Issue #184 March 15, 2010

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In This Issue

* Broken Cookies
* Use of Laxatives
* Vancouver Conference
* Which Side Are You On?
* Back on Track
* Recipe: Spicy Cauliflower Stew with Spinach
* Success Story: Jerri Lynn Lyddon

Broken Cookies

Do broken cookies have calories? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” And how about free samples at grocery stores? Those samples also have calories, and a lot!

I went to Costco on a Saturday afternoon and entered the glorious world of free food.  What is it about free food that is so tempting? It is so hard to refuse it when it is right there in front of you. The demo person is offering it, and describing how good it is. There is also the crowd mentality. Everyone is standing around, working their way in to get a bite. How can you not get some for yourself?

In just one tour around the store, I was offered chili, hot pockets, tortellini, Ghardelli triple chocolate brownies, little pancakes with maple syrup, pita chips with spinach/artichoke dip, bean salad with chips, chicken breast, pears, edamame, and chicken nuggets. I have sometimes sampled everything and said, “Well, I had my lunch,” but all of those small bites add up to far more than lunch!

Here are some things you can do to try to keep free-sample eating under control:

* Don’t shop when hungry

* Go through the entire store and identify just one thing you would like to sample, and eat your sample on your way out.

* Look at the nutritional information for the food you are tempted to eat to fully realize how many calories you might consume.

*Go shopping when there are fewer samples.  The worst time is Saturday afternoons. Shop much later or during the week, and never at meal times.

I hope these tips will help you, so that you don’t sabotage your good efforts. 

Use of Laxatives

Constipation is a very common problem following weight loss surgery.  Initially it is difficult for us to drink enough liquid, and not possible for us to get in enough fiber.

But as the months and then years pass, many of us are still left with the problem. If you are sure you are getting in at least 64 ounces of water per day, are eating fruits and vegetables, and are still experiencing chronic constipation, then it may be time to consider taking a laxative. 

It is very important that you consult your surgeon, or your doctor regarding the use of laxatives. But here is some information regarding laxatives that you can consider prior to seeing your doctor.

Surgeons are generally divided about the kind of laxative that patients should take. There are osmotic, bulk and stimulant laxatives.  Here is the difference among the three.

Osmotic Laxatives such as Miralax increases the amount of water secreted within the intestines; and Lactose helps when microbes in the intestines are fermented causing fatty acids that pull water into the colon.  An example is Colac.

Bulk Laxatives use fiber to soften stools and stimulate bowel movement. Examples are Metamucil, Fiberall and Citrucel. Bulk laxatives are the safest laxative to use and can be used longer than other types of laxatives. These laxatives contain fiber or fiber like products. However, it is best to get your fiber from food since food has a balance of all nutrients your body needs. Bulking laxatives can be used for mild cases of constipation. Use them with plenty of water so the bulking material does not expand in your throat or cause a back up in your colon. Using an excess of bulking products daily can cause the problem you are trying to eliminate - constipation.

Stimulant Laxatives  One thing all surgeons agree upon is that stimulant laxatives should be avoided.  These laxatives work to speed up the muscle movement of the colon.  Examples of these are Docolax, ExLax and Senokot. There is a real threat of dependence with stimulant laxatives. These should be used only on a short term basis, no longer than one week.

Your doctor will best be able to determine which if any laxative is right for you.

Victoria, BC Conference

On Saturday March 28th, I will be speaking in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada for the British Columbia Association of Bariatric Advocates. Go to for more information about this conference and to register.

Hope to see you there.

What Side Are You On?

I participated in a teleseminar on March 9th regarding imposing a tax on sugar sweetened beverages.  For ease of writing this article, I will refer to this as a soda tax, but it really is a tax on all sugar sweetened beverages.

The greatest concern regarding the consumption of these beverages are those consumed by children. The consumption of soda has now surpassed the consumption of milk. It is estimated that the consumption of sugar sweetened soda comprises 15% to 20% of calories consumed by children. This has a definite impact on their health in terms of obesity

Caffeine and sugar in high amounts in these beverages are addictive and are being marketed through these sodas, directly to children. Studies have shown that liquid calories fool the brain into thinking that you are not as full as when you consume the same number of calories from solid food.  Therefore liquid calories are far worse than even the calorie content would imply.

There is a proposal that is being put forth by the Rudd Center of Yale University which is to levy a tax of a penny per ounce for any beverage with added sugar, or to place a limit on the amount of sugar in a beverage. The revenue from this tax would be used for obesity prevention programs.

Studies by economists indicate that a 1 penny per ounce tax would result in a decline in consumption of between 10% and 23%. Over 10 years this would reduce the health care cost of obesity by $50 billion and over 10 years raise revenue for obesity programs of $150 billion.

The beverage industry, although recently agreeing to phase sugar sweetened soda out of schools, continues to include logos on school score boards and vending machines. There are product placements on TV shows (American Idol) and social networking websites. The beverage industry continues to market to children.

Many Local and State governments are considering this legislation. The Yale Rudd Center has legislative information on their website Look for Legislative Updates on the navigation section on the left and you can search to see if there is pending legislation in your area.

Counter arguments by the beverage industry include:

Many things drive obesity, not just the consumption of sugar sweetened soda. This is true, but a reduction in consumption would help.

A tax won’t solve the problem of obesity. True, there are many things that have to happen, but we can’t be paralyzed into inaction because this won’t solve it.

Consumption is down but obesity is up. False. The consumption of carbonated beverages is down; however the consumption of other sugar sweetened  beverages is up.

A calorie is a calorie. False. Studies show that liquid calories fool the body into thinking that it has not consumed enough.

The science is not clear. False. The science is clear.  Studies funded by the beverage industry are the only studies that are contrary.

People will lose jobs, such as truck drivers. False. The beverage industry will just start to market beverages low in sugar and truck drivers will be just as busy.

How about personal responsibility as opposed to industry responsibility. Personal responsibility is important; however it is better for people to exercise personal responsibility in a healthier environment.

Experts in the field caution against a tax because:

*  This might be the beginning of the “food police” and salt or fried foods might be taxed next.

*  There is concern that the obese would be blamed and resented for being the cause of this tax.

*  The tax would unfairly target the poor since the tax would be the same for the rich as for the poor.

*  The tax could be circumvented by people going to other communities or States.

The question is where do you stand on this issue? Do you think that a tax on soda would reduce obesity, especially in children? Even if the tax doesn’t improve obesity, is the tax warranted to fund obesity programs and to reduce the cost of produce in poorer neighborhoods or to subsidize grocery stores coming into these neighborhoods?

Please let me know how you feel.  Email your thoughts to me at

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.

Recipe: Spicy Cauliflower
  Stew with Spinach


1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 6 cups)
¾ pounds small red potatoes cut into ½ inch chunks
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6 cups coarsely shredded spinach
2 ounces crumbled feta or goat cheese
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons flour

In a nonstick Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the oil until hot on medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is softened, about 4 minutes. Add the carrots, cauliflower, and potatoes and cook stirring frequently, until the carrots are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the broth and mustard and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the spinach, cheese, and salt, and cook, uncovered just until the spinach has wilted, about 4 minutes.

In a cup, stir together the yogurt and flour. Stir the yogurt mixture into the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute longer. Divide the stew among 4 bowls and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional value for each serving:
249 calories, 2.7 grams fat, 37 grams carbohydrates, 12 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:
  Jerri Lynn Lyddon

I would like to thank Jerri Lynn Lyddon for sharing her success with us. Although Jerri didn’t qualify for weight loss surgery because of her weight, she had the surgery to correct acid reflux. Here is her story.

Hi Barbara,
I have read your book, cover-to-cover. It's really VERY good, and I like the way it is written in "layman's" terms, so that I can understand it!

I have been battling acid reflux for about 25 years.  It had gotten so bad that my surgeon recommended roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery.  He stated that by making the stomach so much smaller, there would be far less chance of the acid reaching my esophagus.  My acid reflux had gotten so bad that no amount of medicine was helping; and I had to sleep in a recliner! 

Although I was overweight, I wasn't enough overweight to be eligible for the surgery for weight reduction reasons.  However, the extra weight was not helping my situation any.  At any rate, I am 15 months post-surgery and have lost 80 lbs.  I started at 204 lbs and now weigh 124.  I have been at my current weight for about two months and have had no reoccurrence of the acid reflux.  Needless to say, I am so glad I had the surgery.  And, as you well know, one of the side effects of the roux-en-y is weight loss.  I have gone from a size 18 to a size 2!!  My husband absolutely loves it, as do I.  For the first time since my children were born, I love to go shopping for myself.  It's such a pleasure to try on clothes and have them look good.

I really enjoy your newsletters. The success stories are so inspiring. You also have such great tips, and the question and answer section is awesome.  I thought I would purchase your book as I do not want to gain the weight back.  I feel younger at 53 than I did at 43!  I am running 5 to 6 miles, 6 days a week, something I never thought I would ever be able to do.  I have plenty of energy to play with my grandkids, ages 3 and 16 months.  It's amazing that 80 lbs can make that much difference in how well I feel. 

Please keep up the good work, and keep those newsletters coming!

Jerri Lynn Lyddon
Liberal, KS

Congratulations Jerri Lynn


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