Issue #176 November 1, 2009

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In This Issue


* Big Medicine Returns
* What’s Up with My Bones?
* Eek! I Stopped Losing
* Recipe: Soup ala Valerie Bertinelli
* Success Story: Kimberly Wooley

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

What’s Up with My Bones?

Dear Barbara,
I am 7 years post-op and have recently had a physical where I discovered that I am anemic.  In addition, I had a bone scan and learned that I have osteopenia.  Is this something most of us have or will experience?  I have increased my exercise and am doubling my iron.  I also take more vitamin D.  Do you know of anything else I should be doing?
Thank you!

Hi Rosanne,
You are taking good care of yourself regarding your anemia. And it is very good that you had a bone scan.  That is the only way to tell the condition of the health of your bones.  However, you need to address that osteopenia right away.

Osteopenia is a mild thinning of the bone wall, but is not as bad as osteoporosis. This is caused by a lack of calcium in your body. Lifting weight can help your bone mass, but you need to be taking calcium supplements.

We, as gastric bypass patients, have 2 particular problem with calcium and are susceptible to osteoporosis. Lap band patients do not share this problem:

1. Most calcium is absorbed in the first part of the small intestines, which is bypassed in our surgery, so we leave it up to the 2nd part of the small intestines to do the absorbing.

2. The normal calcium supplements are calcium carbonate which requires an acidic environment to be absorbed.  In normal stomachs there is a lot of acid which breaks down food.  Since our pouches are so small, and made from the stomach near the esophagus, we have very little acid, so we must take calcium citrate.

It is essential that you take the right kind of calcium supplement as well as a medication such as Boniva to combat this problem before it becomes critical, and you are faced with the very painful condition of brittle bones.  Also, do not take iron and calcium at the same time.  They each interfere with the absorption of the other.  Space them at least 3 hours apart.

I talk a lot about calcium and other supplements in my book, Weight Loss Surgery, Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You.  Click here for information about the book and to order. 

Also, Bariatric Advantage has an excellent calcium just for weight loss surgery patients.
Click here to go directly to our shopping cart.

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.

Eek! I Stopped Losing

Hi Barbara,
I had gastric bypass surgery 1 ½ months ago and I know it is early, but it seems like I stopped losing weight almost 4 weeks ago. I lost 32 pounds right away, and stopped. I am not eating more than I should, but I can't seem to get the weight to start moving again. Am I just being too impatient?

Hi Nita,
Yes, you are being too impatient. Patients lose an average of 20 pounds per month right after surgery. You lost 1 ½ month’s worth of weight in the first 2 weeks. So you actually are on schedule and will start losing weight very soon.

Also weight loss varies depending upon if you lost weight prior to surgery, and how much weight you have to lose. You’re doing great. Also, be careful not to compare yourself to others. We all lose at our own pace. After my surgery, I hit plateaus regularly. Just keep going and the scale will catch up.

  Soup ala Valerie Bertinelli

I recently saw Valerie Bertinelli prepare this soup and couldn’t help trying it.  I love soup and find it very filling. And it’s only 95 calories per cup.

1 ¼ cup eggplant (peeled and cubed)
1 cup water
12 oz. chicken broth
14 oz can tomatoes
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 clove minced garlic
1 small squash, peeled and cubed

Cook for 30 minutes

½ tsp dried Italian seasoning
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 Tbl. Parmesan cheese, sprinkled on top

95 calories per bowl

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:
   Kimberly Wooley

I want to offer a special thanks to Kimberly Wooley for taking the time to share her story with us. 

Dear Barbara,
My surgery was January 10, 2008, in Erie, PA.  Dr. Rodolfo Arreola performed my gastric bypass surgery at Hamot Medical Center.  Everything went fairly smoothly.

My starting weight was 245 lbs. and I now weigh about 165 lbs.  For months I have been fighting to stay below 160, but that has been a losing battle.  

Losing weight has been a lifetime battle and a battle I still feel like I am fighting.  My highest weight was 275 lbs. 16 years ago.  I tried everything from Weight Watchers when I was 18 to the six-week-makeover diet.  That diet lasted six months, and I was very successful, but could not keep the weight off. I became bored after so many months of eating chicken and fruit!! 

I watched several co-workers and family members go through weight loss surgery, and I loved watching them lose the weight.  I finally decided I was going to try it for myself.

It was months of appointments, tests, and waiting, but when the insurance cleared me, I was a very happy girl. I am a diabetic, and one of the best parts of my surgery was being able to stop taking the glucophage for diabetes, blood pressure pills, and cholesterol medicationl. My energy level is wonderful, and I no longer wake up sluggish. 

But there are some things that bother me. I feel like I look older than my young 47.  The flapping skin on my thighs is tough to deal with.  But I am so happy I can wear the size 8 stretch jeans and I try to forget what is under them.  

I truly do feel like I have been a success up to this point.  Now with my two year anniversary knocking at my door, I have to wonder how long I will be able to wear those size 8's??  I am one of the unfortunate ones who can eat sugar without "dumping syndrome."  Being a former diabetic my body is really sensitive to sugar.   

Every day for the rest of my life I will be making decisions and choices.  Every day I will remember my surgery, because my flapping skin will always be there to remind me of the damage I did to my body.

Kimberly Wooley

Congratulations Kimberly
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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