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 #89

March 15, 2006

Hello Everyone,
“Erin, what do you want to do with your life? What direction are you heading?” My daughter Erin is at that age (19) when she needs to figure out what she wants out of life.  What she needs is some serious goal-setting.

The older I get the more I realize the importance of having a clear goal in mind in order to make any significant achievements. That is why I am so proud of the folks that are graduating from my Back on Track mentoring program.  They have set the goal of completing the 6-month program and despite the fact that life can so easily get in the way, they have made it. What an achievement! I am highlighting them in an article below.

In This Issue

* Telephone Seminar: Coming March 22nd
* Protein is Protein
* Celebrating the Graduates
* Plastic Surgery: Who Pays?
* Attention Nurses
* Response to Sex Drive Article
* Walk from Obesity
* Recipe: Pumpkin Soup
* Success Story: Doug Shaffer

Telephone Seminar: Coming March 22nd

Are you caught in an emotional eating trap that you can’t seem to get out of?  Then sign up now for:

End Emotional Eating!!
  Telephone Seminar

With Guest Dr. Denise Lamothe

Would you like to stop emotional eating? Then join me in a telephone seminar on Wednesday March 22nd as I interview Dr. Denise Lamothe, clinical psychologist and author of The Taming of the Chew, A Holistic Guide to Stopping Compulsive Eating, a book that tells the truth about emotional overeating, and then gives solutions that get to the bottom of the problem.
In the hour-long telephone seminar you will learn how to
  • Stop emotional overeating
  • Stop obsessing about food
  • Start feeling in control
  • Turn your stress into constructive action
  • Learn ways to channel your energy into productivity
  • Feel better - to be happier, healthier and live your life with zest

You don’t want to miss getting in on the discussion of this important issue.


Don’t know what a telephone seminar is? Then click here to find out http://www.wlscenter.com/Teleseminar/teleseminar_intro.htm

Mark your calendar now for Wednesday March 22nd 8:00 PM Eastern Time (7:00 PM Central, 6:00 PM Mountain, and 5:00 PM Pacific)

Click here for more information and to register.

Members of the Back on Track Program get a 10% discount by entering your special code!

For more information and to join the
Back On Track with Barbara Mentoring Program
go to http://www.backontrackwithbarbara.com/

Protein is Protein
Hi Barbara,
I love your newsletters.  I'm inspired each time I get one.  Keep up the good work!

I have a question. Is it better to eat most of your protein each day or drink it?  Or does it matter?  I try to eat as much protein as I can with little or no protein drinks but I have a friend that drinks most of her protein.   We're just wondering what's best!

Hi Patti, 
As far as protein is concerned, take protein in whatever form suits you. It doesn't matter. I am one who believes in eating my protein. I think it sets us up better for "real" food later on down the road. But there are people who drink their protein year after year and do just as well. It is what is satisfying to you and what form is easier for you to take.  But protein is protein.



Celebrating the Graduates!
I did it. I made it through the Mentoring Program and met my goal. Six months ago I was starting to panic and didn’t know where to turn. Then I joined your program.  Thank you, Barbara, for all you have done for us!!!”

- Meg

This week we are seeing the first graduates of the Back on Track with Barbara internet mentoring program. These are people who stepped up and said that they didn’t want to face regaining their weight.  They had worked too hard to get where they are, they didn’t want to nibble it away and go back to where they started ever again. These are people who set a goal and made it through the 6 months. And I am so proud of them!!! Many of them are going into the maintenance program so they will get long term support from the Message Board, the telephone seminars and the weekly inspirational messages.

If you are concerned about weight regain and need some help, click here for more information and to join http://www.BackOnTrackWithBarbara.com You can join at any time.

Plastic Surgery: Who Pays?
Dear Barbara,
I am almost 3 years post op and have lost 185 pounds.  Can you give some information or knowledge about getting plastic surgery?  Why can't Medicare and insurance companies pay for  the removal of all that excess skin?   Is there help for this?  Thank you for your time and response. 

Kathy Klingener

Hi Kathy,
Insurance companies view plastic surgery the same way they view weight loss surgery. Is it medically necessary? If you can prove that it is (excess skin causes rash and infection that cannot be treated with medication or your skin is causing you the inability to walk, etc) then you can make the case for an insurance company to cover it..

I recommend this CD that I did with a plastic surgeon who does plastic surgery only on weight loss surgery patients.  It will answer all of your questions http://www.wlscenter.com/plastic_surgery.htm.  Best wishes!



Attention Nurses
If you are a nurse and would like for me to speak on 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. Contact me at Barbara@WLScenter.com or 412-851-4195.

Loss of Sex Drive Follow-up
As a result of the article in the last newsletter, there were several people who opened their hearts.  They shared their similar problems with a loss of sex drive following weight loss surgery. And there are some themes that I am seeing in their responses.

One is a fear of intimacy because they are unhappy with how their bodies look following surgery. Most of us are left with a lot of sagging skin that makes us feel very unattractive.

The other theme is an unmet expectation that their sex drive would improve following surgery.  That the surgery would cure what was already a low sex drive. Many are finding that isn’t happening and are disappointed and pressuring themselves.

Read all of the responses by clicking here

Walk from Obesity
Now is the time to start planning to organize your local Walk from Obesity which will be held this year on September 30th. This is a wonderful non-competitive fund raising event that is held each year to raise awareness and end the disability, death and discrimination of those who are obese. Click here for more information about attending or organizing an event in your neighborhood.


Pumpkin Soup

1 small onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbls butter
1 1/2 pounds pumpkin puree
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup fat free half and half
1/4 tsp white pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add the onions and garlic and cook until they are translucent. Add the remaining ingredients except the half and half and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the half and half and heat through. Makes 6 servings.

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:
  Doug Shaffer
I want to thank Doug Shaffer for sharing his story:

While I am not a rich man in financial circles, nor a famous man in the world of show business or sports, I have been a success at everything I have accomplished in life.

As a young child I lived a sheltered upbringing; growing up in a very safe, happy, Christian home. I wasn't the brightest student in school. I got by and graduated as part of a high school class full of the children of university professors, children of automotive executives, and children of elected politicians. I was not a great athlete, but I played four years of high school football. In the service to my country, I was not a jet pilot. I got by as a fuel truck driver in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam era. I am not married to a movie or rock star, but have been married one time and still married to the same girl for the past thirty-seven years. Together we raised two fine sons, who are productive adults and good citizens.

It is not my nature to brag about my accomplishments, but throughout my life I have been successful in everything I had ever done except one thing ... my weight. My excess weight has always been in the way for me to accomplish more in life than I was able, but ... I always got by.

I realized that excess weight had been a problem for me for fifty years of my life. In analyzing a possible trigger, I have come to a conclusion about the following. When I was eleven years old, my family lost my younger sister very suddenly to an illness. She was four and a half at the time. Within six months my mother went to work to help with household expenses, but mostly it was to help suppress her grief. This left my nine year old brother and me at home after school to fend for ourselves. We were the first of what are now called "latch key children." We were paid a nice allowance to do chores around the house and to keep ourselves out of trouble. During times after school, I look back now and remember eating. It is my assumption that eating was my way to:  a) suppress my own grief over my sister's death, b) handle the stress of watching over my younger brother, and c) have a friend in times of loneliness. These poor habits and attitudes carried forward into my adult life as a young newlywed husband, and later as a father, while my career developed and progressed.

In looking back at my life, my career, my social life, and to a degree contact with my friends, many of the things I did were directly or indirectly related to my weight. I made decisions based upon how my weight might enter into the equation. Like many other obese people, I stayed away from the following things that most people would not give a second thought to. They were mirrors, weight scales, and personal or group pictures with me in them. I wasn’t ignoring or refusing to accept my issues with my weight. It had more to do with the reality of the issue. I knew I didn't look good. It didn’t mean I had to look at myself to remind me of how bad I appeared or how low I felt emotionally about myself. It was a difficult emotion to be a success in so many aspects of my life in addition to being a failure at maintaining my own health.   

In all phases of my life, I had everything to live for. On a different level, I knew I was shortening my life by continuing to carry the excess weight. I wanted to live to be an old man in a rocking chair. I wanted to see my future grandchildren, and I wanted to do it with my wife who helped to get us both to where we are today. I was not ready to have her live another twenty to thirty years after planting me in the ground. I didn't want the pallbearers to strain under the weight of my casket and then think that was the reason they were burying me. It was not only unfair to me but more unfair to my wife.

After all the years of having a weight problem, it was finally time for me to resolve this problem. Oh, I had lost weight several times. I could lose weight anytime I wanted to do so. But it would eventually come back and add more pounds to my frame each time.

I knew I needed to have weight loss surgery. I didn’t expect to have a "quick fix" and then go on living as I always had been. I knew this was my last chance to do something before it ended my life prematurely. My three goals to commit to this procedure were; 1) to feel better and be less tired,  2) to get my body healthy to live a longer life (hopefully), and finally, 3) to get off three different medications for blood pressure. 

My surgery was February 25, 2004. My surgery was completed by Dr. Roche Featherstone of Grand Traverse Surgery (GTS) in Traverse City, Michigan. At that time I was the oldest patient locally to undergo the surgery. I was 57.

After making the commitment to change my life, and surviving surgery, I worked very hard to achieve my goals. I started working toward those goals within hours after the surgery in the hospital that night. My first day home from the hospital I began my walking program that has continued to this day. It took me nineteen weeks to lose the first hundred pounds. Ultimately I lost 140 pounds. Surgery day I weighed 321 pounds, and by Christmas I weighed 181 pounds. Needless to say, the year 2004 was one of the very best years of my life. The decision for surgery is, and was, easily the best personal decision I have ever made for myself as an adult. Several times I have mentioned that I truly feel half my age. I also enjoy the best health and am in the best physical shape of my entire adult life. Since the day of my “Re-birthday” I have experienced many of the happiest days of my life. 

Dr. Featherstone (“Doc Roc” as I call him) knows how I feel about him as I wrote a letter to thank him for providing me “the tool.” How does a man thank another for saving his life? My only way to say thanks is to promote GTS by “paying forward” for others who will follow with the RNY surgery. This has been done by speaking at seminars, contributing at the support group meetings, publishing the support group newsletter, and providing my opinion and my responses online to encourage others. I truly have found a new calling in life in order to try and do my little part helping other people get through this same procedure.

It has not been easy to post the “fat pictures” online, to reveal and have your past life and pictures on the television news, to expose my opinions, my emotions, or to speak publicly about this. My attitude has always been - if I can help just one other person then it all has been worth it.

Many have said that the first year of this journey is about losing the weight. The second year is about the emotions. Few realize that the emotional part is more difficult for some than the physical side of this procedure. There are two things I always mention when I speak at seminars. First, it has been said that having bariatric surgery you are given “a tool.” I expand upon that by saying, “You are given a tool, but not a magic wand.” You still have to diet and exercise like your “normal” skinny friends do. Second, while being “reborn” one has to “fix” what is in his/her head, and to “fix” what is in his/her heart. One must revisit past emotions in your life to determine what caused the abuse. You must put yourself as the number one priority.  You have to learn to love yourself once again or maybe for the first time in your life. Once able to resolve these emotions, your weight, your waist size, and the size of your hips/butt will take care of themselves.  

My desire is to be an example to others who may be at the top of the age scale. I wanted to prove that age is not a factor whether one is able to successfully complete this program and lose weight as normally as younger patients. My message to my obese brothers and sisters is that you can do this, particularly the “older crowd.” I want to appeal to and be a role model for the “kids,” half my age, which shows by example, no matter your age or your physical condition, you can reach your goals by being motivated, having a plan, setting a goal, and working hard toward that goal.  If you are obese, you don’t have to live this life anymore. This isn’t rocket science, even though the end result seems to work like rocket science. All you really have to do is follow the program and to be motivated. How simple is that?

I’ve never felt it is my role to recommend the surgery to others. That determination is an individual choice for each to conclude on their own timetable and on their own terms. My life has been so blessed to realize and achieve my goals. I’m blessed to have a great family, great friends, great co-workers, a great support group, and a program that not only saved my life but so many others as well. I have had the great pleasure of knowing and watching many patients who have had tremendous success. There is so much satisfaction for me now in observing the successes of others. My current motivation is to help others to realize and to achieve their goals. They only have to reach out and I will be there to reach back.

Doug Shaffer

Traverse City, Michigan

Congratulations Doug

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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Weight Loss Surgery: Insurance Secrets
  – New e-Book

Discover the Insider Secrets to Getting Your Insurance Company to Pay for Weight Loss Surgery!!

Learn how to ask your insurance company correctly to pay for weight loss surgery and see results.  Learn how in this brand new e-book by Craig Thompson (no relation!!). There is a “secret language” that Craig teaches as he takes you step by step through the process,  Craig guarantees that your surgery will be covered within 3 months or he will refund your money and you get to keep the e-book. What do you have to lose (except weight)!!

Please Note:  This is an eBook that you download onto your computer and read with Adobe Reader.

Click Here for more information and to order.

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