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 #92

May 1, 2006

Hello Everyone,
Our number of subscribers for this newsletter is almost at 10,000. That’s a huge number.  But even with so many people, I often think of you as 10,000 of my closest friends. I have gotten to meet many of you from my speaking events.  And those I haven’t met, many of you are in my Internet Mentoring Program. And there are others that I occasionally correspond with over email.

I say 10,000 of my closest friends, because I am always so touched at how many of you are willing to open your heart to me and through me to all of the other subscribers. Four weeks ago I asked for stories from people who are having trouble with alcohol following surgery.  I received many responses to this very personal question.  I hope you will enjoy the article on this topic below.

In This Issue


* Barbara Thompson Speaking in Pittsburgh PA
* Alcoholism Following Weight Loss Surgery
* Oprah Magazine Article
* Attention Nurses
* Walk From Obesity
* Recipe: Tomatillo and Chile Pepper Salsa Salad
* Success Story: Emily from Boise

Alcoholism Following Weight Loss Surgery

“At its most basic level, addiction — whether to nicotine,  alcohol, drugs, food, sex, shopping or gambling — is an attempt to control and fulfill the desire for happiness. An addict engages in a relationship with a substance or an activity in order to produce a desired mood change or a trancelike state." Craig Nakken, author of "The Addictive Personality.”

I am very blessed. As I mentioned earlier, people will email me with their hearts wide open. They will bear their souls to me.  In all of this honesty, I have been seeing a destructive trend start to emerge. The trend is toward alcoholism.  Some of us have replaced our food addiction with an alcohol addiction and are not able to control it.

A month ago I asked for people to share their struggles with alcohol with me. I want to share with you one of the many stories that I received. I know Patty’s story will touch you as much as it touched me.

Hi Barbara,
It's time I wrote to you. You brought up the subject of alcoholism after weight loss surgery. It happened to me. I began with just a shot of tequila to get a little buzz now and then when I was with friends.

I soon found out how much I liked that buzz. It happened quickly and was quite a rush. I guess with our new anatomy, it's like mainlining alcohol. It's almost as if it were an IV dose.

In the beginning it was a couple of shots and that was it for the night. It progressed quickly. In 10 months I accomplished what people who haven't had weigh loss surgery take 10 years to accomplish. I became a raging alcoholic. I was drinking daily and the amount had increased so much it was scary. I withdrew from my friends and family. I did things I never thought possible for me to do. I knew I was headed for destruction. I couldn't wait to get home to drink. I turned into a horrible person and traded my need to fill the void in my life from food to alcohol.

Now, I attend my weight loss surgery support group weekly. We introduce ourselves and say how much weight we've lost and what type of surgery we had, etc. I even got one of your century club ribbons! We all clap and cheer and share in the excitement. Four or five other times during the week, I introduce myself at meetings by saying, "Hi. My name is Patty and I'm an alcoholic."

There is no going back, Barbara. Once a cucumber becomes a pickle, it can never be a cucumber again. I address this topic quite frequently in my weight loss surgery support group because I see it happening to other people. I've taken it to my surgeon's office and shared it with the psychologist there. They don't seem very interested. I'm scared for my friends.

I will be 4 years post-op from weight loss surgery in August. In September I will have 2 years of sobriety. Before surgery, I was a social drinker. I could drink one or two drinks and that would be satisfying for a night. I usually only had a drink every few months. It was not a part of my life. After surgery, it took over. I tried to fill that same void, that same pain that food used to attempt to fill with alcohol. And after surgery it was fun... for awhile. But just like everything we use to fill that void, it stopped working. That void can only be filled by something within us. We cannot fill an internal need with something external. It's just not possible. We must learn to care about ourselves enough to trust that still small voice that says, "You're ok... just like you are." It's often very hard to hear because of all the other things that have overshadowed it from our past and even our present lives. They scream so loud it is all we hear. 

People use many other addictions as a trade off, but alcohol will kill us. We need to make people aware of this. Thank you so much for bringing up this topic. If there is anything I can do, answer, say... let me know. Feel free to use anything I've said in your newsletter that you feel may help others. I got my life back... again. I'm not sure how many other chances I'll have.

Big time hugs!

If you think you may have a drinking problem, please take one of the online tests below:

And this one is the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test

I am very grateful to all of those who graciously volunteered their stories. Please click here for the many additional stories that I received.

O, The Oprah Magazine Oprah Magazine Article

Yoffe, Emily, The Real ‘After’ Picture; What Nobody Tells You About Gastric Bypass.” O The Oprah Magazine. May 2006.

This month's issue of Oprah Magazine deals with weight regain after gastric bypass surgery and the struggle that many of us have.

If you are concerned about your weight increasing, get information on my Back On Track With Barbara Internet Mentoring Program. 

For information, click here http://www.backontrackwithbarbara.com/


Attention Nurses
If you are a nurse and would like for me to speak on patient satisfaction and 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 topic. 

Contact me at Barbara@WLScenter.com or 412-851-4195.

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.

Recipe: Tomatillo and Chile

 Pepper Salsa Salad

This recipe comes from the American Heart Association.  Serve it with grilled chicken for a very tasty meal.

Tomatillo and Chile Pepper Salsa Salad

1 cup finely chopped peeled cucumber
3 ounces tomatillos, finely chopped (or substitute tomatoes)
1 1/2 ounce reduced-fat Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese, cut into ¼ inch cubes
1 medium Anaheim pepper, seeded and ribs removed, finely chopped (or substitute ½ medium green bell pepper)
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro (or substitute parsley)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped green onions (white and green parts)
3 to 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Serves 4
Nutritional information for each serving:
47 calories, 4 g. carbs, 4 g 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:
  Emily from Boise

I want to offer Emily from Boise special thanks. Here is her story:

It has been just over a year since my laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery and even though I have not yet met my goal weight, I know that it is no longer impossible and that I will get there in time.  This hopefulness and sense of accomplishment have probably been the biggest differences in my life, as I never had much of either before March 15, 2005. 

As busy as my life is, I sometimes have to stop and remind myself what has actually happened to me.  I tend to just move forward with whatever is going on in my life.  I don't dwell, but neither do I stop to celebrate or appreciate.  I will need to learn to do more of that. I am very reflective, however, and as I look back over the past year, I can’t even compare my life now to the life I had before.  I don't think it's something I can put into words, but I feel I owe it to myself to try.

I was 30 years old on the day of my surgery, but I believe that I never really lived until just recently.  It wasn't instantaneous; and I'm still learning how to live each and every day.  Yet, I'm reminded every day by those that know me of just how far I've come.

I weighed 375 pounds at my highest.  My story is every other morbidly obese person's story.  While it's personal and unique, the commonality still remains in the experiences.  I dieted and failed.  I hid, I hurt, I denied.  I used food for comfort and so on and so on.  I deliberately left a job that I loved for a job that had insurance which I knew would cover the surgery.  I sought and gained employment with the company, selected my benefits and waited.  It took 9 months before I submitted anything to the insurance company.  I was approved the first time, no questions.  I had surgery three weeks later.  It happened very fast for me and I know how lucky I am to have had it go so smoothly.  I remained employed with that company for eight months following the surgery and then returned to my former job, cutting hair.

The surgery itself was without complication.  My uncle died two days before I went into the hospital and his funeral was the day after I was released.  I made it to the funeral.  In a way, the focus on saying goodbye to him helped me to keep all things in perspective.  He was an alcoholic and died home alone.  He didn't take care of his body and it failed.  I was doing the same thing in another way.  I found it very symbolic.  I only wish that he reached for help when he needed it as I decided to.  His struggle was profoundly different, but just as harmful.  I miss his humor.

It is very true when people say that your body changes but you just become more of who you really always were, yet could not be.  That is either because you were limited physically or limited emotionally and spiritually.  I was all of the above.

I find myself doing things for the first time each and every day.  It might be deciding to eat something I never thought I would like, to an activity that I couldn't formerly participate in.  People do treat me differently which has been an eye-opening occurrence.  I never would have been able to understand just how it felt unless I was able to see both sides.  Now I see just how invisible others can make you feel even if you're the largest thing in the room.  People didn't look me in the eyes or start a random conversation with me in the grocery line.  I could see the look on some faces at times as I would introduce myself before cutting their hair --  unmistakable dread.  I don't necessarily believe it to be just because I was overweight.  Quite possibly, I am treated differently because I look and feel differently.  Regardless, I wouldn't ever treat any person how I was sometimes treated as an overweight person.

I suppose that I should mention a few statistics, aside from showing the photos.  Where I am today is 175 pounds less, coming in at an even 200.  The day I'm in the 100's is near and honestly, I can't wait.  I was in a 52/54 shirt and pants both, and now 16 shirt/ 18 pants -- darn hips!  Luckily, I'm tall.  My goal is 165 pounds but I'm finding that looking and feeling better is more important than any specific number.

Physically, I will never be that person again, though in my mind, I will always and forever be that same fat girl.  Those thoughts and feelings shape who you are as a person and losing weight doesn't just transform you into someone else.  It can either hold you back or set you free; and I feel truly free.

On a personal note, I'd like to thank Barbara for her book and for the work she is doing to help each of us on our journey to become the thin person inside of us.  You are deeply appreciated.

Emily from Boise, Idaho

Congratulations Emily

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.  

Permission to Reprint

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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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