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Life After Surgery News

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


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Issue #168

June 15, 2009

In This Issue


* Texas Conference
* Protein Supplements – Do We Still Need Them?
* Research Article: High Rate of Bone Fractures in Bariatric Patients
* Recipe: Pumpkin Fluff
* Success Story: Anonymous

Protein Supplements –
  Do We Still Need Them?

I had laparoscopic RNY surgery last year on June 1st.  I have been drinking two protein shakes a day since then, composed of 35 grams of protein each.  Recently at a weight loss support group, which is not associated with a surgery center, someone said that after the rapid weight loss period, protein shakes are no longer needed.  I have not heard that before and I would like your opinion on that statement.  And how does one define the rapid weight loss period.  I am still losing about a pound a week, is that still included in this time period? 

Thank you for your time and energy and ALL you do for us! 

Kathy Garza

Hi Kathy,
The period of rapid weight loss is that time that generally lasts about 12 to 18 months when we are losing more than a pound a week. Protein is extremely important so that we are supplied with essential amino acids and our muscle mass is maintained.  If we lose muscle mass then our metabolism will decrease, because the more muscle we have, the more calories we burn.  That is why men lose weight faster than women. They have more muscle mass.  Therefore, you want to preserve your muscle mass by eating protein. Lifting hand weights is also important.

After the initial weight loss period, our need for protein continues our entire life. We have to realize that after we have surgery, we are different. We are changed. Our anatomy is altered forever. We will never get back to “normal” again.

We are able to consume small amounts of food and of that food; we need to consume a minimum of 60 grams of protein.  If you can consume that amount of protein as whole food, that’s OK. If not, you need to consume protein supplements either as shakes or bars. 

Consuming protein supplements is a very easy way to start out your day, and I have seen great success from people who do that.  It is very easy to gradually slip back into eating carbohydrates, and once you do that, you can start to regain weight.

So it is not necessary to drink protein drinks after 18 months or so, if you can eat enough protein while maintaining a reasonable calorie count. And even though consuming protein supplements it isn’t necessary, it is a very good idea to do so.

Research Article:
  High Rate of Bone Fractures
  in Bariatric Patients

The need for calcium was highlighted last week when the Mayo Clinic presented results of a study at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Washington DC. Researchers followed 97 bariatric patients over 20 years and found that 21 of them had suffered 31 fractures.  Most of the fractures occurred 7 years after they had their surgery. Most of the fractures occurred in the hands and feet. The study emphasized the need for calcium supplements. The researchers made the following recommendations:

  • Adjustable Gastric Band (AGB): 1500mg calcium
  • Gastric Bypass (RNY): 1500 to 1800mg calcium as calcium citrate
  • Duodenal Switch (DS): 1800 to 2400mg calcium as calcium citrate

These recommendations for calcium are over and above the calcium that you take in from the food that you eat.

We have all been told that we need to take calcium supplements, and some of us take the warning more seriously than others. Studies like this remind us of the importance of those warnings.

Taking the proper form of calcium is also important. Calcium citrate is the form that those of us who have had gastric bypass surgery need to take. Those who have had a gastric band do not have to be so particular with the form of calcium because they do not have absorption issues.

Bariatric Advantage has excellent calcium which is now available in yummy creamy chocolate and lemon chews.  Click here to order.

Ready for Summer? Get Back on Track


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Internet Mentoring Program

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Suffering from emotional eating and can’t stop?
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Dying to be in better shape for Summer?

 Then you are in luck! My Back on Track Internet
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View a FREE Lesson and Listen to a FREE Telephone Seminar by
clicking here and scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

  Pumpkin Fluff

I love pumpkin recipes and this recipe submitted by Julie and Diane Linngren is no exception.

This recipe is called Pumpkin Fluff and is a nice alternative to Pumpkin Pie

1-16 oz can pumpkin
1-8 oz container lite cool whip
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 3 oz package sugar free butterscotch pudding

Blend all ingredients together.  Refrigerate overnight.  Add to a graham cracker crust to make it a pie.  My mom and I made this recipe for our support group this past Thanksgiving.  They all loved it.  One gal froze her fluff without the crust and ate it later.  She said it was great!!!

This recipe was submitted by Julie and Diane Linngren from Chisago City, MN.  Julie has lost 210 pounds and Diane has lost 115 pounds.

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:
I am completely out of success stories.  Please send in yours along with before and after pictures. It is your way of giving back for this free newsletter. Thank you so much!

I want to offer a special thanks for this story. Normally I do not accept success stories without pictures, let alone anonymous. But the author of this story wants to retain her anonymity and there is a special message for us all.      

Dear Barbara,
This is my version of a success story.  At my heaviest, I weighed 288 pounds.  I struggled with making the decision for surgery for one entire year.  I felt that I had “failed” because I could not lose the weight on my own and that I would be taking the “easy way out.” I was also afraid the surgery wouldn’t be a success.  For these reasons, I decided that my surgery would only be shared with my closest friends and my husband.

Once I gave myself permission to have surgery, it took another 6 months for insurance approval, and then I got the call to schedule my surgery. The date I was given was my birthday. I saw this as a rebirth and a chance to start my life over, and on what better day than my birthday?  So on my 45th birthday, I had my Roux en-Y procedure.  It seemed like the beginning of my new life. 

While getting ready for my procedure, I lost some weight, so I weighed about 255 pounds on my surgery day.  I had no complications during my surgery and my weight plateaued at 188 pounds.  My goal was 150 pounds and then to have a tummy tuck.

Then my mom was diagnosed with cancer and died within 6 months.  The first month she was diagnosed, I was out of town with her at a Cancer center, and I lost an additional 10 pounds.  I was at my lightest weight in about 20 years.  I was almost 3 years post-op, down to a size 10 and thought I was close to the finish line.  That is when things changed. 

During my mom’s illness I turned to candy to ease my wounded soul.  I did not eat any candy or drink diet soda the first 8 months after my surgery.  Once I started to eat sugar, it never made me sick.  I turned to candy for consolation and once ate 20 Mallow Cups within a 24 hour period.  Terrible, I know, but grief is an emotional roller coaster, and food for most of us is comfort.  I stopped walking and obeying the rules of my pouch.  I sit here today almost 5 years post-op and my weight is 215 pounds. 

I struggle every day to make the right food choices, and as of one month ago, I vowed to stop eating candy.  During the last 30 days I have only had one piece and am very proud of myself.  I have started walking again, and am trying every day to keep my eating under control. 

I read your success stories every month and am glad for everyone’s success, but also feel sad that my surgery wasn’t as successful, and that I haven’t respected my “tool” as much as I should have.  I hope my story will educate new surgery patients to respect their pouch, not re-start bad habits, such as eating sugar and drinking soda, and, most of all, to follow ALL of the rules for the most significant weight loss.  I also hope that long-term post-surgery patients who are struggling with their food intake and exercise will see that they are not alone in their struggle or journey to health and fitness.  I am hopeful that I can move forward , each day make better food choices, and incorporate exercise into my daily routine.  I know I am much healthier having had my surgery and losing weight.  I will continue to strive every day to respect my pouch, live my life in a healthier manner and to make better choices.  I know my journey is far from over.


Dear Anonymous,
Your message, that we all need to be diligent in respecting pouch rules, is very important and I appreciate your taking the time to provide this reminder. I know there are thousands of people who read this newsletter who do not consider themselves successful. They need to know they are not alone in how they feel.  

You are taking very important steps, such as vowing to stop eating candy and starting to walk.  As long as you don’t give up trying, you are truly a success. 

And please be very proud of the 73 pounds that you have lost.  Remember, if you were at a Weight Watchers meeting and you announced that you had lost 73 pounds, you would get a standing ovation. You are much more of a success than you give yourself credit.

Very few people reach their goal weight. It is important to strive for that, but at its best, those who have gastric bypass surgery lose between 70% and 80% of their excess weight. Those who lose 100% of their excess weight are extremely rare.

The quality of your life as well as your health has improved since your surgery and that is the most important aspect of weight loss surgery. Those of us who have had surgery are no longer on a fast train to an early death.


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