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Carnie Wilson Speaks At WLSFA 2013 Las Vegas Luncheon

Carnie Wilson Speaks At WLSFA 2013 Las Vegas Luncheon

Null and Void. #WLSFA2013 Post #1 Good Tried To Do Good

PHILANTHROPY is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the not-for-profit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:

BBGC Donates to the WLSFA
Donating $1000 to the WLSFA

  1. To be informed of the organization's mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
  2. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization's governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
  3. To have access to the organization's most recent financial statements.
  4. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
  5. To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.
  6. To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
  7. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
  8. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.
  9. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.
  10. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.

I'm going to add one more:

Don't do this to your donors - particularly when they're YOUR PEOPLE.


That is a scanned image of the check I donated to the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America or WLSFA organization.  

I was not home twenty-four hours before I received a letter from the CEO of the foundation and this image with the letters V O I D enscribed across it.  I have not slept much yet - so - forgive my even sharing this with you -

Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 3.26.23 PM

I especially like how I wronged the sponsors.  Because many of them are also mine.  (*See sidebar.  I love my sponsors.  Click their links.  Buy stuff.)

That feels really good, Antonia.  That makes my heart swell with pride and stuff.

It's a day later and I've received no response as to what I did, aside from hand the WLSFA $1000 in a non-confrontational manner.   I actually had to beg them to take it - we were skipped over in the first round of donation announcements - they took it publicly and gave it back like this.  

The event itself?  Was a non-issue.  I only have two or three issues that I'd concern myself with -- and they wouldn't involve this check.  At all.  One issue was big enough for me to want to blog - but - I've refrained so far.

My bariatric support group's fundraising is obviously not wanted in this exclusionary non-profit.  I do not know if it's legal to shun a cash donation from legal fundraising.  Lawyers?

As a group we are more than disgusted.  I have spent hours promoting this event, and spent thousands of dollars, and frankly I sit here ashamed that I asked my peers to donate to the cause.  

Consider for a second how much I spent just for myself -

  • BBGC Donation - $1000
  • WLSFA Ticket - $150
  • Carnie Wilson Luncheon - $99
  • Flight - $600
  • Hotel - $100+ night
  • Travel (Shuttle, cabs, etc.)
  • Food
  • Discretionary stuff
  • Ticket for a friend 

I am more sickened that I suggested friends JOIN ME at the event -- and asked them to spend their hard-earned money on the event as well just to be shunned so specifically.  Friends brought husbands -- this isn't cheap.  

I am not a happy MM.  I apologize to YOU.  We learned a hard lesson here.


We have have offers to take our GOOD elsewhere, of course.   I got offers of help in the middle of the night.  And we will, if you donated or made a purchase - your money is going to another reputable non-profit.  Thank you.  

Alcohol + WLS - We are not coping well - Las Vegas is a Sparkly Transfer Addiction, Revisited.

“I drink because I’m lonesome, I’m lonesome ‘cause I drink.”

This song just came up on CMT whilst I wrote this post.  Timely.

Two years ago I wrote a post about Las Vegas after I arrived home from a trip there for a professional bariatric conference.  I titled it Las Vegas is a GIANT SPARKLY TRANSFER ADDICTION.

And I meant it.  Vegas is full of 489230 reasons why post weight loss surgery patients are tempted and could be tempted and often fail to dissuade temptation and need to be careful about temptation. 

Bacchus-full-sizejpg-fe0341ca55021c17_largeI went back to Las Vegas last spring for another bariatric-related event.  It is likely that I wrote a very similar post or re-posted the original, but angrier as situations were fresh in my mind.  I tend to do that with blog posts.  It is possible that I also deleted any post that referred to last year’s event.

This year brought another event in Las Vegas.  When I first read about the event scheduled for Vegas again, I cringed.

This time, this particular event brought more than five hundred pre and post operative bariatric patients together in one place.  While not the one thousand patients once expected to come, this was a very large turnout for a bariatric event.  It was impressive.

Prior to the event, it was discussed that removing the temptation of having a cash bar from the event might be a smart idea.  There were videos made – discussions started – and attendees sounded a bit miffed that there might not be easy access to cash alcohol bars.  In the end, we did have bars at the nighttime social parts of the event.  The compromise (or close to it...) was to halve the bars, and only have access to half of what the hotel might offer at each event.  Even with just one bar, attendees came prepared.  Some brought their own drinks in, some drank pre-event and brought drinks in, and some found the bar and some did all.

I heard that the bar drinks were terrible and watered down, but it was obvious that the majority of us were drinking something, regardless of where it came from.  I drank as well.

I had one drink at both social events during the meet and greet, a light beer.  Light beer is my go-to choice, mostly because it doesn't make me very tipsy, because tipsy for me is no good. 

 I am eight years and two months post op, and tipsy for me is still no good.  It takes just few sips of hard liquor or wine to make me shit-balls drunk at eight years post gastric bypass.  I have learned what works for me.  And that is pretty much, abstaining from anything with liquor in it unless I am ready to get rolled home. Because being rolled home (or in this case, to your Vegas hotel room... gross!) is neither attractive nor memorable.

And yes, many of you (us... you are my people even if you don't want to admit that!) were rolled, carried, pushed, and shoved back to your rooms last weekend at the event we attended together. Collective "Gasp! Say it isn’t so, Beth!  Tell me that bariatric patients do not drink alcohol nor drink to… excess?”  They do.  And it’s often hushed.  (Among most other things.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Do not kid yourself.)


Estimates on the prevalence of new addictions after weight-loss surgery vary widely. Philip Schauer, director of bariatric surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and current president of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, estimates that only about 5 percent of bariatric-surgery patients develop a new compulsive behavior after surgery, such as alcoholism, compulsive shopping or smoking. He adds there is no evidence that the new addictions have any direct link to the surgery.

At U.S. Bariatric, a weight-loss surgery center with offices in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., therapists estimate that roughly 20 percent of patients acquire new addictive behaviors. Melodie Moorehead, a psychologist who spoke at a session during the American Society for Bariatric Surgery Association annual meeting last month, cited preliminary data suggesting that roughly 30 percent of bariatric-surgery patients struggle with new addictions after surgery. But she says the issue requires further study.

One possible reason for the disparity in estimates is that alcohol problems can surface several years after the surgery, when surgeons are no longer tracking patients as closely. And some patients may not see a link between their drinking and the surgery, or report their problem to a surgeon. Roughly 140,000 bariatric surgeries are performed in this country each year.

MM says in her totally un-professional opinion that no one should listen to -- the rates of addiction post WLS are much higher.  My non-pro opinion almost everyone develops some type of addiction after weight loss surgery, it's just not obvious to everyone else.  Yes, compulsive gum chewing, mint eating, crotcheting/knitting, crafting, internet use, water-loading, calorie counting, exercise... ANYTHING can be an obsession or addiction when it takes over your life and keeps you from taking care of your personal business.  "Hi, my name is Beth and I am addicted to caffeine, probably simple carbohydrates and I abuse the internet."

*hangs head in no shame*

"I didn't see any of that.  Nah.  I was drinking, but I didn't notice anyone else drunk. I deserve some fun... I was taking opiates or painkillers but I didn't see anyone else doing it.  I took sleeping pills, someone gave me sleeping pills or muscle relaxants... I was shopping a lot, but... I gambled a lot, but..."

There's a lot of buts in our community, did you notice?  "But..."  I need, I want, I have to... I ... deserve to.

<--- not guilty party of one.  I figure I should lay that out before I get called out on my "eating a mini Gigi's cupcake and having a beer," because I did. Oh, and the most expensive Beef Wellington, ever.


I am the same as everyone else.

WLSFA Las Vegas 2012

It happens every single time, at every single event – conference – get together (for every topic, this is not something unique to the bariatric community) people are human, humans like to drink. We have all been affected in some way by alcohol (and other things...) at events.  

However, what IS unique about our particular community is the intensity of the reactions to addictive behaviors.  A group of typical people without the “benefit” of weight loss surgery will include individuals with addiction issues, and those without, and those who like to just have a drink in a social situation.  It’s normal and typical to see a whole range of reactions to alcohol in a varied group. 

 But in our community full of people who have had weight loss surgery – there is often so much more history behind why someone might drink, drug, gamble, or even EAT. 

Not everyone becomes a statistic, not everyone develops what is often called a “transfer addiction” after bariatric surgery; but too many DO struggle with addictions.  The rates of abused children or those with addict parents who grow up to be morbidly obese individuals who go on to have bariatric surgery are staggering.  Why?  The way I see it, when someone’s coping skills and emotional self-soothing are stunted by weight loss surgery  “I can’t eat anymore,” they HAVE TO FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO FILL THAT SPACE.  

Post ops who fail to find a healthy substitution for stuffing food to stuff feelings down will find other, often entirely self-destructive ways to self-soothe. 

Theories abound for how childhood abuse relates to adult obesity

• Abused children may eat as a form of coping, a pattern that continues into adulthood.

• Increasing size by gaining weight may offer protection from physical threats.

• Weight gain may repel sexual abusers, and help adults avoid sexual advances.

• People may believe that being fat is socially protective, that society will expect less from and think less of someone who is obese.

• The emotions associated with abuse are thought to lead to higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the bloodstream. This can increase appetite.

A study in the Obesity Journal stated that extremely obese bariatric surgery candidates reported rates of maltreatment comparable with those reported by clinical groups and roughly two to three times higher than normative community samples. 

Yes, I am fully aware that “not everyone is a food addict,” nor is everyone abused.  I am one of the lucky ones.  But, I still struggle with the same "stuff it down" issues as many of you.  I guarantee that when I get angry hater comments on this post, I will be compelled to get up and go find a snack.  I might not follow through, but somewhere deep inside, I am triggered to do just that.

I consider the greatest portion of those of us who have weight loss surgery -- Emotional Eaters, and Emotional Eaters can cause serious caloric damage in many ways.  (Do you remember eating a pint of ice cream or a half-bag of potato chips?  Do you remember why you were prompted to eat that much at one time?  How did you feel?)  “We” often move from abusing food (which is what it was… there’s no other way to describe it, honestly…) to abusing other substances or even moving into unhealthy behavior patterns that are just as destructive as food once was. 

Certainly, pre-op psychological exams are meant to weed “us” out if we are engaged in self-harmful behaviors prior to having weight loss surgery, but post-ops know how easy it is to get shoved through the process without being psychologically prepared for a starvation diet.  Many of us were ill prepared to deal with WLS for-EVER.

Once you arrive, as a post surgical weight loss patient, all if not most of your baggage comes back and falls at your feet. “But, I thought the surgery would make everything okay and make me win at life.”  No.  If you’re lucky, this crash/burn/reality doesn’t happen until after your “honeymoon” period of weight loss.  Many post ops get hit with life issues much sooner – and fail to reach weight loss goals because they can’t get past themselves, their history, and often people give up.  It is what it is, and I am sitting here at eight years plus post op, and clearly one of the only ones in this community that is willing to call it out

As weight loss surgery patients – having given up what was probably our number one self-soothing method; we are LIKE SPONGES and ready to ABSORB whatever New Thing comes our way.  That might be alcohol, and often is.  It could be something else – just as addictive – or even behaviors that we do not even realize as dangerous.  (I do NOT have a problem with coffee or Internet overuse.  I. do. not.  I am serious.  insert link here…)   These things can take over – and how.  Alcohol, drugs, sexual promiscuity directly effect the WLS community, as does gambling, shopping to extraordinary excess, over-exercise, eating disorder behaviors, and the list goes on and on. 

But alcohol in particular is a huge component of post weight loss surgery drama. 

It can directly impact you, your family and every part of your life.  I hear too many sad stories, likely because I watch this community and probably get the concentrated sad story juice of our peers.  I am thankful every damned day that I haven’t had any disastrous addiction issues, nor has my post op spouse picked it up, because we could.   Something I have learned in this community – never say never.  Both of us have addiction issues in our extended families – and it was highly likely that we would also deal with one or ten of them.  I am thankful, but I worry about you.  I worry about this same WLS community – because post op addiction issues are rampant.  Every so often there’s a study posted – that warns us of the dangers of Too Much Alcohol – and then another comes out that says that It’s No Big Deal.  I am telling you – where I sit – it’s a big deal. 

It isn’t just alcohol – and I suppose that since we were in Las Vegas – the issues were magnified by the simple fact that anything you WANT to medicate with is available.  If you are addicted to something or have a behavior issue – you can get it in Vegas and get it in bulk.  Personally, my coffee addiction gets stunted in Vegas because it costs too much to continue my habit.  I do not know if that makes me less addicted, because I still sought out coffee.  As for food, I gave up and decided that next time I will live on beef jerky.  I think that just makes me cheap, not addicted.  But if I did have a food problem, Vegas would feed it.  But had I a sex addiction, not just one hired hand, I could get five!  If I had a shopping addiction, Vegas offered anything I could want.  Gambling, don’t even discuss the options.  I gave up pretty quickly since my husband and I ran out of cash without really eating, shopping, or gambling.  We could not maintain addictions in Vegas if we wanted to.

But it happens at every social event we have as a community.  This was just more intensified due to locale and sheer number of attendees.

I worry that many of the WLS community find themselves “having their first…” everything post surgery surrounded by others who have recently started having their firsts too. 

It’s a super-scary situation.  If I am drinking, I cannot possibly help YOU.   Post op drunks are not pretty.  We are sloppy, nasty and often rotten.

The biggest clue I saw at this last event was the sheer number of people who noted that they had to Have Drinks to deal with other people.  Had to.  The pre-loading and constant level of buzzed-to-drunk was interestingly higher than I remember at other events. 

It’s not new, of course, many attendees at events often note how they have to pre-medicate with anti-anxiety medications to even get into the room with other people.  (I cannot judge this, as I had to take a double dose of Ativan to fly home.  That, dear readers, is another post.)  What I can concern myself with – is that there are SO. MANY. OF. “US” doing the same thing. 

It’s clearly an indication of the lack of coping.  As a community, we are not coping.






New product alert! And it's delicious!

I tried the new Celebrate Vitamins Chewable Calcium Citrate, and it's amazing. I will do a proper review, but these are worth a try even without a review.  Or I could just steal BTV's video.  That too.  We all love this stuff. Yum-o.

Screen Shot 2012-05-26 at 4.12.45 PM

Celebrate says, "We are pleased to introduce our new Celebrate Soft Chew Calcium Citrate. You will be amazed by the great taste of these SUGAR FREE calcium citrate soft chews! Available in 3 great flavors with each chew providing 250 mg of calcium citrate and 250 IU of vitamin D3, you won't ask how many you have to take, you will be asking how many do I GET to take?!"