Issue #226 December 2012

In This Issue

Stopped Losing Weight: What Now?

Back on Track with Barbara
What Is your Biggest Holiday Challenge and How Do You Cope?

Inspiration to Lose Weight

Living to Eat, Or Eating to Live
Recipe: Creamy Garlic Pasta with Shrimp and Vegetables

Stopped Losing: What Now?

I received an email recently from someone who had stopped losing weight and was very distressed. She had lost 70 pounds, and her surgeon was recommending that she lose 50 or 60 more pounds. Here is my reply to her:

It is scary and discouraging when you reach the point after weight loss surgery when you stop losing. It is always possible that you are on a plateau and your weight loss from the surgery will resume naturally, or it could be that you will really have to work at it.

There are several reasons that could account for why you stopped losing weight. Here are some of the most common:

1.  Have you been exercising? That is a very important component to reaching goal weight following surgery. I know we would just love if the weight fell off by itself any time we wanted, but unfortunately we do have to work at this after the first year.

Exercise alone will not burn enough calories to make a difference unless you are doing extreme exercises for a long period of time. But exercise will build muscle mass which will improve your metabolism. Also, exercise establishes a regimen so that you are more in the mindset to eat right. Everything seems to fall into place better if you exercise.

2.  Examine just how much you are eating. Even though we have had surgery, we are still the product of calories in vs. calories used. Even if you are unable to eat a lot of food at one sitting, if you are grazing, you can consume a lot of calories that will keep you from losing weight. We are all adverse to weighing and measuring food, but studies show that people actually eat 25% more than they think they do unless they weigh and measure.

Your eating can also be controlled by keeping a food diary. Yes, I can hear all of you groaning;  however, studies also show that keeping a food diary is one of the best methods to use when losing weight. It is very motivating. If you know you will be writing down a food that you are about to put in your mouth, then it forces you to stop and think whether you really need or truly want that food item. 

3.  Change your diet.  If you are eating the same food day after day, your body becomes so accustomed to the same food that your weight loss can stop. Your body becomes extremely efficient at getting at every calorie in the food you do consume and "using it against you."

4.  Check your medications. Are there any medications that you are taking that are known for causing weight gain? Your physician or pharmacist will know. If so, you can speak with your physician about the possibility of changing to a prescription that will do the same thing and not cause weight gain.

5.  Are you eating enough protein. It is important to eat 60 grams of lean protein per day to maintain muscle mass. If you donít and are not exercising, your muscle mass is decreasing which will slow your metabolism so that you are no longer losing weight.

There are many factors that could play into this. Don't lose heart. It may not be as easy to lose weight as it was right after surgery; however, it is so much easier than it was prior to surgery!

Back on Track with Barbara

Internet Mentoring Program

The Back on Track with Barbara Internet Mentoring Program really concentrates on lifestyle changes. Join our group and receive lessons via the internet and the support of others who are struggling just like you are.

Are you suffering from emotional eating and canít stop?
Are you grazing on carbohydrates and canít control it?
Are you lacking inspiration to lose the weight you have regained?
Do you feel that you donít 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.

What Is your Biggest Holiday Challenge,
  and How Do You Cope?

Prior to my weight loss surgery, Christmas was a huge challenge for me. I would gain five pounds every Christmas, and in the end, never take it off. This time of the year has always caused me problems, but usually problems of my own making.

There is just so much food.  It is everywhere, and heaven forbid any of it should be thrown away. There are cookies, and chips and wonderful dips, cheeses of all kinds and lots of dinners and parties to go to. I know it isn't just me that struggles at this time of the year.

One of my remedies -and I know this won't work for everyone, is that I just stopped baking. That helped me so much not to have a ready supply of homemade cookies staring at me. Inevitably, there would be many uneaten cookies. I would always bake too much. And I have this "thing" about throwing away food. I have a very hard time doing that unless the food is so stale it is inedible or it is spoiled.

I am not alone in this struggle around the holidays, so I would love to know what you do to get through the holidays without gaining weight.

Send your thoughts to me at and I will post them.

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

Here is a sample inspirational message:

#19  Listening to Your Body

Pay attention. You can hear it if you just listen. It is the messages that your body sends you. And those messages are very important.

If you overeat, doesn't your body tell you that what you put in your body didn't agree with you? You feel a little sluggish, or your digestion is a little off. There's a message there.

If you haven't exercised for awhile, do you feel that you are lacking some energy, and then when you start again you don't have the stamina that you had before? There's a message there.

If you aren't getting enough sleep because you want to watch just one more TV program, or you are too busy or stressed to sleep properly, are you dragging yourself through your days? There's a message there.

If you are lacking energy and your health is affected because you aren't paying attention to the vitamins you need to take, are you feeling the difference? There's a message there.

Your body sends you a lot of wisdom. Just learn to listen.

Living to Eat, Or Eating to Live?

There is a point that some people reach after having weight loss surgery when they truly "eat to live, rather than living to eat." I know all of you know what I mean. It is the point when food no longer governs your life.

Prior to surgery, we were led by food. If we went to a grocery store, we would know in advance when there was the greatest chance of getting samples. We never passed up a sample and would be sure to walk down the aisles where the distributors stood. They became our best friends.

When you were asked to bring a dish to a party, you always made a very luscious dish, because you were making it for company. You would never feed such fattening food to your family even though it was the best thing you ever tasted. And of course, you made more than necessary, and brought your own leftovers home. You can't let them go to waste. And who ended up eating those leftovers?

And how about the buffets? You just have to have a little bit of absolutely everything. After all, you might not like something, and then end up with not enough food! And there is a definite magnetism to "free food." You already paid for that food, so it is a shame to not take advantage of it.

But there are people who have weight loss surgery who have turned that corner, and are no longer slaves to food. Most people turn the corner almost immediately after surgery, but then get to the end of the block about 5 years after surgery and turn another corner back in the direction of "living to eat" again. It can be very discouraging. Just when you thought you had eating "licked," it rears its ugly head again! So how do you get it under control? And why does it happen to us?

The International Conference on Obesity in 2010 took up the issue. Studies show that the brains of those who are affected by obesity react differently than the brains of normal-weight people when confronted with sweet or fattening foods. Brain scans showed very strong reactions in the reward, desire, attention, memory and planning parts of the brain of those affected by obesity when shown pictures of items such as cake, pies and French fries. Those reactions were not there for normal-weighted people.

Such studies have been presented at or conducted by Columbia University, the University of Pittsburgh and Yale University. People who are affected by obesity react much more strongly to food than those who are not.

But the first question is, does weight loss surgery change our brains? Are the chemical reactions altered after surgery? There is a very common saying that weight loss surgery is done on the body and not on the brain. We talk about "head hunger" as if it some little thing we can easily overcome. But, perhaps because of our altered anatomy after surgery, we are able to react differently to foods that are bad for us.

What I do believe is that the struggle continues. We have not fought our last battle the day we have surgery. We are much better armed and at least we have a good fighting chance, but it is still a battle. Being aware of studies such as this hopefully warns us and makes us more prepared.



Creamy Garlic Pasta

  with Shrimp and Vegetables

This recipe is so colorful and delicious and cooks up quickly for a fast week-night dinner.

6 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
12 oz. peeled and deveined raw shrimp, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch of asparagus peeled and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper thinly sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 cup nonfat or low fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add spaghetti and cook 2 minutes less than package directions. Add shrimp, asparagus, bell pepper and peas and cook until the pasta is tender and the shrimp are cooked, 2 to 4 minutes more. Drain well.

2. Mash garlic and salt in a large bowl until it forms a paste. Whisk in yogurt, parsley, lemon juice, oil and pepper. Add the pasta mixture and toss to coat.

3. Toast pine nuts by placing them in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until fragrant. About 2 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle over pasta mixture.

Makes 4 servings, about 2 cups each.

Nutritional Information per serving:
385 calories, 6 grams fat, 53 grams carbohydrates, 34 grams protein, 10 grams fiber.

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

Chew 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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