Barbara Thompson

Weight Loss Surgery


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Weight Loss Surgery:
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.


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Issue #159

Feb 1, 2009


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In This Issue


* Weight Regain: Whatís It All About?
* Recipe: Spanish Chicken and Rice Soup
* Success Story: Faye Harbin

Weight Regain: Whatís It All About?

A year ago I asked all of you via a survey what keeps you up at night, what you are most concerned about. Seventy percent of you responded that you fear weight regain more than anything. And that is understandable. After years and sometimes a lifetime of battling morbid obesity, through surgery we have been able to experience weight normalcy and we fear that it will slip through our fingers. 

Before surgery we heard stories from concerned family and friends about all of the people who died from the surgery.  Now after we have had surgery, we hear all the stories about people who have regained all of their weight.  You canít help wondering if that will be your fate. 

So why is some weight regain so common after surgery? Here are some thoughts:

1.  Problem: After gastric bypass surgery, weight loss is so easy that we donít learn the lifestyle changes necessary to maintain our weight.

Remedy: Recognize that weight loss will never be this easy again.  Lose as much as possible during the Window of Opportunity period which is the first 12 to 18 months. Donít delay your weight loss during that period because of a cruise, the holidays, vacation, a party or wedding, a stressful period, or a host of other excuses. Your job during your first year is to eat properly and exercise. Do everything you can to reach your goal.

Remedy: Get nutritional counseling on how to eat in order not to regain weight.

Remedy: Journal.  Writing down everything that you eat is recognized as the most effective way to control weight.

2.  Problem: We donít exercise often because our excess weight has made it impossible. We have bad backs, bad knees, or bad feet. We have learned to associate exercise or even movement with pain. To now embrace exercise is difficult.

Remedy: Make a list of exercise possibilities for you. Some of them might include to hire a personal trainer for a few sessions, join Curves, walk through the mall, dust off the old exercise equipment and use it, take an exercise class, do water aerobics, or buy a WII Fit.

Remedy: If you aren't accustomed to exercise, do it in baby steps.  You will not be able to exercise like a pro for a long time.  Start slowly - just a few minutes a day. Exercise is something that you have to build up to.

3.  Problem: We donít deal with emotional eating issues. Part of why we are the way we are is that we eat our way through our problems. We live to eat.  Eating is such a part of our lives that not having what we eat as the center of our world is a hard place to get to. Although right after surgery we have it under control, after 2 or 3 years the emotional eating issues can return.

Remedy: Seek counseling to deal with those emotional eating issues. Get to the bottom of why you deal with problems through food. Read about emotional eating.  There are a lot of books to help you.

4.  Problem: We get to a point where we are hungry. This can be from eating too many carbohydrates which will start carbohydrate cravings. It can also be because we have stretched our pouch or stoma.

Remedy: Avoid simple carbohydrates which are found in sweets, white breads, white pastas, etc. After protein, diet of complex carbohydrates is important.  Complex carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Build your diet around these.

Remedy: If your pouch and stoma are stretched, there are surgical remedies that will make those smaller. A lap band can also be put around the pouch.

Whatever the source of weight regain, the most important thing is to catch the problem as early as possible. Donít let it get out of control and donít panic. You can find a way to deal with the issue no matter what it is.

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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 for 2009?

 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.

  Spanish Chicken and Rice Soup

2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth, defatted
ľ cup dry sherry or dry white wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Ĺ teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon saffron, or ľ teaspoon turmeric
Ĺ teaspoon salt
ľ teaspoon black pepper
Ĺ cup long grain rice
ĺ pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 cup frozen peas

In a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole, combine the broth, 3 cups of water, the sherry, garlic, paprika, saffron, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat, add the rice, and cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.

Add the chicken and bell peppers to the pan. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the rice is tender and the chicken cooked through, about 15 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook just until the peas are heated through.  About 1 minute.

Makes 4 serving. Nutritional value of each serving:
256 calories, 23 grams protein, 28 grams 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:
  Faye Harbin

I am getting very low on success stories.  If you havenít done so already, please send me yours along with your before and after pictures. It is how you can give back for what you gain from this newsletter.

If I used your story in one of my past newsletters, your updated story and new photos are welcome.

Send your story and pictures to me at

I want to offer Faye Harbin a special thanks. Here is her story:

All my life, I was very small and petite, very active and full of energy; however, when I turned about 40 years of age, I put on a little weight-not too much, but more than usual for me. By the time I was 46, I was wearing a size 12, whereas I had always worn size 5 and 7.

Then in 1992 my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimerís. I was able to care for him at home; however, we were confined for a couple of years.  During that time, I starting gaining weight due to the stress, depression, eating junk food and sweets which is all he wanted to eat.  My husband passed away in 1996, but I did not lose the weight.  The stress was still present in my life because for the first time in my life, I was alone.  I left my parentís home when I married and then I was married for 33 years, so I had never been by myself.  Needless to say, I did not prepare and eat the right foods.

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, acid reflux, a heart murmur, and finally diabetes.  My blood pressure was so high, I had to take three different medications a day to keep it down, but never normal.  Then I was placed on a breathing machine for sleep apnea.  When all the diagnosis was complete, I was taking 13 prescription pills a day and was only able to do water aerobics because of the arthritis pain in my lower back, hips, and knees.  Needless to say, I did not lose any weight, but gained additional weight.

In 2005, I starting thinking intently about losing weight however, I had tried every diet that came along, with no success.  With Weight Watchers, I did lose about 20 pounds, but quickly put it right back on.  Then I decided I would check out gastric bypass surgery as I had known several people who had this surgery with complete success.  I researched the procedure and talked with everyone I saw that had the procedure.  I approached my family physician to see what he thought about it.  After seeing that I was serious about it, he agreed that it might just work for me.  He then referred me to a wonderful surgeon who agreed I would be a good candidate for this procedure because I was morbidly obese.  I was 5í 1Ē, weighed 224 pounds, and wore size 20 womenís clothes.

On November 14, 2006, I had the procedure done at Piedmont Medical Center by Drs. Espinal and Bohanian.  In my opinion, I was a textbook case because I had no complications at all.  I immediately felt better; probably most of it then was psychological, but I knew I was going to be fine.  It seems like the weight just fell off, but of course, I did everything by the book.  I wanted it to be a success.  I didnít want to have gone through all that for nothing.  I started to exercise as soon as the doctor gave me permission.  At first, all I did was walk.  Then I started back to water aerobics because that was all I had been able to do before.  Shortly though as the weight started coming off, I was able to do more exercise.  I joined a step aerobics class and started dancing.  I have always loved to dance, but the arthritis had stopped me from doing much of that.

Now, that I have lost 112 pounds, I am able to dance a lot.  I belong to 2 dance clubs and dance at least one night a week (3 Ė 4 hours).  I also do step aerobics for one hour, three times a week.  Sometimes I dance for 2 or 3 nights a week.  I feel great and have tons of energy.  I now weigh 112 pounds, which means I have lost exactly half my weight.    My clothes are now size 4 Ė 6.  I no longer have sleep apnea, high blood pressure, acid reflux, or diabetes, however I still have the arthritis, but no problem with my knees or hips.  I can walk 2 miles easily.  I am able to keep up with my two teenage granddaughters.

I can truthfully say my life has changed dramatically and I am so happy, and feel that I am very healthy now.  I am planning on a long, healthy life

Faye T. Harbin

Congratulations Faye


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