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 #124

September 1, 2007

Barbara Thompson
The Voice of Obesity

Hello Everyone,
Summer is drawing to an end. Labor Day is this weekend and it is my least favorite holiday.  It signals that summer is ending. It also signals change and letting go, something that many of us suffer from after we have had weight loss surgery. It is difficult to let go at times. Our weight loss surgery journey is not always a smooth one. At times we hit plateaus. Doesn’t that word send a shudder through you? If so, I have an article about dealing with plateaus later in this issue.

It was a grand cruise from Aug. 18th to 23rd. If you missed it, sorry! It was such fun that I am sure I will do it again. Find out about it below.

And folks, I am out of success stories.  So if you have wanted to write yours, now is the time.  It is your way to give back for this free newsletter.

Have a great two weeks.

In This Issue


* Walk from Obesity
* Plateaus are Part of the Journey
* Fun with Cryptograms
* Cruise Report
* Recipe: Caribbean Beef and Bean Sprouts
* Success Story: Cynthia Pedder
* Spreading the Word in Danville, PA

Walk From Obesity

In about a month walkers in over 70 cities across the United States will Walk from Obesity.  This annual event raises money for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation. Walkers ask family and friends to financially support their walk and the funds help research and the educational activities of the Obesity Action Coalition.  Walk from obesity and show that you care about furthering weight loss surgery, discrimination against the obese and research. To locate the closest walk to you go to the Walk from Obesity website http://www.walkfromobesity.com/ and click on Join a Walk.

Plateaus Are Part of the Journey

Dear Barbara,
What are some reasons that a person would hit a plateau and not move from it? I lost 110 pounds 4 years ago after surgery, but I was never able to get below 195 pounds, no matter what I did.  I know at the time of my surgery we got NO nutritional information or much help on how to live our new life.  Therefore, some of the old habits were never changed.  I am again trying to lose the weight.  As I approach 60 I want to be fit and healthy. I am not looking to be skinny.  Do you have any suggestions?


Dear Vicki,
Plateaus are the most frustrating part of trying to lose weight.  They have caused more people to give up even trying. Let’s look first at what a plateau is and then how you can deal with it.

First of all, think of your weight loss plan as an actual journey from a town that is on top of a mountain (your beginning weight) to a town in the valley (your goal). You start your journey on the top of this mountain. For your climb, you want to be sure that you have the right supplies.  On such a trip, you wouldn’t pack junk food. No, you would pack food that is nourishing and good for you.  So be sure to do that in your own home. Have the right supplies.

As you start your climb, the first several feet down are easy. It makes you wonder why you didn’t start this journey a lot sooner.  Now, nothing goes in a straight line, so there are times as you are climbing down when the grade levels off and you walk along a straight path. Sometimes the level portion is long and sometimes it is short. But as you are walking along this straight level path, you are still headed in the direction of the town below (your goal weight.) This is your plateau.

Notice what you do when you are walking along this level path – you are catching your breath, you are relaxing and gaining strength for your next descent. Think of your weight loss the same way.  When you hit a plateau, realize that you are still on this journey.  You are catching up and getting ready for the next big descent and even though you are walking straight and level and sometimes you may even climb up a bit, you are still getting closer to your goal.

Plateaus happen because your body is catching up.  It is holding onto your weight to protect you from famine, not knowing that our hunter/gatherer days are over. Fighting plateaus is like fighting Mother Nature. And remember the old commercial, “You don’t want to fool with Mother Nature.”

So when your plateau hits:

  • Live with it.  As long as you are doing what you have been doing, you are still getting closer to your goal.
  • Double check your calories.  Sometimes we creep up in how much we are eating and don’t realize all of the calories we are taking in. Take 3 days to journal, weigh, and measure everything that goes into your mouth.  That should total around 1200 calories – no less.
  • Be sure you are exercising. The ideal is 30 minutes of exercise per day. What are you doing?
  • Make a change in what you are eating and in your exercise.  Sometimes our bodies get too efficient in processing the same food and doing the same activities.  Mix it up a bit.
  • Remember to drink water.  It helps your body burn calories and will also fill you up.  Just don’t drink around meal time.
  • Think what you are doing as a lifestyle, not a diet.  Do what you can live with.  If 1200 calories is too little, up the calories to 1400 to mirror what you would eat anyway.  If you think of yourself as being on or off a “diet,” then it won’t work for you.
  • Stop weighing yourself. How do you know if you are on a plateau if you don’t weigh yourself? When your weigh loss stalls, don’t weigh yourself more than once per week, or don’t weigh yourself at all. Judge by how your clothes fit. Get something that you want to fit into and try it on once per week.

And always remember that this is a journey that you are taking, one baby step at a time.

It's Time to get Back On Track

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


  Fun with Cryptograms

Click here for the answer.

Blogging Along

Check out my Blog and be sure to leave your comments. Since the beginning of this month, there are new articles there about:

  • Goodbye Good Medicine
  • Obese Man Undergoes Weight Loss Surgery in an Attempt to Adopt Child
  • Finally Weight Loss Surgery Gets Positive Credit
  • Endobarrier Gastrointestinal Liner

If you especially like a specific post in my Blog, be sure to email it to a friend.

Visit my Blog at http://WeightLossSurgeryBlog.net and leave a comment.

Cruise Report

I have received so many emails from people asking how the cruise went, so I thought I would just supply a little report. 

The cruise set sail on August 18th on the Carnival Fun Ship, Inspiration. Now I know why Carnival calls them Fun Ships.  Everything is designed for fun from activities to competitions.

Our itinerary was changed.  We were going to the exact locations as Hurricane Dean. You don’t argue with a hurricane, so they rerouted us to Nassau and Freeport. Skies were clear and the seas were calm.  Never worry about cruising during hurricane season.  There are a lot of alternatives.

If you have never sailed with a group before, I highly recommend it.  It was so great to see people that you know everywhere you went.  Of course we all ate together at dinner, but at breakfast or lunch or when we were docked and browsing through shops or playing on the beautiful white sandy Freeport beach, there were always people that we knew.  We would stop and chat, compare notes, join them or whatever.  There was great camaraderie.

Dan Schmier from All Star Travel was our cruise director.  What you may not know about Dan is that he is a wonderful singer.  And Dan had a friend with him who is an opera singer from Chicago.  Every night we were in the karaoke lounge, routing for our “team” of Dan and Lyle as well as Patricia and Robin.

And we had some great educational sessions together.  Mary Richardson talked about how to be the best new you with styling and beauty tips for after you have lost a great deal of weight. We talked about the low glycemic index and how to eat for the long term.  We had a yoga class (my first and it is a lot harder than you think!). And we had a cooking demonstration by the ship’s staff on their heart healthy cooking program.

I would definitely do this again. I am considering a murder mystery cruise with a weight loss surgery group a year from January. That sounds like such fun to me! I will let you know as my plans develop.

Caribbean Beef  
  and Bean Sprouts

Many thanks to Ginger Brinkhaus for the following recipe.  Ginger has a great new cookbook out called, Eat to Live, Stop Living to Eat, which this recipe is from. The recipes are varied, interesting and contain all of the nutritional information. And if you like pictures of what you are making, there are lots of them included.

Caribbean Beef and Bean Sprouts

1 lb. lean beef cut into ½ inch pieces
1 tbsp. olive oil
A garlic clove pressed
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
Fresh ground black pepper
½ C. fresh bean sprouts

Heat a medium 10 inch non-stick pan to medium heat, add oil. Season beef with fresh ground black pepper and place in a pan. Add the remaining ingredients except for the bean sprouts.  Let cook through for about five minutes; add the bean sprouts and cook an additional 10 minutes.  Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings. Each serving:
Calories 189, Fat 6g,  Cholesterol 47 mg, Sodium 282mg, Sugar 1g, Carbohydrates 1g, Fiber 0g, Protein 25g

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:
   Cynthia Pedder

I Need More Success Stories!!

If you have a success story with before and after pictures, please send it to me at Barbara@wlscenter.com so that I can include it in future issues.

I want to offer a special thanks to Cynthia Pedder for her story.  This is a reissue of one that was published earlier.  Here is her story:

Folks, I am really short on success stories.  Please send me your success story along with a before and after picture.  If you want to be in the New Century Club, you can also send a shorter version and we will proudly present you with a ribbon.  If not, just send the regular length version along with your pictures. Thanks so much for supporting this newsletter with your contribution.

Hi Barbara,
My name is Cynthia E. Pedder. I'm going to be 48 years old in May, and for the first time in my life, I like who I am and how I look. Prior to my surgery, I would avoid mirrors and windows, or anything that would reflect my image back to me.

I have been overweight for the majority of my life. When I was born I only weighed 3 pounds, 10 ounces. My mother had a bad fall when she was carrying me and I was born 3 months early. I was healthy and a perfect baby, but just tiny, and she was told that I would always be a tiny, scrawny kid, but that would soon be far from the truth.

When I was in grade school, I remember being the skinny kid, and I couldn't wait to weigh 100 pounds. At the age of 12, I not only hit 100 pounds, but puberty set in, and I just kept gaining and gaining. This began a life time of dieting for me.

My aunt put me on my first diet when I was 12 years old. I wasn't obese back then from what I remember, but back then the “Twiggy look” was in, and I was considered overweight.

I was the only one in my family with a weight problem. It was hard growing up in a family of people who didn't have weight problems, and for the most part could eat what ever, when ever they wanted.

I have been on just about every diet known to man, just like many others who have opted to have this surgery. I've even made up some pretty crazy diets, like just eating sunflower seeds, and drinking Mountain Dew. Well that didn't last long, because all the salt made my mouth sore. I lost 94 pounds with a diet center and thought my dieting days were over, but I gained it all back, plus some. I knew I needed this "tool" to help me not only lose the weight, but to keep it off.

I tried everything. I set goals that I would never weigh more than 175 pounds, then 200 pounds, then 225 pounds, and then 250 pounds. When I hit my heaviest, which was 254 pounds I gave up dieting, and just decided I was just meant to be fat. I believed I would remain morbidly obese, and probably die from it some day. So I set my goal to never weigh over 300 pounds.

Then I heard about the RNY procedure.  After reading about it and doing research, I knew it was my last hope. I wrote you an email in 2001, and told you how I was researching the RNY weight loss surgery. I ordered your book, and the Bari Bear. After a long fight with my insurance company and many appeals, I was finally approved to have my surgery a year and one week later. I wasn't going to give up when my insurance denied me, because I knew I fit their criteria. I was fighting for my life.

I had my surgery done laparoscopically on Sept. 4th, 2002. My surgeon was wonderful. I thought I would have to have the surgery done as an open procedure because I had several previous abdominal surgeries. So I was very happy and amazed to wake up and find out I hadn't been cut open.

I haven't had any complications from the surgery. The hospital where I had my surgery had a bariatric bed, which was nice and comfortable, and everyone treated me very well. I have been back to show my nurses that this surgery has worked for me. Needless to say they were quite shocked to see the new me.

I'm still in shock to see the new me! It all feels like a dream. It seems strange to say that I was morbidly obese, and now 6 1/2 months later I am in a normal weight range.

I was on many blood pressure medications, and was going to have to go on cholesterol medications. Now my blood pressure is great, and my cholesterol is perfect, and all of my lab work shows that everything is in a normal range. I have asthma, arthritis, and muscular joint pain, which has all improved with this weight loss I am now healthy, which was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to have this surgery.

I'm very thankful and grateful that I was blessed and got a new chance on life. I want to shout it from the mountain top. I was asked to teach our Bariatric Support Group Meeting twice, when the support group leader was ill, and I had a wonderful time.

Unfortunately, the surgeon who did my surgery can no longer do them, because the cost of his malpractice insurance tripled. He already pays a huge premium because he is a trauma surgeon. So for now, we no longer can have classes regarding the surgery, and he can't do any weight loss surgeries. We are still permitted to have our support group meetings, but only those of us who have had the surgery can attend, and all others will have to be turned away. It is such sad news, because we had more than 40 people who were awaiting surgery. My heart goes out to them, because I know this surgery can work, and can have such a profound effect on people’s lives.

Our last vacation was wonderful. I could keep up and go and go. I remember vividly how before my surgery I would end up in a wheel chair, and my family would have to push me around. I couldn't keep up, and my legs and feet would swell so badly. Although my husband is a wonderful man, who loved me literally through thick and thin, I no longer feel like I'm a burden to him and the rest of my family and I very much enjoy going and doing things now. I love mirrors and cameras, where as before I avoided them. I even like to weigh myself now, which is a first in my life.

I really believe support group meetings are a must, and wouldn't miss them for the world. I enjoy seeing the changes in others, and sharing what works and doesn't work for one another. It is such a joy to see the transformation that people go through.

I've lost 111 pounds in 6 1/2 months. I was wearing a size 24 and now I am in a size 8. My BMI was 42.3 and now I weigh 139 pounds and my BMI is 23.1. I feel wonderful and I now have a life.

I just had a tummy tuck to remove all the excess skin and a breast augmentation. I'm still recovering from it. Boy that was a rough two weeks, but today is day 19 since the procedure and I am starting to feel good, and see the results. I'm thrilled and on cloud nine. I even had a makeover done and got my hair cut short. I'm a whole “new looking” person, but I am still the same in my heart.  I feel like life has just begun for me, and I like me now for the first time. I just had my dream come true. I finally got to shop at a Victoria's Secret, and bought cute matching panties and bras. That was something I told one of the surgery nurses that I wanted to do some day.

Thank you for letting me share my story. I hope it will inspire others, because I want people to know they can have a life. I would do this surgery again in a heartbeat, even though in the first few months, I felt weak, and wondered what I did to my body. Now I feel the best I have felt in my whole life.

Cynthia E. Pedder

Congratulations Cynthia

Spreading the Word in Danville, PA

On Saturday Sept. 8th I will be speaking in Danville, PA for Geisinger Medical Center’s Celebration of Success. Call Christina Hartman (570) 271-6709 for details.

Would you like for me to speak for your support group?  If your support group has 80 people or more who attend and you would like for me to speak, have your support group leader contact me for details. Have them email me at Barbara@WLScenter.com

If you are a bariatric coordinator and your hospital needs obesity sensitivity training, I have a sponsor who often covers my fees and expenses. Email Barbara@WLScenter.com or call for details 877-440-1518.


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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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