Issue #211 July 1, 2011
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Blog Topics since last newsletter:
Weight Loss: Who is it For?
Life's U-Turns

In This Issue

Facebook WLS Private Group

Research Article: Bariatric Surgery Improves Sexual Dysfunctions
Back On Track with Barbara
Understanding Obesity

Ask the Expert July 5th

Kidney Stones
Success Story: Julie Dostal

Facebook WLS Private Group

I am so excited about my new Facebook group, called WLS Private Group.  It is categorized as a CLOSED group by Facebook.  This does not mean it is closed to new members. It is definitely open for new members and I hope you will join. A CLOSED group in Facebook means that only members of the group can read posts and comments. That provides members with the privacy that what they are discussing cannot be seen by anyone outside of the group membership.

The discussions in my WLS Private Group have really been great. Within the past day, the discussions have been about exercise, what's on your grocery list, eating out in a small town, and Greek yogart.

Here are some comments from members:
“I love this site! I sure wish this was around when I was a new post-op! I think I would be close to 300+ pounds off instead of working my way to 250 off. I am learning so much as well.” Carrie

“I thank you for having this group. I read everything every day.” Lora

“Isn’t this group wonderful? I have learned more here than in months of going to a normal support group.” Shelly

Please join us. We would love to have you. Just click on the box above.

Research Article:
  Bariatric Surgery Improves Sexual 
  Function in Female Patients

A study was reported at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) concerning how weight loss surgery impacts sexual functions in women. I have had many women contact me that their sexual function seems to have diminished since surgery, but this study says something else. In fact, the improvement was fairly dramatic. 

Of the patients in the study who reported sexual problems, 2/3rds of them found improvement following surgery. The study included 54 women, and the improvements were not dependent upon type of surgery or amount of weight lost.

If sexual function is of interest t you, click here to read the article from General Surgery News.

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.

Get Ready for Summertime Fun

Are you suffering from emotional eating and can’t stop?
Are you grazing on carbohydrates and can’t control it?
Are you lacking inspiration to lose the weight you have regained?
Do you feel that you don’t 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.

Understanding Obesity

I attended the New York Walk-a-Thon at Riverside Park in New York City recently. I was representing the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), and had the opportunity to talk to everyone about the important work that the OAC does. I chatted with many people there, and I have to share with you a conversation that I had with one woman. She commented that she participates in many walks for all kinds of causes and always asks friends and co-workers to sponsor her. People are normally very generous, except when it comes to this walk. People are very reluctant to support the cause of obesity.

One of the hardest barriers we deal with in our work at the OAC is the belief that if people support us, it enables us. Obesity is the most serious health risk to our nation and to our economy, and people want to solve the problem with “tough love.” “Why should we help them when they won’t help themselves?” is an often heard comment.

All of us need to educate people to the fact that we have not chosen this problem, and that it has many causes. Sure it is caused by our behavior, but how about the fact that those afflicted with obesity have more of the hunger hormone ghrelin than normal weighted people. How about the fact that we have slower metabolisms, and that many of us come from families who are also heavy. 

It is only after you have had surgery and have lost weight that you can get that message across effectively. I use myself as an example, and tell people about the many, many times that I dieted to no avail.  It was only weight loss surgery that provided me with the tool for success.

People need to understand that obesity is a serious health struggle and not just a personal weakness.  Please join the Obesity Action Coalition and help spread the word

Ask the Expert: July 5th

Join Barbara on Tuesday, July 5th at 8:00 pm Eastern as she talks with Dr. Eric DeMaria in the third of her “Ask the Expert” series.

In this session we will look at:

  Why we struggle 3 to 5 years after surgery?

  we can do about it?

  Does exercise really work?

  Protein – how much is too much and do we really need it?

  Water – the controversy!

  Any other topics you want to discuss!!!

Our focus will be on those of us who are struggling with their weight, and through TalkShoe you will be able to type your questions directly to Dr. DeMaria and hear his answers. You can “Ask the Expert.” Mark your calendar and join us!!! 

TalkShoe is a website that allows 2 people to talk while others can listen and type in questions. There is no charge to go to the website. With teleseminars, there is often a long distance phone charge, whereas this is free.

Go to for more information.

To hear the past sessions, go to

Kidney Stones

Dear Barbara,
I had weight loss surgery 5 years ago. I recently developed blood in my urine. I had numerous tests, and the urologist really couldn't find the problem. He guessed, however, that I may have had a kidney stone. He mentioned that it is common for people who have had weight loss surgery to develop them. Have you heard this?

Margaret Glancey

Hi Margaret,
Yes, I have heard this. Those who have had gastric bypass surgery are twice as likely to develop kidney stones. However, the rate is only 8%. It is thought that since we have more trouble absorbing calcium that this could be the cause. The remedy is to be sure to take calcium supplements. 

Here is an article about a study.

Success Story: Julia Dostal
  Life, Liberty, and the
   Pursuit of Happiness

I want to offer a special thanks to Julie Dostal for sharing her story with us that is just perfect for the 4th of July holiday. Here is her story:

Dear Barbara,
I am 4 years post-op with a lap band and am maintaining a 150 lb weight loss.  My highest BMI was in the 50's and today it is 27.  Life has changed significantly.  In thinking about the upcoming holiday, I wrote a piece about the freedoms that come along with weight loss surgery.  I wanted to share it with you and with your readership.  It is long, I am aware.  But, I wanted to take a chance that it may speak in a powerful way.


Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness-

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The themes of independence and liberty have come up a lot for me recently.  I have been philosophical in thinking about how the preamble to the Declaration of Independence applies to my life after weight loss surgery.  As I read the preamble, several phrases and words jump out at me.  To me, it is as if Thomas Jefferson knew that his words could have a very broad application and wrote them in way to make them accessible to more than just the members of the Continental Congress. It is as if he wrote the words to be universal in their appeal and transcendent in their meanings.

Truths that are self-evident; meaning truths that are obvious, truths that require no proof or explanation,they just “are.”  We are all created equal; we are endowed with certain fundamental rights by our Creator; we are endowed with life, with liberty, and the right to pursue happiness.

“Truth”   Truth is a powerful word.  And in the writing of this preamble, the author infused this simple word with even greater value by indentifying these truths to be self-evident.  Every truth that follows this very first thought of his phrase requires no proof because he is assured that it is in the very nature of The Creator that they be true.

As an obese woman, the notion that I was created as an equal to all others on this earth was foreign to me.  I always felt unequal.  In fact, I was often treated unequal.  This is one of the driving forces behind my over achieving ways.  It seemed to me that I was required to perform “above and beyond” in order to merely play in the same league as thin people.  Because society identified me as a “less than” person, I knew I was starting with a deficit that had to be overcome (and then some) in order to be perceived as equal.

In this instance, weight loss surgery has given me two things.  First, and probably most importantly, I have come to see myself as equal.  I no longer perceive that I must begin far behind the start/finish line where all of the rest of the world is standing. I no longer identify my own self as a “less than” person simply because I have the disease of morbid obesity.  I have a disease.  I did not cause it.  It did not seek me out because I was some sort of a deficient human being.  Therefore, like all others, I am created equal. Created.  Equality was always inherently mine, endowed by my Creator, I just didn’t know it.   Second, I am now treated as an equal.  Those who would be prejudice now have no physical basis upon which to hang their judgments. It is a sad fact of our society, yet it is nevertheless true.  I am treated more nicely, with greater respect, and with less scrutiny than I was as an overtly obese woman. 

We are endowed with life.  My life is forever changed by weight loss surgery.  I believe that my surgery has endowed me with additional life, longer life, and far greater quality of life.  Before weight loss surgery, I was looking down the barrel of a loaded musket of co-morbidities.  My genetics had already loaded the gun with high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.  My obesity had essentially cocked the gun, and my own behavior was shoving gun powder into the muzzle as fast as possible.  Now that I am a normal size, I have managed to significantly reduce the risk of that disaster-in-waiting.  It was a pretty sure shot that life as a senior adult was not going to be of high quality.  It was plausible that life could have gotten pretty bad, pretty quickly.  Weight loss surgery has managed to uncock the gun and has helped me unload some of that gun powder.  The bullets are still in the chamber.  I can’t change that because my genetics are my genetics.  However, I’m no longer pointing the gun at my own head.

I am endowed with life.  I intend to live my life to its fullest. 

Liberty is another one of those unalienable rights given to us by our Creator.  I had no idea how significantly my liberty was impacted by my obesity.  I was literally captive in my own body.  There were so many things that I couldn’t or wouldn’t do because I was either too large to do them comfortably or I felt too embarrassed.  I had conveniently made up great excuses that downplayed my inabilities to do certain tasks. 

My best word to express the way I feel about my post-operative life as it relates to liberty is “unshackled.”  I absolutely feel as if someone found the key to my handcuffs and leg irons and let me go. I am no longer walking around dragging 150 pounds of prison with me.  To be unshackled is to experience absolute freedom.  It is a kind of freedom that is enjoyed only by people who know what it is like to be “unfree.”  Those who have always had their freedom cannot possibly imagine the unspeakable joy that is associated with being released. 

I am able to move my body in ways that I never imagined to be possible.  I am always looking for new ways to move and new ways to express my body’s liberty from the ravages of a horrible, chronic disease. I am often like a two-year old who giggles in delight at each discovery of a previously unknown ability.  This liberty is priceless and makes me deeply grateful to The Creator for the weight loss surgery that set me free.

I am also grateful for the right to pursue happiness.  I am keenly aware that The Creator did not give me the right to immediate happiness; He gave me the right to pursue it.  Weight loss surgery has given me a new opportunity to pursue true joy in life on a variety of levels.   Some of my seeking brings me to things completely and utterly on the surface.  They are the transient things that do not have eternal value; reveling in new clothing, getting new hair styles, and wearing high heels.  However, most of my pursuit is on a much deeper, soul level.   

I have shed the physical layers that were so much a source of pain, shame, and a feeling of complete and utter failure. Having shed those layers, I find (much to my surprise) that happiness is still something that I have to pursue.  I was mistaken to think that my pursuit of happiness was the weight loss alone.  I thought surely thinness would equal happiness.  It does not.  The physical part of me that is left after the weight loss is merely the foundation for pursuit of happiness.  The new life that I have been given, along with the liberty that frees me are the building blocks of this third, but ever-so-important inalienable right.  It is the only listed inalienable right that contains a verb, it is the only inalienable right that required something of me from the moment I receive it. 

Each day is a new opportunity to pursue happiness. I find that achieving happiness is much more about me than about my achievements or situations.  It has become clear that living an event-driven life does not produce lasting happiness.  If I am waiting for an event to make me happy, then I have missed the point.  I can no longer allow myself to fall into the trap of “I’ll be happy when this happens or when that happens.”  That is transient.  Lasting happiness is my responsibility, through a connection with The Creator. 

I am sure that Thomas Jefferson was aware how significant the Declaration of Independence was and that it would take its place in the history of a nation.  Yet, I don’t believe that he could have possibly known that he was writing the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence for one woman who would draw strength from it more than 200 years later. 

So, I close with this thought; Thomas Jefferson may not have known that he was writing to me.  However, I am sure that The Creator was well aware, even in 1776, that this preamble would give me pause to take a few moments out of a busy week to acknowledge His presence, His gifts, and the truths about Him that are self-evident. I am sure that The Creator knew that I needed to stop and look at all He has given me through this miraculous process called weight loss surgery; equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; precious gifts that are only endowed by a loving Creator.  For these, I am eternally grateful.  For these I thank the Creator who created me.

Julia Dostal

Julia M. Dostal, PhD
Executive Director
LEAF Council on Alcoholism and Addictions
Oneonta, NY 13820

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.

Congratulations Julia

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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