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Weight Loss Boss: The Book Report

Updated on December 3, 2012

How to finally win at losing and take charge in an out-of-control food world

Author: David Kirchhoff, President and CEO of WeightWatchers International, Inc.

Publisher: Rodale 2012. Hardback; 261 pages exclusive of index; 272 total. $25.99 US jacket price.

Author's stated purpose: Summarized in the dust jacket, the author's "business and personal philosophy is the belief that obesity prevention is achievable and can be realized through a combination of smart governance, industrial support, and community empowerment."

Description: As an initial matter, the first thing that I do when I pick up a book on weight or diet or nutrition is open it to the middle. If there is a recipe there, I go no further, but re-shelve the book. I find recipes of no use in informing principles of weight loss, diet, and nutrition. I could not find a recipe in this book. Indeed, the word does not even appear in the index. I read it. My Book Report follows.

The book is divided into two parts. Part I is entitled From Thin to Heavy and Back Again: A Weight Loss Odyssey. Part II is entitled Be the Boss of Your Own Weight Loss: Food, Tools, and Strategies to Take Charge for Life. Each chapter of each part contains a section titled Find Your Inner Weight Loss Boss, summarizing the main points of the chapter, and a section titled WeightWatchers Profile, containing the story of a successful weight loser.

Part I contains an the author's weight loss autobiography. As such, Mr. Kirchhoff's personal journey is designed to, and should, resonate with fellow weight loss travelers. With respect to Part II, I found Chapter 5, "Rely on Habits, Not Willpower," most instructive.

Discussion: As the author states on page 105 of Chapter 5, "the hard part in losing weight and keeping it off isn't knowing what to do. The hard part is making it happen in your life." As a a teenager might say, "Duh." To illustrate his point, however, the author applies the Fogg Behavior Model (FBM) to the task of weight loss. (B.J. Fogg, Ph.D., researcher at Stanford University; see Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Persuasive Technology, Article No. 40, ACM, New York NY 2009). Paraphrasing Mr. Fogg, for a person to change a behavior, that person must (1) be motivated, (2) be able to act in a meaningful way, and (3) possess a current, effective reason to act. For Mr. Fogg, all factors must be present at the same time, or no change can occur. This writer would set out the factors necessary for change to occur as follows:

  1. Identify the exact change desired with particularity. In this context, it is easy to identify the change as "lose weight."
  2. Identify the exact motivation for the change, with particularity. In the context of weight loss, this motivation could be health-based, a return to previous activity level, or the like.
  3. Examine the reality of the desired change, in context. In the area of weight loss, this could mean that setting a goal of losing 20 lbs. in two weeks in setting you up for failure, while setting a goal of losing 20 lbs. in six months could be achievable.
  4. Identify what help could be necessary to effect the change. That is, for weight loss to occur, do you need nutritional education, an exercise trainer, or the like.
  5. Identify the roadblocks to change, with reality and particularity, or at least anticipate the roadblocks so that you can keep motivated through opposition. For example, do you need to remove some foods completely from your home, do you need to learn how to make substitutions, are there people or situations that may present the opportunity to sabotage your weight loss efforts, and the like.
  6. Identify the "bad habits" that must be eliminated to effect change, with particularity. That is, do you need to address snacking, or portion control, or the like in order to achieve your weight loss goal.

I have heard all of the above in my weight loss journey. No doubt you have, too. What I appreciate in this book is the identification of the structure of the thought process necessary to direct the journey to success.


  • Author: Possesses the necessary experience and credibility to opine on the topics addressed.
  • Readability: Conversational. The book has a physically attractive layout, is easy to read, in total or according to a particular topic of interest.
  • Achievement of purpose: Achieved.
  • Recommended: Yes.

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