Barbara Thompson

Weight Loss Surgery


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Hosted by Barbara Thompson
Author of:
Weight Loss Surgery:
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.

Issue #138

April 1, 2008


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In This Issue


* Single Best Way to Lose Weight
* Since
* Back on Track Program
* Weight Loss Surgery from the Insurance Companies Perspective
* Recipe: Arabic Green Beans with Beef
* Success Story: Eric Hurst
* Attention Nurses

WebMD Says This Is the Single Most
  Important Way to Lose Weight

Have you stopped losing weight or are you regaining? Well, let me ask you a question.  What did you have to eat 3 days ago? Can you tell me exactly? Can you tell me every bite of food that you put in your mouth? You can only tell me these things if you have been journaling.

Journaling is the single most important way to lose weight according to a Web MD article.  If you are serious about wanting to lose weight, you will start that food journal today!!

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I received the following email from Anna who gave me her permission to reprint it.  I wonder how many others are feeling this way.

Hi Barbara,
“Have you noticed since you re-gained any amount of weight, people that were around you when you were thinner are slowly fading into the woodwork, no longer to be seen or heard? Is it me? My husband says it's because I have changed my attitude back to the way it used to be before I lost weight and that is why people are backing off.

You know, as much as that sounds sensible, I can't believe it. And I won't. I truly believe that people don't even want to be friends with someone who is just 50 pounds overweight. I say just 50 pounds overweight because I used to be 170 pounds overweight. When I was 170 pounds overweight, I accepted it as my fault, but now I just can't. The so-called friends that lost all their weight with weight loss surgery, have kept the weight off, and have had plastic surgery seem to avoid me like the plague. Surely they should know weight gain is not contagious.

I just realized this the other day. People who were so friendly and cheerful and just knocking my door down to be my friend, calling at all hours of the night, are dropping like flies. Is anyone else experiencing anything similar?

I want to add a comment here. Some people just want to move on. But some people might be like a former friend of mine, Renee. Renee had weight loss surgery, lost her weight, had plastic surgery then pulled away from me.  I hadn’t regained any weight, so I knew it wasn’t that, but I knew something was wrong. I finally confronted her about it and she admitted she was pulling away. She wanted to leave her old morbidly obese life behind and I was too much of a reminder of that. She had a new job and she didn’t want anyone to know that she had ever been heavy. She felt such shame about her former size. It was sad that I lost my friend. She has since moved away and I miss her. But I had to respect her decision.

What is equally sad is when people who were morbidly obese and have experienced the discrimination that accompanies morbid obesity, would do the same thing to a friend who is not as slim as they are.

If you are going through the same thing and would like to comment, email me at

Back on Track Program
Are you...
Suffering from emotional eating and can’t stop?

Grazing on carbohydrates and can’t control it?

Lacking inspiration to lose the weight you have regained?

Feel you don’t know what to do now that you have had surgery?

Dying to be in better shape with warm weather coming?

 Then you are in luck! My Back on Track Internet Mentoring Program is just what you need!

For More Information and to Join

Weight Loss Surgery from the
  Insurance Company’s Perspective

I remember when I was preparing for my weight loss surgery 8 ½ years ago.  I went through all my testing and my claim was submitted to my insurance company. I had no idea if weight loss surgery was covered by my insurance company.  I was too afraid to even call to find out. I was afraid that if I asked it would send up a red flag, so I meekly waited to hear. 

That was a frightening time. But I think it would have been easier if I understood the perspective of my insurance company better. Here is an article from the January 2005 issue of the journal Managed Care, a journal for the insurance industry.

Insurance companies recognize that weight loss surgery works.  It is effective for treating a population that is becoming heavier and heavier. They also recognize that there are co-morbidities that go along with obesity that cost businesses and insurance companies money.

We as patients have always used the argument that the surgery saves money because we are healthier post-surgery and not requiring as much care.  However the chart in this article shows just the opposite. So be careful using that reasoning for an appeal.

What has to be kept in mind is that the statistics in this chart are based on data from 1995 to 2001. How many of you had your surgery during that time?  I did, but people are always marveling how long ago I had surgery. In the world of weight loss surgery, those statistics are ancient. The follow-up surgery rate is much better now, but writers still quote ancient statistics because there isn’t another survey (that I know of) that up dates these statistics.

The other point made in the article is that the benefit of weight loss surgery should be made available to only those people who are employed by the company for a long period of time so that people are not taking a job just so they can have the benefit of weight loss surgery and then go off to another job.

Sun Tzu said in the book The Art of War, “Know thy enemy.” Be smart about your arguments with insurance company and try to understand their perspective.

Arabic Green Beans with Beef

Arabic Green Beans with Beef

  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound beef round roast, cubed
  • 1 onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and halved
  • 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat; brown the beef in the hot oil for 10 minutes. Stir in the onions and 1/2 cup water; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix the green beans, allspice, pepper, and salt into the mixture; cover and simmer another 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce; cover with water; cover and simmer another 45 minutes.

Makes 6 servings. Each serving:
160 calories; 12 g. protein, 11 g. carbohydrates, 8 g. fat, 4 g. fiber

If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future issues of this newsletter, please send it to me at

Success Story:
   Eric Hurst

I want to offer a special thanks to Eric Hurst for submitting his story:

I grew up in a family in which weight was always a topic of discussion.  We were professional dieters--who cheated a lot.  I was a pudgy little kid, but when I look at photos of myself in my teens and early 20s, it makes me mad that I could not learn to be happy with my weight—I looked great!  But I was always tall, which translated in my mind to “big”, and I always weighed more than “the charts” said I should. 

My poor self-image became a self-fulfilling prophecy once I was out of school and sitting behind a desk all day.  Although I started having issues with blood pressure and cholesterol/triglycerides in college, over the course of the next 14 years, my weight steadily increased, and my medical issues along with it: diabetes, sleep apnea, acid reflux, back pain, plantar fascitis, and chronic sinusitis were added to my list.  I was spending a fortune on medication.  What finally made me realize enough was enough was when, after 8 years as a diabetic, I was taking such huge doses of both oral medication and insulin that the pharmacist argued with my doctor that no one could possibly be taking that large a dose!  I was definitely headed towards an insulin pump, and of course more insulin = more weight gain.

I had been monitoring with interest the progress of 3 friends (all women) who had had gastric bypass surgery.  I really didn’t think it was an option for me.  My BMI never reached the target, and most of my friends couldn’t believe I was considering something so drastic.  “You’re not that heavy!” they all said.  At 6’2”, I carried my weight well enough that most people wouldn’t guess the actual number, and most people didn’t know the extent of my health problems.  When I mentioned the possibility of surgery to my endocrinologist, I was surprised at how receptive she was to the idea.  I received similar positive support (and support letters) from all my health care providers, and Blue Cross approved me for the surgery with no delays.

On the morning of surgery—December 28, 2006—I was 41 years old and weighed 299 pounds.  The surgery went fine, and I was back to work in less than 3 weeks.  I was soon taking no medication for anything!  I lost all my excess weight in 5 months, and reached my present weight of 185 after 9 months.  One of my mentors had told me:  one month after surgery, join a gym.  I laughed, but took the advice, and joined 6 weeks after surgery.  With a little rearranging of my daily routine, I found I could make the time for exercise I never thought I had, and I’m still faithfully going to the gym 3 or 4 days a week. 

I did have one complication.  About 2 months post-op, as I began eating a greater variety of foods, I started throwing up quite a bit.  There didn’t seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason to it, and I was prepared to live with it if I had to.  But my surgeon said no, that wasn’t going to be necessary.  So 6 months post-op, he did an upper endoscopy, and found, as he suspected, that the opening to my pouch was too small.  So in the same procedure he stretched that opening with a balloon (like an angioplasty), and within a few weeks I was no longer having problems.

My surgeon and his staff say I’m their poster child!  My regular doctor says I have the best physique of any WLS patient he’s seen.  When shopping for clothes, I buy mediums and smalls—and was surprised to discover than a lot of men’s clothes don’t come in small (who knew?)!  I still get a thrill out of running into someone who hasn’t seen me in awhile, and listening to them search for words to describe the transformation (“You didn’t just lose weight, you found a time machine!”).  But most importantly, I put a stop to the downward spiral my health was on, and am enjoying my new lease on life!

Eric Hurst

I love good news.  If you have good news, a success story to share, or inspiration, please send it to me at so that I can include it in future issues.

Congratulations Eric

Attention Nurses

Preparing for COE Status?

Would You Like to Have

Obesity Sensitivity Training for

Your Hospital Staff?

(Guess What - It May Be Free)

Speaking for Hospitals

If you are a bariatric coordinator and need obesity sensitivity training for your hospital staff, contact me at 877-440-1518 or  Obesity sensitivity training is a Center of Excellence requirement. I have sponsorship that your hospital may qualify for.


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