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WLS Center

February 2003 Issue


WLS E-Newsletter
A FREE publication by
Issue # 22, February 2003
Circulation: 7,428


From the Desk of Barbara Thompson
Author of "Weight Loss Surgery: Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You"

** 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


Dear Subscriber,

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
Mississippi 25.9%
West Virginia 24.6%
Michigan 24.4%
Kentucky 24.2%
Indiana 24.0%
Texas 23.8%
Alabama 23.4%
Louisiana 23.3%
Tennessee 22.6%
Missouri 22.5%

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 2000.

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 to use.

Low-Fat Chili

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 You."


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 baby.

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 complications.

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 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.

** Attention AT&T Customers **

AT&T Broadband email customers will soon have to change their email address from to Those whose email "first names" are already in use by existing Comcast customers will have to change the first parts of their addresses also. Please email your OLD address and your NEW address to in order to continue receiving this newsletter.


Copyright © 2000-2013 Barbara Thompson All Rights Reserved