Issue #174 October 1, 2009

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In This Issue


* Stay Inspired to Succeed
* Research Article: Post-Surgery Pregnancies
* Preparing for Surgery: What to Ask the Surgeon
* Recipe: Beef Medallions with Saucy Shiitakes
* Success Story: Bonnie Merchant

Stay Inspired to Succeed

If you can do more, you should.Ē Robert Redford

I saw an interview with Robert Redford in which he was talking about his experience with the Sundance Film Festival and all the work that he has done supporting independent films, often to the detriment of his own career. When asked what pushes him, he said simply, ďI live by the principle that if you can do more, you should.Ē

Think of that in your own approach to your health and you weight.  It is a wonderful principle to apply. If you can exercise more, you should. If you can cook just one more healthy meal per week, you should. If you can appreciate a little better how far you have come, you should.

Look for the positive things that you do in your life and simply ask if you can do a little more. If you cannot, thatís OK. But itís a great question to ask to move yourself forward.

I have been writing inspirational messages like the one above for quite some time, some for my Back on Track with Barbara Program, and some for other purposes. All relate to weight loss surgery patients and are meant to inspire the reader to get back on or stay on track Ė and to be a better person. 

I am considering collecting 101 of these into a book and am curious if you would be interested in a book like this.

Please let me know, one way or the other by clicking here for a short 2 question survey.

Thanks so much for your help.


Research Article:
  Post-Surgery Pregnancies

For many years, women would use the excuse that they wanted to get pregnant for not having weight loss surgery. These women for some reason believed that weight loss surgery would prevent them from ever being able to get pregnant.

It is true that women should not get pregnant during their first year to eighteen months following surgery because the small amount that we can initially eat is not enough to nourish the patient as well as a growing fetus.

However a new study, reported in General Surgery News shows that babies born to mothers who have had bariatric surgery are strikingly healthier at birth and throughout childhood than siblings who were born before their mother's surgery, according to results from a large new study from Quebec. The study suggests that as these post-operative babies grow, they mirror the improved metabolic health of the mother. This study is the first to compare children born to mothers before and after surgery.

To read more about the study, click here.

Back on Track with Barbara

Internet Mentoring 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`?

 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.

Preparing for Surgery:
  What to Ask the Surgeon

Hi Barbara,
I read your book, Weight Loss Surgery; Finding the Thin Person Hiding Inside You and have a question for you. Can you give me more questions to ask the surgeon?

Thank you

Hi Melissa,
There are so many questions that you can and should ask, but here are a few. Iím sure our readers can come up with additional questions.

1.  Ask what follow-up program the surgeon has.  An educational program and support from a psychologist, nutritionist and a support group will make a huge difference in your safety and success.

2.  Ask if they are a Center of Excellence. A Center of Excellence means they have been evaluated by an independent corporation in terms of their safety, services, and educational program. Here is a link locate a Center of Excellence in your area

Here is a link to an article that I wrote on Centers of Excellence for WLS Lifestyles Magazine
(Please note that this is a large .pdf file that will need extra time to download.)

3.  Ask how many weight loss surgeries the surgeon has performed. It should be over 200.  There is a huge learning curve with weight loss surgery and the more surgeries the better in terms of your safety.

4.  Ask the percentage of the surgeonís practice that is devoted to bariatrics.  This will give you an idea if the surgeon does bariatric surgery as a side line, or is devoted to helping the morbidly obese improve their lives and health through surgery.

5.  Ask if the surgeon transects the stomach which means that the stomach is completely and forever separated from the new pouch.  If it is transected, there is less chance of developing a fistula or of food going from the pouch into the old stomach which can cause horrible pains and additional surgery.

If there are additional questions that you think should be asked, email them to me at

Order Your Copy Today

  Beef Medallions with Saucy Shiitakes

1 Tbl. plus 1Ĺ tsp. oil
4 beef tenderloin medallions (about 4 ounces each), trimmed of all fat and patted dry
ľ tsp. Kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, about 12 medium, stemmed
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
ľ cup Cognac, or other brandy or Madeira
ľ cup chicken broth
3 Tbl. light sour cream
1 Tbl. chopped parsley

Heat 1 Tbl. of the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add the medallions to the pan and cook about 3 minutes on each side for medium rare, or until desired doneness. Remove from skillet and set on plates and keep warm.

Add the remaining 1 Ĺ tsp. oil to the skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook over medium-low heat until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the shallots, garlic and salt and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Take the skillet off the heat, add the Cognac, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that cling to the pan. Return the skillet to the heat and cook until the liquid is reduced, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and cook until saucy, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the sour cream and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional Information (per serving)
353 calories, 34 grams protein, 1.5 grams carbohydrates, 15 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

This is the LAST success story I have!

You have lost the weight and you should be proud of it.  Be an example to the many people who need to know how you did it and what you had to overcome.  Consider this to be your "Pay It Forward" to the WLS community. 

Please send your story with before and after photos to me at

Success Story:
  Bonnie Merchant

I want to offer a special thanks to Bonnie Merchant for sharing her story with us. Although Bonnie is a success, having lost more than 100 pounds, she is not sure that the weight loss is worth what her life is like now.  There are others who feel this way, and their stories are just as important as those who are thrilled with their lives following surgery. Here is her story:

Dear Barbara,
I enjoy reading your newsletter so much and look forward to each new one that you publish.  But the March 15th letter from Joy made me realize that I had been looking for someone else that feels the same as I do about the negative consequences of our surgery.

I had my gastric bypass surgery performed on February 7, 2008, by Dr. Naziri, of Southern Surgical, Greenville, NC.  He did an excellent job and I had no surgical complications.  Kudos to this excellent caring surgeon.

My weight started at 288 and I am currently at 181, so 107 pounds are gone!  Yea!!  But I, like Joy, have to be so careful with my food choices that oftentimes I choose not to eat, and just have a protein shake instead.  It hurts so bad to get sick from eating a food that my pouch perceives as evil and, as we all know, that can be any food on any given day. 

I can eat salads, most crunchy carbs, moist ground beef, oatmeal, and chili.  Meat still can make me super sick, especially chicken. Sugar alcohols found in "sugar free" products cause severe and uncontrollable flatulence.  I have had several very embarrassing moments with this at work so I avoid those foods like the plague.

I went on a cruise in June, 2009 and even though I am a size 14  I still had to dress like I did when I was a size 28, in 3/4 length sleeves on shirts and pants/Capriís that cover the entire thigh area.  Bathing suit, even the ones with skirts do not cover all the sag on my thighs.  My face has sagged so much that I was embarrassed to be seen by friends and family who joined us on the cruise.  I look 70, and I am barely 59.

So, yes, I too wonder if I did the right thing in having this surgery.  I have to wear the same type of ugly clothes and in addition to that, I cannot eat!  My blood pressure is still sky high and my sleep apnea is still plaguing me.

Yes, I am thinner and yes, I can buy smaller clothing.  I am able to tie my shoes and paint my toenails.  I can run up a flight of stairs, and, I am sure, in spite of the high blood pressure, my heart is in better health,  which over all are good things.

But, do the pluses offset the minuses?  Some days I think they do, but other days, I am not so sure.

Would I do it again?  Probably. But I feel like I traded one set of problems for another.

Bonnie Merchant

Congratulations Bonnie


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