WLS Center E-Newsletter

A FREE publication from


Hosted by Barbara Thompson
Author of:
Weight Loss Surgery:
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.

Issue #45

April 15, 2004

The success story for this issue is the first time that we have featured someone who has had a lap band. This is exciting because there are more people who are having that surgery. The number of patients having Roux en-Y surgery far exceeds those having the lap band, however, we are not a one size fits all group. Options are important. While we can argue among ourselves which surgery is the “best,” the best can only be defined by the individual after considering all of the pros and cons of a particular surgery. For Mike, the lap band was the perfect solution.  Because of his heart problems, losing weight more slowly was an important advantage so that there was less strain on his system.  And his very active life style makes his weight loss easier.  I hope we can all continue to cheer each other’s success with weight loss surgery regardless of which particular surgery we select for ourselves. If the decision is made from a basis of knowledge, then I hope that we can all respect that.

In This Issue


* Research Article: What’s Up with Water?
* A Call for Hospital Horror Stories
* Advice: My Window Closed. Now What?
* Recipe: Creamy Layered Squares
* Success Story: Mike Reed
* Spreading the Word in Hindsdale, Sioux Falls, Traverse City and Waukesha

Research Article (Part 1):  
  What’s Up With Water?

Nearly 75% of us live in a chronic state of dehydration, never getting the amount of water that we need to drink. Why is that so terrible? Well, for one thing, even mild dehydration can slow our metabolism down by as much as 3%.  For someone who is on a mission to lose as much weight as possible, 3% is significant. 

It seems that nearly everyone knows that we should drink 64 ounces of water per day, yet the average Americans drinks only about 36 ounces per day.  Where do you stand in your water consumption? If you are newly post op then realistically, you will not be able to consume 64 ounces.  Your pouch is swollen and does not have the capacity to hold enough at one time so that you can consume 64 ounces in a day.  But 64 ounces per day is what you should strive for by constantly sipping throughout the day.

But let’s admit it; most of also have a negative view of water.  Water is what makes us feel bloated every month and when we add a few pounds, we associate it with water “weight.” Any association with increased weight is enough to send us screaming and running, waving our hands above our heads.  Well almost!

Yet water has so many benefits.

Are you tired during the day?  Drink some water.  Dehydration is the #1 trigger of fatigue. 

Does your skin feel itchy? Drink some water. Itchy skin is a symptom of dehydration.

If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.  Thirst lags far behind the body’s need for water.

Feeling hungry?  Drink some water. Almost 40% of us can’t tell the difference between thirst and hunger because our thirst mechanism is so weak.

Do you have joint pain? Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water could significantly ease back and joint pain in 80% of sufferers.

Concerned about cancer?  Drinking 5 glasses of water every day decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, decreases the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and reduces the risk of breast cancer by 79%.  That’s impressive!

Most important of all, at least for us, is the fact that our internal organs function at their peak when they are hydrated.  One of their functions is to burn fat.  Lacking proper water, you won’t burn as much stored fat as you do when dehydrated.  So if you want to become a “fat burning machine,” drink water!

And remember; don’t count beverages with alcohol or with caffeine such as coffee, tea and soda toward your water consumption. The caffeine and alcohol will actually deplete your body of fluid. They act as a diuretic. You need to make up for this consumption by drinking a glass of water for each glass of caffeine or alcohol that you consume. At that rate, you won’t have time to eat.  Maybe that’s the whole point!

In the next issue I will cover types of bottled water and if we are getting scammed.  I will also have a fun exercise that your support group can try. 

A Call for Hospital Horror Stories

Many of us have experienced horrible treatment because of our weight, but I think that none is as offensive as experiencing that treatment when we are hospitalized and are the most vulnerable. I will soon be starting to speak to hospital personnel about obesity sensitivity and what many of us have experienced.  If you have a story of  poor treatment in a hospital that you would like to share either because of how someone treated you or because of beds or equipment that were too small, please send it to me.  If you have before and after pictures that would be great.  I am very excited about the opportunity to do this.   I am hoping that it will start to change some attitudes and improve treatment and equipment. The stories can be any time you were hospitalized, not just for weight loss surgery.  

I know that many of us have had very good and compassionate care by wonderful hospital personnel, so if someone has treated you especially well or if you have especially appreciated hospital equipment that was size appropriate, please share with me specifically what about the treatment or equipment made it so special.

Please send your stories to me at Barbara@wlscenter.com

  My Window Closed; Now What?

Barbara -
I am now 3 years post-op.  My pre-surgery weight was 327 pounds and my lowest weight after surgery was 249 pounds. I had surgery in March of 2001 and that summer we did about 5 weeks of traveling.  Even though I did a lot of walking and my weight loss continued, I ate a lot of JUNK food and ate what I could eat when we went out to eat.

Since I hadn't unlearned the bad habits I still have them.  I have now gained 20 pounds and am miserable.  I am scared that my stomach has really stretched out.  Three years out should I be able to eat like a normal person? 

I could really use some advice.  Right now I have been on Atkins for 2 weeks and lost 10 pounds. I'm now at 263.5 pounds.  I REALLY want to see 199 pounds but my first goal is to see 249 pounds again.
Allison Miles

Dear Allison,
I have to applaud your honesty.  I suspect that some people who have been disappointed with their weight loss have blamed the surgery.  I think it is great that you are admitting that you did not make the best use of your Window of Opportunity, and it is even better that you are determined to do something about it.

The question, “should you be able to eat like a normal person,” is a tough one because I am not sure what you consider a “normal” person. You can eat like a “normal weighted” person.  If you are regaining weight, you are obviously eating more than a “normal weighted person.” But I don’t know if your problem is that you are eating a large quantity of food or if you are eating high calorie foods.  Remember we are still the product of calories in versus calories used.

You mentioned that you are on Atkins.  That is also terrific because it is following 1 of my 4 Rules of Success which is to eat your protein first at any meal.  But remember it is the 4 Rules of Success and not the 2 Rules or the 3 Rules.  If you are not doing all 4 you will not be successful. 

Briefly the 4 Rules are:
1) Eat protein first at any meal;
2) Drink 64 ounces of water per day;
3) No grazing; and
4) Exercise

Of the 4 Rules guess which one is the most important?  Exercise!! Concentrate on a good aerobic workout at least 4 to 5 times per week. Exercise needs to be an integral part of your lifestyle.

I discuss the 4 Rules of Success in depth in my book, “Weight Loss Surgery; Finding the Thin Person Hiding inside You which is available on my website http://www.wlscenter.com/Announce_Book.htm#book.  My book has been called the “bible of bypass patients” by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

If you would like to offer Allison some words of advice or encouragement, email her at Allie205@aol.com. She would like to hear from anyone else that has a similar problem. 

If you would like to ask me a question and agree to my sharing it in a future e-newsletter, send it to me at Barbara@wlscenter.com and indicate “E-newsletter Advice” in the subject line and mention that I can use the question in the e-newsletter somewhere in the email.


      Creamy Layered Squares

This is a recipe from Kraft foods that is terrific for those who are recently post-op and is very low in calories and carbs for those who are further along who are looking to lose weight yet want a light dessert.

Creamy Layered Squares

1 ½ cup boiling water
1 large or 2 small sugar free strawberry flavored Jello
ice cubes
1 cup cold water
1 ½ cups Cool Whip Lite

Stir the boiling water into the Jello powder until it is dissolved.  Add enough ice cubes to the 1 cup of cold water so that the mixture measures 1 ½ cups. Stir this into the Jello mixture until the cubes melt. Refrigerate 45 minutes or until the mixture is slightly thickened.

Remove 1 ½ cups of the Jello mixture and set aside.  Add ¾ cups of the Cool Whip to the remaining Jello mixture and blend with a wire wisk. Pour into an 8 inch square dish and refrigerate for 15 minutes until the mixture is set but not firm. Carefully spoon the Jello that you had set aside over the creamy layer in the dish.

Refrigerate 3 hours. Cut into 9 squares and top each with a dollop of the remaining Cool Whip Lite.

Each square has only 35 calories, 4 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of sugar

If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future issues of this newsletter, please send it to
me at Barbara@wlscenter.com

Success Story:  
  Mike Reed

I want to offer a special thanks to Mike Reed.  This is the first success story written by someone who has had the lap band.   Here is Mike’s story:

I'm polarbear Mike. I have been banded since May 8, 2003, by the fabulous Dr Kuri of Tijuana, BC, Mexico. I was 427 pounds when I started researching weight loss surgery and had gone for a consult with Dr Scott Cunneen at Cedars-Sinai in LA, who told me "I don't think the RNY is the right surgery for you; have you thought about the lap band?"

I hadn't even heard about it, much less thought about it, so he spent an hour and a half with me explaining the differences and why he thought it was better for me. Dr Cuneen's reasons for his preference of the lap band in my case were pretty direct.  I was a super-obese male. My BMI was 53 and I was 53 years old in a physically demanding, very active job. I was quite close to having a heart attack.  I think the fact that I am a sole provider of income for my family and the ease of recovery from the surgery may have had something to do with it. I was only out of work for 3 days, then on light duty for 2 weeks. He emphasized the slower weight loss which for me was a better option because it would be less stressful to my body, my health, and especially my heart.

I then spent a fruitless year fighting my insurance company.  I utilized the services of Walter Lindstrom, the weight loss surgery advocate and attorney.  My insurance company denied my original pre op certification, and denied 4 subsequent appeals. The denials were based on the fact that at that time the band was relatively new in this country, having only been approved by the FDA on June 5, 2001, and the specific denial was: "Experimental in nature, the efficacy and efficiency of which has not been determined."

For the rest of Mike's story with photos, Click Here

I’m getting low on success stories, so if you are 1 year or more post op and have a story to share and hopefully before and after pictures, please send your story and pictures to me at Barbara@wlscenter.com so that I can include them in future issues.

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Reprinted from Barbara Thompson’s free e-newsletter featuring helpful information and research material to help patients succeed following weight loss surgery.
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