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!

miles surgical - local support group meeting - march


Miles Surgical Support Group Meeting

March 5, 2019    6:30 pm 


NHRMC Orthopedic Hospital 

(formerly Cape Fear Hospital


Topic:  What’s On Your Mind?

Including a discussion about meal planning/recipes, etc.

so bring your favorite ideas for meal planning and recipe swaps.


Facilitator:  Kim Joyner, RN, CNOR 

p is for pancake perfection

Remember the kids song that says: "Make me a cake and mark it with a B"? Well, you can mark this cake with a P—for perfect, protein pancakes. Protein powders can be added to pancake and waffle mixes for that extra serving of protein.  

For some reason, maple syrup isn't one of my favorite flavors. But when it comes to that once-in-a-while pancake treat, I have an array of substitutes for maple syrup that make me happy. Some of my favorites are a spoonful of peanut butter, a drizzle of agave nectar, a tablespoon of honey, a sprinkle of nuts, blueberries, or even a little whip cream can be perfect substitutes for high sugar syrups. 

Fruit can be added inside the mix or fruit compotes make a great topping addition to make pancakes more moist. I like to add extra fiber by adding wheat germ, and even sweet potatoes to my pancake mixes. And don't forget you can also add in a little protein powder. 

Also, "Vitalicious" has a great low calorie pancake mix. Check the "Great Food Finds" section or google 

For pancake recipes and easy fruit compotes check out the "Recipe" section.

"jan's save the day" soup recipe

Happy Valentines's day!

Okay, so you just had surgery and you're maybe missing that Valentine's chocolate or a huge dinner out. I know the feeling. But, let's face it, it's often the little things in life that make the biggest impact. If you're just out from surgery, this soup recipe may be simple, but to me, it was a huge treat. 

This is a great soup for the full liquid second stage of your journey...

Just after weight loss surgery, my neighbor, Jan, brought me over this soup. At the time, it was the best soup I had ever tried. It certaintly "saved the day" and lifted my spirits. At the time, creamed potatoes were one of the top items on my food list, during the full liquid phase. Enjoy!

Jan's Save The Day Soup

1 can cream of Tomato Soup

1 can Beef Consume

1 3/4 cups water

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Heat and serve. Great with a "thin" amount of mashed potatoes, stirred in.

Cheer up your going to make it. You’re on the right road to a brand-new healthy life!

Look for other recipes under each progressive food phase. 

dining-out in-order

I'm almost 13 years out from weight loss surgery, but one of the things that gets me in the most trouble when eating out is the "order" in which I eat the food items. Or in other words, the temptation to eat food items "out of order".

By that, I mean, most restaurants serve items like bread or chips first. For gastric bypass patients, these high carbohydrate food items can cause a wonderful dinner night-out to quickly become a dreaded disaster.

But this challenge can quickly and wisely be eliminated with just a few adjustments in the "order" that food items come to your table.

First, let's talk about drinking liquids. Filling your tummy with liquid will leave no room for food. All beverages should be consumed at least 30 minutes before your meal.

I always have something to drink on the way to the restaurant, to insure I have plenty of time for it to leave my pouch without feeling deprived. If it's going to be an extended dining experience and I have time to allow 30 minutes or so for liquids to leave my pouch before food is served, I can comfortably indulge in a few sips of my favorites like unsweet tea or coffee. (just no carbonation, please). 

Next, protein must be eaten first to insure that blood sugar levels don't rise too quickly or cause unwanted dumping. Carbohydrates eaten first or without protein, spells double trouble.

Ask your server to hold the bread or chips; if it's not on the table, it's not as tempting. Order it at the end, if you still want it. 

Next, consider ordering a protein appetizer. This way you get to eat the right food in the right order. Most of the time no one will be the wiser, or think it's odd. My favorite protein appetizer is meatballs. Most meatballs have a few carbohydrates but the hamburger is digested slowly enough to keep you stable. Then for your main meal, (sides) such as green beans, a potato, or pasta are good carbohydrates options.

Eat slowly, chewing well, while you enjoy the experience of your time out. Then, waiting (at least 30 minutes to an hour) after the meal to drink beverages will eliminate any discomfort and danger of stretching your stomach. Stretching your stomach pouch isn't just painful, it is extremely dangerous.

Chances are, if you have eaten correctly you will be too full for bread or dessert, but leaving room to have one to two small bites of dessert or bread as a "finisher" to the meal, is perfectly acceptable.

Following these simple guidelines will ensure that you will enjoy your dining-out experience with no regrets. 

news from the dryer

There were times after my surgery, especially after I started wearing smaller size clothes, that I was hesitant to put my clothing in the dryer. Before losing weight, I would never put my clothes in the dryer, they might shrink and I needed every mili-second of material there was.

As my clothes got more roomy, I began to put them into the dryer to shrink them, on purpose—what a concept! 

During the season of time that I my mind just couldn't wrap itself around the fact that the clothes that went into the dryer were really mine when they came out dry and clean, it seemed like a dream. Someone surely was playing tricks on me. These couldn't be my clothes. They looked too small, to fit me.  

I have stood in front of the dryer many times and tried on my clothes to make sure I could still wear them, and to my surprise—they did fit.  

It is strange, but it is possible to believe two conflicting truths, the former truth and the real present one. I had to get my mind and my body on the "same page".  It took more than trying on clothes, or standing in front of the mirror or even the long talks I had with myself, in hopes that I would one day believe it was real.

It took examining my thoughts, getting to the core belief, dealing with the past truth and replacing it with the present truth. I had told myself for so long that I would never change and it would always be the same—and I believed it. I had to intentionally change that believe.

Things do change. I changed. Once I uncovered the old belief system that was telling me things hadn't changed—confronted it, tore the un-true beliefs that still existed in my mind, and replaced it—my thinking and actions caught up with the present. Acceptance is the key to changing your mind and actions associated with mind set changes.

After that, I stood in front of the washer and dryer on laundry day, smoothly retrieving my clothes from the dryer, and hang them on their hangers. Since then, it never occurs to me to try them on or even question the fact that I can still wear them.  

It's funny things most people take for granted, not to's one of the miracles that has occurred within. Not only am I different on the outside, I'm different on the inside and there is a miracle everyday. Even in the most ordinary, mundane, everyday, things most people take for granted...there appears an extra ordinary, super fabulous, colossal, supercalafradulisticexpialidocious, wonder. Soon I will be celebrating my 13th year from surgery - life after surgery is good.

To read more on how to "change your mindset" and behavioral changes after weight loss surgery, get my book Out of Obesity, and into the Promised Land"