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 #117

May 15, 2007

Barbara Thompson
The Voice of Obesity

Hello Everyone,
I had a very exciting experience last night.  I spoke in Charlotte for Southeast Bariatrics and was filmed by Nightline for a segment they are doing on transfer addiction.  The Program may air next week, but then again, it may get bumped by other news.  Nightline also interviewed patients who are experiencing transfer addiction as well as Dr. Vollinger who is the surgeon of the practice.

There are some who feel that this subject is getting too much attention. However an informal study that was reported in Bariatric Times, March 2007 indicated that there may be as many as 28% of patient who suffer from this. Hopefully as more patient become aware of this problem, the percentage will come down.

In This Issue


* Low Protein and Plateaus
* Important Cruise News
* Paying it Forward
* Recipe: Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
* Success Story: Tammy Richards

Low Protein and Plateaus

Dear Barbara,
I have a question and I hope you can help me. I had gastric bypass surgery in July 2004. I started at 290 pounds and now I weigh 200 pounds.  I have never gained any weight back but I have certainly reached a plateau and I am frequently fatigued 

I heard that protein deficiency can cause you to stop losing and make you feel very tired.  I want to start losing weight again and reach my goal of 150 pounds. What can I do?

Dear Cynthia,
The first thing you should do is to have your blood tested by your surgeon.  Your tiredness could be the result of an iron or a vitamin deficiency. However, protein could definitely be a key reason that you are not losing weight.

In order to lose weight you need to use more energy than the number of calories that you take in.  But the amount of energy that you use is based upon your metabolism. The way to increase your metabolism is to build your muscle mass. There are two ways to do that, exercise and protein.

You need a minimum of 60 grams of protein every day. Sometimes patients find that difficult to get down.  They may have trouble with meat and may not enjoy fish.  They then tend to avoid protein and they end up being protein deficient.

This is so unnecessary, because there are so many protein products that are available that are protein based, low in calories and delicious. There is no reason not to get in your protein with all of these high quality and really delicious options. 

Paying it Forward
Dear Barbara
My name is Carla and I'm proud to say that I've lost almost 120 pounds since my weight loss surgery on April 12, 2006.  I'm writing to you because after losing such a significant amount of weight, I want to become more involved in helping with the fight to prevent obesity.  I feel as though I don't know where to start.  This past Saturday I did a walk for Walking for Better Health that was sponsored by the hospital that my surgeon is affiliated with.  This is my second walk that I have done.  In October I also did a walk for Walk from Obesity.  I'm 34 years old and I need to start figuring out what I want to with my life in a positive manner to help others.  Weight loss surgery has helped to give me a clearer perspective. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Dear Carla,
The best thing that you can do is to be an advocate for weight loss surgery. There are many thousands of people who are literally dying to have surgery and are unable to because their insurance companies will not cover it. 

Click here for an article on how to be a patient advocate that I co-authored with Joe Nadglowski, the Executive Director of the Obesity Action Coalition. The article appeared in the magazine WLS Lifestyles It provides steps that you can take.

But one major step is to join the Obesity Action Coalition. Here is a link to their website http://www.obesityaction.org/home/index.php.

Enjoy the article and congratulations on your success with your surgery.

Barbara Thompson


Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Sometimes you just get hungry for pasta.  But how can we eat pasta and still have it be healthy? First of all, stay away from the spaghetti sauce in a jar which has a lot of sugar and avoid the regular white pasta because of its high bad-carb content..  

The sauce recipe below has no sugar and is naturally sweetened by the carrots and onions. Instead of white pasta, use whole grain pasta and you have a pasta dish that is healthy. If you are newly post-op, the acid from the tomatoes in this recipe may irritate your pouch, so store this recipe away until later.  For those of you that can handle tomatoes, I hope you enjoy it!

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

2 (14.5 oz.) cans peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
¾ cup finely chopped carrots
¾ cup finely chopped red bell peppers
4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
½ large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbl. dried oregano
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on medium heat for 1 hour.

Makes 5 servings.  Per serving:
172 calories, 13.5 carbs, 2.5 grams 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:
  Tammy Richards

I want to offer a special thanks to Tammy Richards. Here is her story:

I would very much like to share my success story with all of you. I am a 36 year old mother of two. I graduated high school 5'6 and about 130 pounds. I was not bad to look at and had my choice of guys to date. I had my first son at 19 and went from a size 5 to a 7. My second son when I was 22 left me at a size 22. I really packed on the weight and couldn't seem to remove it. A heavy family, bad eating habits, and a lack of desire to exercise by myself all didn't help. Then I had a hysterectomy and gained more. Later down the road I quit smoking and within no time I found myself over 250 pounds. 

I had health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and no energy. I was unable to walk up a small hill or up a few steps without being horribly out of breath. I had no self confidence or self esteem what so ever.

You know, when I was skinny I could never understand why you would meet some heavy people and they would smell like poo. When I became 270 pounds I knew why. I could hardly reach my own butt. Reaching to shave my legs was enough to take the wind out of me. And I wondered why department stores seem to think because you are heavy you want to wear cloths with giant flowers or paisleys on them? They must believe that because you are heavy you have no sense of style what so ever! 

The shame I felt at that weight was horrible. I talked to a fellow heavy friend who had been heavy all her life. We worked at a portrait studio together and were expected to go around the store and talk to people to get them into the studio. I asked her, "When we walk towards people they lower their eyes like they are afraid we might speak to them. They will even go in a different direction. Sometimes they even give us looks of disgust. If you smile at them they will look at you and look away pretending they didn't even see you. How do you deal with it?" Her answer was that she has been heavy all her life and had never really even thought about it. It made me wonder. I used to be thin so I saw the difference very drastically. Is it just a way of life for people who have always been heavy?

I went to my son’s musical and saw a guy I had dated in the earlier years who was crazy about me. He looked at me and I saw the recognition in his eyes and he just turned and walked away. He went out of his way not to look in my direction again. I cried all the way home. How had my life spun so out of control? I felt like a young woman in an old heavy-set woman's body. Another low point was when I went out with my friend a few years younger and someone asked me if I was her mom.

I started looking into gastric bypass surgery. I went to the first group meeting at the hospital that told you of the different procedures and options you have.  They addressed how so many of the health problems I had would go away with the weight loss. I have to say in this room crowded with other heavy people like me, I felt at home for the first time in years. It was the first place I had been where I felt people understood and weren't judging me. I almost cried in relief.  

Now with the idea of weight loss surgery in my head, I knew I was going to have it done. Then I started eating like a horse. I wanted to eat as much as possible before I couldn't eat anymore. Don't make that mistake.

I was approved for surgery by my insurance company. Then at the first of the year, my insurance company changed and weight loss surgery was excluded. And here I was weighing 287 pounds.

I went into a deep depression feeling that hope for getting my life back was over. I just didn't want to live like this anymore and I had to make a change one way or another. Thank god my father loaned me the money and I paid cash for the surgery. Not everyone is that lucky. So again I urge you don't go haywire with food for fear of never eating it again.  Besides it was a silly notion because after time you can have a bite or two of your favorites if you don't start making it a habit. And if you get into a depression seek help and never, never give up! There is always hope.

Now it is one year and two months after my surgery. This is what I have learned along the way for those of you who are getting ready to have the surgery and are seeking advice. First of all you will probably have fits of depression after your surgery. You may feel like you can't eat anything and break down crying in frustration, especially when one of your friends or family comes in eating a frosty or something. It will pass. I promise you. It is very discouraging at first not being able to eat much but it is good in that you see your sizes getting smaller and smaller. The longer you go on the more you will find you can eat.

Make sure even though you are feeling down that you go walking. I go to the gym 3 times a week and regardless of what the plastic surgeons say it has helped with my skin shrinking somewhat.

Sometimes when you eat you will feel a pain at the top of your stomach or like something is stuck and it will make you sick. The key to not having that is to chew, chew, chew. I personally find that if something makes me sick if I lie down and sleep it off or at least rest for half an hour then I feel fine again. If you are eating and it is giving you hot flashes or making you tired you better check the sugar content. And finally I can tell you it is the best thing I have ever done for myself. I totally encourage anyone with the health problems that come with obesity to have gastric bypass surgery. It will change your life.

My life now is energetic. I have no health problems at all. I have a confidence in myself I don't even think I had as a skinny young teen. The only pills I have to take are my vitamins. I told my doctor he truly is my hero because he saved my life.

I ran into that guy who shunned me at my son’s musical. Boy, he was friendly and welcoming and wanted to talk. I took great pleasure in blowing him off. And I always make sure to give big smiles and be friendly and never overt my eyes because someone is heavy.  

Thank you all for listening and God bless you on your journey,

Tammy Richards 

Congratulations Tammy

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.

Back On Track
  Internet Mentoring Program
I loved the fact that you were willing to meet us where we are, that you are reachable and that you help us over the humps. You totally come across that you care about us and are there for us. You seem like you are a real friend.”


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

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

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