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!

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Posted on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 02:28PM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman | Comments Off

christmas remembered

I love Christmas ornaments. I collect Bible story ornaments, and things that remind me of scriptures, which are very hard to find these days. Among my favorites are Jonah and the fish, Daniel and the lion’s den, Noah's Ark, the Nativity, and I even have one of Samson. 

Among my favorite ornaments hang on my tree are those with special meaning from friends over the years. Some from the first year we were married and even some that I made myself. But my favorites by far, are the ornaments I hang there because they are handmade by those close and dear to my heart. The ones my three children and seven grandchildren have made over the years.

Of course, some of those more than 40 year-old ornaments aren't all that outwardly attractive. Some don't even look like ornaments at all. As adults, my children are always curious about why they mean so much to me, as they inquire, "What is this thing suppose to be, anyway?" But to me, they are highly prized, irreplaceable and one of a kind. But in 2009, (three years after I had weight loss surgery) something incredible happened that changed my view of things. As I hung these little treasures on the tree that year, little did I know God would use them to speak a special message to my heart.

Among the ornaments that grace my collection is a red "blob". It's happens to be the one that usually gets the most "why" questions asked about it.'s just a blob of red plastic. It's actually a clear red plastic cup which has been melted in the oven. Inside the blob are a few small green plastic beads. It really doesn't even look like a Christmas ornament, much less a good Christmas ornament, but to me it is precious. 

As I was pondering this little treasure, it suddenly occurred to me that this ornament required more adult involvement than that of a three-year-old child. In a preschool class, someone just handed him a cup or maybe placed it in front of him. He may not have even touched it. It didn't come from his imagination or even display any of his handiwork or creativity. The melting had to be done in the oven, so he didn't even get involved in the process, except maybe as an observer. So really the only thing he did was to drop a few little green beads in the cup.  

So why is it meaningful, so special? I have hung it on my tree with loving care and a smile for the over 30 years. "What is it about this red blob?"

But that day, in that moment, something that had been planted years ago suddenly came to life. In that moment, God began to reveal a special secret held within that little blob.  

In my minds eye, I followed the hands of a 3-year-old boy as he selected his little green beads and dropped them one by one into the red plastic cup.  And then I saw it, something I had missed before, but it has been there along.  

Fingerprints.  Tucked inside that red blob is a unique impression of a child. Not just any child, mind you. My child.  A child conceived in love, not just through human will, but by the will and hand of God himself. Fashioned by the God of the Universe. This little red blog carries a part of my heart along with those small little fingerprints.  Tiny invisible fingerprints that proclaim all that he is and all that he will ever be. Fingerprints that will remain constant and permanent following him into eternity.  Fingerprints that display his heritage from the beginning of time. Suddenly, I was caught up in quiet and silent world within the womb.  

The scriptures tell us that God fashioned and created us. In the quiet and secret place, when no one else was looking. He was alone with something so dear to his heart, a moment in time, so intimate, unshared with the world; He created "me" and "you".  

The word used in Psalms is embroidered. Handmade. We carry God's fingerprints. Just imagine. We carry the imprints of the one who made us, God’s unique signature.  We reflect the perfect love, care and tedious creativity of the Master, Himself. God might have spoken the universe into existence, but when he made you and I, He intricately formed us by hand. In that season of my life, I needed to be reminded of His extravagant love for me. Once again, God used a child to send a special message of His love into our world.

That moment played inside my heart that day, and into every Christmas season afterwards. Why do I doubt love?  I carry it around in my heart and in every part of me.   

You created my inmost being; you embroidered and knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: your works are wonderful. I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Psalm 139:13-15. 

full of promise

Each season of life brings it's own discoveries, beauties, wonders and promises just waiting to be birthed anew.

To each season there is a plan and purpose.

Just think, if you had only seen a apple tree in the winter season. You might just think that it was always going to be bent, snarled and barren.

If you view it in the spring, you would see it in a whole new light, when the blooms are beautiful and full of promise. 

Yet, as beautiful and sweet as it is in spring, what if you had missed the beauty of it's summer shade or it's brilliant colors of the fall—when it was at the peak of fruitfulness?

If so, you would have missed it's purpose for all that went before and all that will follow after—the peak of life and the seeds of promise it holds within. The hope of things to be. 

Your life also holds promises of things you have never even dreamed of before.

You are breaking free from the captivity of the past. Before you is the freedom to dream the dreams you have hidden away for so long.

Before you is a new chapter. Embrace it with anticipation and excitement as new promises within begin to reach their full potential.

Take time during this season to remember the accomplishments, milestones and blessings of 2017.

Yes, you can. "The best is yet to be."

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman in , | Comments Off

twice around the table

Of all the things I love to do, one of my favorites things is to give a dinner party. I enjoy setting the table for guest—creating just the right atmosphere, selecting the background music, decorating the tablescape, planning the menu—and of course, eating the food and visiting with my guest.

Getting an invitation to a dinner party should be exciting. But let's face it, dinner parties involve far more than just choosing an outfit, or enjoying the centerpiece. After weight-loss surgery, festive or even family meals can be a bit daunting. So let's take a stroll around the holiday table and I'll give you a few of my favorite "table-topper" secrets for your next holiday party invitation. 

Survey the table:  When it comes to selecting foods on a buffet, I recommend more than one trip around the table or buffet. Before we had weight loss surgery, we most likely didn't have any quams at all about making more than one trip around a buffet. After surgery, however, it becomes a must do in my book. Let me explain why. Taking a stroll around the table (even if it's just a quick glance with your eyes) allows us to select the food items that are permissible to our food plan that we enjoy. This will allow proper selection or the right choice before placing food items on our plate. Make a good protein choice and we well on our way to successful.  

Take a little detour: Making a good protein choice will allow you to take a taste of an item that is a special treat, such as a dessert. There may also be one or two items that are only offered at this time of the year. Go ahead, choose a small helping that makes you feel in control and at the same time helps you feel that you havent' been cheated out of your favorite holiday meal. Food is not "bad", it is meant to be enjoyed. Tasting some of your favorite foods doesn't make you "bad" either. (That's part of the diet mentality we need to abandon). If you do decide to taste something sweet, make adjustments elsewhere: only take one or two small bites—the important thing is to balance your splurge with plenty of lean protein and vegetables. 

Bring your own "gift" to the table: Call it southern hospitality or just good manners, but when I was growing up, showing up with a gift was always appropriate. So, if you’re going to a party, along with a small gift for the host or hostess, add a table-topper— a dish that you can enjoy as well as the other guest. You can even call ahead. Explain to the host or hostess that you are so excited to have received an invitation, but at the moment, you have certain food restrictions. Or just insist on bringing a side dish. Suggest several options—maybe shrimp, a cheese or deli tray, and don't forget that deviled eggs are always a huge hit.

Food, parties, and family get-togethers are meant to be enjoyed, not dreaded. So enjoy your next stroll around the holiday table.

with a cherry on top

It may only be a few days after Thanksgiving but the feel of Christmas is already in the air. The first thing that comes to mind is how to add a little festive flare to that ordinary, everyday protein shake.

My grandchildren are like me, a shake just isn't a shake without a cherry on top. That can also include protein shakes.

The old saying, "You eat with your eyes first" goes a long way with protein shakes, too. So if adding a little whip and red cherry on top makes those shakes a little more inviting, I say go for it. I've said it before, and it's worth repeating, eating after weight loss surgery is a lifestyle not a diet. 

So I thought we could start off the season with a very merry protein shake recipe...with a cherry on top! Enjoy!

I begin with the Basic Protein Shake Recipe

Basic Recipe 

  •  ½  cup skim, 2% milk, soy milk or water
  • 2 scoops protein powder
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • Sugar substitute to taste

Then add Flavoring ingredients

  • 1/4 cup cherries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

You can also add a little cocoa if you like chocolate! and of course, a little whip and don't forget...a bright red cherry! 

Blend and serve

You are on your way to a very Merry Christmas!