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!

why protein first?

We are told after weight loss surgery that it's an important mealtime rule to eat protein first. But do you know WHY is it so important? Let's take a look.

Slow and Steady

Proteins digest more slowly than carbohydrates and help keep your blood sugar level steady.

Proteins act like a stablizer. Carbohydrates are not "bad", they give you energy. You need them, just in the right balance and in the right order.

Your body turns carbohydrates into sugar, so when you eat carbohydrates first, you are inviting diaster. It's like dumping sugar into your body without a "safety net"—and we all know what that means after weight loss surgery. Without the protein safety net, you will eventually crash. Undigested sugar causes dumping, high and low insulin swings—making you feel terrible, not to mention a dangerous health risk.

Eating protein first helps your body start processing protein before introducing carbs. So when you do eat those few prized bites of bread, pasta, starchy veggies or simple sugar, you give your body a "cushion" to help balance your insulin levels—keeping you healthy and feeling energetic, not tired, sick and sluggish. Not just for the short term, but drastic swings in insulin levels are detrimental to your overall health, long term. You do need carbohydrates to give you energy, just in the right balance and in the right order. 

Altered Reality

No matter what kind of weight loss surgery you have, your stomach has been altered. It doesn't produce as much acid to digest foods as it did before. Surgery slows the process of protein digestion down even more. So getting that start on protein first is extremely important. 

Foods such as beef and chicken, and fattier fish such as Salmon, take longer to digest. They also help keep you fuller longer as well as balance blood sugar levels. Lighter, whiter and less fatty fish, scallops, shrimp, crab and other shellfish digest quickly and don't hold your blood sugar steady as long. So when you do eat lighter fish or shellfish, just make sure to steer clear of starchy foods. In other words: eat starchier foods with heavier proteins and more lean and green veggies with seafood. The more active you are, the more likely you are to fair better with more dense protein meals.

All the Way to Better

After weight loss surgery, you don't just want to go back to normal, you want to go all the way to fabulous. You want a new and improved quality of life. In the weight loss phase, liquid proteins are a MUST. But afterwards the goal should be to return to a normal and healthy diet in which proteins are in solid form.

Liquid proteins are pre-digested. That's great when your newly formed pouch is tiny and trying to heal. But liquids leave your stomach quickly. Causing you to be hungry and leaving your insulin levels at risk of sudden changes without warning.

As soon as you pass the first few months of the weight loss phase, and your body has no more energy storage (or fat) to rely on, returning to solid food and leaving behind those liquid proteins, protein bars and other soft foods that pass through your body quickly, is your best option. (Timing of these dietary changes should be discussed with your surgeon or nutritionist).

Protein is an important dietary element for our overall health. As we age, we loose muscle mass which is one of the main causes of injury and aging. Proteins build, heal, and repair our body—making enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals, they are an important building block of bones, muscle mass, cartilage, skin, and blood—as well as building and boosting our metabolism. 

Unbalanced hormones such as insulin levels can reek havoc with your weight-loss efforts. Learning how to return to a bariatricly balanced diet is the crucial for long-term weight loss efforts, overall health, as well as the way you feel after and meal and throughout the day. Learning to feel full and satisfied, knowing how to balance your diet, and boosting your metabolism after weight loss surgery can determine your level of weight loss success and your ability to return to a healthy and energetic lifestyle long-term.  

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

sausage and egg muffins

Looking for a protein breakfast for those cool fall mornings? Here is one of my family's favorites and it's bariatric friendly. These muffins are quick, easy and delicious. They keep nicely in the fridge and are great for on the go, as well. 

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Muffins

  • 7 to 8 whole eggs (or 5 whole eggs and 3 egg whites)
  • turkey sausage crumbles
  • cheese grated (any kind you like)
  • 3/4 cup milk 
  • 1/4 cup cream  
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 325

Prepare a non-stick muffin pan, (oil if needed). I use a copper no-stick pan.

In a large mixing bowl beat eggs, salt, pepper, milk, and cream.*

*(note: adding a little cream will help eggs not stick as well as help them not separate while cooking, but also optional...if cream is omitted, use 1 cup milk)

Sprinkle sausage in bottom of muffin pan. Add a little cheese on top and pour in egg mixture until cups are full. 

Bake  for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Turn muffins out on parchment paper.

Let cool and enjoy.

Makes 12 or more muffins

You can calculate the number of fat grams in each serving by adding the amount of grams in each unit of ingredients and then dividing each serving by the number of servings you baked. For example: Jimmy Dean's Turkey Sausage Crumbles have 5.8 grams of fat in 1/2 cup. Calculate how many cups you use, they divide that number by the number of muffins you bake. Do this for each ingredient and calculate how many grams of protein and fat in each muffin. This recipe is very flexible with regards to ingredient amounts. You can even add other ingredients such as tomato, spinach, mushrooms, garlic and onion. Just make sure you keep them high in protein. 

Posted on Monday, October 7, 2019 at 12:06PM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman in , | Comments Off

serve it up... 

What do ping pong balls and a serving of peanut butter have in common?

Give up? 

The answer is the size.

The serving size for peanut butter is the same size as a ping pong ball?   

Remember, although peanut butter, or any other nut butters, may contain a small amount of protein, they are high in fat; which can lead to dumping.

Make sure you measure, eat safely and enjoy. Yes, you can. You have many more miles to go!

Posted on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 11:00AM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman in | Comments Off

local support group meeting—dr. miles

Miles Support Group

Tuesday, October 1, 2019 — 6:30 pm

NHRMC Orthopedic Hospital

(formerly Cape Fear Hospital)

 3rdFloor Education Room North


TOPIC:  The Truth about Carbs

Guest Speaker:  Chaundra Evans, RD

Facilitator:  Kim Joyner, RN

winds of change

Sometimes the storms of life are more like passing showers, there's not much to them. After they pass, we find ourselves none-the-worse for wear. Sure, they may rain on our parade, but we are quickly able to dry ourselves off and get back to happily living our life.

Then there are the larger storms. Sometime even enormous. The clouds on the horizon are dark and ominous. Even from a distance, their threats are definitely loud enough to stir us from our deepest dreams.

In the past few years, here in eastern North Carolina, we have had more than our share of rain storms, ice storms, hurricanes and severe flooding. Many lost there homes, and with the threat of another massive storm approaching, many people have not even recovered from last year's devastating event.

Before the last hurricane, in September of 2018, we were already extremely over our annual rainfall. Several of my neighbors and I had been struggling to keep our shrubs from drowning. One neighbor said she was praying for a drought. It was tempting after so much rain. But being an avid gardener, I think deep down, she knew that without rain her yard won't grow at all. I suggested that we could tweak our request to simply praying for an ample amount of gentle showers instead of the torrential non-stop deluge.

But, such is life. In our lives, just as with our weather, no matter where you live, there will be storms. They threaten our stability, weaken our fortitude and seek to undermine our hard earned accomplishments. We often spend most of of time trying to figure out "why" we experience stormy times and "wishing" our rainy days away. We sometimes feel we have had enough. As the rain begins to fall at a pace far beyond our ability to recover, it stirs feeling of panic, anxiety, and even depression. As the winds and rain obscure our view, we begin to lose our perspective and focus only on the turmoil and not on the benefits the storm provides.

The wind and rain, lightening and thunder are some of the most powerful forces on earth. But the truth is, storms serve an important and beneficial purpose. They provide a tremendously essential and life-saving function by equalizing and balancing extreme temperatures on our planet. Lightening releases ozone into our atmosphere. Ozone is a vital gas that helps shield our planet against harmful ultraviolet sunlight. Lightening also helps dissolve unusable nitrogen in water into usable fertilizer. Just like the benefits of fire, winds serve to eliminate weak, diseased, and dead trees—giving the prospect for new seeds to emerge. Together with the rain, these elements serve to replenish, support, revitalize and refresh the earth.

Just like the storms that affect our planet, the storms of life have a specific purpose to fulfill—they serve as an indicator of whether or not we are strong and resistant and offer us opportunities for change.

Storms signal coming changes in our environment. Sometimes we need the wind and the rain to blow and wash away the old and useless things from our lives and grant us the opportunity to experience the new. They offer us a much needed opportunity to assess where we are in our lives, and expose places where maturity, growth and stability is needed.

During the past few years, I have experienced a deluge of emotional storms. External and internal storms that threatened to undermine my fortitude, rob my peace and shake my faith. Though it all, I've had the opporuntiy to grow in my trust and knowledge of the Lord. To put away the questions of "what for" and "why" and realize the importance for the journey. The circumstances allowed me to take inventory of my thoughts, emotions, and actions—to connect with unwanted fears and clear a path for peace.  And, just like the fragrance after the rain—life after the storms became sweeter than before. I can now face the oncoming storms in life with greater faith, stand more firmly planted. Renewed and refreshed in spirit, I now have the opportunity to grow onward and upward with greater fervor. 

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

"When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I." Psalm 61:2

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