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 #107

December 15, 2006

Barbara Thompson
The Voice of Obesity

Hello Everyone,
This evening at sundown Hanukah begins. This is followed in ten days by Christmas which is followed by Kwanzaa, and New Years with many opportunities for get-togethers, parties and festivities in between. Each of us, regardless of where we are in our weight loss journey struggles with food issues at this time of the year. I have some challenges to talk about in an article below. But in the spirit of the true meaning of what this holiday season is all about, I want to wish each of you a peaceful and blessed holiday season.  

In This Issue


* Lap vs. RNY
* Holiday Courage
* Recipe: 7 Layer Dip
* Success Story: Gail Winship

Lap vs. RNY

In the last issue of the newsletter I printed an email that I had received from a Lap Band patient who was unhappy with the condescending attitude that she perceived on the part of many bypass patients. I asked Lap Band patients to respond, if they agreed or not. I received many thoughtful responses which I am including below and in a linked page.  I hope each of you will read these so they may bring you a better understanding of the issues.

I want to start with the email that I received from my friend, Walter Lindstrom. Walter is an attorney who is a pioneer in representing patientsí rights for insurance coverage of weight loss surgery. Walter has a unique perspective which he shares.

Dear Barbara:
I suspect I'll be one of only a mere handful of respondents (if any) who actually have had both the gastric bypass (1994) and LAP-BAND (2003) surgeries.  Acceptance of the LAP-BAND by payers, practices and other patients seem to be improving over the years, but there seems to be a natural human tendency to favor "what you know" and reject that which is less familiar.  Duodenal switch patients think they have the best procedure; Mini-gastric bypass patients will argue for theirs; bands, bypasses and now you're starting to see sleeve gastrectomies as well.  Everyone wants to validate their own choice - it's just natural.

Surgeons will tell you, if they are being honest with patients, that there is no "one size fits all" procedure.  I've attended many a professional meeting where a main topic of discussion is trying to "match up" the best procedure for a patient, and there is no magic formula, at least not yet.  It is up to the patient to make a choice, in conjunction with his/her doctor (who is obligated to fairly present ALL the options and find another doctor if they don't make a fair presentation!), for that procedure which is best FOR THEM!  If Sue thinks a LAP-BAND is right for her and her doctor agrees, I can tell her from personal experience of BOTH that she is making a great decision FOR HER.  That's all we as patients can do - - make the best decision for ourselves regardless of what that "best decision" was for someone else.

I hope that helps Sue and others out there like her.  It is high time we stop fighting amongst ourselves as patients about "mine is better than yours" when our goals for better health are what really matters, right?

Walter Lindstrom
Obesity Law and Advocacy Center

For more responses on this topic, click here

The Holiday Struggle

Itís here, my favorite time of the year. Itís the Christmas season.  I love the decorations, I love buying presents, I love the religious significance and I love times to celebrate with friends and family.  I used to love the food. Oh how I loved the food. But now it is different.  Now I understand how all of the feasting that I did over the holidays was part of a pattern of destruction. It has been almost 7 years since my surgery, and I feel like I am just now really starting to get a handle on holiday food.

Just after surgery it was much easier. But with time, the temptations have re-emerged and it is more of a struggle. This year I am looking for courage.  I am seeking courage to get rid of food immediately after the holidays. And I am wrestling with that.

Last night we had our Back on Track telephone seminar and our topic of discussion was how we are surviving the holidays, and what we are doing when faced with all of the holiday food.

Here are some things that we came up with:

  • We are pledging to limit the holiday food to manageable amounts. I have never been a baker.  I cook but I donít bake.  So any goodies in my home come from the bakery. I purchased some, but not in excess. For those of you who bake, re-examine if you are using the neighborhood or colleagues or someone else as an excuse to bake or by food in excess. The holidays donít have to be about excess. 
  • What I brought into the house immediately went into my freezer.  I recognized that in past years, as soon as I had goodies in the house, I started eating them.  I had my pre-holiday feasts Ė sometimes alone! So I am taking out of the freezer only what I feel is reasonable for that meal, visit or party. 
  • On January 1st, anything that is left over is leaving my house. This is the hardest part for me. I come from a background that teaches it is a sin to waste food.  I am hesitant to pitch food, because it is such a waste. I am equally hesitant to give it away. We are not doing anyone a favor by giving them cookies and cakes or any other unhealthy food. I donít like being a food pusher and making my problems someone elseís. So perhaps by pitching food which is painful for me, I will learn from this lesson to not over buy or over prepare.

Redefining our relationship with food is a process. It has taken me years. But by working at it, it does get better. The process may be painful at times, but it is more painful to face the prospect of going back to what we were before. Given the choice, I know we would all choose health.  We have already made that choice by deciding to have weight loss surgery. Now we have to live with the everyday decisions that support that choice.

Have a wonderful holiday!

In the Back on Track with Barbara Program, we deal with eating issues throughout the year in an atmosphere of acceptance, support and camaraderie. For more information or to join the Back on Track with Barbara Program go to:


7 Layer Dip

2 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cups low fat shredded Cheddar cheese
2 ripe avocados, peeled & seeds removed
1 jalapeno, stemmed, finely chopped (leave the seeds in for more heat)
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 Ĺ cups nonfat plain yogurt
Ĺ cup fresh cilantro (optional)
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
5 scallions, white and green, thinly sliced

Smash the garlic cloves and mix with 1 teaspoon salt.  Combine this paste in a food processor with the beans, chili powder, water and olive oil. Blend until smooth and spread this mixture in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheese over this mixture. Mash the avocados and combine them with the jalapeno pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Spread this over the cheese. Add a layer of the chopped lettuce. Combine the cilantro (if desired) with the yogurt and spread this over the lettuce layer. Add a layer of diced tomatoes and sprinkle the scallions on top.  Serve with baked tortilla chips.

Makes 10 servings
Nutritional Information per serving (without the tortilla chips)
237 calories; 15 grams of protein, 26 grams of carbohydrates

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:
  Gail Winship

I want to offer a special thanks to Gail Winship. Here is her story:

Dear Barbara,
My life has been an up hill and down hill battle with my weight.  I began to put on weight when I was about 11 years old. In high school, I gained even more weight. When I went to work at the age of 16, I hoped the work would bring my weight down. Sadly, it didnít.

I then got married. I had our son in 1984 and from the pregnancy put on even more weight. Now I had even more weight that I was trying to lose.

After my son turned 21, I decided to do something about my weight. I went to my family doctor and asked about gastric bypass surgery. He gave me the name of a doctor that does that kind of surgery and I made an appointment.

At the time I weighed 324 pounds. I couldnít walk very far without having to stop and rest or sit down. I was also taking 18 different types of medications a day for my diabetes as well as other medical problems. All my life I have been called names and it hurt. I wasnít happy with my self and suffered severe depression. I had no self esteem at all.

I made an appointment with the surgeon from Willliamsville that had been recommended by my family doctor. He said I was a good candidate for the surgery. Prior to my surgery, I was able to lose some weight and my pre-op weight just before my surgery was 318 pounds.

I had the surgery on May 19, 2004, and it has changed my life for the better. I am able to do things I was never able to do. I can walk better and can get on the floor and play with my grand kids now. I am down to 5 medications a day and five units of insulin. Prior to surgery, I was taking 10 units.

I am happy and getting compliments from people and even volunteering my time making baby blankets and lap blankets for the elderly. There are people I have known for years that donít recognize me. I now weigh 184 pounds and am so happy.

Gail Winship

Congratulations Gail
  I Love Good News
If you have a success story to share along with before and after pictures, please send it to me at Barbara@WLScenter.com so that I can include it in future issues.

Attention Nurses

If you are a nurse and would like for me to speak on positive patient outcomes, patient satisfaction, or obesity sensitivity for your State Nurses Association, please have the conference planner for your State Association contact me. I have a corporate sponsor who will pay my fee and expenses so it is free for your Association. I also speak for many hospitals on the same topics. 

Contact me at Barbara@WLScenter.com or 412-851-4195.

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Reprinted from Barbara Thompsonís free e-newsletter featuring helpful information and research material to help patients succeed following weight loss surgery.
Subscribe at http://www.barbarathompsonnewsletter.com/

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