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 #116

May 1, 2007

Barbara Thompson
The Voice of Obesity

Hello Everyone,
The older that I get the healthier that I feel and I owe this to my having had weight loss surgery.  I am not at the weight I would love to be. I am not skinny with the body of a model, although some people have referred to me as “tiny.” Instead of accepting it as a compliment, I think, “What are they thinking?”

We are often our own worst enemy and are never satisfied with our success. We think of success as absolute and don’t recognize that there are levels of success. If recognizing success is something that affects you, be sure to read my article, “Lack of Weight Loss.”

Enjoy this glorious Spring!!

In This Issue


* Research Article: Risk Assessment of Weight Loss Surgery
* Back on Track Internet Mentoring Program
* Lack of Weight Loss
* Blogging Along
* Nightline
* Cruise to Paradise
* Puzzle: Cryptogram
* Recipe: Healthy Lasagna
* Success Story: Lucy Edmondson
* Spreading the Word in Charlotte, NC; Greenville, PA; Washington, DC; Caribbean Cruise and Columbus, OH

Research Article:
  Risk Assessment
  of Weight Loss Surgery

When considering whether to have weight loss surgery, did you ever hear the admonition, “You’re having weight loss surgery? Don’t you know that you could die?” Well, a new tool will tell you how much at risk you may be.

A new assessment tool developed by Dr. Eric DeMaria, Director of the Duke University Weight Loss Surgery Center, shows how risky weight loss surgery might be for you.  The study of 4,433 patients from 3 weight loss surgery centers found that you are at a greater risk if you are:

Over the age of 45
Have a body mass index greater than 50
Have high blood pressure
Have a high risk of developing blood clots in the lungs

Patients with none or one of these factors are considered low risk. Those with 2 or 3 of the factors are considered medium risk and those with 4 or 5 are considered high risk. Only 3% of weight loss surgery patients are in the high risk category.

Should you wait to have weight loss surgery until your doctor tells you that if you don’t have it you could die, or do you take a more proactive approach and have surgery when you meet the minimum criteria. From the assessment tool above, patients become more at risk by waiting.

For a WebMD article concerning this, go to

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

Lack of Weight Loss

I had lap band surgery about 7 months ago and have only lost 40 pounds.  I haven't lost anything in over 1 month.  I go back to the Doctor hopefully for another fill in about 2 weeks. What can I do to get back on track?  No one seems to be able to direct me.  I am desperate for help and feeling like I am a huge failure and wasted so much money.


Slow or little weight loss is a more common problem than you would think.  With lap band patients in particular it is important to have the right “fill” so that the band will work most efficiently.  It is excellent that Lora is working with her surgeon to try to find a solution.

But not everyone works so closely with their surgeon, mostly because of a feeling of failure. The statistics are not really known for how many patients are unsuccessful with their surgery, because most are afraid to return to their surgeon for help.  We have all had the fear that we would be the “one” person in the world that weight loss surgery would not work for.  But there are more than one that fits that category.

But what constitutes “failure?” Are you a failure if you don’t reach your goal weight? Are you a failure if you remain in the obese category according to your body mass index? Are you a failure if you don’t lose a single pound?

According to surgeons, you are a success if you lose 50% of your excess weight. So I guess you are a failure if you do less than that. In emails back and forth with Lora, I discovered from her height and weight at the time of her surgery that she was 108 pounds over normal weight.  This would mean that for her surgeon to consider her successful, she would have to lose 54 pounds.  She has lost 40 pounds in just 7 months, so she is close.  Yet Lora is feeling like a failure who wasted her money.

Here are some tips to consider when you are disappointed with your weight loss:

·        Have realistic goals. You may not end up skinny, but you will be much healthier than when you started

·        Keep in close contact with your surgeon, regardless of what kind of surgery you had. Your surgeon and his or her staff can be key to your success if you just utilize their expertise.

·        Get help.  Don’t expect to do it alone. Go to your support group meetings. Hire a personal trainer. Get counseling on compulsive eating. Join my Back on Track program.

·        Don’t think you are alone. There are people just like you who are struggling. And don’t think it is your fault. Dr. Alan Wittgrove made this statement in the Wall Street Journal when he was President of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, “We know there is a portion of the patient population that will not be successful. Sometimes the operation fails them.”

Don’t be afraid and don’t give up hope.  You only fail when you give up. As long as you are trying, then you’re still in the game.

Blogging Along

If you haven’t yet gotten onto my Blog, check it out! Since the last newsletter I have posted 2 more articles. Read them and feel free to comment. And please let me know of any subjects that you would like me to address either in the blog or in this newsletter.

The articles in the Blog are:
* How Do You Find Your Ideal Weight?
* NIH to Study Bariatric Surgery for Teens

Here is the link for the Blog http://www.weightlosssurgeryblog.net/
I hope you enjoy the articles. 

Would you like to be
  Interviewed by Nightline?


Do you suffer from transfer addiction?

On May 14th, ABC’s Nightline will be filming and interviewing me about the topic of transfer addiction as I speak for Dr. David Voellinger’s practice, Southeast Bariatrics in Charlotte, NC. They would also like to interview patients who have suffered from this as well.

If you have experienced transfer addiction and would agree to appear on their TV show, please email me at Barbara@WLScenter.com and tell me a bit about what you have experienced. You must be able to come to Charlotte the afternoon and evening of May 14th.

What is transfer addiction?

Transfer addiction occurs when weight loss surgery patients are no longer able to eat the way they did prior to surgery and feel compelled to begin another excessive behavior to replace compulsive eating.  This behavior would include excessive drinking, shopping, sex, or gambling


Try this fun cryptogram. It is every patient’s wish.

Go to Cryptogram

Healthy Lasagna

When you think healthy, you probably never think lasagna.  Here is a very healthy lasagna recipe to try.

30 ounces frozen chopped spinach
16 ounces low-fat ricotta cheese
2 cups chopped cooked turkey
2 cups spaghetti sauce
8 ounces low-fat mozzarella cheese slices
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Thaw the spinach and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  Spray a casserole pan with Pam and spread 1/3 of the spinach in the pan. Spread ½ of the ricotta cheese over the spinach. Sprinkle half of the turkey over the ricotta then spoon half of the spaghetti sauce over that. Top with half of the mozzarella cheese slices. Repeat the layering process with 1/3 of the spinach and then the other half of the ricotta cheese, turkey, spaghetti sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Finish with the third part of the spinach and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake in a 350° oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until browned. Makes 8 servings.

Each serving: 260 calories, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 23 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:
  Lucy Edmondson

I want to offer a special thanks to Lucy Edmondson. Here is her story:

My story is a little different than those I usually read, because I have come to the conclusion that I will always have food issues. The difference now is that I am confident that I can control those issues. 

I had laparoscopic RNY surgery on March 17, 2004 and I weighed 293 pounds and am 5'8" tall.  I had a number of physical problems such as GERD, arthritis, back problems, and infertility which my weight either caused or to which it contributed. 

After surgery, I was restricted from lifting any weight for six weeks.  The day the restriction was lifted, I hired a personal trainer and began to exercise daily and lift weights several times a week.  I strictly stuck to the diet prescribed by the doctor and had nothing with sugar, even fruit, for 9 months. 

By September 2004, I weighed 200 pounds.  By February 2005, I reached my goal weight of 140 pounds.  I continued to exercise hard and eat very carefully and got down to 131 pounds. I had 15% body fat and my period stopped for over a year.   People kept telling me I needed to stop losing weight.

One night I was buying some sugar-free ice cream at the grocery store and the cashier said, "You're one of those people who never gains weight."  It was all I could do not to laugh hysterically.  When we were visiting Las Vegas, I saw this gaunt, person with huge eyes on a screen and thought how bad she looked.  My husband had to tell me that it was me.  I was wearing size 4's and 6's and I was just obsessed with being thin and exercising relentlessly. 

At that point, I began trying to be more moderate.  I cut back on exercising a bit and began to eat more and a wider variety of food.  I have great difficulty being moderate and I gained up to 180 pounds by March of 2006.  Since then I have been watching what I eat a bit more and exercising and I currently weigh 153 pounds and am a good size 8. 

I used to talk about my surgery all the time, now it rarely comes up.  I am not ashamed of it, but I am just a regular person now.  I still tend to turn to food when I am depressed or bored.  I want to taste every new food that comes out.  But I can just eat a little and be satisfied.  Before surgery, I felt it was utterly hopeless.  But I feel that if I get off track, I can reel myself in pretty easily. 

People ask me would I do it again, and I wonder how they even could ask.  I had an infected incision that had to be packed for 3 weeks, an ulcer, and various tummy problems.  But these problems pale compared to the problems I believe I would be facing if I had not had the surgery; not only physically, but psychologically and spiritually.  I felt hopeless, trapped, and depressed.  I could see no future. 

Life is not perfect now, but it is pretty darn good.

Lucy Edmondson
Rocky Mount, NC

Congratulations Lucy

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.

Spreading the Word in
  Charlotte, NC; Greenville, PA;
   Washington, DC;
  the Caribbean Cuise
  and Columbus, OH

Charlotte, NC
Monday May 14, 2007, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM Heaton Hall at the Cornwell Center, behind Myers Park Baptist Church, 2001 Selwyn Ave., Charlotte, NC. Sponsored by Dr. David Voellinger, Southeast Bariatrics. Call Jennifer Sawyer, 704-347-4144 for more information.

Greenville, PA
Wednesday May 23rd, 6:00 to 8:00 PM, Thiel College Auditorium, sponsored by UPMC Horizon, Greenville, PA. Call Jonathan Bailey, 724-589-6642 for information

Washington, DC
Thursday August 9th, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC. Open only to military related patients and their families. Contact Jenny West for more information at walterreedwls@hotmail.com or 443-889-6984.

Columbus, OH.
Speaking for Dr. Needleman and Dr. Mikami, Ohio State University, Date not yet set.

Please Note: I am asked very often about coming to speak for various practices. If you would like me to speak, I am sponsored to speak by either the Hospital or by a corporation. Call me for details 877-440-1518.

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.


Permission to Reprint
You may reprint any items from this newsletter in your own print or electronic newsletter. But please include the following paragraph:

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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