a source of motivation for teens who are ready to change. ¿Weight Loss Confidential¿ can also serve as a fantastic tool for medical and nutrition professionals who work with overweight youth. ¿Weight Loss Confidential¿ complies a myriad of pertinent data, quotes from teens, nutrition and exercise advice, effective weight loss programs, and up-to-date research. Finally, the book is a timely and much needed resource as pediatric overweight rates continue to climb. ¿Weight Loss Confidential¿ is simply fantastic¿Buy it today! --April Rudat, MS Ed, RD, LDN, author of the upcoming book, ¿OH YES YOU CAN BREASTFEED TWINS¿

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2008

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