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December 2002 Issue


WLS E-Newsletter
A FREE publication by
Issue # 20
Circulation: 7,294


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 Life
* 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

Dear Subscriber,

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 food!!!

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 be there.

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 surgery.

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, Click Here

** 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 company.
Donna Tucker
Reno, NV

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 egg
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 top.


1 lb. ricotta cheese
3/4 C. sugar (or Splenda)
3 eggs
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 needs.

To see Dr. Hurwitz' website or to send him a special word of thanks for bringing this to his professional community, Click Here

** 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 are inside.

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 website

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, Click Here

I love good news. If you have good news, a success story to share, or inspiration, please send it to me at so that I can include it in future issues.



Copyright 2000-2013 Barbara Thompson All Rights Reserved