WLS Center E-Newsletter

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

Issue #74

August 1, 2005

Hello everyone,
I hope you are enjoying your summer and are taking some time for yourself. Summer is a wonderful time of the year. It is a time to have fun and relax. If you had surgery, then it is a time to do all of those things that you either haven’t been able to do for a long time or perhaps have never been able to do.  Let this be the time to try a new activity. Add something special to your life. You will find your life enriched and that’s definitely a good thing!

In This Issue


* Osteoporosis: Don’t Gamble with Your Bones
* Summertime When the Livin’ Is Easy
* Research Article: Cut to Fit
* See You in Cincinnati
* Wanted: Hospital Stories
* Recipe: Salsa Soup
* Success Story: Hazel Shadduck

  Don’t Gamble with Your Bones!

I want to thank Edie Payleitner for allowing me to answer her email in this newsletter.  This is a very important matter that we all can benefit from.

Hi Barbara,
In 1998 I weighed 245 pounds and had my first bone density test which was normal. This week I went in and had another one done. My gastric bypass surgery was in May of 2002 and I've lost over 100 pounds. My test showed that I had definite bone loss, not osteoporosis but osteopenia. I'm 53 years old and osteoporosis does not run in my family. Do you think this is related to the drastic weight loss and bypass surgery?  I take 3 Viactiv for my calcium and multi-vitamins daily and am moderately physically active. I also drink 1 cup of milk per day.

Hi Edie,

Bone loss should be of great concern to any of us who have had gastric bypass surgery, so it is good that you are asking. You need to be ensuring that you are getting in between 1200 and 1500 mg of calcium daily to avoid bone loss.  

Food is one source of calcium.  Milk will provide you with about 285 mg of calcium, which is about 1/7th of the calcium you need.  A better source is yogurt.  It gives you 450 mg in a cup.  But it is difficult to consume enough calcium through food considering that we cannot eat huge amounts and we do not want to gain weight.  The best bet is to take a calcium supplement.

It is excellent that you had a bone scan.  That is the only measure of how healthy your bones are.  I have had people comment to me that they know they are getting enough calcium because they have had their blood checked.  That test only tells you how much calcium you are leaching from your bones, not the thickness or health of your bones.

Your last bone density was when you were 100 pounds heavier.  Nature is a wonderful provider.  It provides us with denser bones so that when we are morbidly obese, our bones are able to hold our weight; therefore we tend to have thicker bones.  As we lose weight, our bones naturally become thinner and osteoporosis becomes more of a concern and we need to work at keeping our bone density. One of the best ways to help preserve bone density is to take a calcium supplement, but all calcium supplements are not created equal.

You have been taking a calcium carbonate supplement which requires acid in order to be absorbed.  Since we have such a small pouch with very little gastric acid, the calcium carbonate which you have been taking in all likelihood has not been getting absorbed like it should.

The best forms of calcium to take are calcium citrate and calcium microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate (MCHC).  These forms are optimally absorbed on an empty stomach and do not require gastric acid.  You also need calcium that will be absorbed easily.  A big hard pill, even if it is the right kind of calcium may pass into your large intestines without your getting any calcium at all. 

The Calcium that I market is perfect for anyone, but especially good for those of us who have had gastric bypass surgery. It is powdered and you mix it with water and drink it. It is in a citrus base so it is ready to be absorbed before you even drink it. Because it’s powdered, there is no hard pill to break down. 

We tend to think that our bones are inert or dead material, but they are not.  Bone tissue is living and growing material that reacts to what we eat and how well we absorb what we eat. It is wonderful that you are concerned about the health of your bones.  You do not want to end up later in life thin, but with very brittle bones.

As a special through Aug. 14th, SHIPPING on all of our popular powdered vitamins, including our calcium, will be FREE.

Please click the banner below for more information and to order.

Summertime When the Livin’ Is Easy

With the weather so nice, take advantage of getting outdoors and doing some activity that you aren’t able to do once it turns cold. Be creative. Try a brisk walk, or bicycling. How about renting a canoe?  Go to a local nature center and take a hike. Doesn’t that sound great? Did you play badminton when you were young?  How about trying it again?  Try fishing or get down in the dirt and try gardening. 

Challenge yourself to try one new activity this month and let me know about it. Email me and share it so I can include it in the newsletter.  It might inspire others to do something they never thought of!

Reach me at Barbara@WLScenter.com.

Research Article:  Cut to Fit

Cook, Glenn. “Cut to Fit,” American School Board Journal, Aug. 2005, Vol 192, Issue 8, p. 16.

We realize that obesity is genetic.  Just take a look around at the family reunion picnic you’re attending this summer.  No doubt you can point to your Mother, Father, Aunt, or Grandparent to see where your obesity challenges come from.  But the gene line doesn’t stop with us.  We can pass the obesity gene onto our children as well. And many of us have concerns that our children are going down the same path that we are.

For those of us who have had surgery, we understand the value of exercise. Yet with the start of the school year approaching, how much exercise will your child be getting in school?  This article examines the hours of physical education our children are getting.  The National Association for Sports and Physical Education recommends that elementary schools offer 150 minutes per week and that secondary schools provide 220 minutes of weekly instruction, but only 7 to 8% of schools meet those standards.

It would seem that physical education programs would be expanding faster than students’ waistlines, but the opposite is true. Instead of seeing physical education as a starting point for lifelong wellness, some are questioning its value.

Those schools that are progressive are emphasizing individual wellness activities rather than competitive team sports.  How does your school measure up?

Wanted: Hospital Stories

Would you be willing to share an example of wonderful and compassionate care that you received from a nurse while you were a patient in the hospital? This does not have to be a hospital stay when you had gastric bypass surgery.  It can be any hospital stay, as long as you were morbidly obese at the time. It needs to be a specific story and not just that you received great care.  What did someone do that made the care memorable to you?

I will be speaking to State Nurses Associations about the care of morbidly obese patients and I have some stories of bad nursing.  But I would love to say to them, “Here are some stories of wonderful care.” A story about a nurse who sat with you and held your hand, or the importance of being touched and how someone did that, or that someone walked with you or encouraged you, or looked you in the eye like a real person and explained things to you would be great. Please include your phone number so I can call and talk to you if I need more information. And if you have before and after pictures, that would be even better!

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

  Salsa Soup
This is a great recipe for those first days when you are on pureed food. After my surgery, I developed such a taste for spicy food. Be sure to use mild salsa when you are newly post-op. Try this carefully to be sure that you can tolerate the acidity. Later in your journey, enjoy this as a low fat snack garnished with chopped cucumber. This is a great summer soup.

Salsa Soup

1 1/3 cup broth
2/3 cup salsa
2/3 cup plain yogurt

Blend in a blender. Serve cold. 
Makes 2 servings.  Each serving:
95 calories
10 carbohydrates
5 protein

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:
  Hazel Shadduck

I want to offer a special thanks to Hazel Shadduck of Elmira, NY. Here is her story:

Hi Barbara,
I first wrote you in October 2003,  which would have been some 3 months post-op,  with complaints that my “get up and go had got up and left” and you so wisely counseled that there might be several reasons for this - one being age (50 then) and you encouraged me with  “this too shall pass”……  and it certainly did.  

I just completed my first 15 K (9.3 miles) race – the Utica Boilermaker – in one hour, forty minutes!! Two years and 110 pounds ago, I never would have imagined this possible. After all, my knees ached, I was out of breath climbing a set of stairs and suffered with a myriad of other physical complaints. I started running one year ago and ran my first 5 K in Atlanta, GA in May, the Race for the Cure. My second and third 5 K races in my hometown of Elmira, NY, I placed 1st in my age group. One of the races was a very special race in memory of a dear friend and colleague. In another local 5 K I placed 2nd in my age group. I want to shout my story from the roof tops or at least wear it on my running shirt!  I just registered for the Disney Half-Marathon in January – WOW!!!!!!

I have been so blessed!  First and foremost I thank God for His blessings. I thank my precious husband of 34 years for his loving support; my dear, sweet Dr. Douglas McKane for giving me my life back;  and you, Barbara,  for your many, many words of wisdom, for sharing your journey, for your newsletter and for my other bible, your book Weight Loss Surgery; Finding the Thin Person Hiding inside You.

Barbara, when I’m asked to be a support person for someone contemplating this surgery, I offer the following advice: 

  • Follow your physician’s orders to the letter
  • Read your book as a guide
  • I strongly remind the person that this surgery is merely a tool in a very long journey

As for my food journey, for the first time in my life I feel I’m in complete control. I still eat protein first, vegetables next, and then fruit.  l choose not to eat refined sugars. I have not done so since surgery and have never dumped. I choose not to eat pasta and most white flour products and still choose not to drink caffeinated or carbonated beverages. 

When speaking in local support groups I always end with my personal mission statement, “There is nothing, nothing that tastes as good as thin feels.”  

Have a great day!

Hazel C. Shadduck
Elmira, NY

Before After

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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