WLS Center E-Newsletter
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Weight Loss Surgery:
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.
The Voice of Obesity
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
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.
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
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?
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
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
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
I want to offer a special thanks to Gail
Winship. Here is her story:
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.
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
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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from Barbara Thompsonís free e-newsletter featuring helpful
information and research material to help patients succeed following
weight loss surgery.
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