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 #68

April 15, 2005

Hi everyone,
This is by far my favorite time of the year - Spring! Living in the Northeast, I get to see winter melt away, trees and flowers bud and the grass starts to turn green again. It is a time of renewal. It is a time to start over.

Perhaps I love Spring so much also because there is such an obvious parallel to our lives after surgery. We have renewed ourselves and have been given the chance to start over.  So many things are fresh and new to us. We find that we can do things that we haven’t been able to do for a long time; or maybe have never been able to do. This is a time to smile, to give thanks, and to appreciate and hold dear the direction that our lives have taken.

In This Issue


* Fat Actress - The Verdict Is In
* Research Article: Insurers and Agencies Weigh Whether to Pay
* Mother’s Day Special
* Too Much Exercise?
* Protein Shaker Cups
* Recipe: Spiced Grape and Yogurt Salad
* Success Story: Donna Rubin

Fat Actress - The Verdict Is In

I mentioned the Kirstie Allie program Fat Actress in the last e-newsletter and how I found a lot of truth in the series. I asked for opinions from all of you who might have seen it. Well I was definitely outnumbered!  You voted thumbs down on the series.  I am certainly in the minority when it comes to an appreciation of the hard truths that I saw.

Thanks so much to all who responded!

Research Article:  
  Insurers and Agencies
  Weigh Whether to Pay

One more study confirms what we already know.  If you are morbidly obese, the most effective option to lose a lot of weight is to have weight loss surgery.  This study appeared in the April 5th issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

USA Today reported that while the study itself is not surprising, what is surprising is that the study was financed by the government, the US Agency for Healthcare and Quality.  This will be very important as insurance companies and the government decide whether to pay for weight loss surgery or not.

The study reviewed 225 studies on diet drugs and weight loss surgery and found the following:

  Post op patients keep off an average of 44 to 66 pounds for up to 10 years.
  The average cost for weight loss surgery is $26,000
  Weight loss surgery improves or eliminates diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and high cholesterol.
  The mortality rate is less than 1% and the rate of complications is about 20%. Death and complications are much higher for surgeons who have performed fewer than 50 surgeries.

While the weight loss of 44 to 66 pounds for up to 10 years may seem like a moderate or even disappointing weight loss, there are 2 points to consider. 

1. The study shows that weight loss through diet and exercise alone produces a 15 to 20% weight loss in the first year.  There were no long term studies to show the weight loss after 10 years.  But all of us know what happens with dieting.  We soon regain the weight.

2. The other point to consider is that the 44 to 66 pound loss is taking into consideration surgeries such as the vertical banded gastroplasty which was the predominate surgery ten years ago.  It has been discontinued by most practices because many patients regained their weight when the surgery failed. We have better surgeries now and more importantly, we have better follow up care.  Ten years ago, there weren’t even support groups, or bariatric specialists.  Most patients had weight loss surgery and were sent on their way to succeed or fail with little or no guidance. 

All of this is wonderful news.  I am hoping that these continuing studies will open weight loss surgery to the millions of people who need it and qualify for it not just the 5% who are able to proceed and have it. 

Mother’s Day Special

Mother’s Day is right around the corner.  Now is the time to ask for a gift of health for your special day. Forget the candy which you can’t eat anyway. And forget the flowers which last such a short period of time. Ask for something that will truly help you on your weight loss surgery journey. 

As my Mother’s Day gift to you, all of our special book/CD packages are on sale. Each of the packages already offers great savings.  But in addition, from now until Mother’s Day, each package will be an additional 10% off if you enter the code MOM on the shopping cart just as you check out, right above where you enter your credit card number. For instance, my book plus the accompanying “A Thinner Way of Life” CD if priced separately is $38.90.  Normally the package is $29.90.  With this sale, the package is $26.91.  So you are saving $13.99! Now that’s a bargain. 

To see all of the other packages, Click Here  and click the bar that says, "Money Saving Package Deals."

I hope you enjoy your very special day!!

Too Much Exercise?

Hi Barbara,
I enjoy your newsletter, bought your book a couple of years ago and had you autograph it when I saw you speak last year. I had my surgery on Dec. 7th at Magee Women's Hospital and I'm doing amazingly well. I've lost 91 pounds so far. I'm doing Leslie Sansone's walking tapes.

My question is this, is it OK to exercise 7 days a week or should we only be doing 5? I thought I read somewhere that you should only do 5 days a week as your body needs the other two to rest, but wasn't sure about that. I would appreciate any help you could give me on this and if you want to print this for others I'm ok with that. We need all the help we can get. Thanks for the encouragement you give all of us gastric bypass patients.

Carol McKenzie

Hi Carol,
It is fine to exercise 7 days a week; in fact the more days, the better.  The only time that your muscles need a rest is when you are doing strength training, such as weight lifting.  With weight lifting, you should exercise your upper body one day and exercise your lower body the nest day.  By alternating, you are giving your muscles a rest.  But with cardio exercises and exercising such as walking, 7 days a week is fine. 

And no wonder that you are doing so well.  Exercising really pays off!! Good for you!


  Spiced Grape and Yogurt Salad

This is a very simple recipe that tastes just great.   

Spiced Grape and Yogurt Salad

1/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup red seedless grapes
1 cup green seedless grapes

Combine the first 3 ingredients.  Fold in the grapes and chill.  Makes 4 servings.

Per serving:
Calories 70
Carbohydrates 16.5 grams
Protein 1.4 grams
Fiber .9 grams

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:
  Donna Rubin
I want to offer a special thanks to Donna Rubin for sharing her story with us. Here is her story:

Hi, my name is Donna Rubin.  I am 40 years old; I have been married for 20 years and have four children ranging from ages 5 to 15. 

Until recently, I have always battled my weight. I was a “not so heavy” child who became a heavy teenager.  Although my father was heavy, my family always had a prejudice against fat women.  As the only heavy one, they never let me forget it.  I hated family get-together’s because my weight would be a topic.  “Can’t she just put down the fork?” or “Such a pretty face!” were the nice comments.  I was called lots of names by my family, friends and strangers.  That always hurt.

When I was in my twenties, I starved myself to a size 10.  During this time, I met and married my husband.  My husband wanted me to lose more weight and become model thin.  He didn’t understand how hard it was for me to maintain that size 10.  I finally gave up, stopped starving myself and started gaining weight.  In one year, I gained nearly one hundred pounds.  I gained more weight with the birth of each of my four children. My husband never said anything negative and he tried to empathize with me.  He always told me I looked great, but he knew I was miserable.

I tried lots of diets, but I always felt deprived on a diet.  I do not stick to them very long.  I finally reached 288 pounds on a 5’3” frame.  My BMI was 50.  Everything hurt and of course nothing looks good in a size 28.  I never considered weight loss surgery.  That was for people who were “really” fat and who had no “control.”  My attitude changed when a friend of mine had gastric bypass surgery.  I saw the changes in her right away.  Her surgery was also covered by insurance.  I began researching surgery too.

I did most of my research from my computer.  I joined different groups consisting of individuals who had Roux en Y gastric bypass, BPD-DS and Adjustable Gastric Band. It happened that an excellent surgeon, experienced in all of these procedures was on our health insurance. 

From my research, I decided that I was a good candidate for the Lap Band and made an appointment with Dr. Christine Ren in New York City.  We discussed the surgery, she informed me of all of the possible problems, let me ask all my questions, and I decided upon the surgery.  I liked Dr. Ren and her staff.  I met with a nutritionist and psychologist, took all my pre-op tests, and had my surgery at New York University Hospital on November 25, 2002. 

My surgery took about 45 minutes.  I was up and walking a few hours later.  I experienced no pain.  I followed the prescribed post-op protocol and watched myself change. 

As an Orthodox Jewish woman, the Lap Band fit my lifestyle.  No food was off limits, I just started to eat like a thin person.  My weight came off steadily and I incorporated exercise and a gym to help.  I have had 5 saline “fills” to adjust the restriction of my band.  A year and a half later, I have lost 106 pounds.  I am 40 pounds from my goal weight.

Words cannot describe my new life.  I now wear a size 12-14 and have to remind myself I no longer have to shop in the plus sized department. Everyone fusses over me and the compliments buoy my self confidence.  I dance at weddings and I smile and talk to people.  I participate in life instead of living it from the sidelines.  People who have not seen me in a couple of years do not recognize me.  I get satisfaction from watching jaws drop!  I look like a normal sized woman.  “Blessed” is a word that describes my life now.

I have learned that the Lap Band is a tool.  It has helped me make changes in my eating habits.  I never thought I could be satisfied with the portions I eat now, but I am.  Sometimes, I still feel like a morbidly obese woman in a size 14 body.  My mind has been slow to accept the changes.  I see a psychologist who deals with bariatric patients, and he has been a great help.

My husband tells me I am beautiful.  He has always told me I am beautiful, but now I can believe it.  My children have told me they are no longer embarrassed by me and they like going places with me.  Children tell it like it is. 

I am so thankful for my surgery.   A few months ago I had vision correction surgery, so now I can see the changes in me without glasses.  I like what I see!

Donna Rubin

Before After


 I Need your Input....

I am running short on success stories! Please consider sharing your success story with the rest of us.  Write your story like Donna did above and include your before and after pictures.  I will be happy to include it in a future issue of this e-newsletter and you will be inspiring many others.

Thanks for your help,



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.  

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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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