Issue #191 August 1, 2010

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In This Issue

*Are You Listening?
* Back on Track with Barbara
* Research Article: Sleeve Gastrectomy
* Inspiration to Lose
* Recipe: Spicy Beef with Shrimp and Bok Choy  * Success Story: Angela Alberti

Are You Listening?

One of the hardest things to do is to listen to your body, and try to discover if you are interpreting the messages correctly. If you get a feeling about something, for instance if you have a craving for a food, is it your body telling you that you need that food, or are you having an emotional eating craving?

Something happened to me this weekend that really started me thinking about that question. My husband and I were in Asheville, NC at their huge and wonderful annual arts and food festival called Bele Chere. It was wonderful. It went on street after street with art vendors, food vendors, bands and very friendly people.  If you have never experienced it, I highly recommend it.

Like the rest of the country, Asheville was very hot this weekend, and we were there in the afternoon.  Despite our attention to staying hydrated, I suddenly became very shaky and dizzy.  I sat down on a step and asked Frank to get me some bottles of water, because I was sure I was dehydrated. 

He soon returned with some water which I downed quickly. I rested awhile and felt much better. Suddenly, without even thinking, I said, “I want a funnel cake.” Those words rarely pass my lips, but that is what I wanted.  We found a funnel cake stand and I actually ended up getting a much lighter version with a little powdered sugar on it. I shared it with Frank and felt good.

The next day, I was watching Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN who described side effects of heat, which included a drop in blood sugar that described my symptoms exactly. So, did my announcement that I wanted a funnel cake mean that I had a craving and was indulging myself, or was I giving my body what it physically needed at that point in time? The big question is, how do you know the difference?

Well, I don’t know the difference, but I can take a guess that it was a message from my body, and here is why:

1. I don’t usually eat funnel cakes; therefore I don’t have a strong association of wonderful fairs and the fun of eating funnel cakes. This was really my biggest clue.
2. When I got to the booth, I chose a light flaky-pastry stick with just a little powdered sugar on it.  I was not looking to binge on goodies.
3. I had absolutely no sense of guilt about the whole process. It just seemed like the natural thing to do.
4. I physically felt better after I ate the pastry, and did not experience dumping syndrome as I am likely to after eating something sweet.

We assume that all eating, except the healthiest food is bad. That is not necessarily true. And this of course is not an endorsement to eat anything you want because your body tells you to. But one of the most important things we need to do on our journey to healthy eating and living, is to really listen to what our bodies tell us, and to respond appropriately. If you really want a banana, possibly you are deficient in potassium. Or if you really want a salad, perhaps you are deficient in vitamins A, D, E, or K. That interpretive skill when you get the thought that you want to eat something, can mean the difference between deficiency and health.

Back on Track with Barbara

Internet Mentoring 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?

Then you are in luck! My Back on Track Internet Mentoring Program is just what you need to get yourself back on track!

View a FREE Lesson and Listen to a FREE Telephone Seminar by
clicking here and scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

Research Article:
  Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

A Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) is a weight loss surgery in which 85% of the stomach is removed leaving a long tubular stomach. The 15% of the stomach that remains is the firmer part of the stomach that is very resistant to stretching. Patients lose weight because they are able to eat far less.

The surgery was formerly performed as the first part of a two step surgery for people who were too heavy to have gastric bypass surgery. The patient would have the VSG surgery, and wait until their weight dropped to a safe enough level to have the gastric bypass surgery performed. It was found however that the surgery was successful enough for the surgery to be the only weight loss surgery that a patient would have.

In the success story below, Angela Alberti lost 130 pounds after having a sleeve gastrectomy.  The surgery is becoming more and more popular, because the sleeve gastrectomy has several advantages:

1. The pyloric valve which is left in place, determines when to empty food into the small intestines.  This means that a stoma does not have to be formed which can stretch overtime as in gastric bypass surgery. It also means that food won’t get stuck, and that we won ‘t experience dumping syndrome.
2. No intestines are bypassed so patients are much less susceptible to nutritional deficiencies.
3. Patients tend to lose a very respectable 55% of their excess weight.
4. The portion of the stomach that is removed is where the hormone ghrelin is secreted. Ghrelin is the hormone that signals hunger.
5. Recovery time is less. 
Disadvantages include:
1. Because the stomach is removed, it is thrown away. The surgery cannot be reversed.
2. Because it is the newest surgery, some insurance companies still consider it experimental and won’t cover the surgery.
3. Many bariatric surgeons are not experienced performing this surgery so there is a bit of a learning curve to overcome.
4. Patients tend to lose a little less weight on the sleeve gastrectomy than gastric bypass.

The more surgeries for us to chose from the better, so that we can select the surgery that suits us the best, in conjunction with our surgeon.

Barbara Thompson's

Inspiration to Lose Weight

Weekly Email Messages that Will Keep
You Motivated to Lose Weight and Stay Healthy

Staying in the proper frame of mind to continue losing weight can be hard when life's challenges always lead you astray.  Weekly messages will keep you on a steady track to lose weight.

Start receiving weekly motivational messages today
to stay on track with your weight loss.

Click for more information

Recipe: Spicy Beef with
  Shrimp and Bok Choy

Spicy Beef with Shrimp and Bok Choy

This is a great recipe from I have used Bok Choy in many recipes and love it.  Combining it with beef, shrimp and oyster sauce reminds me a little of Happy Family, a dish I often order at Chinese restaurants. This is also a recipe that cooks up fats, perfect for making after work.


  • 1/4 cup rice wine
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oyster-flavored sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 3/4 pound sirloin steak, trimmed of fat, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 10 raw shrimp, (21-25 per pound), peeled, deveined and chopped
  • 1 pound Bok Choy, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces


  1. Whisk rice wine, oyster sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl until the cornstarch is dissolved.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add beef and crushed red pepper to taste; cook, stirring, until the beef begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add shrimp and continue to cook, stirring, until the shrimp is opaque and pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the beef, shrimp and any juices to a plate.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat in the same pan. Add Bok Choy and cook, stirring, until it begins to wilt, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Return the beef-shrimp mixture to the pan and cook, stirring, until heated through and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 1 minute.

Makes 4 servings, about 1 cup each.

Nutritional Information:

Per serving : 204 Calories; 8 grams Fat; 6 grams Carbohydrates; 22 grams Protein; 1 gram 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:
  Angela Alberti

I want to offer a special thanks to Angela Alberti for sharing her success with us.
Here is her story:

Dear Barbara,
My name is Angela Alberti and I am a year and 3 months post-op. On April 29, 2009 I had a Sleeve Gastrectomy (please see the article above). 

I have been overweight ever since I can remember. I was 8 years old the first time I heard the word “obese”. I didn’t know what it meant but I could tell from the way my mother was whispering it to my father, that it was bad. That was the day I went on my first diet. From then on, I spent the next several decades trying countless diet plans hoping to finally succeed, only to fail over and over again. Eventually I managed to “diet” my way to well over 300 pounds.

Finally in September 2008, I decided that I was tired of the pain, both physical and emotional. I was tired of the silent stares, the not-so-silent snickers and the misery I felt at being me. After years of over-compensating by pretending I didn't care, I made an appointment with Dr. Houman Solomon of the Association of Southbay Surgeons. I weighed in at a hefty 304 pounds. I was also diabetic and had sleep apnea. After completing a series of medical tests and losing 39 pre-op pounds, 9 pounds more than I was required, my surgery was scheduled for April 29th 2009.

To say that my life has changed is a gross understatement! To date I have lost a total of 164 pounds and have gone from a size 26 to a size 4. My diabetes and sleep apnea have been completely resolved, and I am now more active than I ever thought possible. I went from a 300 pound sedentary woman to a person who runs an average of 10 to 12 miles per week! My self-esteem and confidence have soared, and I am loving life once again. I also managed to give up a 30-year smoking habit!

I am forever grateful to the wonderful friends and family that have walked me through this journey, and so thankful for Dr. Solomon and the Association of Southbay Surgeons. I don’t believe I would have had the same level of success without these components in my life. The kindness and support received from friends and family is beyond measure, and the Association of Southbay Surgeons has provided me with an incredible program geared toward my success, offering not only great medical care but also comprehensive pre-op and post-op support.

But weight loss surgery is not a magic wand. When I asked Dr. Solomon how much the individual patient contributes to the success of the program, he emphasized that “each surgery serves as a tool” and that “long term success in losing and maintaining weight loss is largely dependent on how well the patient is able to use their procedure as a tool.” My success was built on that premise. I carefully followed my surgeon’s post-op program, and I know that if I am to maintain this weight loss, I will need to be accountable for every morsel of food I put in my mouth, and continue a regular exercise program. I’ve also had to do some emotional work figuring out why I got to be 300 pounds in the first place, and committing to a complete change in life style. There have been some very difficult moments and a lot of hard work, but I finally understood that life is a series of choices and I am in control of most of those choices, and yes, that includes food. The rewards of that realization have been nothing short of amazing.

Weight loss surgery is the single greatest thing I have ever done for myself. For the first time in many years I am once again fully engaged in life. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine how good I would feel- confident, secure and in control of my life and my future! Change is absolutely possible! Oh yeah!!

Angela Alberti

Congratulations Angela

The OAC is the ONLY non profit organization whose sole focus is helping those affected by obesity.  The OAC is a great place to turn if you are looking for a way to get involved and give back to the cause of obesity.

There are a variety of ways you can make a difference, but the first step is to become an OAC Member.  The great thing about OAC Membership is that you can be as involved as you would like.  Simply being a member contributes to the cause of obesity.


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