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!

local february support group - miles

Miles Support Group

Tuesday, February 5, 2018

6:30 pm

NHRMC Orthopedic Hospital

(formerly Cape Fear Hospital)

3rd Floor Education Room North


TOPIC:  Plastic Surgery Options for the Post-Bari Patient

  Guest Speaker: Dr. Mark Morgan


Posted on Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 07:29AM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman in , | Comments Off

biotin medical information

There has been recent research regarding Biotins ability to alter lab values, specifically, Troponin. Troponin is measured if you have experienced chest pain. If your troponin level is high after a chest pain event, you may have further invasive testing ordered. Incorrect test results may lead to inappropriate patient management and/or misdiagnosis. 

There is also a study that concluded biotin supplementation produced very low Thyroid Stimulating Hormone blood levels. This could lead to a misdiagnosis, as well. 

So, take Biotin with care. Always STOP biotin THREE days before labs are drawn.

Always report Biotin intake when you are admitted to the ED, at any Doctors visit, etc. 

If you are not seeing any benefit to your Biotin intake, I would recommend you cease taking it to avoid altered labs, etc. -

Thank you, Kim Joyner, RN, CNOR, NHRMC Bariatric Outcomes Manager

an old gift for new times

Christmas is a time to celebrate old traditions but at the same time, we often don't realize that over time we begin to celebrate our traditional heritage in new ways. Today, I would like to challenge you to give yourself the gift of seeing old things in a new way. Including—seeing yourself. 

After weight loss surgery, I discovered the new me. But really I just uncovered the old me. I found the freedom to unlock who I really am. Although they were there along, I found new things about myself that I had buried for a long time. My weight had covered a lot more of the "real" me than I had realized. I had lost the confidence I needed to be "me."

To me it's the little things in life that get my attention. I would say most people overlook simple things in life in search for the "big" things. To me, it's the fascination of the undiscovered. It's the hidden caterpillar or a tiny seed that holds the greatest wonder. At the beach, while most shell seekers are on a hunt for the biggest shells, you'll find me sitting among a pile of shell "crumbs" in search of tiny treasures. It's who I am.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I love to study words. It doesn't have to be a new word or a big word that I haven't heard before. It is usually a familiar word that gets my notice. So familiar, in fact, that I don't realize it's deeper or fuller meaning until I actually define it. I find a whole new sense of wonder. Reading the definition of the word suddenly takes on a new perspective and a deeper clarity. 

 In a post I wrote several years ago, I said:

"Words cause us to think, feel, imagine, communicate, change, and heal. Words carry meaning…they matter. They hold the power to inspire. They strengthen and empower. They impute wisdom, provide understanding, reveal truth, give direction and create awareness.

Words are actually vibrations that cause movement, and when that movement is realized on our hearing ear...we are suddenly awakened into a different reality. The right word in the right place at the right time can change us and our world."  

I exercise my passion for words by researching words in the stories in the Bible. It's who I am. It's important to me to understand the Bible in the way it was written hundreds of years ago. But because the Bible was written in a different language and in a different culture, and because some words haven't been properly translated, we find that we don't understand the real meaning behind what the Bible was intended to communicate. 

For example, recently, I have been rereading the Christmas story in the Book of Luke. I'm sure you are familiar with it. You may have read it or heard it for years, but often our familiarity keeps us from seeing exactly what the text says.

Re-reading the story to find the original or intended meaning usually leads to discovering something new—something that has been there all along, but I missed it because I didn't look for something new or see what was already there. We often look at something familiar with a pre-conceived mindset. When I study, I break the passage down and look up every word to find it's original meaning.

Many times we don't understand it because we don't understand the culture in which it was written. We try to apply it to our current understanding. Not only do cultures change over time, but each culture is different according to the times in which they live. I'm sure you would agree that our great grandmothers culture looks a little different that the culture that our grandchildren are growing up in. Actually, I'm being facetious, it's dramatically different. I was born in the 1950's. My children have a hard time conceiving of a world without computers, cell phones, color tv, and microwaves.

When I research the culture of the time period in which biblical events were written I can better understand what it meant to the people it was written to in the first place. I also put it back into the Bible as a "whole" not separated from all the rest of the message. And just like I suspected, this year I found a whole new and exciting truth in the story because I found an original word that was not properly translated.

Speaking of returning to the "old", this past year I also spent time finishing some sewing projects that I had put aside. I learned how to sew when I was five years old. I think I inherited my love and talent for sewing from my grandmother. I'm sure the things she made were handed down from her mother and grandmother for generations. Even though I'm still carrying that passion, creativity and knowledge that was passed on to me, I've learned to do them in a new way and with a personal reflection, so my projects don't look the same as my grandmother's projects.

Finding out who we are is not just a happening but a journey. I'm still discovering things about myself. Maybe it's a desire or a talent that, over the years, I've laid aside. Maybe I didn't see the value or importance in them but I've learning to appreciate that these seemingly insignificant things are actually the most signficant—these unique differences define me and have formed me into who I was created to be. 

There is something inherent in all of us—something that we carry from the past, but the way we express it is uniquely ours. During this season, I encourage you to rediscover the passion in the innate part of who you are. If your outside has changed, it's highly possible that some part of who you are on the inside needs a change to.

We become so familiar with the old, we overlook the new. You have been taken out of an "old" environment, and a former way of living, but with new life comes the need for new eyes to see ourselves as we really are. We have been formed by our experiences and our past, often, we too have been misunderstood, or "mistranslated" and mislabeled but when we move forward, we need to become new—to be converted, "translated" or redefined—we need to bring the important things with us and leave the unimportant, mislabeled "us" behind.

I pray that you begin to see yourself as you have always been and at the same time that you find something new within—the "you" you were meant to be. Allow yourself to embrace, express, and treasure who you are—in all your uniqueness in a fuller way.

I know you will find new meaning, a new perspective, new hope, and a purpose. It's been there all along a treasure hidden just beneath the surface—growning for such a time as this.

Merry Christmas

the healing tree

In the last few months I've been reading books and listening to pod cast about trees. 

How long has it been since you spent time in a garden? Strolled down a shady forest path? Or rested under the shadow of a tree? Did it serve to lighten your load, help you feel less stressed, or maybe allow you to breath a little easier?

I invite you to come with me—to the trees.

In early September, I went to a church conference near Dallas, Texas. It was a wonderful time of spiritual teaching and refreshment. But I didn't just find what I needed inside the church building. God had a prepared a special gift waiting for me along a tree-lined path in the middle of a garden.

For months, I had been suffering from sciatica. I had taken medication, been to a chiropractor, and returned to Pilates class to find some relief. After months of severe pain, I had found some improvement. But after hours of sitting on planes and in airports, and days of meetings and sleeping away from home, my sciatica was again in full swing. I needed to find a place to walk that wasn't made of concrete!  

The church grounds had a special feature that I had been looking forward to—a beautiful Prayer Garden. Full of trees, springs of water, plants, and flowers in abundance, complete with a chorus of birds, radiant butterflies and the joyful humming of honeybees. It was a perfect place to reflect, meditate and worship—not to mention a cool retreat from hot Texas heat, and the promise of some much needed relief to my aching back, leg and hip. I soon found a few quiet spots perched under the protective canopy of a few massive oaks who seemed to be calling my name. During my 5-day visit, I made my way into the garden at every opportunity.

In the words of the poem, "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer, "Only God can make a tree." Trees are the lungs of the earth. Most of us know that trees give off oxygen and take in carbon dioxide—giving us life and purifying our world. But did you know that trees also release life giving pheromones that bring healing to our bodies and our environment. Scientists are just now discovering the many healing properties of trees. 

It has been scientifically proven that those who live in forested areas, or spend time in or around the forest have less cancer—80% less breast cancer, as a matter of fact. There are actually changes that are detected in our bloodstream and in our cells. Those who spend time around trees have 40% more natural killer cells, which fight foreign invaders in our body. These pheromones, given off by trees, change our atmosphere, but the tree canopy helps keep the stronger concentration of these life giving chemicals within 3 to 6 feet from the ground—right where we live and breath. These healing aspects effect our cells, make us calmer, reduce our blood pressure and lower our heart rate.

There are also healing aspects within the interior of trees, called resins. Resin is the lifeblood of the tree which heals the tree when injured. But did you know that these resins contain oils that bring healing to our bodies as well? Science is also discovering many types of essential oils within plants and trees that help heal diseases within our bodies. 

Our lives are often full of stresses of one kind or another. Fresh air is often a good cure for what ails us, from relieving stress to healing physical illness. But we also have inner hurts—many of us carry unhealed wounds deep within us. Some of us respond to these wounds and stresses by eating. Then we turn to weight loss surgery to help fix us on the outside, but physical weight we carry is not always just about what we eat. 

I am so thankful that weight loss surgery helped me return to a healthy weight, but often times our weight is just a physical symptom of the inward emotional weight we carry. After surgery, I had to find a deeper solution for long-term success.

Most of us turn to food for comfort, security and self-medication. Weight loss surgery may fix our capacity to eat and our urge to eat, temporarily. And although a smaller stomach can help us get our figure back, it's not enough. Weight loss surgery itself is a stressful journey. Our lifetime struggles of internal wounds must be healed on the inside as well. Along with physical healing, we need to find emotional, mental and spiritually answers, too.

We can take our lesson from the trees. When a tree is wounded, it pours out the resin which seals and heals the tree. Resin is the lifeblood of the tree, poured out to bring healing to the wound. Just like trees, we too can be wounded and scarred by things in our environment.

Not only do trees offer healing for our physical needs, but they are also a picture of spiritual healing. The Bible tells us of one tree in particular who's fruit will always satisfy our deepest hunger and heal our inner wounds. Wouldn't it be wonderful to spend time under the shadow of this tree?

Trees in the Bible are a symbol of life and healing. Ezekiel 47:12 reads, "And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing."

Scriptures tell us that Jesus is The Tree of Life. He provides us with spiritual food just like our natural trees provide physical food. When we eat spiritual food it satisfies our heart, our mind, and our spirit. "Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.'" John 6:35

Where do we find this tree? The healing we need? At the cross of Christ—the "Tree" that gives us life, salvation, wholeness and peace. His life's blood was poured out for us. We can let go of our past, and receive forgiveness, righteousness, reconciliation, freedom, healing, peace, and eternal life. We can come to him and be filled and healed from the inside out. In Acts 5:30 in which Peter says, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a tree.”  This word "tree" is often translated "cross". The cross was a "tree".

I went to the conference in Texas to deepen my spiritual walk with God. God had been preparing my heart. The trees in the garden reminded me of His healing power. As I walked into the garden I trusted God to heal my back, and I stepped through the gate with expectation. I could feel a change in the atmosphere around me and within a few steps the pain in my back was gone as I walked into God's healing presence. Oh the wonder and miracle of Him who made all things. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork." 

Are you tired of being wounded and hungry? Whether you need healing on the inside or on the outside—He will always be there to meet you at the gate of your heart. Maybe it's time you took a "The Tree of Life".

introducing the mufas

the who?  

The MUFAs...

MUFA (MOO-fah) is an abbreviation for mono-unsaturated fatty acids.

In other words, MUFAs are heart healthy foods that are high in fatty acids.

and yes...we need to eat them (in moderation, of course).

Here's why:

There are five categories of MUFA's.  

1. Oils

2. Olives

3. Nut and Seeds

4. Avocados

5. Dark Chocolate

Fatty acids are the essential building blocks for all dietary fats.  

Unsaturated fats, that's MUFAs, glide through your bloodstream bringing health and protection for your arteries. 

Don't stay trapped in the "diet" mentality after weight loss surgery. Mufas are plant fats, that when eaten in moderation, keep you healthy. Healthy fats help "carry" or deliver nutrients to your body.

After surgery keep fats around 5 grams per meal. Remember this is a guide not a rule. Around 5 grams per meal is a healthy limit to control dumping too much fat into your system at once.

A 1/4 of an avocado, for example, has 7.4 grams of healthy fat, 1 grams of protein and 4.3 grams carbs, and 3.4 grams fiber. and .3 grams sugar. That makes avacadoes a low-carb, low sugar, health friendly plant food. Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium and are low in saturated fat and high in fiber. 

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

for more on healthy MUFAs, oils, nuts, seeds and even chocolate click here.