Issue #218 February 1, 2012

In This Issue
B6: How Much Is Too Much
Back on Track with Barbara

What's the Story with Aspartame?

Inspiration to Lose Weight
Some Harsh Words about Paula Dean
Recipe: Flemish Beef Stew  
Success Story: Kathy Friar-Evans

How Much
  Is Too Much?

One of the many advantages of belonging to the Back on Track with Barbara program is that members can ask me questions and I will respond within 24 hours. If I can't answer the question, I will find someone who can.  Another advantage is having access to the extensive library of teleseminars that I have done for the program. I had a member contact me as a result of both.

She had listened to a teleseminar that I had done with Dr. Jacqueline Jacques from Bariatric Advantage during which Dr. Jacques had mentioned having too high levels of vitamin B6.  This member had very high levels of B6 discovered through blood tests and she wondered how significant that was.

I contacted Dr. Jacques and to my surprise, she said that B6 toxicity is a real concern. She doesn't see it often, but she has definitely seen it. But let me back up on this story just a little.

Click here to read the rest of the article on my Blog.

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 will give you the
support you need 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's the Story with Aspartame?

A reader asked:
I am 9 years post-op from my gastric bypass surgery and have only put on 10 pounds over that time.  I am wondering if you could address the dangers or problems you know about aspartame as an artificial sweetener.  As a result of my surgery, I don't drink any carbonated beverages or juice.  I am primarily drinking coffee, Crystal Light, water, tea and occasionally milk.  I seem to be able to go through a 2 qt pitcher on some days of the Crystal Light.  After reading about side effects, I find myself relating to the confusion, dizziness, nausea, depression and excessive thirst. 


Hi Linda,
I posed this question to Dr. Holly Lofton of New York University recently regarding the side effects that you describe; confusion, dizziness, nausea, depression and excessive thirst. Not everyone suffers those side effects. Some do, however.  Her approach is that if you have a sensitivity to aspartame, then you should avoid it.

Most diet sodas contain aspartame which studies have shown decreases the serotonin in the body.  Serotonin is the neurochemical that regulates emotions and appetite, among other things. Therefore a decrease in serotonin can cause depression which can lead us to turn to comfort foods as well as increase our appetite. So the diet soda that you are drinking may very well be making you more hungry and causing cravings.

Click here to read the rest of the article on my Blog.

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

Some Harsh Words about Paula Dean

When you had your weight loss surgery you had one of two reactions - you either wanted to shout it from the roof tops and tell everyone you know, or you wanted to keep it very quiet and treat it as your own personal business.

Paula Dean recently announced that she has known that she has had diabetes for the past three years. While I have always believed that one's personal health information can very well stay that - personal, it is evident over the past three years that Paula Dean's actions could have been quite different without revealing her health condition.

Click here to read the rest of the article on my Blog.

Recipe: Flemish Beef Stew

Winter is the perfect time for comfort food, foods that make us feel warm and cozy. Stew can do that, but not all stews have to be calorie laden, carb heavy food.  Here is a lighter version of stew that you can enjoy on a cold, wintery day.

Flemish Beef Stew


  • 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 pounds bottom round, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3/4 pound sliced cremini, or white button mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups brown ale, or dark beer
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the beef and brown on all sides, turning frequently, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker. Drain any fat from the pan. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and brown the remaining beef. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  2. Return the skillet to medium heat, add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they give off their liquid and it evaporates to a glaze, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms; cook undisturbed for 10 seconds, then stir and cook for 30 seconds more. Pour in ale (or beer); bring to a boil, whisking constantly to reduce foaming, until thickened and bubbling, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the slow cooker.
  3. Add carrots, onion, garlic, mustard, caraway seeds, salt, pepper and bay leaf to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  4. Put the lid on and cook on low until the beef is very tender, about 8 hours. Discard the bay leaf before serving.


Per serving : 272 Calories; 9 g Fat; 17 g Carbohydrates; 27 g Protein; 2 g Fiber;

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:
  Kathy Friar-Evans

I want to offer Kathy Friar-Evans a special thanks.  Here is her story:

Dear Barbara,
I had my RNY gastric bypass surgery over 11 years ago.  My BMI was 60, I was taking 16 medications, walking with a cane, and had numerous co-morbidities.  My highest weight was 353 lbs. and through surgery, I lost 225 lbs.  I dropped a total of 12 dress sizes.  Iíve been blessed with no complications in 11 years and have maintained my BMI. 

First, God gets the glory.  Heís molded me into the strong, committed, self-assured woman that I am today.  My weight loss surgery may have been complication-free,  but my life has not been. 

My past was full of abuse and dysfunction.  I finally ended my marriage, but not without suffering post traumatic stress disorder and completely losing myself.  I had to lose everything, including almost losing my life twice before I decided to turn all this adversity into something positive for me. 

The first step was weight loss surgery.  It gave me hope when I felt hopeless.   Itís not the easy way out!  My life had been anything but easy, but I was ready to channel what I learned from all that adversity and pain into something positive, encouraging, and hopeful for myself.  We learn nothing if we risk nothing.  Risking hurt, rejection, failure, and ridicule wasnít new to me.  It's how I chose to react to that adversity that is different! 

I have maintained my weight by working hard to change negative self-talk into positive self-talk; exercising; attending support group meetings; attending counseling; following the 12-step program; volunteering to help other weight loss surgery patients; having my own support group; staying accountable to people; having strict boundaries; vowing to never stop learning,  growing, and changing; and never quitting.  I chose to see my blessings, not my obstacles.  This journey is very hard, but so was my life before weight loss surgery.  This one has far better rewards.

It wasnít my fault that I was treated so badly the first half of my life.  But how I chose to react to my adversity was my responsibility.  I chose food, and made other bad choices that compromised my health.   Iíve learned to make better choices.  Many people think that I can now eat whatever I want, just in smaller quantities.  I say to them, ďI didnít have weight loss surgery so I could eat whatever I want, whenever I want.  I had weight loss surgery so I could DO whatever I want, whenever I want to do it!Ē  I could ďchooseĒ ice cream which I ate every day before weight loss surgery.  Instead I choose to wear gorgeous, sexy dresses when both of my sonís got married.   One son got married in Aruba, so weight loss surgery not only allowed me to fly to this tropical paradise for the wedding on the beach, but also to have an awesome vacation in my swim suit and shorts.  

From the very beginning, my primary focus has been on changing my behavior and attitude that caused my morbid obesity.  The number on the scale was secondary.  I acknowledged the invisible wounds on the inside, and found a new way to deal with them besides eating. 

I am a food addict. My success is measured one day at a time, not so much by the things Iíve done right, but by the lessons learned from the mistakes Iíve made and worked hard to not repeat.   Iím very committed to stay on track but Iím not perfect.  I screw up, but I donít give up! 

I hope you will join me on Facebook in my support group Kats Knotstofreedom as we untie the knots in our prison of obesity.  Can NOT, do NOT, may NOT, might NOT, could NOT, would NOT, should NOT, & am NOT good enough.

Kathy Friar-Evans

Congratulations Kathy

Drink Your Vitamins


Vitamin D,
and more

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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ďReprinted from Barbara Thompsonís free newsletter featuring helpful information and research material to help patients succeed following weight loss surgery.
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