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!


Labels. We are all familiar with labels. Labels serve as indicators of what's inside a package.

We read food labels all the time…and rightfully so, its important to find out what we are eating to ensure the contents are wholesome and within the healthy limits for a well balanced bariatric diet.

Then, there are the clothing labels—washing instructions and size tags. I used to wear a 3X or a size 28. I knew that any other size would not fit. Just after surgery, I could wear a small or a size 6. It took a while for my brain to get on the same page as my body size, but soon it began to register.

It may just be a number, and although the information these labels provide are useful, they also set our limits.

Clothing labels let us know what fabrics were used in the clothing we wear. They guide us in caring for our clothes. 

Labels reveal something identity. We have even given labels to ourselves without knowing it. Have you ever been tempted to put “professional dieter” in the space on the medical form that asked for your "occupation"? But we never consider that the labels we use reveal how we view ourselves, our self image, and assign our limits.

Several years ago, I read The Difference Maker, a book about making our attitude our greatest asset by John Maxwell. When I got to this question I was stopped in my tracks. A quote by Dwayne Dyer relates: “If you are having trouble getting where you want to go, the problem may be inside you. If you don’t change your inward feeling about yourself, you will be unable to change your outward actions…”

Every thought we have shapes our life. After countless diets and years of failing, I must admit, failure was common, and I was at the bottom of the pit. I had gotten to the point of self-doubt and low self-image. I had to reprogram my mind and my thoughts.

I realized the need to change my inward feeling. I needed to examine my attitude towards how I viewed myself when it came to failure. This one was difficult. Do you believe you are a highly competent and successful person who sometimes fails, or are you basically a failure who is working to avoid mistakes? Ouch…as Garfield would say, “I think I resemble that remark.”

I had to take a good hard look at the labels I had placed on myself. The old attitudes just don’t fit anymore within the margins of my new lifestyle. I needed an interior change along with the exterior. I want the contents on the inside to be wholesome and within the healthy limits.

It may take some time to establish new labels for ourselves, but I believe we can change our thinking to attain a new vision of ourselves - so that the one in the mirror matches the one in our head.

Yes, we can…we have many more miles to go!

If things go wrong, don’t go with them.” --Roger Babson

august local support meeting

Miles Support Group Meeting

Tuesday,    August 1, 2017     6:30 pm

NHRMC Orthopedic Hospital  3rd Floor Education Room North  (formerly Cape Fear Hospital)

Topic:  What’s On Your Mind?  And a small presentation on Protein 

 It’s been 2 months! Come and share your journey with others!

Posted on Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 11:00PM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman in | Comments Off

part 2: solutions to get you back-on-track

So now what?

If what you’ve been doing isn’t working then STOP DOING IT.

It’s time to start thinking about things differently.

That same old dieting advice that didn’t work for you before surgery isn’t going to work after either.

But, don’t worry, Katy is here to help. She has worked with hundreds of people who have had weight loss surgery. She has honed in on some key factors that will actually make a difference for you. Katy says:

1. Do the things that matter.  It’s easy to get bombarded with information and overthink it. You can spin your wheels doing things that don’t matter.  I had a client who kept trying all these special protein-fortified foods and finally I told him, “You’re spending a lot of energy on these special foods, and you’re still gaining weight. Let’s look at some other factors that might be impacting you.” He wasn’t seeing that his lack of sleep and snacking were working against him. Once we targeted those issues he started losing weight again.

2. Implement a system. Don’t rely on willpower. Willpower doesn’t work because it’s finite, and it gets depleted by everyday stressors. You’ll inevitably find yourself lacking willpower with food when you most need it if you don’t have a system. Ever been through a drive thru on the way home from work after a stressful day?  That’s because your willpower was depleted earlier at work. If you have a system for dealing with stressors at work such as automation of tasks, delegation, stress management techniques, and perhaps a wind-down ritual at the end of the day, you’re much less likely to hit the drive thru on the way home. 

Try a new approach. For example, your dinners could be automated by a rotating monthly calendar or a delivery system such as Blue Apron. Make yourself a route to drive home that doesn’t go by any fast food restaurants, and BAM! we’ve created a system. 

3. Develop habits.  People who are successful at something have boring habits. It’s never quick and easy like we’re led to believe. You don’t accidentally win an Olympic gold medal or find it with magical solutions, like taking supplements. Nope, it takes years of intentional and intense training. Same thing with your eating.  You don’t accidentally or magically lose a ton of weight just by having surgery and taking vitamins.  And you certainly don’t accidentally keep it off for the long run. You need habits that you stick to every single day. 

Things such as planning your meals ahead of time, grocery shopping on a specific day of the week, exercising at the same time each day. These are the habits that will pay off over time.   

Systems and habits reduce the cognitive load of having to make lots of tiny decisions all day long. Just like willpower, our decision-making ability gets fatigued and we start to take the easy way out.  If something is a habit you’re much more likely to do it - rather than sitting there trying to decide whether or not you feel like doing something. Chances are there are plenty of times you’re not going to feel like going to the grocery store, or cooking dinner, or exercising. If you only do it when you feel like it you’re probably not going to lose weight. 

How to get started: What to do today

Today, sit down and take a look at what you’re really eating. Don’t lie to yourself, it won’t help. Be brutally honest.  Write it all down.  Then identify ONE thing that you want to change.  Something that if you did it, would actually make a significant difference.  Find a way to implement a system around this change, and do it until it becomes a habit.

The result: You’ve now shown yourself that you can make sustainable behavior change. You can repeat this process over and over again to create new systems and habits.  Keep doing it, and I promise you’ll start losing weight and feeling better, having more energy, feeling more confident. You’ll feel like you’re in control of your life.  And that’s pretty awesome.

Check out this site for more in-depth help getting back on track

Katy is giving away a free gift to help Miles to Go readers get moving, have more energy, and feel great.

Have you made any changes that made a big impact on your weight loss? What did you do to stick with it?  If so Katy would like to hear from you.

Katy Harvey, MS, RD, LD, CEDRD, is a registered dietitian, author, blogger and ultimately a teacher at heart.  She is an expert in bariatric surgery, eating disorders, and the psychology of eating.  Her blog can be found here, and her online course can be found here

secrets from a dietitian: part 1

In the next two post, you're going to learn 3 unconventional secrets to success from a Dietitian.

Katy relays the story of sitting in her office with a client who’d had bariatric surgery several years ago.

“It just didn’t work for me. I’ve tried everything. I don’t know what else to do.”  She was looking down in shame, and Katy could tell she was feeling totally defeated. 

As Katy shared, “This is a really common struggle,” “And I want you to know it’s not your fault.” Her patient looked at her in disbelief. 

The same advice over and over again

You see, most people are accustomed to seeing a dietitian and being silently scolded and told to “eat this, not that...blah, blah, blah.”  It’s the reason that a lot of people avoid seeing a dietitian - because it feels like you’re in the principal’s office. 

Truth be told, most people already know what they “should” be eating after surgery. Heck, they even knew before having surgery, but that knowledge wasn’t enough. And it still isn’t. If information were enough to solve a person’s weight problems, bariatric surgery wouldn’t exist.

Thus, here you are in a frustrating dilemma: Knowing what you should be doing, but not being able to do it consistently.

So now what?

It’s time to start thinking about things differently.  If what you’ve been doing isn’t working then STOP DOING IT. 

That same old dieting advice that didn’t work for you before surgery isn’t going to work after either. Don’t worry, I can help. I have worked with hundreds of people who have had weight loss surgery. From that work I have honed in on some key factors that will actually make a difference for you. 

Katy has common sense advise that works. Tune in tomorrow for the 3 unconventional secrets to success!

Submitted by: Katy Harvey, MS, RD, LD, CEDRD


fit as a fiddle

OK, so  we know the changes in tummy size won’t be enough to make permanent changes toward a healthy and complete life. During this series, we have been challenged to discover the keys to permanent weight loss success, as we continue to learn and grow in our effort to be compliant with our diet and exercise, and enjoy the benefits that weight loss surgery has provided. 

Just as in any surgery, we must experience healing from the inside out. We have found that our positive change in emotions, mind set, and thoughts can move us and inspire us toward health and wellness, instead of sickness and despair. 

We can seek to uncover the reasons we are held by emotional eating and we can focus on why we seek to bury our feelings within. We can be free from the destructive emotions of our past as we seek to uproot and destroy the inward disorders that hold us in their vice-like grip. 

We begin to turn toward a new truth and explore new meaning to life and wholeness. 

And in all these principles, the key idea for healthy lifestyle is sustainability. Just as we can be moved and inspired by great music, we are inspired with the ultimate commitment to keep ourselves in tune body, mind, soul and spirit. With these tools we can sing a new song, in four-part harmony, orchestrated by God himself finding completeness and health for lasting success. Fit as a fiddle…you bet ya!

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

Posted on Monday, July 17, 2017 at 11:00AM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman | Comments Off