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For Your Well Being: Learning From Losers

January 25, 2007, Vol. V Issue 2

Dear Friends,

We seldom have snow on the ground here in Portland, but we did for three whole days last week. The white was kinda nice. In fact, now that it’s gone, our normal green looks drab to me. That won’t last long, however, as I notice the tips of daffodil leaves poking through in my flower boxes. That and the return of the light make this a time of year of anticipation.

Get out that red dress, scarf, tie, shoes and red dress pin. National Wear Red Day is Friday, Feb. 2, 2007 and women (and men) all over the country will be wearing red in support of heart health. Won’t you join us?

Last fall, I introduced you to Anne M. Fletcher, M.S., R.D. in For Your Well Being and previewed her new book, Weight Loss Confidential: How Teens Lose Weight and Keep It Off – And What they Wish Their Parents Knew. The book was launched this month with a flurry of media attention. Anne ‘s book tour included Portland and she presented a program based on the book, for one of our local hospitals.

She’s the first of many of our speakers visiting the Northwest in the coming months. Stay tuned . . .

Anne M. Fletcher

Learning from Losers: Weight Loss Confidential

Anne Fletcher
Anne Fletcher, MS, RD, LD

Weight Loss Confidential was just released this month and heralded by a flurry of publicity including appearances by Anne on CBS’s “The Early Show” and NBC’s “The Today Show”, as well as articles in USA Today and The New York Times (Jane Brody).

While she was here, she was interviewed on our local talk show, “AM Northwest.” And she presented her program, “Secrets of Teens Who are Living a Healthy Life,” for parents and teens at a Saturday morning event at Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital.

Anne’s forte is weaving together her inspiring findings from real-life success stories with state-of-the art information about health issues. Using the approach that made her book Thin for Life an award-winning bestseller, Anne conducted in-depth surveys and interviews with more than 100 formerly overweight young people – and many of their parents – from diverse backgrounds, across the United States and Canada. Many of the teens overcame heavy odds: most have at least one overweight parent, many had been overweight for a long time, and some lost as much as 100 pounds.

I think there is real power in hearing other people’s stories – their motivations as well as their methods. People can identify, and at some point they say, “Hey, that person is just like me and if she can do it, I can do it.” Anne uses lots of before-and-after pictures in her commentary, including the story of her own son’s 65 pound weight loss and maintenance. What, you say, her son was overweight? Yes, this book was actually inspired by her oldest son’s weight problem and how he solved it on his own.

His weight crept up to 270 pounds over the course of middle school and high school despite being brought up in a weight conscious household. He tried his fair share of self-concocted weight loss schemes. “I was always looking for a quick fix – cutting out certain foods entirely, strictly limiting my calories and fat, or half-starving myself on certain days,” he says in the book. “I tended to dedicate myself for a day or two until I made one mistake. Then I’d feel like a failure and give up entirely.”

Finally, he decided he wanted to get down to 200 pounds by the time he left for college in about a year.  He made the decision, did the math and took action – counting and writing down everything he ate. Anne didn’t even know he was on the path until she noticed he was getting slimmer.

It’s stories like these that inspired the kids and parents attending Anne’s program. “I liked hearing and seeing the success stories, good tips from the “Masters” — those who had kept weight off with motivational behaviors and consistency. It was good, practical advice from successful losers.”

Here’s a compilation of what Anne uncovered by interviewing Wes and other teens who transformed their lives:

10 things teens wish parents knew about weight loss:

  1. “Don’t tell me my weight is okay.” If your teen is overweight and says he wants to slim down, listen to his concerns and offer to help find some solutions. Don’t minimize the problem.
  2. “Get off my back.”  Don’t nag, preach, criticize, or try to coerce your teen into losing; talk to her like a friend, not a disciplinarian.
  3. “Let ME be in charge.”  It’s up to the teen to decide if, how and when she wants to lose.
  4. “Don’t be a food cop.” Comments like “You’ve had enough,” and “You don’t need that bowl of ice cream” will backfire.
  5. “Be there when I’m ready.”  Support your teen’s choices and praise his efforts: help find affordable ways to exercise or a program he’d like to attend. Be a role model for healthy eating and exercise.
  6. “Help me out, don’t single me out.” Create a healthy home food climate – for the entire family, not just the overweight teen. Provide kids with healthy, appealing food choices without making them feel deprived.
  7. “Love me no matter what.” Let your teen know she’s loved whatever her weight is and whether or not she succeeds at slimming down.
  8. “Be patient.” Understand that losing weight takes time, effort, patience, and often multiple attempts.
  9. “Help me be realistic.” After losing weight, your teen may not be “thin,” but she’ll be healthier and happier.
  10. “Believe in me.” Send the message that you know your teen can succeed and that you’ll be there if he needs you.

Anne is also the author of the national bestsellers Thin For Life, Sober for Good, and Eating Thin for Life, as well as the Thin for Life Daybook. An award-winning health and medical journalist, she is frequently sought out for her knowledge about and creative solutions for weight management, behavior change, and addiction.  Learn more about Anne M. Fletcher, M.S., R.D. and her other programs on our website.


Puttin’ on the Red: Friday, February 2

Friday, February 2, 2007, is National Wear Red Day—a day when Americans nationwide will take women’s health to heart by wearing red to show their support for women’s heart disease awareness. Although significant progress has been made in increasing women’s awareness of heart disease — 34 percent in 2000 to 55 percent in 2005 — most women fail to make the connection between risk factors and their personal risk of developing heart disease.

National Wear Red Day is an annual event held on the first Friday in February at offices, businesses and in communities nationwide. It’s an opportunity for women and men to wear red to unite in a national movement to give women a personal and urgent wake-up call about their risk of heart disease. Everyone can participate by showing off a favorite red dress, sweater, or tie, or by wearing the Red Dress Pin (available at

By participating in National Wear Red Day, you’ll be joining The Heart Truth. The Heart Truth is a national awareness campaign to alert women about their risk for heart disease and motivate them to take steps to lower their risk. The centerpiece of the campaign is the Red Dress—the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness. What’s a Red Dress got to do with it? A simple Red Dress works as a visual red alert to get the message heard loud and clear: “Heart Disease Doesn’t Care What You Wear—It’s the #1 Killer of Women.”  Sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the campaign is reaching women with important heart health messages in community settings through a diverse network of national and grassroots partner organizations.

You don’t even have to be part of a group to participate. Even my dog, P.C., will be sporting a red bandana next Friday. Please join in and help spread the word about women and heart disease. For ideas and tools to help you participate in National Wear Red Day or to order a Red Dress Pin, visit  You could start now to organize activities and participation for next year. This website is loaded with ideas and support materials.

Until next time, wear some red for lots of good reasons, and be good to yourself, for your good health and those you love.

Yours truly in good health,

About Our Services

The Speak Well Being Group specializes in providing exceptional speakers for health, wellness and women’s events. Because we’ve worked with so many hospitals and healthcare groups around the country, we speak your language.  When you work with us, you’ll come back for more “How are we going to top that?” speakers.

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