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 #118

June 1, 2007

Barbara Thompson
The Voice of Obesity

Hello Everyone,
We just celebrated my favorite holiday – Memorial Day.  That is the signal to me that summer is here. Tomorrow I am sure that you wouldn’t be surprised that my least favorite holiday is Labor Day. I am participating in my first bicycle fund raiser of the season. Joy!!

Start the summer off by putting some thought into your appearance. I have an article later that emphasizes the importance to your self esteem and to your success. And if you aren’t happy with how you look in your shorts and bathing suit, join the Back on Track Program. Details are below. 

In This Issue


* Calories and You
* Cruise to Paradise
* Nightline Alert
* You’re Beautiful!
* Recipe: Cedar Plank Halibut
* Success Story: Monna Walters

Calories and You

Diets don’t work, diets don’t work, diets don’t work.  We have done it over and over again. Yet with a 95% failure rate, we still feel guilty about failing. It makes no sense. What does work is a healthy lifestyle based on good solid nutritional food that you eat to nourish your body and not for emotional or recreational reasons.

That said, it is a good idea to know how many calories per day you need to sustain your weight. Knowing that, you will also know that consuming fewer calories will cause you to lose weight. You can then do a little journaling and tracking to determine how many calories you are normally eating and make slow and gradual adjustments from there.

So how do you know the number of calories per day that you use? The very best way is to have your metabolism measured by an oxygen uptake metabolism machine. The test requires you to sit in a chair for about 15 minutes and breathe into a tube, then out pops the number of calories that you use per day. It couldn’t be simpler. These machines can be found in many weight loss clinics and some health stores. The test will generally cost about $25 to $50.

I always believe that knowledge is power.  If we know where we are, it is easy to map out a plan for improvement. And if you do want to lose additional weight, slow and steady is the way to go. Otherwise that metabolism level that you just measured will plummet and you will find that you will eat less and less and still not lose weight.

Take it easy, be patient and be healthy.

Back On Track
  Internet Mentoring Program

The Back on Track Internet Mentoring Program is now more affordable than ever. Only $19.95 a month provides you with lessons and support for a year. You owe yourself success.

For more information or to join the Program,
go to http://www.BackOnTrackWithBarbara.com

Nightline Alert

On May 14th I spoke in Charlotte, NC for Southeast Bariatrics, the practice of Dr. David Voellinger. There were nearly 200 people in attendance as well as ABC Nightline.  Nightline had contacted me to help them develop a program on transfer addiction.  They taped me speaking as well as Charlotte patients who have been struggling with transfer addiction, having turned their food obsessions following surgery into alcohol, shopping and sexual addictions.  Those who were interviewed were very courageous to openly discuss their struggles in the hopes of helping others. 

The Nightline program will air probably next week. It was expected to air on Wednesday, but was replaced with stories about the TB patient and program for selling organs. Since it is not time sensitive, it is easy to bump. So please stay tuned. Nightline airs on ABC at 11:30 PM Eastern time. Check your local listings.

You’re Beautiful!

Have you ever gotten a spray tan? Well I got my first tan for the summer season last week. I didn’t have one from a booth, but had one of those hand sprayed tans where you stand partially clothed in front of someone who sprays you like you are being air brushed. 

I had my very first one last year and learned an important lesson.  That lesson is to bend your knees! I stood straight and my somewhat loose skin on my thighs gave me a zebra pattern. Yikes!! Lesson well learned!!

So I am looking down at my tanned limbs and feeling wonderful. It makes me look healthy and it makes me feel better about myself.

Don’t neglect your appearance. It can have a tremendous effect on your self esteem and even on the success of your surgery.  Here are some things that you can try to take steps to a better appearance:

  • Do what I did and get a spray tan.  Avoid tanning beds; they can be as harmful as lying out in the sun.
  • Go into the cosmetic section of a department store and have a make over.  It is free and you can see how someone else would apply your make up.
  • Go to a different department store than the one that you usually go to and try on some clothes.  You will find different styles and you may be surprised how good you look in them.
  • Try on sizes of clothes until you can’t pull up the zipper or button the buttons. Than try one size larger.  Weight loss surgery patients are notorious for wearing clothes that are too large that hang and make you look larger than you are.
  • Take a bubble bath and paint your toe nails.

Remember that anything that makes you feel better about yourself is a good thing.  It will remind you that you count and you are worth taking time to exercise and to plan healthy meals for yourself. All of these factors work together to add up to your success.

Cedar Plank Halibut

Here is a very simple recipe for grilled fish using a cedar plank.  Wooden planks were first used in the Pacific Northwest by Native Americans, are easy to use and give grilled food a wonderful flavor. Planks must be soaked in water for at least an hour prior to grilling and can be reused. Food bastes itself with its own juice and absorbs the smoky flavor of the wood as it cooks. Cedar planks are available in your grocery store, department and hardware stores and everywhere over the internet.

Cedar Plank Halibut

4 halibut fillets, about 8 ounces each
2 Tbl. olive oil
1 tsp.salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 cedar plank, soaked in water for 1 hour

Preheat grill for medium heat. Rub oil, salt and pepper on the fillets. Put fish on the cedar plank and place on the grill. Allow fish to cook 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness. Fish should flake easily. Remove from heat and serve with chopped fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon and chopped tomatoes on top.

Makes 4 servings.  Each serving:
251 calories, 40 grams of 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:
  Monna Walters
I want to offer a special thanks to Monna Walters. Here is her story:

Dear Barbara,
I am finally ready to tell my story. Like many of your subscribers, I was always big. My mother told me the nurses in the hospital where I was born nicknamed me “two-ton Tony.” I weighed 9 pounds 12 ounces when I was born. One of my earliest memories was being weighed in front of all the kids at school and I outweighed everyone. The kids called me “fatty” and the ugly old rhyme “fatty, fatty, two by four, couldn’t get through the bathroom door” followed me throughout elementary school.

My mother took me to a weight doctor when I was 7 years old. I was put on a 1,000 calorie diet and a rainbow of diet pills. My younger sister was very thin at that time and would not eat. My mother would make cookies for her, but I was not allowed to eat them. I learned to sneak food at an early age.

In the seventh grade I was enrolled at a girls’ school and went there until I finished school. I had great friends who did not care that I was obese. In fact, the first time I remember being referred to as “morbidly obese” was when I had a physical exam just prior to entering the school. I weighed 199 pounds when I graduated in 1963.

I went away to college and went on many bizarre diets, none of them for very long or successfully. When I was a senior, a doctor prescribed amphetamines for me. What energy I had!!!! But I didn’t lose weight. I just became dependent on the drug.

I continued to gain weight. I did lose 50 pounds one time following a high protein diet, but I gained it back when I got pregnant. At my first pre-natal visit, the doctor told me I could gain only 20 pounds during my pregnancy. When I went back a month later, I had gained 5 pounds He yelled at me and made me feel so bad that I received no more pre-natal care until the 8th month of my pregnancy. I gained a total of 110 pounds with the pregnancy.

It was up and down after that, losing 50 to 75 pounds and then gaining it back. At one time I joined Overeaters Anonymous and lost 100 pounds and kept it off for a year. It gradually came back. This cycle continued.

In 2002 I was diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension, probably secondary to my use of phen-fen in the 90’s. It aggravated my mitral valve insufficiency. I was put on disability. I was unable to lift over 5 pounds. I could not walk more than 50 feet, and I was on oxygen therapy 24 hours a day with a C-Pap at night for my sleep apnea. As I was unable to do things, I gained more weight. My pulmonologist and cardiologist were preparing me for death.

As a nurse, I had taken care of only the weight loss surgery patients who had complications. I was terrified of the surgery. But I came to the realization that I was dying and the surgery couldn’t make things worse. I started investigating gastric bypass surgery. I read Barbara’s book, Weight Loss Surgery; Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You. I got involved in a forum on ObesityHelp.com.

The first surgeons I spoke with would not consider me for surgery because I was too great a risk. Finally, Dr. Gary Cooper in Chico, CA agreed to do my surgery if my cardiologist and pulmonologist approved. The pulmonary doctor fought me, although he knew my life was hardly worth living. His nurse finally convinced him that I had done my homework and understood the risks. My insurance authorized the surgery, but what they reimbursed was so low the surgeon would not accept it. Because it is government insurance, I could not pay the difference so I paid both surgeons fees and my insurance paid for the hospitalization and other consults.

The day of surgery, July 6, 2004, I weighed 389 pounds. The surgery went well, although my spleen ruptured and it had to be removed. I went home in 5 days. Ten days later I developed a GI bleed, which was unrelated to the surgery. My blood thinners had been resumed too soon. I had 18 units of red blood cells, and 14 units of fresh frozen plasma, but they did not have to do any surgery because it all corrected itself.

I have had many plateaus and it has been hard not to get discouraged at those times. But I have never felt that overpowering hunger that used to plague me constantly. I am fortunate that I can eat anything except sugar, which makes me dump. I have never had a problem with vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.

Here are three interesting facts. Prior to surgery I hated chicken and now I  like it. Prior to surgery I loved milk and now I cannot stand it. Prior to surgery I was hot all the time and now I can’t seem to get warm.

Before weight loss surgery I was on 15 prescription medications and now I am on 4. I was diabetic and no longer am. I had high cholesterol and now I don’t. I now use only oxygen at night and only occasionally. I became healthy enough with the weight loss that on December 16, 2006, I was able to have open heart surgery to replace my mitral valve. All the lab tests that indicated how sick I was before my weight loss surgery are now just barely above normal levels. I have been taken off disability and will rejoin the work force as a registered nurse.

At 62 years of age, I now have pink lips, can play with my grandchildren, bicycle, hike, lift weights, and work all day. Weight loss surgery saved my life. My cardiologist said she has never seen anyone change their health in such a positive way in such a short time. She says I took the lemons fate gave me and made lemonade. Both my specialists refer to me as a miracle and use me as an example of what can be done when a person takes responsibility for his or her own health status. I feel empathy and sympathy for those obese people that refuse to even consider weight loss surgery.

Today I weigh 197 pounds. I have lost over 40 pounds in the last year and I continue to lose slowly. I am confident that I will reach my goal of 159 pounds by next year at this time.

Monna Walters

Congratulations Monna

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.

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 Thompson’s free e-newsletter featuring helpful information and research material to help patients succeed following weight loss surgery.
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