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!

don't be tricked

Almost every season holds tempting environmental challenges that could lead us astray or cause us to stumble into seemingly unavoidable situations.

There will always be birthday parties, Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, family get-togethers, movies, baby showers, graduations, funerals, lunch at the office, potluck dinners, the fourth of July, and the fifth of May.

How about the bakery around the corner, the local "fried chicken" drive thru, and the "hot" donut sign on the way to work. And just when you think you have made it through the grocery store unscathed, there's a whole rack of goodies around the last corner.  

We can eliminate unnecessary distractions as best we can, however, we can't control everything in our environment. But we can control our response to temptations. Therefore, we must be prepared to confront the things that we can't eliminate. 

Autumn is my favorite time of year, but temptation seems to start early in October. I've had to discover creative tricks for replacing unhealthy habits and excuses to bring unwanted ills into my environment by closing the door to temptation. 

I can't usually avoid trips to the grocery store for months, but I can do things that help me control my appetite before I go and while I'm there. I eat before I go shopping, or I sometimes grab an apple on the way into the store. (I pay for it, of course.) I sometimes pay a visit to the coffee shop and treat myself to a "skinny latte" on the way. This time of year, with candy displayed on every aisle, I can limit my visits, steer clear of the candy aisles, and avoid bringing bags of seasonal candy into the house.

Due to my personal spiritual convictions, I choose not to celebrate Halloween. Over the years my family's diversion has been to create our own traditions—we close the door, turn out the lights, eat dinner by candlelight, (or candle lit pumpkins) play games, read stories, or watch a movie.   

For those of us eating bariatric style, we dont' have to miss out on the tastes of the season, we can treat ourselves to any number of healthier alternatives such as:

  • a sour apple clear liquid protein drink (for liquid food phase)
  • a warm cup of coffee with whipped cream (full liquid food phase)
  • a chilling chocolate protein shake (full liquid through regular food phase)
  • a warm butternut squash soup (puree' and soft food phase)
  • an egg soufflé (soft food phase)
  • a Stuffed Pumpkin surprise dinner (regular food phase)
  • or these delicious Dark Chocolate Dipped Apple Slices (regular food phase)

(You'll find these and other recipes under the recipe sections and bariatric food phases)

If you choose to hand out treats at the door, why not choose healthy snacks such as raisins, or non-edible treats such as crayons, pencils, or post it notes! Or at the very least, purchase items that don't tempt you to over-indulge. 

Don't be tricked, instead, prepare ahead. Find creative alternatives that fits your lifestyle—treating yourself (and others) to health. Enjoy the holidays—Yes, you can. You have many more miles to go!

the web of sabotage

Here are a two seemingly unrelated questions.

Q #1. Have your weight loss efforts ever been sabotaged by someone, or even yourself?


Q #2. Have you ever walked into a spider web?

Interestingly, spider webs and sabotage have a lot in common than you might think... 

Spider webs are amazing. Although their intricate threads may be delicate and fragile to us, to their unfortunate victims, these delicate webs are five times stronger than steel and virtually inescapable. The strength of the web is in it's design. These tiny silk threads are more stretchy than elastic and capable of withstanding hurricane force winds. Nearly invisible, these tiny traps are well hidden and strategically placed to catch their prey off-guard. The spider then uses it's venom to paralyze and defeat it's unsuspecting victim.

Just like spider webs, sabotage works in a similar same way. Sabotage is defined as a deliberate action aimed at weakening another, often by applying pressure. We, too, are likely to be trapped if we don't know how to detect the webs of sabotage and avoid them.

Here's how it happens: our best friend, our spouse, our mother, our mother-in-law or even our own self-talk may put pressure on us to conform. Comments such as: "You've lost enough weight, you look under-nourished, you need to eat." "I made this cake just for you." "Are you going to waste it?" "Just this one time won't hurt." Overwhelmed, giving-in often seems like our only option and we fall prey to the deadly web of sabotage.

It's really easy to let others define our boundaries or rule our choices. Even when offered with good intentions, these temptations when strategically placed, throw us off guard and weaken our resolve. They often leave us entangled in a web of guilt, shame, or self-condemnation.

It only takes a little mist or dust to reveal a spider web. So it is with the webs of sabotage. With a little know how, we can be armed and ready to detect and combat them.

I have found that I can't rely on will-power—it's often gullible, weak and easily persuaded to surrender to the slightest pressure. I have to set my mind to something stronger. My strength comes by remembering my pre-determined convictions and the commitment I made to take care of myself by making healthier lifestyle choices. I start by revisiting my reasons for having weight-loss surgery in the first place.

▪    Why did I have weight loss surgery?
▪    What are my objectives? 
▪    What do I really want my life to look like?
▪    Do I have a plan of escape?
▪    What are the convictions that hold me to my plan? 

I find it best not to wait until I am in the heat of the moment to make these decisions.Defining my personal convictions in advance helps empower me to be true to myself and strenghens my beliefs—standing firm in my purpose. Knowing how to detect sabotage is essential to avoiding it.

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

oct local support group meeting


Miles Support Group Meeting

Tuesday, October 4, 2016    6:30 pm 

NHRMC Orthopedic Hospital 

(formerly Cape Fear Hospital) 

Topic:  What’s On Your Mind?

Facilitator:  Kim Joyner, RN, CNOR 

Posted on Monday, October 3, 2016 at 07:00AM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman in , | Comments Off

go coco-nuts

I've gone coco—nuts! But not in the way you think.

I'm just experiencing the many benefits of an old reliable product in new and exciting ways!

Did you know that the words: metabolism, thyroid function, insulin-resistant, blood sugar, and oral health have something in common? Have you heard the term "oil pulling"?

If you don't know the answer to these questions, let me introduce you to the world of coconut oil and the benefits that coconut oil provides.

I've been using unrefined coconut oil for cooking for a long time, but I was recently introduced to Skinny and Coa line of pure, 100% raw, coconut oils, which I've discovered offer more than just a better way to cook, they offer a better way to improve your overall health—inside and out.

After receiving several sample products from Skinny & Co in the mail I was anxious to try them. I was hooked. In a few days I was back on their website placing an order for additional products. I'm so excited to share them with you.

Coconut oil can be used as a one-for-one replacement for butter when baking, grilling, or cooking—although best when used raw and unheated, it can also be added to coffee, tea, or smoothies. Skinny & Co.'s coconut oil is such a high grade that it can be used as a supplement. Coconut oil has been used for health benefits for centuries—for boosting metabolism, supporting thyroid function, suppling energy to insulin-resistant cells, and helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels. It can also help with detoxification and oral health.

This pure, high grade of coconut oil can also be used for oil "pulling". Oil pulling is an ancient tradition receiving a lot of modern interest because of its natural ability to reduce stains, bacteria, and plaque on teeth. The "stickiness" of the oil helps "pull" away bacteria and plaque— simply by swishing a tablespoon of oil around in your mouth. (then discard)

Coconut oil can also be used on the skin as a moisturizer or in the hair as a conditioner. I've also love Skinny & Co. Lip Balm, Soaps and Shampoo Bars, and Body Scrub.

Yes, I've gone "coconuts" for Skinny and Co's line of coconut oil products. Whether simply pure or lightly scented with essential oils, Skinny & Co is helping me to fulfill my commitment for optimal health—not only in my diet or weight, but taking care of my overall health, skin and oral hygiene, as well.

Posted on Monday, September 26, 2016 at 07:00AM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman in , , , | Comments Off

protein ideas are stacking up

Protein ideas are stacking up here at Miles to Go Blog. Especially during the weight loss phase after surgery, it is important to get in at least 60 to 75 grams of protein each day for healing, retaining muscle mass, and healthy weight loss.

So what does protein have to do with this mouth-watering stack of banana nut pancakes? Ummmmm....count me in!

Although drinking liquid protein is the most efficient way to get protein into our diet (and FYI, it also counts as a liquid when we are trying to drink 64 oz a day)—you dont' just have to drink your protein in liquid form.

Try mixing protein powder to food items such as pancakes or yogurt. Look for protein puddings, mixes and other items that are now available on the market—such as Unjury which offers several varieties of high quality protein soups. 

(My advice is to start with sample packs or small amount to see which flavor or brand of protein suits you best. Or go in with a friend and share an order.)

Vitalicious has a great low calorie, high fiber, pancake mix—just add your own protein powder and you're on your way to awesome. For additional ideas: See the "Great Food Finds" section on the left sidebar.  

For Vitalicious: Click here to see their blueberry pancake and muffin mix. Vitalicious is one of my favorite food finds. 

You can also find more ideas on adding protein into your diet right here on Miles to Go Blog, click here, or click on the category title "more than shakes" on the left side bar. You can also search for recipes and new grocery food finds—yes, right here on Miles to Go Blog. And, don't forget there's an entire section on protein and protein shakes.  Enjoy! 

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