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Introduction to Bob's Story

Free to Climb Up Mountains! Meet Bob.

Discover Skill Power, Not Will Power!

Losing about 250 pounds allowed me to achieve my dreams. How did I do it? I climbed up the mountain—step-by-step—and transformed my life in the same way.  


Bob at 260 pounds—my high school                              (Hiking in Goat Rocks Wilderness Area)      

graduation picture. At my maximum, I weighed over 100 pounds more.

Hi! I wanted to share with you my step-by-step journey. I lost about 250 pounds and have kept it off for over 41 years, and have been drug and alcohol-free for over 26 years. I weighed about 400 pounds in the eighth grade.

Pay a visit to BOB'S STORY Short Skills Version

Explore Bob's Story and the skills he learned:

Out of Hell 

Roots Parable

Lessons in Life

How DO You Begin to Make Lasting Changes?

New Foods

Be Active!

Emotional Area

Spiritual Area

How to Transform Social Isolation

How to Achieve Balance in Life

and Mental Skills

I was overweight way before my time! Today over 65% of adults in America are overweight or obese and 15% of our children and adolescents are overweight or obese. This condition represents one of the most common chronic medical problems seen in primary care today. The number of extremely overweight American adults--those who are at least 100 pounds overweight--has quadrupled since the 1980's to about 4 million. That works out to about 1 in every 50 adults.

My story shows an example of how one person worked with the process of making lifestyle changes. It turned out to be a lot easier to learn about new foods and to become more active in my daily activities. For me, the difficult areas to transform were life-balance, self esteem and self talk, emotional eating, and learning the skill of problem solving when things weren't going well.

When I started my journey of change, I didn't know any of the skills in the Essential Skills section. My lifestyle behaviors were autopilot unhealthy. I was always the fattest kid in school. My eating habits and lifestyle involuntarily kept me that way.

I am so grateful that the help I needed was available for me.

Today I find that people are struggling with the same issues in their lives that I experienced over 34 years ago.

On the other hand, we are fortunate that there is so much more information today and such an abundance of support groups.

Why are SO many people overweight in the USA today? It is because we experience:

  1. A too-busy, rushed, and hurried life makes taking time to be healthy a BIG challenge.

  2. Places offering lots of cheap and delicious foods (and HUGE portions) are EVERYWHERE!

  3. Due to TV, computers, cars, neighborhood, community design (that makes it difficult to walk to our destinations) and an infinite variety of devices that diminish our level of activity, we have decreased our level of physical activity 75% since 1900! More than 60% of adults are not regularly physically active and the latest Surgeon General's report says that 40% of adults are not active at all.

  4. Quick-fix diet programs don't teach adequate self honoring and self-management skills that could enable us to go inside of ourselves for our own answers.

  5. Because we are conditioned to believe that every problem has an easy answer, we find it difficult to commit to something that may take years to accomplish. We have a hard time remaining motivated.

  6. Many of us do not have healthy role models to show us how to live a healthful life or have wholesome relationships.

All of these factors make it challenging to achieve a healthier weight and keep it off--for life. In my story and Web site I share all of the best ways I have encountered that have helped me and the thousands of people I have worked with for the last 34 years.

Explore the The Complex Web Of Weight Management and Socio-Ecological Model--Looking Beyond the Individual for ideas about how our culture and other factors affect us.

The health and lifestyle risks of severe overweight have been thoroughly researched and are found to be:

  • Increased health risks: Type 2 diabetes, heart disease (high blood cholesterol) and strokes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea (severe trouble sleeping), cancers (colon, kidney, breast and endometrium), lung and breathing problems, bone and joint pains, gallstones, surgery problems, arthritis, cataracts, and infertility and erectile dysfunction

  • Lifestyle risks of obesity: Quality of life declines due to difficulty in participating in activities or traveling, our clothes no longer fit (keep a wardrobe of multiple sizes in the closet), experience low energy and exhaustion, feel less attractive, many people experience a deep sense of personal failure, sadness, and discouragement due to multiple unsuccessful attempts to achieve a healthier weight; it becomes increasingly difficult to have a positive, healthy mental state due to all of the above personal challenges, and ultimately a person begins to experience an increasing sense of isolation and a sense that life is passing them by.

A NOTE: Greater harm can be done to ourselves if we constantly force ourselves to lose weight (and then cycle up and down as we experience a battle inside ourselves because we have not explored root causes of our overweight) and end up disrespecting our bodies, and end up feeling ashamed, inferior, and unlovable. We may also think that just losing weight will bring us the happiness and health that we want. Consider exploring the Dieting vs. Non-Dieting section and Notice in Your Life That Everything Is Interconnected! for ideas on how to change this pattern. For anyone, just following the self-honoring skills that are taught in the Essential Skills section will bring immense benefits--no matter what a person's weight.

These ideas and resources are validated in the The National Weight Control Registry and Thin for Life by Anne Fletcher (in the Essential Skills and Resource 1 sections). All of these ideas are based on "what works" for the people who HAVE been successful. They describe the common characteristics and skills that helped them be successful. I'm included in both resources.

The KEY to being successful is to make an ongoing investment in yourself--to learn about the root causes of your overweight and figure out your personal solutions--and not give up. JUST BEGIN AGAIN! 91% of the people who were ultimately successful had tried to lose weight numerous times before. The key skill is to learn from your experiments at weight loss. Learn what works and what doesn't work for YOU. Just don't give up! For a PDF version of Make An Investment In You--Learn Core Skills.pdf

Any mistakes or failures, no matter how great, are never infinite, they're finite! So, climb back up and begin again! It’s all self-discovery! You learn what works and what doesn't work for you. So, if you take one step, then fall on your face, then take another step and...fall on your're PROGRESSING one step by "one body length" at a time! I call it "stumbling in the right direction!" Each day remember your motivation!

HOW you go about this journey is as important as WHAT skills you ultimately develop. My mission is to do no harm through any of this process. I encourage kindness and self-respect towards yourself, to honor yourself with each of your moment-by-moment choices. I want to help each of us to "end the inner emotional war" that many of us have going on inside. The approach follows the Dieting versus the Non-Dieting Approach.


Success is going from failure to failure

without a loss of enthusiasm. Sir Winston Churchill


Have Patience

with all things,

but, first of all,

with yourself.

To view a PowerPoint presentation of Bob's Journey:  Celebrate the Basics of Healthy Self-care It will only work with DSL or other high-speed Internet connection. It takes about 5 minutes to upload. It's FUN! Left-click on mouse to advance pictures. For a PDF version of Bob's Story, click here. For a short version of skills learned, click here.

Bob also participated in a NIH (National Institutes of Health) 5-day study called the “neuroanatomical correlates of hunger and satiety by positron emission tomography" to determine how the brain controls the way we eat. To explore this, they compared formerly (or presently) overweight people's brains respond differently to hunger than people who have always been thin. To read about the study and Bob's journey explore: What’s Going on IN there (Word document) To read the actual research paper results check out Post-obese.pdf

              Copyright © 2001-2015 Bob Wilson BS, DTR  All Right Reserved. Articles are for personal use only. Please request permission for other uses. Thanks!