News Items: Boston, Bariatric Surgery and Al Roker’s Dirty Underwear

Why did Boston kick off its weight loss campaign with the country’s biggest ice cream party?

Boston is a beautiful city. It just needs a little help in the weight loss department.

Boston is a beautiful city. It just needs a little help in the weight loss department. Photo: Manu_H, Flickr.

1. Boston officials are surprised that the citywide challenge to collectively lose 1 million pounds in a year failed.

This despite kicking it off with the nation’s largest all-you-can-eat ice-cream festival.

Read more in the Wall Street Journal.


2. A fascinating, scary and all too typical story of weight loss surgery shows that if you can possibly lose weight by changing how you eat, you should.

Surgery is not an attractive alternative.

This excerpt is from the AFR in Australia (subscription required):

For Hilton Woolf, bariatric surgery has been a mixed blessing. While he is thrilled with the dramatic weight loss, the process has been traumatic. Some 15 weeks ago he went into surgery weighing 132 kilograms. Today, at 97 kg he is still dealing with after-effects.

But he was concerned when, following the operation, his body went into shock, he could no longer eat and could see the weight falling off. At the time, all he knew was that there was an unbearable burning sensation around his head. Too late for preventive drug treatment, this was diagnosed as severe shingles that emerged due to his compromised immunity.

“It was a nightmare. Three times a night I would go under a cold shower to cool my head. I would scratch until I bled. ”

While this has almost resolved, a direct side effect of the surgery has not. He is still dealing with so-called dumping, which happens when food rushes through the stomach and causes nausea, vomiting and weakness. Woolf experienced extreme dumping and is still learning to cope. A few days ago he forgot his lunch and bought a chicken wrap. “I had a small bite, and then, as I am learning to do, I chewed very carefully and put it down for 60 seconds. But I couldn’t stomach it and within 20 minutes was so uncomfortable I had to vomit.”

Woolf, aged 55, is now hoping to drop back to 80 kilograms. But what if he can’t stop and at the age of 80 needs more meat on his bones?


3. TV celebrity Al Roker had his own dumping problems after bariatric surgery — at the White House. (Yes, that White House.)

In his new book Never Goin’ Back: Winning the Weight-Loss Battle For Good, (affiliate link) he tells the story, as he also did on Dateline this week. Here’s how the LA Times covered it:

“When you have a bypass and your bowel’s been reconstructed, you think you’re pretty safe,” Roker told Snyderman. “And I probably went off and ate something I wasn’t supposed to. And as I’m walking to the press room, well, I gotta pass a little gas here. I’m walking by myself. Who’s gonna know? Only a little something extra came out.”

“You pooped in your pants,” said Snyderman.

“I pooped my pants,” said Roker. “Not horribly, but enough that I knew.”

That is, Snyderman noted, a common side effect of the surgery. Common or not, it was a side effect that demanded immediate attention, and Roker said he was panicking.

He managed to get to the press room bathroom, tossed out his soiled underwear and “just went commando” the rest of the day.

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  1. […] have complained before about bariatric surgery. I believe it is a scandal that patients are advised to have their stomachs stapled, banded, […]

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