Issue #199 December 15, 2010

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In This Issue
New Diet Drug Passes FDA Panel
Back on Track New Year's Resolution
Qualifications for Lap Band May Lower
Are You SAD?
Barbara Thompson's Inspiration to Lose Weight
Recipe: Mushroom Frittata  
Success Story: Sharon Ketchum

New Diet Drug Passes FDA Panel

An advisory panel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made great strides recently in the fight against obesity. The diet drug Contrave, which is a combination of the anti-depressant Wellbutrin, and the anti-addiction drug Naltrexone was recommended for approval by the panel. The FDA does not necessarily have to follow the recommendations of advisory panels, but it normally does.  The hearing will take place at the end of January.

It was somewhat a surprise that the panel approved the drug after the diet drug Meridia was voluntarily pulled off the shelves because it could trigger cardiac problems, and after two other diet medications were not approved by the panel, including Qnexa which has had the best success in trials.

Finally, there seems to be an understanding by the FDA that we need more tools in our tool box to help fight obesity, and that medications can help in this fight.

Back on Track with Barbara

Internet Mentoring Program

Its New Year's Resolution Time!

Are you suffering from emotional eating and can’t stop?
Are you grazing on carbohydrates and can’t control it?
Are you lacking inspiration to lose the weight you have regained?
Do you feel that you don’t know what to do now that you have had surgery?
Are you dying to be in better shape?

My Back on Track Internet Mentoring Program is just what you
need to start your plan to get your weight under control.

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

Qualifications for Lap Band May Lower

In the second surprising approval by an advisory panel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the lap band has been recommended to be used on people who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35, or a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 with one co-morbidity. The panel, with an 8 to 2 vote, recognized that the lap band is effective in weight loss, and that people need to be treated before they reach the point of being morbidly obese.

This will mean that a person who is 5’5”, weighs 180 pounds, and has high blood pressure, diabetes, or any of the other weight-related problems, would qualify to have a lap band. Or, someone who has nothing wrong, and is 5’5”, would need to weigh 210 pounds to qualify for a lap band.

Over the years, I have had so many people comment to me that they would love to have weight loss surgery, but weren’t heavy enough.  They mentioned that they considered gaining weight in order to qualify. If these lower limits are accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, they won’t have to. 

While this might mean that the number of lap bands will increase dramatically as 12 million more people would qualify for surgery, coverage of the surgery by insurance is not necessarily guaranteed for those with lower BMI’s. The cost of lap band surgery varies between $12,000 and $20,000. Currently 15 million people qualify. The number of those qualifying under the new guidelines would climb to 27 million.

This is an important step in the battle against obesity.

Are You SAD?
No, I didn’t make a capitalization error. I am referring to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a depression that is caused by a lack of sunlight. As we approach December 21st, the shortest day of the year, the lack of daylight can cause a chemical imbalance which in turn can cause a number of adverse symptoms which include:
Decreased energy and lethargy
Increased appetite with weight gain
Withdrawal from social situations

It can be a very rough time. I know, I suffer from SAD myself, a mild form, but Pittsburgh with the cold and lack of sunlight can be a bear! I have found that light therapy can really help.

Light therapy works by simulating real light and providing the same light spectrum as sunlight. By using a light therapy lamp for 30 minutes to an hour daily, you can have a positive effect on you outlook, mood and energy level. You will sleep better at night, awaken faster in the morning, feel more refreshed, be more optimistic, and have more interest in sexual activity. All good! It is not necessary to stare at the light, but the light should be on your face or shine onto your eyes while closed. It is necessary to have a special light that emits 10,000 lux. A regular lamp will not do.

The brand I use is from Northern Light Technologies from Canada. There is also the Verilux Original Natural Spectrum Deluxe Desk Lamp that has gotten very good reviews. You can order either of these on the internet.

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

Mushroom Frittata

This is a great dish for Christmas brunch.

Mushroom Frittata

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. chives or scallions, chopped
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
6 eggs
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, minced
1/2 cup cheddar or Provolone cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch round baking dish or flan pan.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Sauté shallot, garlic and chives or scallions for several minutes, or until softened. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté over high heat for another few minutes. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, whisk eggs only until blended; add salt, pepper, parsley and mushroom mixture. Pour into a baking dish, and sprinkle the top with grated cheese (almost any kind of hard cheese may be used).

Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in center comes out clean.

May be served warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.

Nutritional information per serving:
166 calories; 11 grams of protein; 12 grams of fat; 4 grams of carbohydrates

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:
Sharon Ketchum

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

Dear Barbara,
My name is Sharon Ketchum, and I am 59 years old. I am a wife of 37 years, a mother of two adult daughters, and grandmother of a great grandson.

My weight loss story is your typical story of being overweight as a child, and progressing into an obese adult. Of course, I tried all the diets out there; everything from the Diet Aides "candy" back in my early teens, to a Jack LaLane powder diet, the “rabbit food” diet, the boiled egg diet, the cabbage soup diet, an all-liquid diet, the one-meal-a-day diet, the Adkins low-carb diet, and the Susan Powter high-carb diet. The list goes on and on! I even tried getting shots in my arm that made me sick! I quit when I started throwing up blood!

I was pretty successful on Weight Watchers, and lost 70 pounds over about a 12-month time period. Then life got too stressful when my Mom and older brother died within 3 months of each other. I also went through an eight month period with my husband being unemployed, when he and over 2,000 others lost their jobs when the Bunker Hill mine in north Idaho closed down. Because I have always reacted to stress by soothing it with food, it didn't take long for the weight to pile back on, and then some.

I have always struggled with varying stages of depression. As a child and teen, my depression didn't have a name. I now know I was dysthymic, which is a constant low level of depression. After the birth of my first baby, I became very depressed. I didn't know about postpartum depression. It was 1975, and mental problems were not acknowledged very much by society in general.  If you suffered with depression, you pretty much suffered alone, or dragged your loved ones along for an emotional, confusing, and often times angry existence. I was very good at hiding my depression from the people in my life. You know the old saying, "Fat people are jolly people?"  That was me. 

After my Mom and brother passed away, my grief consumed me. I slid into major depression that lasted years. My comfort was my family, my faith in God, and the friends we made in our church. And there was food; there was always food. I ate my way through life.

The birth of my second child, the deaths of others I loved, the emotional aspects of moving from our home in north Idaho to southern Arizona, family strife, and coping with teenage angst fueled my depression. My Dad's death and subsequent arrest of his bride-widow nine years after his death, cast dark suspicion on whether he died of natural causes, or was murdered by the woman he married. It seemed like stress and anxiety just went on and on.  Through it all, I stuffed my emotions with food, my drug of choice.

In 2007, I had health issues that could not be ignored. I had high blood pressure; borderline diabetes; back, hip and foot pain; and severe sleep apnea.  At 309 pounds, I knew I was in trouble, and things had to change.  I began researching gastric bypass surgery.  My cousin had the surgery, and I watched her for a year to see how she did, and if she had any problems. She had amazing results, and said she would do it again " a heartbeat." 

I had gastric bypass surgery in 2008.  Because of too much scar tissue from previous surgeries, my surgeon could not do it laparoscopically. I ended up having major surgery, a longer hospital stay, and a longer recovery period. 

They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  Like my cousin, I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I learned to eat small bites, and to eat slowly.  Thankfully, I did not experience dumping syndrome. However, I learned that one bite too much made me sick and miserable; something I learned the hard way on several occasions!  I followed all the post-bariatric rules, and soon my weight began to melt away. It was wonderful!  I went through sizes quickly, and did my shopping at thrift and second-hand stores.  And I turned into a clothes and shoes horse! I could finally see my feet, so it was fun seeing cute shoes on them.  I was delighted with the whole experience; except for the loose skin and facial wrinkles!  I still laugh at the memory of an 82-year old woman telling me I should use Oil of Olay, because it would do wonders for my skin. She did have beautiful skin!

Everybody likes a happy ending.  I wish I could say I lost down to my ideal weight, and went on to conquer the world, but I can't. Christmas came, and we all know about the challenges of eating right when all that chocolate, cookies, and festive food is everywhere you look.  Up until then, I maintained control of food and eating correctly. So, I couldn't see any harm in making cookies to give as treats to my family and friends. My friend and I got together and made batches of cookies and fudge.  And of course, I had to sample!  I didn't get dumping syndrome, or an upset pouch. I got the equivalent of a dam bursting, with no way to hold back the flood.  I fell completely and utterly “off the wagon.” Cravings took over, and I began grazing constantly.  I thought about food all the time.  The old eating patterns returned, and every day I told myself I would get back on track and in control. Slowly I gained back almost 30 pounds of the 139 pounds I had lost. I became desperate to turn it around, and not gain it all back.

It was a major struggle and head-game over food, and I felt so defeated. I felt just like I did when I was obese, and food was all I could think about. I realized I needed help. I couldn't face the fact that I had put my life on the line to have major weight loss surgery, only to fail so miserably.  I knew my food issues were both mental and emotional.  I decided to find a way to change my feeling and thinking about food.  I knew a psychiatrist might help, but I also knew it would take a long time to analyze my issues, and frankly I didn't have the financial resources to pursue that option.

I had heard that hypnosis, or hypnotherapy, was helping people lose weight by helping them change their thinking about food and eating.  I signed up for 6 months of sessions at a well-renowned hypnotherapy center that offered positive changes, and a new way of thinking about food and diet.  It worked for me.  My anxiety is gone, and the cravings have gone with it.  I am back on track, and feeling so much better.

I wanted to share my story, because I want people to understand that yes, weight loss surgery works on a purely physical level with amazing results.  However, I think unless we deal with the mental aspect of our issues with food, and find a way to make peace with those issues, we are very vulnerable to weight regain and continuous struggle.

My weight loss journey is ongoing, and I still have more weight to lose.  It has nothing to do with vanity, and everything to do with the quality of my life.  I am happier.  As for the chronic depression, it is maintained with the help of a compassionate doctor who was willing to work with me through trial and error to find an anti-depressant that worked for me. I am looking forward to the rest of my life, and a happier and healthier future.

Sharon Ketchum

Congratulations Sharon

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.

Barbara Thompson

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 I might be able to help!

If you live in: Texas, Pennsylvania, or Maryland,
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Vitamin D,
and more

Drink Your Vitamins

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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