How I went from the fattest kid in class to slimline weight-loss guru: Once morbidly obese at over 300lbs, diet expert tells his story



17:38 GMT, 28 March 2012

William Anderson grew up as the fattest child in the class and as young as seven had already been put on his first diet.

Now he's a trim, successful psychotherapist who has not only developed his own weight-loss method but believes that anyone can share in the weight-loss revelation he experienced in 1984 when he lost 140lbs in 18 months.

Mr Anderson, who goes by the name Bill in his hometown of Sarasota, Florida, spent 25 years battling morbid obesity with failed diets and exercise regimes before realising that they key to shedding the pounds and keeping them off lay in behavioural therapy.

William Anderson before shedding 140lbs in 18 months

The weight-loss guru in Florida

It's no miracle: William Anderson weighed over 300lbs before losing 140 of them in 18 months thanks to behavioural therapy, a solution he believes is the key to staying trim and that has made him a 'weight-loss' guru

Writing for the Huffington Post, the self ascribed 'weight-loss guru', who once weighed 300lbs, revealed that the penny dropped when he acknowledged the problem was not his lack of scientific understanding of weight-loss but rather his attitude towards the challenge.

'There is no mystery to how to lose weight,' he wrote. 'It's thermodynamics and food science. We know what needs to be done – physically, anyway. The problem is that we have such a hard time getting ourselves to do what's required.

'But this problem can be solved, even if you're a hopeless case like I was. The solution is in behavioral medicine and behavioral therapy, a kind of magic where we can reprogram ourselves to think and live in a way that makes us thin and keeps us that way. Is it easy No. But it is doable.'

The reformed therapist is so confident that success lies not in what you put in your mouth but what you allow yourself to think, he penned a book in 2009 and is now training other counsellors in what he has labelled as The Anderson Method.

Action man! The therapist has written a book and is training others to practice The Anderson Method

Action man! The therapist has written a book and is training others to practice The Anderson Method

At the launch of his book, titled after the unique process, endocrinologist, Dr Mark Lupo told ABC: I've seen this method work better than weight loss medications and at least as well if not better in many cases than bariatric surgery because people learn to eat differently, think about food differently, take control over those issues and they lose weight more effectively.'

Recalling his larger physique, Mr Anderson admitted: 'I came to hate life, hate being fat and hate what I had become. Most of my thousands of attempts to diet didn't last a day. I had no willpower.

'One year, I paid the whole year's membership at a gym, thinking it would make me go. I went only once, hated it and never went back. I was so ashamed. And it wasn't fair. It seemed like a lot of my friends ate just as badly as I did. They didn't go to gyms. But I got fat. They didn't.'

But the solution he says was not in a pill or a magical diet, rather in the 'reprograming' of his mind.

He explained further saying: 'I was 7 years old when I was put on my first diet. That was the beginning of the process that really started my obesity.

'We have literally programmed ourselves to be obese. But what can be programmed can be reprogrammed, even when it seems too late. When you know how to do the programming, just like with a computer, you can change the programs.'

With that in mind he urged those who have similar issues that he did to stop thinking 'no matter what I do, I can't lose weight' and start saying 'I know I will lose weight if I can figure out how to get myself to do what we know works to lose weight.