WLS Center.com E-Newsletter
A FREE publication by
Issue # 20
From the Desk of Barbara Thompson
Author of "Weight Loss Surgery, Finding the Thin Person
Hiding Inside You"
** In This Issue **
* More About Vitamins: Free Radicals
* New Research Article: Mortality Risk for Heaviest Men
* New Research Article: Weight Loss Surgery Adds Years to Your
* Tips for Staying on Track
* Recipe: Italian Cheese Pie
* Plastic Surgery
* More Hospital Stories Needed
* Book Excerpt: Dumping
* Success Story: Amber Harvey
* Spreading the Word in Charleston, WV
There is a song that keeps going round and round in my head,
and it isn't even a Christmas song. It is the song "My
Favorite Things" from "The Sound of Music." The
other evening I finally realized why I find that song so odd.
Maria sings about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, etc. She goes on
and on describing all of her favorite things, and none of them are
It is times like that when I realize just how strong my food
addiction still is. I might not look like it, but I am addicted to
food. I am not addicted in the way I was before my surgery. Then,
it was out of control and was consuming my life. Weight loss
surgery allows me to control my food addiction. It makes it
manageable, but I know it is still there and probably will always
Someone asked me a question when I was speaking in Charleston,
WV. The question was whether I religiously follow my 4 Rules of
Success. I blurted out that I don't do anything religiously. I
strive to concentrate on eating protein, drinking water, not
grazing and exercising. But I fail over and over again. I am as
human as everyone else. But like our reader who contributed the
tips further on in this newsletter, I don't beat myself up for my
failings. Those days are over. I accept and appreciate myself for
who I am. And in this difficult season food-wise and perhaps even
family-wise, it helps to keep all of this in perspective. We can
only try and do our best. And failing does not make us a bad
person. Learn to love yourself. Each of you is a courageous and
wonderful person that I am proud to be associated with.
I wish each and every one of you a wonderful holiday season and
a glorious New Year!!
** More about our Vitamins: Free Radicals **
We must breathe to live, but the very act of breathing causes a
process in our bodies called oxidation. We have seen evidence of
this same process in nature with the browning of a cut apple or
the rusting of metal.
The process of oxidation in our bodies is the result of free
radicals. A free radical is a molecule in the body that has an
unbalanced charge. Free radicals energize our bodies, but an over
abundance are harmful. Free radicals occur by the millions, as our
bodies are subjected to preservatives in food, UV rays from the
sun, sources of radiation such as cell phones and microwaves,
pollution and chemicals in our environment and even excessive
exercise. All of this extra exposure leads to the aging process as
our bodies break down.
Antioxidants fight against excessive free radicals in our
bodies, fight disease and slow the aging process. The best source
of antioxidants is something called oligomeric proanthocyanidins
(OPC) especially those derived from grape seed, pine bark and red
wine. Taking an OPC can help an amazing array of diseases
including diabetes, high cholesterol, allergies, heart disease,
cancer, autoimmune diseases, and inflammatory diseases. No one
should be without an antioxidant.
I have been taking our OPC
supplement for about 3 months now. The first
month to 11/2 months, I didn't notice much of a difference.
However, shortly after that I suddenly noticed that I was feeling
so much better. I had more energy, and fewer aches and pains. In
fact, I felt terrific. I truly have never taken anything that has
had such a profound and positive effect on my life.
"Free radicals have such a devastating impact on the
structures of our organism, that they are now seen as the major
initiating force of widespread chronic illnesses such as cancer,
cardiovascular disease and cataract."
Bert Schwitters, "OPC in Practice"
Call our office toll free
(877) 440-1518 today to order, or for more
information, go to
** New Research Article: **
"Obesity Surgery May Be Most Risky for Heaviest Men"
Yahoo News carried the following article that reports on a
study conducted by Dr. Livingston at the UCLA Medical Center. The
report was published in the November issue of "Annals of
Surgery." The news report details the study that concluded
that age, sex and size impact the mortality rate following RNY
The study followed over 1,000 patients between 1993 and 2,000
and found the following mortality rates:
1% mortality for patients under the age of 55
3.5% mortality for patients over the age of 55
4% for women 200 pounds overweight
7% for men 200 pounds overweight
7.5% for a 600-pound woman
13% for a 600-pound man
** Tips for Staying on Track **
A reader shared these with me recently. I loved the common
sense and the wisdom and asked to publish them for everyone to
share. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Here they are:
I want to share some of the things I have learned from my RNY
experience. Sharing these things with others helps me focus on
what is important- staying on track. Here it is in list form.
1. I am pampering myself. This is MY year. I don't beat myself
up for failing occasionally. I just get back on the wagon.
2. I reward myself with small, non-food indulgences.
For more tips,
** Recipe: Italian Cheese Pie **
Thanks to Donna Tucker for the following recipe
This recipe is very high in protein and works well with Splenda
as a sugar substitution. It's lower in fat than cheesecake because
it's made with ricotta cheese, which can be nonfat and even
regular ricotta cheese is far less fattening than cream cheese.
It's a wonderful family recipe and really makes a big hit with
My Nona's Italian Cheese Pie
1 1/2 C. sifted flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbl. soft butter
1/4 C. sugar (or Splenda)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. grated orange rind
1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)
1 Tbl. orange juice
Brush crust with egg white before filling.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
Beat soft butter, sugar, and 1 egg until light and fluffy. Beat in
vanilla, orange peel, almond extract and juice. Add 1/2 of the
flour mixture then beat in the other half. Knead several times on
a floured board. Roll out half of the mixture and put it in a pie
pan or spring form cheesecake pan. Brush the crust with egg white
before filling. Save the other half of the dough for a lattice
1 lb. ricotta cheese
3/4 C. sugar (or Splenda)
1 1/2 tsp. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond Extract
1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
Beat the ricotta until creamy. Add sugar, eggs, flour, lemon
rind, and vanilla and almond extract and beat well.
Make a lattice top. Put tin foil around the sides of the crust
to keep from burning.
Bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Watch closely.
Cool and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. It is
better the day after when the flavors set in.
If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future
issues of this newsletter, please send it to me at
** Plastic Surgery **
My plastic surgeon, Dr. Dennis Hurwitz, recently addressed the
American Society of Plastic Surgeons regarding the importance of
approaching the removal of skin for gastric bypass patients in a
special way. The nip and tuck method will not produce the optimum
results for those of us who have tremendous amounts of skin to
remove. Very careful body contouring and the mapping of where
scars will be and how skin will move are important considerations.
When considering plastic surgery, seek out a plastic surgeon
who is accustomed to working with gastric bypass patients so that
you can achieve results that are truly satisfactory. This is such
an important consideration. It is wonderful that the plastic
surgery community is looking at the issue of our very special
To see Dr. Hurwitz' website or to send him a special word of
thanks for bringing this to his professional community,
** More Hospital Stories Needed **
As you will remember, In January I will be addressing a group
of sales representatives concerning what it is like to be a
morbidly obese patient in the hospital. I am looking for stories
regarding your stay in the hospital for your weight loss surgery
or for any other surgery you might have had. I am looking for
anecdotes about how you were treated as a morbidly obese person by
the staff and especially in terms of hospital equipment not being
size friendly. I have also submitted a proposal to address the
Allied Health Section of ASBS on the same subject at their annual
meeting in June.
I have received many hospital stories in the past 3 months and
appreciate the generous sharing of your very personal experiences.
If anyone has still not contributed, there is time. If you have
contributed a story and would also like to send me before and
after pictures, you will be adding so much to the impact. I
believe seeing us as people in a before and after form will help
people to look at a morbidly obese person and see the person they
Don't worry about the quality of the writing. I would just like
to have the stories. These stories can eventually help those
morbidly obese patients who come after us, so you have the
potential to help many people. Thanks so much!!!
Please email them to me at
** Book Excerpt: Dumping **
I do want to remember that there are many people who are just
starting on their weight loss surgery journey and want to offer
them some basic pieces of information. Here is an excerpt from my
book on dumping. As most of you know, my book, "Weight Loss
Surgery, Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You" is the
most popular book on weight loss surgery and is available from my
Here is an excerpt from my book on dumping. This is especially
pertinent during this holiday season when there are so many
"goodies" lying around.
Dumping is a result of intolerance to foods that are high in
sugar content and it affects approximately 70 percent of RNY
surgery patients. When RNY patients eat sweets, the sugar rushes
directly into the intestines without being partially digested by
the gastric juices of the old stomach. In order to help break the
sugar down, the body sends blood and energy to that area making
the patient fell awful. They develop nausea, they may vomit,
become lightheaded, dizzy, have cramps and diarrhea. These
symptoms usually last about 20 to 30 minutes. This reaction is so
unpleasant that dumping acts as a deterrent to eating sweets and
helps with the weight loss process.
The dumping syndrome may not last forever. Most patients
adjust, and are eventually able to eat some sweets after about
three to six months. It is impossible to know if you will be
affected by dumping or what level of sweets will trigger it. While
dumping affects most people, it doesn't mean that you will never
be able to eat sweets. You will probably be able to eat small
amounts, but never the whole pie.
Some patients develop a mild form of dumping syndrome from
eating carbohydrates. As the carbohydrates are converted to sugar,
the patient feels extremely tired and sleepy. Patients, who are
newly post-op, may also experience a persistent, mild nausea after
eating carbohydrates. This will eventually pass.
Many patients consider dumping to be an advantageous side
effect of surgery, especially if they have been sweet eaters in
the past. Dumping provides them with a very strong deterrent from
eating sweets and therefore, makes it easier for them to lose
weight. By the time the dumping syndrome has resolved itself, the
patient has learned healthier eating patterns.
Although I have not totally avoided sweets, I have never
personally experienced dumping. I have heard so many horror
stories that I have been fearful of testing it. I have eaten a
forkful or two of pie or cake or a bit of chocolate, but that's
it. When I have a craving for sweets (which is now very rare), one
or two bites totally satisfies me.
Not all sugars are created equal and it is sometimes difficult
to identify what is sugar and what is not. Sugar is hidden
everywhere. In ingredients, look for the suffix "ose."
If "ose" appears at the end of an ingredient, you know
it is some form of sugar. What follows is a list of sugars. Some
of them can cause problems, and some usually do not. But remember,
your system is unique; therefore, you need to discover what you do
and do not tolerate.
Remember, "no sugar added," does not mean "sugar
free." Check the number of grams of sugar on the nutritional
value label for the amount of sugar and determine what your
particular level of tolerance is.
** Success Story: Amber Harvey **
I would like to offer a special thanks to Amber Harvey of
Orland, ME for sharing her story with us.
Like most overweight people I have been through all kinds of
steps to fix the problem. I have done Weight Watchers, Jenny
Craig, Nutri-System, Atkins, the carbohydrate addict's diet, and I
even took drugs. Nothing worked for long or at all, and from the
age of 20 to 34, I continually gained weight.
I had heard of weight loss surgery years ago but I wasn't ready
mentally or emotionally to consider it. In September of 2001 my
sister-in-law asked me to attend a weight loss surgery meeting
with her and I felt comfortable for the first time about being
overweight, that I was OK, it's not just me with feelings of
failure and frustration.
For the rest of Amber's story,
I love good news. If you have good news, a success story to
share, or inspiration, please send it to me at
that I can include it in future issues.