Issue #190 July 15, 2010

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In This Issue

* Which Is Better?
* Inspiration to Lose Weight
* Research Article: Sexual Dysfunction
* Are you looking for information?
* Back on Track with Barbara
* Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Cake
* Success Story: Sherry Johnson

Which is Better?

Our own debate continues, “My surgery is better”, “No my surgery is better!” But did you ever wonder what surgery your surgeon would have if he or she were having weight loss surgery? Well the results might surprise you.

The surgeons who responded to a survey sent out by physicians at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, gave different answers depending upon a Body Mass Index (BMI) and whether or not they hypothetically had diabetes.

If you had diabetes and a BMI between 35 and 44.9, which surgery would you have?

58.3% would have gastric bypass surgery

If you had no diabetes but had a BMI between 35 and 44.9, which surgery would you have?

45.9 % would have lap band surgery
27.8% would have gastric bypass surgery
25.9% would have gastric sleeve surgery

If you had a BMI of 45 – 54.9 and diabetes, which surgery would you have?

72% would have gastric bypass
13.9% would have lap band surgery
9.3% would have the gastric sleeve

To read the full article and to find out more, go to   

So there is no “better” surgery. It just depends upon what someone’s BMI is, and what the co-morbidities are. What is a “better” surgery for one is not necessarily the “better” surgery for another.  It is a personal determination made between the patient and surgeon.

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

Research Article:
  Sexual Dysfunction

I am often asked if having weight loss surgery causes your sex drive to diminish. A study which was reported at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) in June says no. The study was performed by Dale Bond, PhD, of Miriam Hospital and Brown University of Providence, RI.

The study was small, 54 females, who were in a stable relationship and were sexually active. The study used measures designated by the Female Sexual Function Index. Prior to surgery, 63% of the women reported sexual dysfunction.  After surgery the percentage had dropped to 22.2%, which is about the same as found in women of normal weight.  Based on these responses, women enjoyed sex a lot more after they underwent weight loss surgery than they did before they underwent the procedure.

An earlier study reported in the journal, Obesity 2006 found that women who are candidates for weight loss surgery have a higher incidence of sexual dysfunction compared with women of lower BMI’s. However the study just reported at the June ASMBS meeting was the first study that looked directly at the effect of weight loss surgery on a woman’s sex drive. 

Click to read a more complete report

Are you looking for information?
Do you need information about obesity or weight loss surgery, but don't know where to find it? 

Barbara Thompson has been producing this Newsletter and her website, WLS, for over 10 years. It is a good possibility that she has written an article that will answer your questions.

There are two ways to find information in Barbara Thompson's articles.

Read past newsletters by going to the Newsletter Archive Section located at the bottom of
Do a search of specific words by going to the Search Box located at the bottom of

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!

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

  Vegan Chocolate Cake

I would like to thank Pam Caswell for submitting this recipe for vegan chocolate cake which she describes as yummy and easy to prepare.

vegan chocolate cake

1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup cold water
1 tsp. baking soda
3 Tbsps cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour

1.   Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray (like Pam) and then wipe out the excess.

2.   Combine all the dry ingredients into a bowl. mix well with a fork.

3.   Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and then add all the wet ingredients into the well.

4.   Mix together with fork until well blended. pour into bundt pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

5.   Let cool completely.

6.   Dust with powdered sugar when completely cool.

serves 8

Nutrition facts

calories 244 calories from fat 86
total fat 9.5                                   15%
saturated fat 0.838g                4%
polyunsaturated fat 2.767g
monounsaturated fat 5.41g
cholesterol 0mg                            0%
sodium 304mg                             13%
potassium 58mg
total carbohydrate 37.82g            13%
dietary fiber 1.3g                       5%
sugars 18.91g
protien 2.82g                                 8%
vitamin a 0%
vitamin c 0%
calcium 1 %
iron 3%

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:
  Sherry Johnson

I want to offer a special thanks to Sherry Johnson for offering her success and insights to us. Here is her story:

Dear Barbara,
My moment of truth was when I was lying in bed one day in January 2009 about to inject an autoimmune suppressant for multiple sclerosis, a disease I live with everyday. I was so overweight that my stomach was stretched to the point that it appeared to be tearing. I was frightened as I poked the needle into my stomach, for fear of popping it. My epiphany came, "lose weight or die."

At the peak of my obesity and eating disorder, I carried 215 pounds on my petite 5'3” frame. Before my weight loss surgery, I had a wide variety of medical conditions, including neuro-cardiogenic syncope (correlated to the multiple sclerosisin my case), acid reflux, back and hip pain, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, chronic fatigue and chronic severe pain. To manage these conditions, I took in excess of 38 pills daily, and was ready to purchase a mobility scooter. I also underwent surgery for stage 3 melanoma cancer in my stomach, before it went to the lymph nodes. Given my excessive weight and numerous medical conditions, I had given up on myself in a fundamental way. 

I was never a heavy person growing up, and gained my weight due to my medical conditions, depression, and fear and anxiety associated with them. A diagnose of multiple sclerosis at age 19 was a new complexity, and brought pain and illness to my life. The pain increased, and I ate to numb the pain physically and emotionally. I became very sick with extreme vertigo that limited my mobility and ability to care for my daughter. I also went through a painful divorce when I was 25, with a small daughter to raise alone.

I work as a Marriage & Family Therapist, and for the Department of Corrections. Some people turn to alcohol or drugs, but my drug of choice was food. I was lost in my addiction for about 10 years, and tried every diet known to man. It is imperative to say my disease progressed to the point of me eating out of the garbage at times, isolating myself and just living to eat every day. I pulled away from others, and turned toward food, which was not a fun life. I felt as though society viewed me as fat and lazy. I had limited clothing options that weren't always the most flattering. I did not like the maternity style they always followed. Mostly it was painful to have to dress the way society saw me.

Even under a doctor’s supervision, I could not shake the weight, or even if I lost weight, it would be right back on in a matter of months. I was killing myself trying to better myself. I was so desperate and hopeless.  My best guess to date is that I spent in excess of $22,000 on diets trying to control something I could not, without the help of weight loss surgery. 

I started to investigate different weight loss surgery options. I interviewed doctors, patients and talked with family and friends about the risks and benefits of weight loss surgery. Some friends thought this may be another ploy to get skinny, but when my medical situation changed, my perspective changed. You can’t do this surgery to be skinny; it’s too much work. You have to have more than that as a motivation.

After all the research, I decided the best option for me was lap band surgery, and in April 2009, I scheduled my surgery for June 23, 2009. My insurance denied me to go to the doctor and use the team I selected, 3 days prior to my surgery date, which they had already pre-approved. I am still fighting my insurance company. I was devastated, but I decided to self-pay the procedure to get my life back! This is one of the positives to self-pay. You select what type of procedure you will have, and the team you want to support you.

My grandfather gets full credit here as well; he passed way before my weight loss surgery, but he knew I had multiple sclerosis. I inherited his home when he passed, which allowed me the ability to pay for the weight loss surgery. I know he is looking down upon me, and knows I am doing the right thing to live again. I love you helped me save my life.

Between the time I scheduled in April and the surgery date, I gained an additional 15 pounds, because I was struggling psychologically with having a medical procedure to stop my addiction. I gave myself permission for the first time in my life, to eat whatever I wanted with no judgment or guilt about food. It is recommended you lose a percentage of your weight before surgery, my journey was just different. My surgery team knew why it was happening, and they talked with me instead of punishing me and denying my surgery.

My new life birth date was/is June 23, 2009. I have to say it feels much longer than a year since my surgery. The journey has not always been an easy one, especially continuing to fight against multiple sclerosis and cancer. But I am now 120 pounds, and I have learned so much on my journey. My largest size was a 20, and I am now a comfortable size 2! My previous BMI was 41, and now it is 21! That is a 20 point BMI drop. My labs every 3 months used to contain all bad news, and more medications or appointments. Now my lab work is normal!

All of my medical conditions have improved or completely disappeared since my weight loss surgery. After my surgery, I required fewer and fewer corrective medications, and now, just one year post-op, I only take 1 medication to offset the required injections of autoimmune suppressants! And I am in remission from cancer!

My lap band has become my conscience. It does not allow me to eat the way I might like to when I get the urge to binge. If I try to binge, I vomit instantly. Did I mention I hate to vomit! You definitely must be committed every day to make it work. If I don't eat my recommended protein level, I feel sick within days.

This surgery is not a joke, and it is not the easy way out. I get angry when I hear someone speak like that out of ignorance. They have no idea what someone who has had weight loss surgery has to endure to be successful. Dedication is a must to success. Having a lap band is a tool, not a magic solution to allow you to sit back and continue with bad lifestyle habits.

I have struggled with bowel issues; mostly multiple sclerosis related, but the weight loss surgery has complicated matters, because I mostly eat protein. Carbs and roughage of some sort can get "stuck" in your stoma and feel really painful until it passes or comes back up. On occasion my lap band has been adjusted too tightly to the extent that I can’t eat. Trust your doctor’s recommendation when he is adjusting your lap band fill. He or she knows best. Don't be in a hurry to lose the weight, and ask for more than what is a recommended fill.  

The lap band fills are helping me stay connected to my body, although I am still learning, and am in the infancy stage. My head plays tricks on me too, telling me that I am hungry when I am really not. I have also struggled with body dysmorphia. I still often feel the size I was prior to weight loss surgery, even though I am not.

And here comes the real kicker. You can still cheat the lap band if you try. But I ask myself why one would do that when they have suffered so much already. Certain foods can slip right through the band. You just have to ask yourself if the slip is worth the price you pay for it? This is why it is imperative for you to participate in support groups, be honest with those close to you, and take this surgery seriously.

Without some form of exercise or movement, the surgery isn't going to work long term. I have incorporated a 5-lb hula hoop into my life for core conditioning. I walk, hike and play Frisbee with my service dog, Lucy. I park outside the handicap zone, even though I have my handicap tags. And I am swimming again regularly. I am in recovery! I am so humbled and blessed. Pay it forward, and give service to others struggling with obesity. Spread the word!

I have learned that if you don't fix" whatever put your weight on, such as depression, fear, abandonment, or grief, you will easily put the weight back on. I think the weight is just a symptom of a much bigger issue psychologically. It is critical for me to continue to examine my beliefs about food. How I eat shows how I view and care for myself. I am finally reflecting on the outside, what I feel like on the inside - complete oneness with self.

The key to success for me with the lap band is weekly individual therapy. Weight loss surgery support groups as needed, nutrition/eating disorder counseling as needed, and being honest with those close to me, all help tremendously. I used to live to eat, and now I eat to live.

I have also learned that many things change after weight loss surgery. Friendships, especially with those binge buddies, can become strained. Eating out socially is difficult. It is hard to justify paying $15 for three bites. And sometimes the reactions of others can be so alarming. You don't see the changes as others do, so when they react by saying something such as, "are you healthy?" it’s imperative to educate them about your process. 

Weight loss surgery has its own underground subculture. You either get it, or you don't. I suggest to all that have a loved one who has had weight loss surgery, to read a brochure or attend a support group meeting. I suggest also that they try to understand what their loved ones are dealing with after weight loss surgery, instead of judging or commenting on things they don't understand. “Don't be someone else's food police,” I tell them.

I feel like I was in a costume for the last 10 years, and now I am me and out of the costume. I am comfortable in my skin again! I am now in recovery, and it is going to be a journey that I ride every day. However, for now, my addiction and acting out with food has ceased. It’s on the back burner. But one thing I learned from attending Overeaters Anonymous for years prior to my decision to have weight loss surgery is, "don't underestimate your disease/addiction. When you’re doing good, and not paying attention, your disease/addiction is in the corner doing one handed pushups."

Don't forget where you came from. Unlike drug addiction where you can remain abstinent, food is needed to live, which makes it hard for a person addicted to food to make the right choices. I live with the psychological struggle of wanting more food than I need, every day. It is a tough road, but I am in this for life. I did not go into this surgery as a surgery that some say is "reversible." Yes, if I want to return to where I came from, I can think that way, but no thanks. I chose to be altered for life with my lap band, and I am so glad I did.

Sherry Johnson

Congratulations Sherry

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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