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 #84

January 1, 2006

Hello Everyone:
Our lives are filled with opportunities for renewal. Today, as the first day of 2006, presents such an opportunity. We have the opportunity to make adjustments and set a better course for our lives. That better course may be to treat people more lovingly and kindly. It may be to finally shed our old shell and stretch to do some things that we have always wanted to do. Or it may be to lead a healthier life style.

Be sure to take advantage of this day to reflect carefully on your life and what may be in your power to make it better. But a resolve is no better than a wish unless you have a plan to achieve it. But whatever your resolve, I wish you the very best! 

Happy New Year everyone!

In This Issue

* Start the New Year Right, Get Back on Track
* Obesity Action Coalition
* Discovery Health
* Recipe: Leftover Prime Rib Hash  
* Success Story: Norma Smullen

Start the New Year Right!
  Get Back on Track!!

Did you do as well during the holidays as you would have liked?

Did you actually gain some weight?

Or has that plateau that you have been on turned into a permanent state
and you still aren’t at the weight you would like to be?

You may be thinking that you will take those few pounds off by yourself. You’ll just try a little harder. But a study, done in the year 2000 and reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the problem with gaining weight over the holidays is that people don’t lose it afterwards. And if you are overweight to begin with, you are more likely to gain even more weight that you won’t lose.

So why not start now to get rid of any holiday weight you may have gained and get back down to your lowest weight after surgery. Join the Back on Track with Barbara Internet Mentoring Program. This will give you a solid Program – not a diet, to get you where you want to be. Join the 125 people already enrolled.

Go to http://www.BackOnTrackWithBarbara.com and check out
the mentoring program that was designed just for you and your special needs.

Obesity Action Coalition
Are you a compassionate weight loss surgery patient? If so, try this compassion test:
  • Do you know anyone who has had problems getting their insurance approved for weight loss surgery? And do you feel for them?
  • Are you concerned about the prospect of obesity in your own children?
  • Do you see obese people on the street and your heart goes out to them? Would you love to run up to them and give them your surgeon’s card because weight loss surgery has made such a difference in your life?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have passed the compassion test. You are eligible for membership in the Obesity Action Coalition. This is a wonderful association committed to education, advocacy, and support on behalf of the obese.

I am very proud to announce that I have been
appointed to their Board of Directors.

I urge you to learn more about the Obesity Action Coalition and to join.  

Here is the link for more information http://www.obesityaction.org

Discovery Health CME:  Bariatric
  Surgery: Weighing the Options
Discovery Health TV Channel is running a Continuing Medical Education program on Bariatric Surgery at 9:00 AM Eastern time, Sunday Jan. 8th. Check the time in your area.

The program is designed to teach doctors about weight loss surgery and has been running since Dec. 18th. I found it fun to watch to compare what I knew about the surgery to what they are trying to teach doctors. 

Weight loss surgery patients are an incredibly educated group, so challenge yourself to watch it and see how much you really do know.

Physicians can register on the internet to take a test and receive Continuing Medical Education credits. To register, doctors should go to http://www.discoveryHealthCME.com


Leftover Prime Rib Hash

2 Tbl butter
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced (optional)
1 small tomato, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
4 flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups leftover prime roast beef, diced or shredded in a food processor
4 eggs, fried
2 cups beef gravy made from a package

Melt butter in a skillet and sauté the potatoes, onion, green pepper and garlic until the potatoes are golden brown and tender. Stir every 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Keep this mixture warm.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the gravy from a mix.

Lightly fry the tortillas. Lightly warm the beef in the microwave adding a little gravy to moisten. Keep everything warm.

Fry each egg.

On top of each tortilla, layer the prime rib, hash, fried egg and gravy.

Makes 4 servings

Each serving: 436 calories, 46 carbs and 19 protein.

Without the tortilla: 375 calories, 27 carbs and 19 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:
  Norma Smullen
I want to offer a special thanks to Norma Smullen for sharing her story. 

Dear Barbara,
I subscribe to your newsletter and had the privilege to hear you speak in Princeton last November. I truly enjoy hearing the success stories of others and am sending along my own success story should you choose to use it.

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with all of us. You are truly an inspiration!

Norma Smullen
Manville, NJ

When I was born I weighed 5 pounds 13 ounces. I was the youngest of five children and the smallest. From there, the struggle to stay the smallest was all down hill!

When I was 9 years old, my mother put me on my very first diet. She marched me off to the doctor and the cycle of dieting and taking pills to lose weight began. I spent my life on one diet or another, Weight Watchers numerous times, hospital based diets, Redux, Atkins and so on and so on. Each time, I’d manage to lose weight but then I’d end up gaining it back plus more. It’s a familiar story for us all.

For many years I had heard about gastric bypass surgery, but always thought it was too drastic a step. I had myself convinced, in my younger days, that I was healthy and as long as I was healthy and active and accepting of myself then it was all right being overweight. I had friends who would always complain about their weight and my advice to them was, “If you’re so unhappy, do something to change it!” I justified not changing myself on the basis that I wasn’t unhappy.

As I got older, I began to have health problems including glucose intolerance, high cholesterol, joint problems and high blood pressure. My weight began to impact my quality of life. I started not going out. I felt that everyone was staring at me as though I were a freak. I wasn’t just obese; I was what would be considered “super obese.”

The morning of my gastric bypass surgery I weighed 441 pounds. I had never been so heavy in my life and had never disliked myself so much. I had become something of a recluse and my health issues were impacting my work making me consider retiring on disability. I was so unhappy that I knew I had to take my own advice and change my life.

For a year before my surgery I had been trying to get up the courage to ask my doctor about it. I was ashamed. For me, it was admitting defeat that I was unable to lose and keep the weight off on my own. But, I had so many days when I woke up and felt so bad that I’d think, “This could be the day I die.” Finally, I went to see my doctor and she gave me the name of my surgeon, Dr. Robert Brolin in Princeton, N.J.

I was terrified the day I went for my consult. I was afraid of the surgery, afraid not to do it and afraid that either the Doctor or the insurance company would say I wasn’t a good candidate. What a relief it was to me to meet Dr. Brolin and to hear him say, “You are an excellent candidate for surgery!”

My surgery took place on June 5, 2003. I had an open distal Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Dr. Brolin had discussed with me doing the distal bypass because I had more than 200 pounds to lose and I would achieve a greater degree of success with that procedure. There was the possibility of greater mal-absorption and, therefore, more risk over time of malnutrition or anemia as well as possible problems with diarrhea. I have been very fortunate because I have experienced none of those things.

The first three months after the surgery I had constant nausea and often wondered, “What did I do to myself?” I am sure we have all had those moments. Now, I feel wonderful. I walk almost every day for exercise. I take an hour long aqua aerobics class twice a week and fill in as a substitute instructor when the regular instructor can’t make the class. I have gone up in a glider plane, fly without fear of fitting in the seat or needing a seat belt extension. I no longer need to park in handicapped spots or worry about how far a walk it will be from the parking lot to the store. I buy clothes anywhere I want instead of ordering from catalogs or going to specialty stores. I no longer worry about whether or not I’ll fit in a seat or if the seat will break under my weight. I do not wake up and wonder if this will be the day I’m going to die. Instead, I feel full of life and have huge resources of energy. Best of all, now when people look at me it’s with respect. They smile or say hello instead of looking at me like I’m a freak!

I went from a size 6X (tight) or a 34 to a size 16 and large/medium. I now weigh 185 pounds and have started the process of finding a qualified plastic surgeon to have the excess skin removed. I know that by having weight loss surgery I’ve not only added years to my life but added quality. I am so busy now I never seem to have enough time to do all the things I want to do and I wouldn’t trade that for anything!

Norma Smullen

Before After

I am getting a little short of success stories. 

If you have considered writing yours, please send it to me along with your before and after pictures. If you have submitted your story in the past and it hasn’t been printed, please resubmit it.  It may very well have gotten lost in the shuffle!!

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.
Subscribe at http://www.barbarathompsonnewsletter.com/

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