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Issue # 22, February 2003
From the Desk of Barbara Thompson
Author of "Weight Loss Surgery: Finding the Thin Person Hiding
** In this Issue **
* How Do You Define Success?
* Interview: The Journal News
* Some Interesting Facts Regarding Obesity
* Recipe: Chili
* Book Excerpt: Pregnancy
* Success Story: Connie Shapiro
* Spreading the Word in Houston, Morgantown, Miami, and Allentown
Weight loss surgery patients are a very courageous group of
people. Really when you think of it, only about 10% of the
population that qualifies for the surgery actually has the surgery.
The other 90% either don't know about it, their insurance doesn't
cover it, or, more than likely, don't have the courage to go through
it. We are a rare breed. But even though we are courageous, we are
still fearful of failure. Later in this issue, I will look at
success and failure as it relates to weight loss surgery. I hope
that by reading this article, you will have a better appreciation of
your weight loss accomplishments.
I hope that Valentine's Day was good to you and that you, more
than anyone else, appreciate the very special person that you are.
** How Do You Define Success? **
Recently, when the newspaper, The New Orleans Picayune,
interviewed me the reporter mentioned that there is a common
criticism of weight loss surgery stories. They are either absolutely
wonderful or they are disasters. She questioned whether there is a
segment that never gets heard from. That started me thinking about
those who consider themselves failures, and how we define failure in
relationship to this surgery. But before we look at failure, let's
look at success.
For the rest of the article, go to:
** Some Interesting Facts Regarding Obesity **
In 1991, only 4 States had obesity rates of 15% or higher. They
were Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi and West Virginia and none had
obesity rates over 20%. Just ten years later, 44 million Americans
are obese which represents a 74% increase. Here are the top 10
States with the highest obesity rates.
State % of the Population that is Obese
West Virginia 24.6%
Some other interesting facts:
Nearly 2 out of 3 adults are overweight or obese going from 47%
in 1980 to 64.5% in 2000. That is a large increase. However, the
number of overweight adults remained almost the same, 32% in 1980
and 34% in 2000. It is the number of obese adults that saw a
dramatic rise. The percentage doubled from 15% in 1980 to 30.5% in
Here is another statistic that amazed me. At least 310,000
Americans die prematurely each year from diseases related to
unhealthy eating and lack of exercise. That is 5 times more than the
number killed by guns, HIV/AIDS, and drug use combined!!
** Recipe: Chili **
Finding good sources of protein in the early stages after surgery
is problematic. I found chili to be a good source. The ground meat
usually went down well. This seems to be a perfect winter for chili.
This is a low fat recipe in which you can control the
carbohydrates depending upon how many cans of kidney beans you want
1/2 pound ground lean beef
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green peppers (optional)
8-ounce can of tomato sauce
14-ounce can of beef broth
6 ounces tomato paste
2 teaspoons chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Artificial brown sugar to taste
2 15-ounce cans of red kidney beans (undrained)
Sauté the ground beef, onions and green peppers until the beef is
cooked through. For this recipe to be very low fat, put the mixture
into a colander and run water over the ingredients. Return the
mixture to a skillet or dutch oven and add the remaining
ingredients. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer the
chili for 30 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to your liking.
Ever since my surgery, I prefer very hot and spicy food.
Therefore I do a lot of adjusting with this recipe.
If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future
issues of this newsletter, please send it
to me at
** Book Excerpt: Pregnancy **
I recently received email from someone who reported that she was
6 weeks post op and just found out that she was pregnant. This was
not good news. Her email prompted me to include this excerpt from my
book, "Weight Loss Surgery; Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside
For some women, one of the reasons for having weight loss surgery
is their inability to conceive. Estrogen is stored in fat cells and
as women gain fat cells it affects their fertility. As they begin to
lose weight and lose fat cells, pre-menopausal women experience a
newfound fertility. Added to this possibility of pregnancy, is a
more active sex life as you become more physically attractive and
begin to feel better about yourself. Women, who have not had a
period in years, suddenly find that they have begun again.
Eighty percent of patients having weight loss surgery are women
in their childbearing years. It is very important to remember to not
become pregnant within the first year following surgery, to give
your body time to adjust. In the beginning months following surgery,
it is difficult to get in a sufficient amount of nutrition to
satisfy all your own bodily needs and nearly impossible to supply
the nutritional needs of a growing fetus. During the first year
after surgery, pregnancy is considered to be high risk and the
possibility of a miscarriage is increased by 90 percent.
It is very important to not become pregnant within the first year
following surgery. After that, you should be "good to go!"
Another factor that creates a high-risk pregnancy is that
morbidly obese women commonly have co-morbidities such as high blood
pressure and diabetes that puts increased stress on the body. The
addition of a pregnancy could endanger the health of the mother.
Therefore, if you are at all sexually active, it is very
important to use birth control during the first year after surgery.
You may very well have a healthy baby, but the risk is not worth it.
Wait the year, for your own sake as well as for the sake of your
However, once you have received an approval from your surgeon or
obstetrician to become pregnant, you should have a very normal
pregnancy. In the August 1998 issue of Obesity Surgery, Dr.
Wittgrove et al reported on a study conducted following 41 of their
own gastric bypass patients who had become pregnant. Their
pregnancies were normal and their deliveries were without
If you do not have your copy of my book "Weight Loss Surgery;
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You," what are you waiting
for? Many surgeons all across the country will not allow their
patients to have the surgery unless they have read my book. Order
your copy at
** Success Story: Connie Shapiro **
I would like to thank Connie Shapiro of Lander, Wyoming for
sharing her story with us. Here is Connie's story:
I have been overweight my entire life, for as long as I can
remember. I was 11 when my mom put me on my first diet. I was in the
6th grade and this created quite a disruption at the school as I was
not eating lunch. I guess it was a school policy for every child to
eat a lunch. I lost about 30 pounds and felt better about myself but
the weight came back.
Through high school, I was a large girl. I weighed about 200
pounds and was 5'7." I was able to crash diet for senior pictures
and when they were taken I weighed about 150 pounds. But the weight
came back. During college, I maintained a weight of 190 to 210
pounds, with occasional drops to 160 - 170
pounds due to dieting, but the weight always came back.
For the rest of Connie's story, go to:
I love good news. If you have good news, a success story to
share, or inspiration, please send it to
me at Barbara@wlscenter.com so that I can
include it in future issues.
** Spreading the Word **
in Houston, Morgantown, WV; Miami, and Allentown, PA
On Saturday, January 25th, I spoke for the sales reps of the KCI
Corporation. This corporation manufactures bariatric equipment for
hospitals, making bariatric hospital beds, large portable commodes,
patient lifts and heavy duty walkers. I spoke with many sales reps
who thanked me for reminding them of the important role that they
play in the comfort, safety and dignity of morbidly obese patients.
I would like to thank all of you who sent your hospital experiences
to me. I related many of them, grouping them into good experiences,
bad experiences and life threatening experiences. This made the
message so much more real.
On January 30th I spoke at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown,
WV. It was especially good to see my wonderful friend, Marilyn
Childers and to meet many of the patients of this new practice.
Prior to my speaking I was interviewed by Robin Brennan, a TV
producer for West Virginia University. The interview was broadcast
on the 3 network television stations in West Virginia, WCHS-TV on
February 10th and WDTV-TV and WTRF-TV on February 13th.
On Sunday February 9th, 2003, I addressed my largest audience
yet, 18,000 people at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL. I
spoke to Market America distributors regarding the role of vitamins
and gastric bypass patients. They were very receptive and were
grateful to hear how they might play a role in helping us to achieve
a healthier life.
I will be speaking in Allentown, PA, the evening of Wednesday,
March 12th, for Dr. Rovito at the Lehigh Valley Hospital. I hope any
of you in the area will be able to attend.
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