Issue #198 December 1, 2010

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In This Issue

* What Should I Eat?
* Back on Track with Barbara
* Pain Relief – the Results
* What Is Your “Why?”
* Success Story: Kalli Gail

What Should I Eat?

“What should I eat?” is the question asked of me more often in my Back on Track Program than any other. Being a weight loss surgery patient for life is very confusing.

We start off after surgery being told to eat protein, and often little else and we are told that carbohydrates are the enemy. That is a great suggestion for the first year as we heal and ensure that we have sufficient protein to deal with the great potential of loss of muscle mass as we lose weight so rapidly.

But then life happens and we realize that we cannot and should not eat just protein our whole lives.  It is that transition to a more “normal” way of eating that throws people into a tail spin. For some of us, we have gone from one diet to another, only stopping in between to eat in a very unhealthy manner. For the first time we need to eat in a healthy way as part of a way of life. There is no set “diet,” and there shouldn’t be. But here are some basic guidelines:

1.  Protein is still important. The 60 gram a day rule still applies. But you will be eating other food, so the caloric content of the protein matters. You will get far more calories in 6 ounces of filet mignon than 6 ounces of shrimp.

2.  Fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates and are important and healthy. Yes, look for 5 servings per day. If you cannot eat that much food, then eat what you can and strike a balance between the two. For instance, if you can eat only 2 servings have one serving of fruit and one serving vegetables.

3.  Become knowledgeable about food. For instance, when deciding upon which vegetable to eat, there is far more nutrition in broccoli than there is in iceberg lettuce which is basically water.

4.  Don’t forget the importance of fat. It helps to make you feel full and satisfied. Olive oil and avocadoes are good sources.

5.  Carbohydrates are good for you. Just make sure they are the complex kind such as those found in whole grains and beans.

6.  Calories do count. It is hard to say how many calories you need to keep you at a healthy weight. It depends upon a number of factors such as your age, your genes, how active you are, and how much muscle mass you have. You will need to journal and count calories for a period of time to make the necessary adjustments until you find the calorie count that works for you. Then you should just need to do that periodically or when you notice that you are gaining weight.

Those are some tips to start your journey. There are a whole lot more, but this will get you started if you are confused.

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.

Pain Relief – the Results

In the last newsletter I discussed pain relief medications for arthritis and cautioned against the use of NSAIDS because of bleeding in the pouch. To read that article, go to and select November 15.

I invited you to email me with your medications and remedies and got a great response.  Thank you all so much. But the results are all over the place.  I will report them here – and understand they are not an endorsement. I am merely reporting what you take and find effective. It is up to you to do the research and speak with your own doctor.

Here are the results in order of popularity:
Tramodel (Ultram) – many of you reported this to be helpful
Voltarin Gel – A topical NSAID which does not affect the pouch
Tylenol – regular, rapid release and extra strength
Anthrotec (a buffered NSAID)
Celebrex (NSAID)
Vitamin D (2 people reported that they were found to be Vitamin D deficient and taking Vitamin D made all the difference in their pain level)
Ibupropen (occasional use)

Receiving only 1 vote each:
Toradol injections
Diclofenac gel
Ultramax gel
Stop Pain (an OTC spray)
NSAIDS plus Prilosec
Dilaudid (liquid)
Lydocaine patch
Medical marijuana

It is quite a list. I was surprised at the variety of responses. But do your research, talk with your doctor and investigate if there might be something that will bring you greater relief than what you are taking.

What Is Your “Why?”

One thing I have found is that we all need a really good “why” to do things successfully. This was brought home to me recently when I was watching CBS Sunday morning, and Ben Stein was talking about happiness and a discussion that he had with a psychiatrist.  He asked the psychiatrist in general about the people that he treated, and who were happy and who were not.  The psychiatrist said that the happy people were those who decided what they wanted to do in life and went for it.  They took a chance and kept working at it until they reached their goal.  Those who were miserable and ended up as his patients were those who took the easy way in life. For instance they decided on a profession in which they would make a lot of money and always have a job and settled for that, letting their true passion fall by the wayside. Settling made them miserable.

I think we are like the successful people.  We decided that we wanted to do something about our weight once and for all, and we took a chance and had surgery. We did not do what everyone else does.  We kept working and working at it until we found a solution that worked.

We also had a good “why” for having surgery, bearing in mind that some “whys” are good, and some aren’t. For example, a “why” to have surgery because my husband or wife or significant other will love me more is a bad “why.” It means you are doing this for someone else other than yourself. A good “why” would be because you want to get off your medications and live a long and healthy life.

When we run into problems and start to regain some weight, we need to remember our “why” for having surgery, and maybe tweak it a bit so that it fits with your current life. If you had weight loss surgery so that you would be healthy and be there for your son and to set a good example for him, and now he is grown, perhaps you need to adjust that “why.”  The more the “why” is about you and what is important to you, the easier it will be to control your weight. Hold on to that “why” when you feel yourself spinning out of control.  That is particularly important through this holiday season.

Success Story:
Kalli Gail

I want to offer a special thanks to Kalli Gail for sharing her story with us. Here is her story:

Dear Barbara,

Weight loss surgery, what a twisty roller coaster!

Like most of you, I struggled with my weight for most of my life.  It started when I hit puberty.  All of a sudden my mother and aunt started to react differently to me.  I was put on numerous diets, as I am sure we all have.  I was given shots of pregnant horse’s urine (seriously?).  I tried fasting and ended up fainting at work.  I exercised.  I tried vomiting.  Some things were just awful, and other things only worked for awhile.  I did join the Navy and with diet and exercise, I was able to be as trim and healthy as possible.

Unfortunately, as my life progressed I went through several life-changing events that led to a depression so deep that only food could help.  It was only when my belly was full that I felt like I was even here.  Sometimes I would not want to brush my teeth because I wanted to keep the taste of something delicious in my mouth.  I was so ashamed, but I could not seem to stop.  The only time that I could stop was when I was so full that I could hold no more.

Of course I heard all the comments that people (men) made and that the general public feels is O.K. to say.  I was hurt and I was angry. 

I finally ended up at 338 pounds on a 5’ 6” body.  I was still able to function and earned my nursing degree as well as becoming a licensed massage therapist.  I felt good about these accomplishments, but I was still mired in all that weight.

I tried not to let it interfere with my life.  I would do crazy things that “big” girls were not supposed to be able to do.   There were always men that did not seem to mind having sex, but just did not seem to want anything more lasting. As you can tell, my level of self-esteem was pretty low.  After all, what good was it to be smart and nice if no one wanted to spend their life with you?

In 2001, I was granted a chance for a new life.  My experience is different than a lot of the ones that I have read, in that there was very little time between the decision and the deed.

Being a veteran and the fact that gastric bypass surgery was so new led to my being able to attain it in about four months.  Of course there were all the tests and psych appointments, but the day arrived practically before I was really ready.

I remember at the hospital a past patient was sent to do peer counseling. I was surprised to learn that alcohol could really reach a person’s system quite quickly, and could lead to a lot of highs.  This was probably not what the department thought would be passed on, but I remembered it, and unfortunately made the bad decision to use that information at a later date.

Of course post surgery was a struggle.  I was unable to wipe or clean myself for the first week due to the large vertical surgical site.  I was so embarrassed to have to ask for help from hospital staff, but I had no choice.  I began to hate chicken bouillon soup.  I found myself craving lemons.  One day I saw a wrapped up wedge and I bit into it.  It was so wonderful, and I could not believe how much better I felt.

When I got home, I pretty much stayed in a rocking chair for several weeks.  My sister brought me some liquid yogurt drinks, and they were so nice.  Water and most anything else seemed to hurt me. My nutritionist recommended putting lemon juice in the water, and that made all the difference for me. I remember drinking the yogurt and being so grateful for my sister.  I felt like I was drinking liquid love. 

After six weeks, I returned to work and went on an out-of-town trip with a friend.  I ended up getting really ill, and when I returned home, my potassium was so low that I was almost hospitalized.

The first year was tumultuous.  The weight seemed to just drop off me.  I followed all the rules, and I felt wonderful and hopeful after so many years of feeling that I did not belong in the world.  People were amazed at the losses, and I was always getting compliments.

The second year was wonderful too.  My weight stabilized, and I felt great for the most part.  I felt that, for a pear shape, I was almost too thin as it made my face really thin.

I met my husband and had a wonderful wedding.  I was in bliss.  However, there was always this part of me that felt like a fraud.  I mean, I had achieved the weight loss, but only with the “crutch” of gastric bypass.  I felt guilty every time I saw an overweight person, and felt that I always had to confess to anyone who gave me a compliment that I had weight loss surgery.  I was also worried that I might gain the weight back, and my husband would leave me.  My self-esteem was still shaky even with the new body.

There were times that I would have to vomit because I had eaten too quickly, too much, or the wrong thing.  I remember flying overseas, and I felt nauseated.  I asked for a ginger ale and started sipping it.  Suddenly I felt that awful feeling in my stomach.  I looked down at the glass and realized that I was drinking my first carbonated drink in two years.  Big mistake.

During the third year of my marriage, I fell and hurt my back.  After this, I was unable to do either of my professions.  I was also under some psychological stress, and my depression deepened.  I began to gain weight by out-eating my pouch.

At four years, I was doing better.  I started walking more and eating better.  As the weight started to come off, I was elated.  For the first time I actually felt more in control, and that my weight was dependant on me and not just the “crutch.”  This was empowering.

Now past the nine-year mark, my weight has normalized.  I feel good.  I had a total knee replacement and am walking better and of course more.  I was given a pedal device to work the knee and the results have been stunning.  Not only have I lost over 60 pounds, my thighs have improved. (Yeah!)

I will not bore you with the last three years, but suffice it to say that it was really bad and yes, there was alcohol involved.  I am glad to say that bad time is behind me.    

Now I feel in control, perhaps for the first time in my adult life.  No longer do I see the surgery as a crutch.  Now I truly see it as a tool to help me.  I have learned to listen to my stomach and to stop eating before I hurt myself.

I will always be grateful for this tool and the difference it has made in my life.  I still struggle with psychological issues but at least this feels good and I thank God and the VA every day for this wonderful gift. I feel at peace.

Kalli Gail

Congratulations Kalli

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


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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