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!

what is eating me?

I realized before I made the decision to have weight loss surgery, that there had to be more to success than just the surgery itself. I realized there was more that needed to be "fixed" than a tiny tummy, a healthier diet and more exercise.

There is more to the issue of obesity than what you eat. I found that it's also about "what was eating me." I just didn't know what that "something" was. But it didn't take long before I figured it out.

It was only a few weeks as a matter of fact, that I came face to face with this "missing link" and I began to experience the impact it would have on my success.  

The problem, however, is our appetite. BUT, Not just the appetite for food. I began to recognize the fact that we are created with different appetites. These appetites have a value and purpose.

We are made with an appetite and desire for food, sex, authority and power, pleasure, work, gaining wisdom, companionship, love, acceptance, to be wanted, needed, understood, cared for, appreciated, trusted, and to fellowship with God. That's a lot of appetites, no wonder we are still hungry.

To satisfy an appetite, you must use the actual thing being desired to fill it. This is where we get off track.  We begin to use the wrong thing to fill the appetite desire.  We begin to substitute by trying to fill our needs with something else. You may have discovered already, that our appetites don't like to be ignored. That is when they begin to "rage" out of control.   

I encourage you to consider your appetites. Do you recognize your body's different desires? What are you really hungry for?  Are you filling every desire with food instead of what you really want or need? 

You can read more about appetites and how I worked through "what was eating me" in my book, Out of Obesity and into the Promised Land. Click on title to purchase.

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

Posted on Monday, October 29, 2018 at 10:00AM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman in | Comments Off

avoiding the webs 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 more 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 to these comments 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—my will-power is 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?

Spider webs don't just intercept prey, they are actually designed to attract their victims. My best advice, steer clear. We first are tempted with our eyes. 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 and anticipate the webs of sabotage is essential to avoiding them.

I often avoid dessert menus by removing them from my sight when I'm first seated in a restaurant. Or avoiding places in the grocery store that I know hold those temptation, such as the area where they keep the donuts, cakes and cookies. I shut the door to temptation by not buying candy, even for others, if it meant I might not be strong enough to resist it. I had a rule, I only ordered dessert in a group, and I only allowed myself 2 small bites, no more. For years, I avoided temptations together. Later, when I was more equipped to face them, I could walk through the maze of sabotage undeterred.   

Temptations lie in wait everywhere we turn. We can't avoid them forever, but we can equip ourselves with purpose and a plan of escape. Get creative in finding your own way to intercept temptation before you fall into it's deceptive power.

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

overcoming loss

Every time I close the door on reality 

 it comes in through the windows.  

 Jennifer Yane

Believe it or not, after weight loss surgery, we lose more than just weight, we also face feelings of loss over food, security, and the familiar. Emotionally we go through a process of grief.

We need to be aware that these feeling are normal and we need to be prepared and equipped to face them and to work through these emotions to bring closure and healing into our new life.

There are five stages loss or grief that are just a normal part of the process that leads us towards healing.





and acceptance.

The first four (4) follow no prescribed order or length of duration and can be experienced over and over again as we adjust to our new reality.

Then there is the fifth (5). Acceptance. Although all of these feeling are extremely important, to let ourself feel and expereince as the work through the emotions. Acceptance is the most important one on the list in the sense that this final step brings us closure in the healing process. Reality may not always be easy to accept but it is the only key that unlocks the cycle —working through all the emotions and accepting what is true, present, and real. 

Don't be afraid to grieve. It is important to allow yourself time to move through these stages. It is important to take time to grieve, to feel. to experience, to process. But we don't want to live and dwell in these stages long-term. It's important to move forward. Accepting reality. Putting the past behind and embrace the new.

It's when we find ourselves not moving forward or not experiencing and embracing our present, that we need to seek professional counsel to help us move forward.

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

a trick or treat?

Making a habit of eating sugary treats can plays tricks on you.

They can set you up for sugar addition.

You could easily end up with the same food cravings that got you into the weight battle in the first place.

The longer you go without sugar, the less you will crave it. Eating processed sugar makes you crave more. I have found that fighting this battle with natural, unprocessed sugars can lower the risk of addiction and satisfy your sweet tooth. One of my favorite substitutes for milk chocolate is high cocoa dark chocolate, 70% or higher.* Foods such as apples, prunes, pears, and even raw honey. Eaten after a meal or with cheese or proteins such as ham, pork or cold cuts offer a perfect afternoon snack. 

This month I challenge you to find healthy alternatives to processed or sugary treats with foods that are naturally sweet and good to eat. 

My seasonal recipe treat is sweet figs wrapped in bacon - from Kraft.

You need:

  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese
  • 6 ripe figs cut lengthwise in half
  • bacon cut in half


  • Pre-heat broiler 
  • Spread cheese onto cut sides of figs; wrap with bacon, overlapping ends of bacon under figs. Place figs, cut sides up, in shallow pan.
  • Broil, 6 inches from heat, 8 to 10 min. or until bacon is crisp.
  • Drain on paper towel.

Serves 6

Remember, low sugar, the right "natural" ingredients and small portions are among of the "tricks" to success!

*(please read food labels, less than 10 grams of sugar per portion size - note that a portion is different than a serving. A serving is the standard serving amount noted on the label, but a portion is the amount you choose to eat, and should be determined by the amounts within the limits for bariatric patients to prevent dumping.)  

its a pill

Do you ever wonder if you have taken your vitamins or prescription medication for the day? Remembering to take pills, can be "a pill" —meaning it can be annoying, unpleasant or just simply hard to remember.  

Missing a medication once in a while may not seem like a big deal, but the accumulation of missed dosages adds up over time. No matter how organized we are, we can still forget to take them on occasion. So with that said, the more organized we can become with establishing a habit of "pill taking" especially of important medications and vitamins, the more likely we are not to forget them.

I'm an organizer by nature, but there are still times that I get distracted from my routine. I find that having a pill organizer is the best solution for me. I have 4 to 6 pill containers, which I fill all at once on a monthly bases. Filling several cases at a time, is a lot more convenient that having to do it every week. The convenience of having this done ahead, helps ensure that I don't get lazy or procrastinate and skip doses.

Place the pill organizer in a place that you will see it often. Maybe on your night stand, beside the bathroom sink, or in a kitchen cabinet where you keep your morning coffee cup.

Pill organizers come in all shapes and sizes, so it's easy to find one that fits your needs. These organizers are available at most big box stores, pharmacies, and you can also search for a huge selection online.

I place all my "pills" for the day together in one organizer section marked for that day. Each morning I remove the pills and after taking my morning dosages, I place the night time ones back in the box where I will remember to take them at bedtime. The other ones, I place in a separate, small, round pill container, which is more portable for traveling during the day. When I'm at home, I can place them in a place where I will see them often throughout the day.

I prefer to take the rest a few at a time throughout the day because if I take too many at one time, my tummy doesn't feel so good. Sometimes when taking pills with just a bite of a cracker or an apple slice will soften the blow to a empty stomach.

For pills that have to be taken with food or certain times of the day, setting an alert or reminder on your phone might be a good idea.

Even if you have to be creative, taking your medication or vitamins is more than just a good idea, its an important thing to remember for our overall health, especially after weight loss surgery, which limits the absorption of certain vitamins.

Once you establish a habit of taking pills at the same time everyday, and making the process as organized and convenient as possible, it's not such a "pill" after all.

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

For more ideas on taking pills, do a search in the Miles to Go sidebar on the left.