Issue #179 December 15, 2009

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In This Issue

* Transfer Addiction: Trading a Twinkie for Tequila
* Dealing with Denials
* Calling All Long Term Post-Ops
* Should I or Shouldnít I?
* Recipe: Mexican Chicken
* Success Story: Rebekah M.

Transfer Addiction:
  Trading a Twinkie for Tequila

Dear Barbara,
I need help with transfer addiction. Wine is the problem for me now, and it never was before surgery. Could you recommend some help for me? I don't have any support groups where I live. Thank you so very much.

Dear Karen,
Transfer addiction occurs when we are unable to indulge in one addiction (food), and feel compelled to substitute another addiction.  In most cases it is alcohol, but others have fallen victim to addictions such as gambling, shopping, sex, or exercise.

We donít like to think of ourselves as food addicts, but many of us are.  When we are physically restricted from eating food to an obsessive extent, some people turn to other ways to fill that obsession.

For help, it is important to recognize your behavior as addictive behavior and seek help from an abuse counselor.

Get as much help and information as you possibly can. These resources will help you

Articles and Information on Transfer Addiction:

WLS Lifestyles Article: The Heartache of Transfer Addiction
View ABC Nightline About Transfer Addiction
Alcoholism Following Weight Loss Surgery
WLS Center Newsletter May 1, 2006
WLS Center Newsletter Aug 1, 2006
Wall Street Journal Article

Dealing with Denials

Dear Barbara,
I had weight loss surgery in January 2003. Before my surgery I got a copy of your book, “Weight Loss Surgery; Finding the Thin Person Inside You,” and it helped me a great deal. I weighed 370 lbs and 6 years later I weigh 210 lbs and I am feeling great

My son-in-law needs weight loss surgery, and is having an awful time with his employer and his insurance company. Can you offer any help?  
Jack Kennard

Hi Jack,
First of all, I suggest that your son-in-law not give up. Often an insurance company will deny a claim for no good reason other than most people do not dispute a denial. If his plan specifically excludes weight loss surgery, he may not be able to have his surgery covered. But he does need to find out if any of his colleagues or their dependants had weight loss surgery covered by his same plan. If so, he has a much better chance of coverage.

You probably have the 1st edition of my book. It is now in its 4th edition.  In my current edition, I include an actual appeal letter, which many people have found extremely helpful.  Your son-in-law can purchase my book at .

There is also a book by Craig Thompson (no relation) called “Weight Loss Surgery; Insurance Secrets” . You can order it from my website and download it instantly.   

Your son-in-law should also consider contacting Walter Lindstrom of Obesity Law and Advocacy Center  Walter is an attorney who fights for people trying to have weight loss surgery. He and his wife Kelley have a great track record fighting insurance companies on behalf of people trying to have their weight loss surgery covered. However, caution your son-in-law that he has only so many appeals.  If he exhausts them, and then turns to Walter for help, there will be nothing that Walter will be able to do.

I wish your son-in-law the best. Please let us know how he does with his coverage.

Barbara Thompson

Calling All Long Term Post-Ops

Was your surgery 9 or more years ago?

If so please drop me an email.

Should I or Shouldnít I?

Dear Barbara,

I am thinking about having lap band surgery, and I am scared to do something that will alter my life forever if there were any problem.  Yet, I have been obese well over 30 years and I am still young with a young son.  How well do people tend to do?  Are they uncomfortable afterward?  Obviously, I like to eat, and I fear a little being uncomfortably restricted, or having complications later in life.  Do you have any advice?

Thank you,

Dear Mary,
I love to receive letters such as yours, because it makes me reflect upon how I felt as I was deciding to have surgery. Mine was almost 10 years ago, and the lap band wasnít an option then. The type of surgery you have is best discussed with your surgeon, who knows you and understands your lifestyle and eating habits. But I can offer some words of advice on weight loss surgery in general.

I found that over my adult life, I got heavier and heavier, not by any dramatic weight gain, just little by little. I would gain between 5 and 10 pounds each year. If I had not had surgery, my weight right now would be at least in the range of 318 to 368 pounds. My quality of life which was bad then, would be horrible now.

You are 30 years old right now and you may only be suffering problems with the way people view you, or treat you.  As you get older, your weight will take its toll on your body in terms of co-morbidities, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, respiratory problems, sleep apnea, and joint disease. These co-morbidities will impact your life with your son, in terms of what you will be able to do with him, and how long you will be there for him.

Weight loss surgery does alter your life forever. Yes, it is true that if you have lap band surgery, it is reversible.  That is one of the great advantages to the lap band.  On the other hand, it is not good to go into any surgery with the idea that you will try it out to see how you like it.  It is best to view it as a lifelong commitment, whatever surgery that you have.

What is vital is that you have an excellent surgeon who has done hundreds of weight loss surgeries, and that you have your surgery performed in a Center of Excellence. To find a Center of Excellence, go to

As far as how well people do, I have to fall back on the line, ďresults will vary.Ē People who are younger tend to do better because they have a more active metabolism. The type of surgery will impact the amount of weight you lose. Some people follow the rules, others donít.  And then there really are people who just do not lose much weight following weight loss surgery even though they have really worked at it. But these cases are not common.

Yes, your eating will be restricted by the amount, and often by the type of food.  The restrictions tend to ease over time, but all that means is that it becomes harder to control your weight. If you donít want that restriction, then donít have the surgery. 

Yes, you will feel different when you eat. Every one of us who has had weight loss surgery loves to eat, and most of us still do.  Personally, I can eat everything.  My portions are smaller, and I have to be very careful with sweets because I will experience dumping syndrome.  But that just makes it easier for me to avoid what I shouldnít be eating anyway.

I recommend that you start to attend the support group meetings offered by your surgeon.  If your surgeon doesnít have support group meetings, or if the meetings arenít open to the public, find another surgeon.  Thatís a bad sign. At the support group meetings, you will have an opportunity to talk with people who have already had surgery. These are your best sources of information.

Weight loss surgery is a huge step.  You are right to question what life will be like. Going into my surgery, I was both anxious and apprehensive. I knew I wanted to have the surgery, but I was still frightened.  That is normal. Do more reading, talk to more people, and decide if this is what you want for you.


   Mexican Chicken

Mexican Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
1 packet Old El Paso seasoning
1 cup thick and chunky salsa
1 can Campbellís Healthy Request cream of mushroom soup
1 8 oz. container reduced fat sour cream

Sprinkle some of the taco seasoning on both sides of the chicken (you wonít need the entire packet). Place the chicken in a casserole dish.

Spoon the salsa over the chicken, and then spoon the soup over that. Cover and bake at 325į F. for 1 to 1 Ĺ hours. Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top.

It is important to learn how to determine the nutritional information of any recipe that you make.  This is extremely easy to do.  Refer to the nutritional information on the labels of all of the ingredients in this recipe, add then together and divide by the number of servings.  For the chicken, go to

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

Back on Track with Barbara

Internet Mentoring Program

Are you:

Suffering from emotional eating and canít stop?
Grazing on carbohydrates and canít control it?
Lacking inspiration to lose the weight you have regained?
Feel you donít 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!


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

Success Story:
  Rebekah M.

Sadly, this is my LAST success story.

Please support this newsletter.

If you have reached your goal weight (or close to it), you have a success story to tell.  Be proud of your wonderful achievement and let the world celebrate with you.

Send your success story with before and after photo files to me at and I will include your story in a future newsletter.

If you need help with the photo files, contact

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

Dear Barbara,
Like so many others that have had weight loss surgery, I was overweight most of my life. But it wasn't until after the birth of my second child, and my divorce, that I became obese. I tried and failed at many diets over the years, mainly because I would refuse to exercise along with the dieting. Honestly, I was just plain lazy.

I decided when my children were young that I would not date, and just concentrate on being a mom. Of course, this decision did not give me any incentive to keep the weight off.  By the time my children were in 11th and 12th grades, I decided that I would need to lose a lot of weight if I planned on having some sort of love life after my children were gone. I also knew I would have to start it soon. My confidence was so low, there was no way I would have been able to date at that weight.  

I had a friend that had gastric bypass surgery, and was losing a lot of weight. This prompted me to go to my doctor and ask her about it. I was 288 lbs at the time. She immediately agreed that this was something she thought I should do, so she sent me to see a doctor about 1 1/2 hours drive away.

About 6 weeks after my appointment with my regular doctor, I had gastric bypass surgery. Due to the numerous other abdominal surgeries I had in the past, my surgeon said he would not attempt to do the surgery laparoscopically, so I had my surgery as an open incision. I stayed in the hospital for 2 days, and then went home. I was miserable, and felt like I wanted to die for the first 2 weeks. I returned to work after 6 weeks, but the first 6 months I wished I had never had this surgery. I constantly felt like I had flu.  After about the 6th month mark, I slowly started to feel better.

I lost weight quickly, and at my 1 year post-op appointment, I was down to 177 lbs. At my 2 yr post-op appointment I was still at 177 lbs. I told my doctor that I would like to have a tummy tuck soon since I had been at a steady weight for a year. My doctor said that he didn't think I should do it, since he thought I should lose 35 more pounds. I don't normally second guess a doctor, but I stood up for myself and told him that I was ready for this next step. He said okay and we set up an appointment that was a couple of months out, which was when it was convenient for me.

This surgery took as long, if not a little longer than my bypass surgery, but I was sent home as soon as I woke up. They removed 8 pounds of loose skin and fat. I had very little pain recovering from this surgery, but my incision had a hard time healing in some spots. 

I am now 3 1/2 months post-op from my tummy tuck, and I feel good and look good. I exercise at the gym when I can, but stay active all the time. I use this tool daily to eat the way I should. I still don't eat much sugar because I know that I can't stop at a small amount, so I just don't start. Some days I miss my sugar, but then I look in my full length mirror and am thrilled with what I see. I see a flat tummy, so I know itís not worth eating that sweet item. 

I had a rough start to my journey, but the end result is wonderful! I like seeing men look at me, not because I am an obese woman that people stare at, but because I am a beautiful woman that they enjoy looking at. My confidence is high enough that I have now started to date a wonderful man.

Thank you for letting me share my story.

Rebekah M.
Battle Creek Mi

Congratulations Rebekah


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