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 #111

February 15, 2007

Barbara Thompson
The Voice of Obesity

Hello Everyone,
I just returned from a speaking trip to Allentown, PA. I arrived a day early because snow was expected and I didnít want to get caught enroute and not be able to make it. Well, the weather didnít disappoint.  We got snow followed by sleet followed by more snow. That kind of weather makes me want to just crawl into bed and stay there. 

Winter just cries out for hibernation. But remember that hibernation means that with inactivity you burn far fewer calories. And inactivity combined with fewer hours of sunlight can lead to depression.  Fight off the temptation to pull the covers over your head and stay there. Get some sunlight or buy a Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) light, move around and get your endorphins flowing.  Spring will be here soon. Remember that Punxsutawney Phil says there are only 2 more weeks of winter!

In This Issue


* Baby Steps to Success
* The Human Condition: Wishing Your Life Away
* Recipe: Beef Brisket with Apricots
* Success Story: Christine DeSantis
* Spreading the Word in New York; Park Rapids, MN; Milwaukee; Greenville, PA; and the Western Caribbean

Baby Steps to Success

Folks who join my Back on Track Internet Mentoring Program often say to me that they are feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated and just donít know where to start. They just canít seem to get going. Whenever I hear that, my first response is to recommend Baby Steps.

To be really successful, you should exercise daily, eat very healthy, drink plenty of water, journal, and the list just keeps growing! There is so much to do that it is easy to become overwhelmed.

The solution Ė step back and decide which area you want to tackle first and then take it one baby step at a time. For example, if you want to start to exercise, donít start with the idea that you will exercise every day for an hour.  You may do that one day and then thatís it.  That may be a goal to work toward, but donít expect to start there.  Here are some tips for exercising using baby steps:

  • Pick an exercise that you enjoy.  Donít pick what you feel you should do, make it something that you will actually do.  I recommend that to build a habit, it should be one single activity at first. Put some thought into this and ask yourself if the activity is something that you would realistically do day after day.
  • Decide how much time you can realistically exercise every single day to start. It may be 5 or 10 minutes, but it has to be every single day so that it becomes a part of your life.  It may be as little as the length of a single TV commercial. Whatever the length of time, it must be everyday.
  • Schedule the exercise into your daily activity and consider it a priority.  Often we think that we will exercise after we finish something.  We keep putting it off until it is so late and we are so tired that we no longer feel like exercising. Schedule it and stick to your schedule.
  • Once you are on a routine of exercising your very short amount of time, try to increase the length of time in very small increments.  As you increase the time, establish a minimum that you will exercise daily.  For instance, if you have worked up to exercising 30 minutes per day, and one day you are tired or just donít feel like it, then do your very easy minimum which may be as little as 5 minutes.  Often once we start to exercise, we find we have more energy than we thought.

Baby steps can be used for anything in your life.  It is a formula for success rather than setting yourself up for failure.  Give it a try and let me know how you are doing!

If you would like to receive 6 months worth of tips like this, weekly lessons, telephone seminars and a community of people that you can turn to daily, join my Back on Track Internet Mentoring Program.

Click here for more information.

Research Article
The Human Condition:  
  Wishing Your Life Away

The following is reprinted with permission from Balancing Actģ by Alan Weiss, a newsletter that I subscribe to. Alan touches upon a point that is important for each of us to hear

The Human Condition: Wishing Your Life Away

I think a great many people are wishing their lives away. "I wish I were ten pounds lighter," "I wish she'd stop tagging along," "I wish he'd stop picking on me."

You get the picture.

We tend to "wish" instead of taking action, as though we're powerless to master our own fate. Well, I have news for you: "Somewhere over the rainbow"Ö.there's a huge pile of bluebird guano.

The opposite of "wishing" is "make it so," the wonderful command that Starship Enterprise Captain Picard used to give, usually to his Russian navigator, to implement an action. "Our shields are failing, the Klingons are demanding surrender, and our only chance is to divert all power from the holographic recreation system to our last photon torpedo!!!" someone would shout in panic.

"Make it so," said Picard, totally unruffled. (He never said, "Oh, I wish I had three more starships, then I'd show those aliens something!")

Most wishes are fatuous, perhaps the most famous of those being, "Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wienerÖ." (At least they got the subjunctive tense correct.) So why do people wish so much?

Beef Brisket with Apricots

This is a great winter recipe from Web MD. I hope you enjoy it!

Brisket with Wine-Soaked Apricots

The preferred way to prepare brisket is with long, slow cooking. Brisket is a pretty high-fat meat, but you can make it leaner by trimming off all the visible fat before cooking. This recipe can be made in the oven or on the stovetop.


  • 3-4 pound beef brisket
  • 1 pound dried apricot halves
  • Wine to soak apricots
  • 2 mild or sweet onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • A couple of pinches ground black pepper
  • A couple of pinches of salt (optional)
  • 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted (toast in a nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat)

1. If youíre cooking the brisket in the oven, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Trim all the visible fat off your brisket.
2. Wash the apricots and put in a medium-sized bowl. Add enough wine to cover them and soak for one hour.
3. Add canola oil to large Dutch oven (or similar pot) and heat over medium-high heat on stove. Add the sliced onions and brisket. Brown meat and onions, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.
4. Add the spices and the dried fruit with wine to Dutch oven and stir. Cover pot and reduce heat to low (if youíre cooking on the stovetop) or move Dutch oven to preheated oven. Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until brisket is very tender.
5. Remove brisket from pan and place in center of serving platter. Let the meat rest 5-10 minutes before slicing. Surround the slices with the apricots, and drizzle 1/2 cup of the pan juices over the top. Sprinkle toasted almonds over the top of the beef and apricots.

8-10 servings

Nutritional Information:
Per serving (if 8 servings and using a 3-pound brisket): 335 calories, 35 g protein, 26 g carbohydrate, 10 g fat, 2.7 g saturated fat, 94 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 58 mg sodium.

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:
  Christina DeSantis

I want to offer a special thanks to Christina DeSantis. Here is her story:

Hi everyone! I'm Christina DeSantis. I am 30 years old and am from Indianapolis, Indiana. I have never been married and I have no children. I had a Lap RNY surgery October 25, 2005.  Here is my story as it occurredÖ Then and NOW!!!


Currently I am 323 pounds. I have been overweight since the 1st grade. I remember lying about my weight in 4th grade or so when we had to put it on an "all about me" sheet. I put down 71 pounds when really I was 93. Pretty sad that at that age I was already lying about my weight.

I started to become interested in bariatric surgery when I learned about Al Roker having weight loss surgery. At the time I was about 245 pounds and didn't have any major health concerns. Since gaining almost 80 additional pounds, I now have the following:

High blood pressure
High cholesterol
Sleep apnea (setting 10)
Plantar fasciitis
Back pain
Acid reflux
Heavy periods and cramps
Irritable bowel syndrome
Restless leg syndrome

Currently I take the following medications:
Hydrocortisone AC

Needless to say this is too much for a 29-year old to have wrong with her!

I finally decided in 2002 that I wanted the surgery. After applying for coverage, I was denied due to the insurance not covering the surgery for anyone even if it was "medically necessary."

In 2003 I tried again to get approved when I switched jobs and got new insurance. They were self-insured and turned it down as fast as it hit the finance director's desk.

Then I got angry. I took it to the HR department, who advised me to put together a report of why I felt I needed the surgery. They made me gather a collection of notes from all of my physicians explaining why they believed that I needed the surgery. Additionally, I had to show proof that I had tried a medically supervised program for 18 months. After all that when I turned it in, in 6 months I still hadn't heard anything. By this time it was late 2004. I kept after them to give me an answer every week. They would tell me that the medical board for work was going to meet and discuss me but as of May 2005 when I quit that job, believe it or not, I still had no answer from them.

My new hope began in May of 2005. I began working for Charter One Bank in their Business Banking division. Their insurance is with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island. I decided to wait until August to turn in my request for the surgery yet again because I wanted to get some time under my belt at the new job. I turned in my request for surgery on August 18th. Three days later I had in my hands an approval letter! I only have to pay my deductible which is $300.00 out of pocket and then they pay 100 percent!

My surgery is scheduled for October 25, 2005.

Best of luck to all of you reading this that haven't been approved yet. I'm proof that even after more than 3 years of denial, there is still a chance for approval and a chance to change your life.

I am looking forward to this journey, getting off my medications and living life again. Just in time too, because a few weeks ago work sent me to Pennsylvania for training and for the first time I had to ask for a seat belt extension. That was so humiliating and made me realize that I've defiantly made the right choice for me. I need this surgery to live a healthy life and to live longer. I want to be able to have children some day and I want to be able to do whatever I want to do and be healthy doing it.

My life has totally changed for the better since my surgery. I had a few minor complications along the way like strictures, dehydration and esophagus spasms but I can now say I've lost 151 pounds and I am only 9 pounds from my goal.  Even with my complications I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

I no longer have heavy periods and cramps. I don't have to use a C-PAP machine to sleep.  I donít have hemorrhoids anymore. My Irritable Bowel Syndrome is gone and my knees and back don't hurt anymore. Out of 9 medications, Iím only on 4 of them now which include my birth control pills, my 2 thyroid medications, and the Prevacid.

My blood pressure is under 120/80 and my heart beats are around 63 per minute which is excellent. I have more energy than ever. My self confidence is ďthrough the roof!Ē I have dates galore. I can run. I don't get out of breath when I climb the stairs. I can chase my dog around and not get tired. I actually have so much energy that I only need about 6 hours of sleep.

My clothes actually fit. I can buy a size 8. I haven't been this thin or healthy in my life. I've added about 10 years to my life. I will now be able to have children if I ever get married. Before surgery I would have been too heavy and unhealthy.

I can now ride in roller coasters, sit in movie theaters without feeling squished, buy clothing in regular clothing stores, and get in and out of my car with ease, Iím not out of breath when I talk anymore. There are so many reasons to have this surgery.

Best of luck to all of you who are having the surgery or are considering it.  You will add years to your life. You will feel much better, look much better and most importantly be healthy!!!

Christina DeSantis

Congratulations Christina

You achieved your goal, be proud and tell the world.

I am running low on success stories.  If you have a story to share, are at least 1 year post-op and have before and after  pictures, please send them to me at Barbara@wlscenter.com so that I can include them in a future issue.

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.


Permission to Reprint
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ďReprinted 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  Ē

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