Physically, I'm half the woman I used to be, but as a result of my journey with gastric bypass surgery I've gained a lot. I'm Julia, and this blog is about the miles I've traveled in transforming my body, soul, and spirit while shedding more than 160 of the 300-plus pounds I carried before surgery. 

I'll share my personal experiences of restoring my health and changing my lifestyle, and I'll offer spiritual encouragement, social and emotional tools, nutritious recipes, health information, and more.

I've had a few challenges along the way, but through all the struggles I've grown stronger and regained my health and my life. I had my surgery on Easter Monday, 2006, which I call my personal resurrection day. Because of my transformation, I now look forward to many more "miles to go", and I invite you to travel with me on the road to a happier, healthier lifestyle....yes you can...I just did!

give yourself a break


Even when your vacation

takes a few exits from the beaten path

just make the best choices you can in every situation 

enjoy the adventure 

and get back on the road at the next opportunity.

Enjoy your summer! 


Boone, NC


Posted on Monday, August 5, 2019 at 10:00AM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman in | Comments Off

vacations and mealtime adventures

It's been a busy summer and blogging seems to have taken 2nd place to grandkids, lots of days by the pool and most recently – a weekend road trip to the mountains.  

This past weekend we made a trip up to Boone and Blowing Rock, NC.

Summer vacations are meant to be fun and relaxing, our trip was both. We stayed in a small mountain house with the sound of a rustling creek within hearing distance of our porch overlook. Cool weather and dark starry night. (I don't like lights when I'm trying to sleep). Surrounded by family, we had a great get-away.

For bariatric patients however, vacation meals on the go can be a little stressful. But with a little know how, these challenges don't have to be a deal-breaker.

On the way up, Richard and I stopped for lunch at Captain D's. Not knowing what to expect from their menu selections, seafood seemed a good choice in lieu of burgers.

I ordered the fish, shrimp and lobster bites, (thinking I could find enough "real food" under all that topping) and 2 sides of green beans. When we got our order it was just as expected, not too bad as fast food goes, but it was heavily breaded. I knew I would have to make adjustments. Although I didn't eat all the green beans, it was the only option rather than more breading or carbohydrates.)

I "fished out" the shrimp and fish, removing the outside crust. The few lobster bites were just that–mini bite sized pieces, not much lobster – I ate 2. I tasted one hush puppy and ate about half the green beans. We hit the road with a cup of ice and a cup of water in-hand. This, my bariatric friends, is how to rescue a meal on go!  

Dinner that night was family style - I had plenty of bariatric-friendly options to choose from, including veggies.

Breakfasts included boiled eggs in our little kitchen, and we packed a cooler for the day (deli meat, cheese, summer tomatoes, peanut butter and fruit - apples, watermelon and grapes) and headed out for a mountain top picnic. Then for a day of tubing on the river. After 3 hours on the water, we were exhausted, cold and wet, so we opted for take-out pizza on the way home. That's okay, our order included a meat-lovers, so I was fine.

The next day we grabbed a few more boiled eggs, fruit, (and the kids favorite mini pancakes with peanut butter, (which they named peanut butter tacos) and headed out to Tweetsie Railroad. Lunch was pork bar-b-que for a lot of climbing up and down hills and a train ride of course. Too tired to cook in our tiny little kitchen, with 5 adults and 4 hungry grandkids, we opted for burgers out. I ordered a cheeseburger in a lettuce wrap. I ate a few of my husband's fries and tasted a little of his chocolate milkshake. 

Even if your vacation means a few exits from the norm— just make the best choices you can in every situation and get back on the road at the next opportunity. 

In all, Richard and I were on the road for 5 days and I never stressed about mealtime or eating too far off the bariatric path. Our first stop back home included a stop at the grocery store, to refill our refrigerator and get back to our routine. With an active weekend and meals on the road, my visit to the scale this morning showed a weight loss of a few pounds, which was a nice finish to a great vacation.  

Have a great summer — stay cool and don't fret about vacation meals. Even if that means a few exits from the norm— just make the best choices you can in every situation and get back on the road at the next opportunity. 

Yes, we can. We have many more miles to go!

unlock your potential 

There is a story about a large fish that was placed in the middle of an aquarium with minnows to feed on. The fish fed to his heart’s delight. Then, the researchers placed a glass partition in the tank, dividing it in two. After the pike had eaten all of the minnows on his side of the partition, he could see the other minnows through the glass but he couldn’t get to them. He thrashed, he bumped, he bashed his body against the glass partition, but to no avail. He finally formed a belief that it was impossible for him to get to those fish. He stopped trying! Then, the researchers moved the glass partition and allowed the minnows to swim all around him.

He could smell them. He could see them. He could even touch them. But he believed that those fish were no longer available to him – that they were forever locked away from him – that it was impossible for him to win. So he starved to death in the middle of an aquarium full of food.”

For us, this could never happen right. I mean, we would know that if we looked in a mirror and saw ourselves after we had lost all of our weight and it was real that our mind would agree. Right? No. Not necessarily. This can happen to us too. How, you ask? Because it is possible for our mind to believe two conflicting opinions at once. It's very possible that after you lose a lot of weight, that your mind is still stuck in the past and what you see in the mirror is not the present you.

It was November 2008—two and a half years after I had weight loss surgery. I had lost l64 pounds, but my mind keep seeing that 300 pound girl I was before. I had told myself for so long that things would never change, that I believed it. This past truth held me hostage in a former world. It keep from seeing the present truth when I did lose weight. The truth finally triumphed, but it took a while. 

That breakthrough moment happened when I finally accepted the fact that things had changed and that I was believing a lie of the past. I needed to connect with the truth of the present.

That was the “disconnect” that kept my mind from seeing my true size as it really was. The belief that I would never change simply was not true. Not anymore. I had changed. I was different. I am different. 

The former truth has to give way to the present truth and it comes by replacing those old mindsets with a renewed mind. We become what we believe. Success comes with changing our core beliefs. Our core beliefs rule our thoughts, and our thoughts rule our actions. We must uncover the lies that we believe and replace them with new truth. 

Finally, I could see myself as I truly was, and you can, too.

Are you ready to unlock your full potential?  Yes…you can…you have many more miles to go!

More on how to replace old mindsets and habits and begin life anew, in my book, "Out of Obesity and into the Promised Land". Click here to order from Amazon.

the b's have it

They said that B vitamins are best taken together so for this post, I'll talk about B vitamins as a group, known as B Complex.

B complex vitamins are water-soluble, so the body can only absorb so much at a given time (unlike fat-soluble vitamins, which are stored until they’re needed). B vitamins boost energy, so it is best to take them in the morning instead of evening as they can affect sleep.

B's are best absorbed on an empty stomach, however, sensitive stomachs (and maybe even gastric bypass patients) should take them with a little food — just before eating breakfast and lunch. Splitting the dose can ensure steady blood levels. 

It is suggested to look for a formula that contains well under 100 milligrams of B6, however, it is always recommended to consult your surgeon or physician before taking or adding supplements and vitamins. 

a time for everything

If there is one thing we can expect after weight loss surgery, it's change. You can be ready to embrace your new lifestyle by enjoying the positives and making up your mind to embrace and make the best of the rest.

Taking vitamins after weight-loss surgery can be a nuisance. But not taking them can put your newly found chance at a better quality of life at risk. Taking vitamins and supplements becomes a lot more important after weight loss surgery procedures.

But the best news is that even though we have to take a few more vitamins than we did before surgery, losing weight brings hope for better health and a greater possibility of less prescription medications for the future.

Step One: Get Organized

I don't get excited about swallowing pills, but I have found that taking vitamin supplements worked better when I developed a routine in which to take them. The whole process can be made easier by moving forward with a plan. 

Remember there are 24 hours in every day and a time for everything. Armed with a little information on how vitamins work best, a handy pill case and a little scheduling and you'll be in sync in no time!

  • First, make a list of the vitamins and medications you take.
  • Pill cases will allow you to organize and simplify.
  • Vitamins and medications work better when taken under certain conditions, a little knowledge about your medications and supplements, establishing a plan, getting orgranized, and developing new habits are the keys to success. 

Step Two: Develop A Plan

There are plenty of articles here on Miles to Go Blog on vitamins. And even more on information on the internet. But here are a few tips to get you started. 

Vitamin D and B, Calcium and Multi-vitamins should be on your list. These are among the most important vitamins to take after weight loss surgery. So lets start with Vitamin D. 

Vitamin D

Splitting doses of vitamin D (in 2000 IU at a time) can ensure steady blood levels. Studies suggest that taking vitamin D (in easy-to-swallow softgels), with your heaviest meal of the day, either breakfast or lunch.

Vitamin D is fat soluable, which means it is better absorbed with with healthy fats such as avocado, olives, salmon, or nut butters. This has been proven to increase blood levels by 50 percent.

Vitamin D interrupts the body’s production of melatonin and can disrupt sleep. So take it earlier in the day.

In our upcoming posts, we will cover vitamin B and Calcium. 

Yes, you can. You have many more miles to go!

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