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 #59

November 15, 2004

Hi everyone,
Welcome to the November 15th issue of my newsletter. 
I try to make this e-newsletter shorter.  I really do.  It just seems like there is so much information to share with you.  This e-newsletter is a little longer this time, but there was nothing that I could cut out. I need to tell you about how I can speak for your support group, about my new book, how to stay healthy this winter, advice on losing weight after your first year, new postings on my Blog, and on. I hope you enjoy it all!  And have a happy Thanksgiving.

In This Issue


* I Can Speak for Your Support Group
* Wanna Be in a Dummies Book?
* Staying Healthy in the Coming Flu Season
* What Happens When You Stop Losing Weight
* Checked My Blog Yet?
* Recipe: Pumpkin Dip
* Success Story: Marcia Sweetin
* Spreading the Word in Rhode Island

I Can Speak for your Support Group 

I have a new sponsor that will allow me to speak for practices that haven’t been available to me before!  If you would like for me to speak for your support group, here are the requirements:

1. Is the practice and support group in a metropolitan area?

2. Can you guarantee at least 75 people that will attend?

3. Would the surgeon of the practice be willing to write a letter of request to the corporation that is sponsoring me?

If so, have the support group leader contact me and I will supply the details. My email address is Barbara@WLSCenter.com.

Staying Healthy in the Coming Flu Season
Flu season will soon be here and very few of us have been able to get a flu shot. I have gotten a flu shot every year in the past so I am being very careful about not catching the flu this year. Are you concerned too?  If so, you may want to do what I am doing. I keep my immune system strong by taking a very powerful anti-oxidant called OPC once a day. I have been using this product with incredible success for 3 years. Get it now so that you have time to build up your immune system.

What Happens When
        You Stop Losing Weight?

Sad to say, weight loss does not go on forever after our surgery. Almost all of us reach a point where we lose and then suddenly stop.  Often that point is above where we want to be weight-wise. Here is some information I was going to post in my, but it got to be just too long, so I thought I would share it in this newsletter.

Hi Barbara,
I am 2 years post op and have stopped losing weight. I have a very sweet friend who is one year post op, has lost 150 pounds, but still has 100 more pounds to lose.  She has stopped losing as well. Can you help?


Hi Judy,
It sounds like both you and your friend have gone beyond the Window of Opportunity. I talk a lot about this in my book. Click here for information: http://www.wlscenter.com/Announce_Book.htm.

The first 12 to 18 months is the period of time when it is the easiest to lose weight.  That is because we can eat very little, and also because our digestive system has just been reconfigured.  Our bodies have not yet adapted and our malabsorption is the greatest. 

We are organisms and all organisms adapt.  That is why we have survived for thousands of years. That Window of Opportunity closes because our bodies have figured out what has happened and we start absorbing more of the calories that we eat. 

It will now be much more difficult to lose additional weight, but you and your friend can still do it.  Don’t try to lose more than 10% of your weight per year.  For instance, if your friend weighs 250 pounds, she should not try to lose more than 25 pounds per year.  If she does, she will likely start the yo yo dieting cycle all over again. 

It sounds like her weight is stable now.  Here is what I recommend that she do. Chart what she eats in a typical day to try to determine how many calories she needs to keep her weight where it is.  She can also ask her doctor if he or she knows of a place where she can have her metabolism checked.  That is a more accurate measure.

Whatever that number of calories is to maintain that weight should be cut by 250 calories per day.  She will then need to increase her exercise so that she is burning 250 additional calories per day. Continue doing that until she loses 25 pounds and then stop for a number of months.  It is important to stop because you need to let you body adjust to the loss of weight. Add calories until you stop losing, but not gaining.  Do not stop exercising. That is important.

After about 6 or 8 months of maintaining, she can try losing again until she loses another 20 pounds.  Then stop again.  Remember that the exercise has to always continue.

If she is having appetite problems, then she might want to talk to her doctor about prescribing the appetite suppressant Meridia. I have used it and it is very effective.  I really feel that we under use aids like Meridia following our surgery.  It is as if we ask for it then we are saying we have failed.  That’s not true. After surgery some of us still need medication for our health problems.  Generally the amount is greatly reduced, but we may still need them.  That does not mean that the surgery has failed.  It is the same with Meridia or any other medication to help weight control. They are so underused.  It goes right back to that same mentality of, “You should be able to do this yourself.  Just push yourself away from the table.” If we need pharmacological help, then we should be able to get it!

Have her try those steps and I would bet she is successful.  But even of she is not, she is so much healthier having lost 150 pounds.  Even if she doesn’t lose another pound, her accomplishment is tremendous. 

Recipe: Pumpkin Dip
Pumpkin Dip

2 cups pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
1 cup brown sugar substitute*
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 pkg low fat cream cheese

Mix the first 5 ingredients together.  Allow the cream cheese to soften and mix all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate at least four hours or overnight to allow the spices to blend. Serve with crackers, celery or carrot sticks.

*Brown sugar substitute is sold in supermarkets where the artificial sweetener is sold. 

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: Marcia Sweetin  

I want to offer a special thanks  to Maria Sweetin.  Here is her story:

I want to thank the lady with the German Shepard. She probably saved my life.  One day, I was driving my son, who at the time was around twelve. I went to make a left turn and this lady and her dog stopped. Thinking she was letting me go, I started to go. She then got very nasty, hit my car with her hand and screamed at me “You fatty!” Usually a calm person, I became irate. I went around the block, pulled over and screamed back at her. “How dare you call me that?” I said. She then looked at me, and said, “Well it’s true, isn’t it?”  I was so embarrassed. Trying to make this educational, I rationalized it out to my son, and informed him there were just some mean people in the world. I cried for three days, before I could even tell someone..... She was right. I was fat.

I was never skinny, but maybe a little chunky. As a teenager, my friends were a size 6, while I went to the misses and got a 12 or 14. Looking back on it now, I wasn’t fat, just heavier than them. I was a size 16 when I got married and went back and forth for a few years. After my first child, I gained 75 pounds. Then I got pregnant again. Along with another child, I acquired another 50 pounds. By this time, I was 350 pounds. I could handle this, I told myself.  I tried every diet. I am a nurse and don’t I know better? Hahaha.

I tried Fen – Phen for a few weeks, and then it was taken off the market. Wouldn’t you know, it was working! I tried other medications. I went to Weight Watchers for two years. My sister lost 90 pounds and I lost 30!  Nothing seemed to work.

My blood pressure was up, and my knees were a mess. I was short of breath just walking a few steps. What was killing me most was the fact that I couldn’t do a lot with my family. I stayed pretty active – as much as my body would allow me. My doctor had recommended gastric bypass surgery, but my husband had said, "No way.  They don’t know enough about it."

Finally one day, I looked at him and said, "If you want me to be here when I’m fifty, you better look at this."  I made him come to the meeting for gastric bypass with me. He was so moved, that he turned to me and said, “This is for you, go for it!”

My insurance coverage was approved right away. By this time I was 402 pounds. I went to a Cardiologist, Psychologist, and a Nutritionist. And on August 12, 2002, I had gastric bypass surgery.

My weight loss was steady and the pounds came off quickly. I am not a big exerciser, so I walked when I could. I lost 180 pounds in just one year. I have since kept the weight off, and weigh myself weekly just to make sure I never get that way again! My diet is easy, breakfast is yogurt and Cheerio’s. I have to crunch on something! Lunch is usually salad, ham and egg added, or whatever I can find. Dinner is whatever I make the family, just very little. If I feel I want a snack, I keep cheese in the fridge. And if I want chocolate, I eat only a piece instead of the bag.

I was lucky enough not to have any problems afterward. The only thing that I still cannot eat is steak, but I can live with that. I get my protein in and so far my blood work has been very good. My cholesterol was 280 before surgery and now runs around 140.

Just recently, I had an aggressive abdominoplasty with a little liposuction. The good doc took 10 pounds of skin off my abdomen. It was tricky, but insurance covered this for me too. Except for the liposuction, that is not covered ever, I found out. (I’m sure they looked at the pictures the doctor sent and cried, "Give it to her!").

Recovery has been good, and I have to tell you, I have my life back. The last time I was on an airplane, I didn’t need the extension seat belt. I now fit in all chairs  including the ones in football stadiums and auditoriums.  I can walk much further than I used to without getting out of breath. I can do things with my kids and husband that I never imagined I could. I can work 12 hours on my feet and still go home and make dinner, do laundry, etc.  I thank my lucky stars every day for gastric bypass surgery.

Maria Sweetin

Before After

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.
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