Issue #177 November 15, 2009

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In This Issue


* Birth Control Pills Following Gastric Bypass Surgery
* Tis the Season for Emotional Eating
* Big Medicine Returns
* Recipe: Sauteed Chicken with Olives and Capers
* Success Story: Colleen West

  Following Gastric Bypass Surgery

Hi Barbara,
I have a question regarding the effectiveness of taking birth control pills after gastric bypass surgery.  I am 5 years post-op and have been using the NuvaRing, but don't like it.  I was thinking of asking my gynecologist about switching to birth control pills, but wasn't sure if they would be as effective.  Any information would be greatly appreciated!

Hi Denise,
I have heard many stories of patients taking birth control pills right after surgery and becoming pregnant.  I don’t know whether that level of malabsorption continues after 5 years.

To my knowledge, there have been no research studies that definitively deal with the absorption of birth control pills following gastric bypass surgery. There have been studies that indicate we do not absorb medications as effectively following surgery. Whether that degree of malabsorption would allow you to become pregnant, I don’t know, and personally I wouldn’t want to take the chance. For this reason, barrier methods such as IUD’s and condoms combined with spermicide are recommended.

I know it seems like an unnecessary inconvenience, but consider the alternative!


Tis the Season for Emotional Eating

Why do we eat mindlessly? That is something we all ponder from time to time.  We have food in front of us, and even though we are not hungry, we still grab for it, and eat it. We may not even like the food, but it is still food, and that irresistible urge comes over us that we sometimes can’t control.

There are many reasons why we do this.  They range from having an emptiness to fill within us, to wanting to self sabotage our best efforts.  But what makes matters worse is having the availability of food to grab.

Next week will be the start of the eating season with the Thanksgiving Day kick off. And the season doesn’t end until January 2nd.  We spend time with family and friends, people visit and we want to be able to feed them.  We visit with others and we hate to refuse food that is offered after it has been so lovingly prepared. Then after the guests have left or after we return home, we have this sickening feeling of failure.

We take food home from parties, or we want to have special holiday treats to share, and there is food all around us.  Instead of being able to escape the temptation when we go to work, it is worse.  Everyone is bring food in.

Don’t let this holiday be like so many in the past. Let this be the year that you discover more about yourself, and why you are plagued with emotional eating.  For that, I highly recommend a CD in which I interviewed Dr. Denise Lamothe, author of Taming of the Chew.

In this hour-long CD you will learn:

How to stop emotional overeating

How to stop obsessing about food

How to start feeling in control

If that sounds exactly what you need, then order my CD now.

“End Emotional Eating Audio” CD

Learn More

Price: $14.95

Big Medicine Returns to Discovery
  Health Wednesday, Nov. 18th

If you have never seen an episode of Big Medicine, you have really missed something! Big Medicine is a program which aired for 2 seasons and is about people who are preparing for weight loss surgery and following them after surgery.  You hear their stories, and get to know and understand their struggles.  They are people that we can all relate to. 

The show helped people who were considering surgery better understand it. The show also helped dissolve some stereotypes and showed patients to be motivated and intelligent people suffering from a disease.

The surgeon on the program, Dr. Garth Davis, has contacted me with a special request for all of you. Big Medicine is being considered for a third expanded season and the continuation of the show will depend upon how well the first episode does. 

Please tune in to Big Medicine on the Discovery Health Channel in your area on Wednesday November 18th at 9:00 PM eastern time.  The show will feature an all new episode, “Where Are They Now,” which will allow you to see how some of your favorites from the past 2 episodes are doing. It is essential that the show get huge ratings.  So tune in, and have your friends and family tune in as well.  Let’s make sure Big Medicine continues!

Save Big Medicine

Watch Wednesday Nov. 18th, 9:00 PM Eastern Time

 on your Discovery Health Channel

Recipe: Sautéed Chicken
   with Olives and Capers

Sautéed Chicken with Olives and Capers



2 teaspoons olive oil

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound total)

1 green bell pepper, cut into wide strips

2 cloves of garlic, slivered

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

2 Tablespoons pitted and slivered black olives

2 teaspoons anchovy paste (optional)

1 teaspoon capers, rinsed and drained

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried rosemary



1.      In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil until hot but not smoking over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

2.      Add the bell peppers and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are softened, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, olives, anchovy paste, capers, oregano, and rosemary and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the pan, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce is richly flavored, about 8 minutes.


Serves 4


Nutritional Information per serving:

181 calories, 6 grams carbohydrates, 28 grams protein, 5 grams fat

If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future issues of this newsletter, please send it 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.

Success Story:
   Colleen West

This is not one of the success stories that I normally include.  It is a story of someone who is trying to deal with the issue of body image. There are many who experience this, and I felt it important to share this message.

I recently spoke to a conference of psychologists on body image, and what we go through following surgery. I want to thank the many of you for sharing your stories and pictures with me so that I, in turn, could share them with the attendees. Colleen West was one of those who responded.  I want to offer her a special thank you for sharing her story.

Dear Barbara,
I had my gastric bypass surgery in 2006, and lost 120 pounds during the first year. While I am healthier than I have been in a long time, and can now wear smaller sizes, the excess skin I have continues to be a huge issue for me.  I don't think most people realize how much their skin has actually stretched over the years, and how horrible it looks once it is just hanging there.

I have issues with shopping for shirts. The sleeves have to be long enough to cover the hanging skin. I still, to this day, do not feel comfortable in a bathing suit because of my flabby thighs. I think the biggest issue is intimacy with my husband. I feel that I am more self conscious now then when I was heavier. My breasts look like deflated balloons. While I am fortunate that I don't have the "skirt" on my stomach that a lot of people have, I do have a lot of excess skin in that area, that I try to cover with such garments as girdles and Spanx.

Although people tell me I look great, and my husband tells me I'm sexy, I just don't see it when I look in the mirror. I only see flab and fat, and can't imagine that it would be attractive to anyone. I do exercise and try to tone, but with extra skin with no elasticity, it just doesn't tone up.

I think that when going through the psychological tests prior to having surgery, patients should be made aware that this can and most likely will happen. It may prepare them for the shock of seeing what the after effects of losing so much weight will be.

I have looked into plastic surgery and hope to one day be able to afford it, but at this point, I just camouflage the best I can, and make the best of what I have!

Colleen West

Congratulations Colleen
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.


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