What's Eating Me?

Kirsty at RealSelf on 19 Oct 2010 at 3:19pm

That's one of the most important questions that Julia Holloman, a bariatric surgery success story and creator of the Miles to Go blog, asks herself daily.

Julia says that ensuring success after bariatric surgery isn't just about what you're eating, but figuring out what's eating you. What is it that drives you to overeat? To choose the high fat/high sugar foods? What is it that stops you doing something positive to fight weight gain? Although it would seem that Julia has answered those questions and beat her inner food demons, it is something she still asks herself and struggles with on a daily basis.

Like a lot of overweight people, Julia Holloman had tried every diet and exercise regime possible, none of which worked to shed the weight she so desperately wanted to get rid of. Even after hiring a personal trainer and seeking medical advice, she failed to find success.

It wasn't an easy decision, however, after years of yo-yo dieting Julia turned her mind to the possibility of bariatric surgery, something she did not want to face but knew was her last resort. Julia decided to have gastric bypass surgery in 2006 after her weight spiraled to over 300 pounds and she had a whole host of obesity-related illnesses, such as: diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and thyroid problems.

Her journey has not been easy and Julia has dealt with food, emotional and spiritual issues over the last 4 years that she never dreamed would be a part of her gastric bypass journey. After having the surgery Julia learned that food was only a small part of her weight gain; the real issues lay with why she was eating in the first place. Before she could make a success of her surgery she needed to find the answer to that question. "All of the things that have formed who we are and how we feel about ourselves play a role in why we overeat to start with or why we turn to food for comfort or to fill some inner need," says Julia.

Julia is now 4 years post-surgery and has lost over 160 pounds. Her physical health has improved dramatically and she is more at ease with herself as a person. She cites a lot of hard work as well as a good support network and her spiritual beliefs as some of the tools she used, and still uses, to remain a bariatric surgery success.

Julia has chosen to spend the remainder of her life sharing her journey with others and helping people who are embarking on the same bariatric journey that she did. "My passion is to share what I have learned with others who face the same challenges. I believe everyone can succeed with the right tools and a passion to succeed as you transition from past behaviors and beliefs to new lifestyle changes," says Julia.

Julia is now a fully qualified bariatric support group leader and certified bariatric coach. Julia says, "Bariatric surgery changes your tummy, not your brain, but what you really need is brain surgery. Few people really understand how to do it or just how important a role it plays in changing your eating habits or your overall lifestyle." She goes on to say, "Coaching itself is really based on the belief that people are recreative and resourceful, and capable of solving problems. A trained coach can help you discover your hidden potential, understand your core or underlying beliefs, turning your focus on what you can do rather that what you can't."

Julia has shared with us her top 5 bariatric surgery success tips:

  • Be willing to learn how to love and value yourself and discover your purpose in life.
  • Education and Information. Realistic expectations. It's work... it doesn't just happen. It's not the easy way out. Be willing and committed to change every area of your life. How much do you want it and what are you willing to do to get it? It involves wholeness, balance and healing physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially and relationally. It's not just about diet and exercise; it's about "what's eating you."
  • Focus and commitment. Make a plan: Specific and doable. Define your goals, write them down, make it your focus. (A plan for escaping temptation, stress, dealing with emotions, relationships, etc.)
  • Accountability and Support. Find on-going support, accountability, motivation, encouragement and/or professional help. (friends, support groups, etc.)
  • Never give up! It's a lifetime journey not a destination.

Being a bariatric coach and support group leader allows Julia to help people in a way that not many others could. She has been through the weight gain, the emotional turmoil and the process of surgery. This is her way of giving back something to the world.

Julia is now embarking on speaking engagements to share her story and will soon be publishing her first book, which is the story of Julia's weight loss journey.