Barbara Thompson

Weight Loss Surgery


A FREE publication from


Hosted by Barbara Thompson
Author of:
Weight Loss Surgery:
Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.

Issue #143

June 15, 2008


If you have a slow internet connection, wait 1 minute to play.

The above video requires free Flash Player.  

In This Issue


* Announcing a Brand New Edition
* Plateaus: Hitting the Wall and Bouncing Back
* Quick Tip: Grazing
* Research Article: Counseling Bariatric Surgery Patients
* Recipe: Chicken Zucchini Stew
* Success Story: Tammy Larson

Announcing the Brand New 4th Edition
  of Weight Loss Surgery; Finding the
  Thin Person Hiding Inside You


I started my weight loss surgery journey in 1998 when a doctor recommended it to me.  I delayed having it until I could research the surgery more and feel more comfortable with such a drastic change in my life. I also thought I could diet one last time and it would work.  We all know what that is like.

I have a Masters in Library Science and research comes naturally to me. But what I found at that time was that everything was written surgeon to surgeon and there was nothing written patient to patient. So I began amassing information.

I had my surgery in 2000 and six months after the surgery, with all of this research piled around me, I started to put what I had learned into a book and Weight Loss Surgery; Finding the Thin Person Hiding inside You was born. The first edition was published in 2001 and was the very first weight loss surgery book written by a patient for patients. It quickly became the gold standard for patients and has been recommended highly ever since.  When the newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer did an article about weight loss surgery, they interviewed many patients.  Because all of the patients told the reporter that my book was invaluable to them not only before the surgery, but a year afterward and that they continually referred to it, the Philadelphia Inquirer dubbed my book, ďThe bible among bypass patients.Ē 

Weight Loss Surgery; Finding the Thin Person Hiding inside You has gone through 3 revisions since then; the last revision was in 2003.  There have been a lot of changes in the weight loss surgery field since then, especially with the growing popularity of the lap band. I have just published the 4th edition and they are hot off the press, complete with a new cover. 

I am offering the new 4th edition book to only my newsletter subscribers, at a special introductory discount of 25%. Enter the word NEW in the Coupon Code box on checkout.  Be sure to click the APPLY button to the right of the Coupon Box.

Click here to order.

  Hitting the Wall and Bouncing Back

Does this scenario sound familiar? You are nearing your goal weight or you have gained a few pounds, so you ramp up your determination to lose weight. You eat right and exercise and then get on the scale and find that you have not lost a pound, or worse, you have gained.

Or how about this scenario. You had your surgery 4 months ago. You have been losing at a nice fast rate, but all of a sudden you stop losing weight. You start to wonder, ĎIs this all I am going to lose? Am I going to be one of those that weight loss surgery doesnít work for?'

It can be so frustrating. You have hit the Weight Loss Wall Ė the dreaded plateau. You may want to throw up your hands and say, ďWhatís the use? Why do I work so hard and why do I even try?Ē Do you crash and burn or do you rise from the ashes?  It is at that point when you are very vulnerable to gaining weight. It is a dangerous time. You are experiencing what we have all been through so many times. Do you give up or do you have patience and just keep going?

One flaw in all of this is that we think of weight loss as a steady progression, which it is not.  We just donít normally lose weight consistently. Right after surgery it was that way, but that was a medically induced very special time that will last a short time in the whole scheme of things. True weight loss consists of three phases; weight loss, plateaus and small weight regains. As much as we donít like it and only want the one third of the process that is the weight loss, the reality is that it is a 3 part process.   

You know that our bodies play tricks on us holding onto and adding pounds for no apparent reason. Sometimes it can be linked to salty foods (I never weigh myself the day after I eat Chinese food!), it may be a monthly cycle, or it may be the evil scale gremlins that donít want you to lose weight because they want you to be prepared for the hardships of winter so our species will survive.  Those gremlins havenít gotten the message that there are grocery stores and fast food places in abundance within a mile or two of just about everyone. Donít give into those gremlins Ė theyíll just laugh at you!! Take a deep breath and keep going.

So how should you handle these dangerous times? What do you do when you you step on the scale and donít have the results you think you should?

  • Stop and take a breath. Donít do anything with the exception of drinking water for at least 30 minutes.
  • Consider that perhaps you are eating more than you thought.  Start a food journal immediately. Mark every bite down and then analyze what you have eaten.
  • Change the food you normally eat.  We get into a routine of eating the same thing everyday for breakfast and lunch and even snacks.  Dinner is usually the only thing that we put variety into. Your body will adapt and learn how to process that food very efficiently so that you are burning less of it. Try new foods.
  • Change your exercise. If you arenít exercising, then start.  But start slowly.  If you donít exercise and try to do it for an hour, you may do it for a day, but the next day you will probably come up with an excuse not to. Start with 5 minutes every day and work your way up.  If you are exercising, try something new.  Your muscles may have built up from those exercises and what was initially an effort is now a breeze.  Find another challenge.
  • Be sure that you have realistic goals.  If you are trying to lose weight too fast, then your body will go into starvation mode and slow your metabolism.  When trying to lose weight, stick to abut 1,100 to 1,200 calories per day.

Weight control is a constant struggle.  Unfortunately we did not get a free pass when we had surgery.  We got a tool to make it easier, but the battle continues. We just fight it with a better weapon, but we still have to fight.

If you have a story to tell about dealing successfully with a plateau, please email it to me and I might be able to use it in my upcoming book for post-ops.

Quick Tip: Grazing

Itís evening and those potato chips in the cupboard that you bought for the kids are calling you.  Or you are at work and itís Sheilaís birthday and the chocolate cake with fluffy white icing looks just too good to resist. How do you call off those demons?

Try this. If you are craving and thinking about eating something salty and crunchy like chips or popcorn, eat something that has those same characteristics.  Try having something like celery sticks with salt on them.  You may be craving the sensation rather than the food. For the cake, or cookies or whatever might be calling you that is sweet, eat a piece of fruit before you indulge in that goodie.

If after eating the celery, carrots or cucumber you still want the chips, or after eating the fruit you still want the pastry, then eat them but in a portion controlled way. You will already have partially filled up with what I call the appetizer, so you will naturally eat less. I hope this will help you.

Back on Track Program

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 with warm weather here?

 Then you are in luck! My Back on Track Internet Mentoring Program is just what you need!

For More Information and to Join

Research Article:  Counseling
  Bariatric Surgery Patients

Orzech, Dan, ďCounseling Bariatric Surgery Patients.Ē Social Work Today, Vol. 5, no. 6, p. 24.

A reader was kind enough to pass this article on to me to share with you. The article explores the psychological aspects of weight loss surgery and treatment available.

In the article, the author points out that having surgery alone will not allow us to maintain our weight loss.  And that contrary to what we as patients expect, surgery will not make us happy.  While weight loss surgery has been evolving and much research has been done regarding the surgery, risks and benefits, relatively little attention has been paid to the psychosocial aspects of the patient. 

When we have surgery we arenít prepared for all of the changes that occur.  We donít recognize ourselves, and our relationships change with food and with those around us. While most of us have psychological evaluations prior to surgery, there isnít always psychological follow through available after surgery.

To read the entire article, go to

Chicken Zucchini Stew

Here is a recipe that is very moist for those of your who are still having problems getting meat down and is low in calories for those who are concerned about weight regain.  It is simple to make and uses zucchini which will soon be so plentiful that you wonít know what to do with it! I hope you enjoy it.

Chicken Zucchini Stew

18 oz. can tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small green pepper, coarsely chopped
2 medium zucchini coarsely chopped (or yellow squash if you prefer)
2 teaspoons fresh basil, minced
1 Ĺ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed into 2-inch pieces

Drain the liquid from the tomatoes into a saucepan. Chop the tomatoes and set aside. Add the broth, green pepper and garlic to the tomato liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the reserved tomatoes, zucchini, salt, pepper and basil. Simmer until the zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the chicken. Cook for 45 minutes.

Makes 6 servings. Nutritional information for each serving:
169 calories; 4 grams fat; 7 grams carbohydrates; 27 grams protein

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:
    Tammy Larson

I want to offer a special thanks to Tammy Larson. Here is her story:

First of all let me introduce myself. My name is Tammy Larson and I just turned 40 years old a few days ago. I am a stay-at-home mom of 7 children. Half of them have graduated and are in college or the military. I have one grandchild who is the apple of my eye. I have always tried to be very active in my children's lives and activities but a few years ago my weight started to really hinder my involvement with my children outside of home. And that is when I started researching gastric bypass surgery.

I have been struggling with my weight every since I can remember.  I have tried so many diets and weight loss programs and centers. I was successful with some of them only to look and feel great and let my guard down and gain it all back plus more. My weight loss surgery journey began two years ago. I started having serious health problems with my weight, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, breathing problems, knee problems, and so on.  I spent about 10 months going to see my primary doctor and a dietitian and documenting my food intake and exercises every month for my insurance company.  I was denied by my insurance company the first time so a few months later and with more documentation they finally approved me. My consultation with my surgeon went great and I was on my way to my new life.

On my surgery date I weighed 270 pounds. I was a size 24/26 and lived in sweat pants and t-shirts. I am 13 months out and now I weigh 165 pounds and I am a size 6/8!!!  But most importantly all my health issues are gone!!! I am off all medications except my vitamins and iron. My life has changed drastically for the better.

The first 4 days or so were rough but after that things started getting easier. I was very lucky and had no complications and I have been able to tolerate most foods. Occasionally I will get a piece of chicken stuck but other than that, no problems. I eat a lot of chicken and turkey.  I have even talked other people into having gastric bypass surgery. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Even though I now weigh 165 pounds and am a size 6/8 pants and med. large shirts, I still have issues where I feel I have to wear baggy clothes. I am working on that. It is weird to look down and see my feet. It is amazing to walk into a store and just pick anything off the rack and put it on and "LOVE" the way it looks on you.  I have bought a whole new wardrobe and I have so many clothes now we are expanding our closet.

One thing I have really noticed is my energy level. It has gone through the roof! Just 3 months after my surgery, I totally re-landscaped our entire yard mostly by myself. This winter I redid my hardwood floors and have been painting and remodeling the inside of our house. It is amazing. No more naps for me. And I can now keep up with my 18 month old granddaughter for days on end.

Now that I have had my surgery and am comfortable in my skin, even though I still have 15 pounds to go, I will never go back to the way I was. I get so angry when I hear people say that I took the easy way out because there is nothing easy about going through this surgery and maintaining this life style.  It takes a lot of hard work and determination to lose the weight, follow the "rules" and change your life style. 

I do have to give a special thanks to my wonderful husband who supported me 100% through all my weight issue. He took two weeks of his vacation to stay home with me and nurse me back on my feet. A great support system is crucial and I had a wonderful support system. Thank you Matt!

Tammy Larson

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 Tammy

Attention Nurse Educators

Preparing for COE Status?

Would You Like to Have

Obesity Sensitivity Training for

Your Hospital Staff?

(Guess What - It May Be Free)

Speaking for Hospitals

If you are a bariatric coordinator or nurse educator and need obesity sensitivity training for your hospital staff, contact me at 877-440-1518 or  Obesity sensitivity training is a Center of Excellence requirement. I can help you find sponsorship that your hospital may qualify for.


Search Barbara Thompson's Website

Custom Search
Permission to Reprint
You may reprint any items from this newsletter in your own print or electronic newsletter. But please include the following paragraph:

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

Subscription Corner

Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Would you like to receive a personal notification  when it is ready for you to read? It's simple! Just go to  and scroll down to the subscription form. After filling out the form and submitting it, watch for an email that asks you to CONFIRM your subscription. 

Your subscription is not complete until we get this confirmation back!

If you like this newsletter, please pass it on to your friends and family and have them signup for our notification service.

Do you want to unsubscribe? Go to the bottom of your newsletter notification email message and click the unsubscribe link.  You will be automatically deleted.

If you have any problems with this process,
call our office toll free at (877) 440-1518.

Copyright © 2000-2013 Barbara Thompson All Rights Reserved