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!

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

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. 

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