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 #129

November 15, 2007

Barbara Thompson
The Voice of Obesity

Hello Everyone,
Gobble, gobble, gobble. Did that describe you during holidays past? After surgery, your life changes in so many ways. Be sure that the change extends to how you approach holiday eating. I have many tips on dealing with the holidays below.

Thanksgiving is a time to do just that – give thanks. Be sure to put on your list of thanks your ability to have had surgery and the success that you have had. You’re wonderful!

In This Issue


* Surviving the HolidaysH
* Nip/Tuck
* Recipe: Pumpkin Pie  
* Success Story: Michelle Harman

Surviving the Holidays

The holiday season will soon be upon us and it can be a very dangerous time, weight-wise. Studies have shown that we gain as many as 5 pounds during the holidays. Most go on to lose 1 or 2 of the pounds and then retain the rest. Year after year, this can add up and we can slowly and steadily creep down the path to where we started before our surgery. Here are some tips for getting through with as little damage as possible.

Things to Do Right Now

  • Start planning now for damage control. Step up your exercise and tighten up your eating.  There will be many days when your eating will be a little less than controlled, so this helps to get you in a healthier frame of mind.
  • Don’t approach the holidays as a time of depravation. You will just need to make smart choices.
  • Don’t plan on losing weight during the holidays.  Concentrate on maintaining.
  • Scratch cookie or goody making off your calendar. Why make yourself miserable by having all of that around to tempt you?

Things to Do During the Holidays

  • Without fail – exercise the day of a party.

  • At a social function, grab a small plate and fill it with healthy foods. Most deli meats, other than salami, are low fat and good choices.  Cocktail shrimp, veggies and fruits are excellent. Try to just taste the high-fat, high-calorie foods that are calling you.

  • Eat especially healthy food before going to a party and do not arrive hungry.

  • Consider taking your own healthy dish with you

  • If there is a buffet, examine all of the dishes and plan an attack strategy. Put a few moments in planning exactly what you will and will not eat.

  • Wear something smashing to remind yourself how far you have come. Another clothing consideration is to wear something that is tight fitting so if you do start to over indulge, you will feel it.

  • Be careful of alcohol. It can quickly lower your resistance. If you are going to have alcohol, try a very light wine spritzer (wine with soda).

  •  Follow the 30 minutes rule and don’t drink within 30 minutes of eating.

  • At a party, get away from the food area.  After you fill your plate, move as far away as possible.

  • Work on de-emphasizing food during the holidays. Do group walks after a big meal, plan holidays around board or card games with lighter snacks, or sit with family and describe funny things that happened when you were growing up.

Then There Are the Emotional Issues

  • Examine the holidays of years past. If they were emotional disasters before, don’t expect that they will necessarily be different. Prepare yourself emotionally, and don't have your hopes up.
  • Watch out for food pushers. Don’t let anyone bully you into eating.
  • Check your Body Mass Index prior to going anywhere that you will be with family. If anyone says to you that you are too thin, you can say with confidence what your Body Mass Index is and what it means in terms of your weight category.
  • Understand that family members who may not say a word about all of the weight you have lost may either be embarrassed that you are getting smaller than they are, are jealous, or feel uncomfortable about mentioning weight.
  • If you do overindulge, don’t beat yourself up. You may end up going into a depression that will cause you to eat more.

The holidays can be difficult. But they also can truly be filled with much joy. After surgery we have to learn to adjust to many new things in our lives and the way we approach them  – holidays included!

Don't struggle alone. Join us.

If you’re not happy with your weight loss, then join the
Back on Track with Barbara Internet Mentoring Program.

Back On Track with Barbara is a 6-month or a 12-month membership program that provides an internet mentorship for those who are struggling with weight regain after weight loss surgery.  It also benefits those who have never reached their goal weight after surgery.

For more information or to join the Program, go to



The program Nip/Tuck is back on the air and a recent program dealt with plastic surgery on a patient who had lost 100 pounds as a result of gastric bypass surgery. The patient’s struggles with her body image and lack of self esteem were very realistically portrayed. This will probably be an ongoing thread in the program. The woman is absolutely beautiful and at one point after her plastic surgery she said about herself, “Oh well, once a fatty, always a fatty.” She is self destructive and in need of counseling. It hurt my heart.

The image we have of how we look can be very destructive. And that self destruction can lead us down a path of depression when we should be joyful of our success. Be your own best friend; treat yourself well and be appreciative of your strength.

Pumpkin Pie

Here’s what I am having for Thanksgiving dinner.  You will never know the difference from the high-fat high- sugar variety that everyone else is eating.  If you really want to go low carb, fore-go the pie crust and eat it as a pudding. 

Pumpkin Pie

Folded refrigerated unbaked pie crust (1 crust only)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 Tbl. cornstarch
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. salt
16 oz. can pumpkin
12 oz can evaporated skim milk
1/2 cup egg substitute
16 packets or 5 tsp. Equal or Splenda

Bake one piecrust according to package directions; reserve remaining piecrust for garnish or another pie.

In a large saucepan combine gelatin, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.  Stir in pumpkin and evaporated skim milk.  Let stand 5 minutes to soften gelatin.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture bubbles; cook and stir for 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.

Gradually stir in one cup of hot mixture into egg substitute; return all egg mixture to saucepan.  Cook and stir over low heat for 2 minutes.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat.  Stir in Equal or Splenda.  Pour into baked piecrust.  Cover and chill for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.  Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional information per serving:  237 calories, 8 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrates.

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

Are You Ready for a  
  Great Speaking Event??
  (and it may be free)

Speaking for Hospitals

If you are a bariatric co-ordinator and need obesity sensitivity training for your hospital staff, contact me at 877-440-1518 or Barbara@BarbaraThompson.net. I have sponsorship that your hospital may qualify for

Speaking for Support Groups

Would you like me to speak for your support group? Wouldn't it be great to have a special event and invite all of your past patients to?  Email me at Barbara@WLScenter.com

Success Story:
  Michelle Harman

I want to offer Michelle Harman a very special thanks. Here is her story:

Hi Barbara,
I've been meaning to write my story but just couldn't sit down and do it. Now, is the time. It started in 2002. I asked my regular doctor, a wonderful lady, for something to help me lose weight. She referred me to the Obesity Clinic at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA because she just didn't want to hand out pills.

I went to the Center and discussed my weight with them. They didn't hand out any pills. They gave me nutritional information and support. They also talked about gastric bypass surgery but I refused right away. I was sure I wasn't big enough to need weight loss surgery.

After 2 years I had only lost about 2 pounds. My highest weight was 261 and I am only 5'1 1/2" tall! I was getting frustrated. At that time, my Mom was having a rough time. She leans on me a lot, but I don't mind. She is always there for me. But, I was spreading myself thin.

I had 2 job interviews and the first guy looked at me like I was a fat slob and wasn't worth anything. He didn't say that, but his look and the tone of his voice said it all. At the end of the interview he said, “I think we already have our candidate so keep looking for work elsewhere.” The next woman was at least honest enough to tell me they were looking for someone with lots of energy and stamina. I used to work circles around the "skinny" people I worked with. Just by looking at me she thought I couldn't do the job.

The next day I had my appointment at Geisinger. The nurse I talked to was very kind and sympathetic about my experiences that week, and she said to me, "Michelle, how about that surgery now?"  I said, "Yes, I will do it," and she said, "I know you will do well because you are hopeless right now." And I was! 

I had my surgery April 8, 2005 which was my father’s birthday who passed away in 1999. The surgeon said he would reschedule but I said no, because my father always promised me he would be there for me on special occasions and his birthday was special. I know he was there holding my hand that day.

I had open RNY surgery and was very sore for a couple days but after that I had no real major issues. Every now and then I did something stupid such as not chewing enough, eating one bite too many, or drinking too fast. But I soon learned my lesson and was more careful.

I lost 75 lbs in 5 months. I even got to do a commercial on the web for BariatricEdge.com. I lost 99 lbs total from my highest weight. Two years later and I'm still working it. I have regained about 12 lbs, and am struggling to lose it, but I have gone back to the basics; protein, water and exercise, which I had been slacking on. So I have no doubts I will lose again. This is the best thing I ever did for myself and I wish I would have done it sooner. But I was not ready for it sooner and if I hadn't been so hopeless I probably wouldn't have worked so hard at it.

Every day is a struggle but it's not overwhelming. I have this wonderful tool to help me. 

Michelle Harman

Congratulations Michelle


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