This is Life Now



During this whole process, I’ve had this feeling that at some point, this was going to get very very hard – I’d have horrible withdrawal symptoms, and I’d want to eat everything I’m not supposed to, and I’d want to cry at every meal. This hasn’t happened. Not even close.

But still, I’ve been fearful of it – waiting for the monster to attack.

Today, while at work, I was thinking about this once again. When will it start to get really hard? When I’m halfway through? When I’m near the end?

I realized two things:

First, why do I believe that this has to be painful? Everyone’s experience with things is a little different, with some similarities, of course. But what if my body and my mind and my soul were just really ready for this? So, I’m choosing to stop waiting for the bottom to drop out on me. I’m going to keep focused on the road ahead and believe that only the best things are to come during this experience.

Second, there is no halfway through, no end to this. I will never be done. This is life now. And while there are some things that I’ll get to add back into my diet in 30 (now 22!) days, the habits I’m starting now are the same habits I’ll need in my new life. I’ll be cooking more and thinking more about what I put into my body.

I think that in some ways, always thinking that there is a finish line in a diet (or any other lifestyle change), harms progress. Because what happens when you finish? You go back to old habits? Shouldn’t you be different by the end of it, so it’s not easy to go back?

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m going to be celebrating the crap out of making it through this thing! But actually looking at this as my LIFE and not just a month to get through is what’s going to make real change take place.


Keep Going

I got home really late on Saturday night, so I decided to do a combined blog tonight!

Saturday morning/early afternoon was very relaxed for me.I spent time planning my meals for the week and compiling a grocery list. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention and ran out of time to make and eat my lunch before I had to leave for my film-making class. I was worried I would get too hungry and make a bad decision later, so I started to look for any type of approved food I could take with me. I ended up taking a couple pickles, half an avocado, olives, and a Larabar. I ate on the go and it saved me from getting hungry.

After class, I went and visited my mom. I had packed my dinner, so made it there while we chatted. Then I went to see my brother’s family’s new house. It was a great time, but it was a little hard to be there because there was pizza, brownies, and I even saw some of their groceries on the counter. But I made it through. I feel like every time I make it through a situation like that, I get stronger. I’m also proud of myself for making it through an on-the-go day without stopping for fast food AND without simply not eating all day.

This morning (Sunday) was really nice. I was able to make myself breakfast and coffee and relax before church. The rest of the day was busy with grocery shopping and food prep. It’s definitely not ideal for me to have to do both on the same day. There were so many times that I wanted to stop making dressing or butter or chopping vegetables. I had to have a constant dialogue with myself:

“I don’t need to do anymore. I’ll be okay. I’ll just figure it out tomorrow. I just want to sit down and watch TV.”

“Aubrey, this is not that hard. You just have to chop some veggies. It’s easy. Keep going.”

And I did – I kept going. And the food I made came out fantastic! I’m actually finding cooking to be kind of fun – who knew?

Oh and it’s official now – I’ve made it through the first seven days! I can’t remember the last time I actually made it through any diet plan for seven days without cheating once!

Here’s to a week of success – and for this next week as well!

One Tiny Sip

Panera Bread.

I sat through a two-hour work meeting while everyone was eating Panera Bread, and I survived! Do you think they make a souvenir T-shirt for that? I ate my chili and Larabar, and made it through!

Something did happen during that lunch meeting though – completely unintentional. We had two types of iced tea from Panera Bread. I tried one and it was decent, then decided to try the green tea.

In one tiny sip, I knew.

This has sugar in it.


I panicked a little inside, but was in the middle of the meeting so had to focus on the agenda. Meanwhile, this small cup of green elixir-of-the-gods tea sat in front of me – taunting me, calling to me, begging me to give in.

“You already had a small sip, might as well drink the whole cup.”


A few times during the meeting, I looked at the cup and had the same thoughts – more from habit than desire:

I should finish the cup of tea because I poured myself a cup of tea.

If I already made a tiny mistake, why not enjoy it and make it a full-on mistake.

Old thinking patterns must die.

After the meeting was over I went online to check the ingredients, and sure enough, cane sugar was on the list. I gave my cup of tea to a coworker and continued on with my day. I’m a little annoyed that sugar crossed my lips, but it was such a small amount that I’m moving on.

I’m proud of myself though – for resisting my old thinking patterns and leaving a cup of really delicious tea in front of me for two hours and not giving in.

I’m still feeling pretty great, and cooking food and prepping meals is almost becoming normal to me. I seared and baked a steak tonight – it was delicious, and I didn’t even put any sauces on it.

It just really feels good to be living life like this right now.

And now, I get to enjoy a night of binge-watching Supernatural on Netflix with another one of my amazing friends! Yay for Friday and for the weekend!


Day Four. Rawr.

My alarm went off this morning and my eyes opened, and I was just, awake. Like, fully alert – no grogginess or heaviness. I mean, I still hit my snooze button a few times cause I wanted to lay there longer. But wow, I was just so ready to get up.

Normally, mornings are rough for me – no matter what time it is or how much sleep I’ve had, I hate waking up. Maybe part of that is the way I’ve been eating all these years – sort of drugging myself.

Today was another great day, but I think I’m really starting to feel the effects of all these changes. I was tired again throughout the day, and I felt some pains in my head at different times. I was also extremely thirsty – I couldn’t get enough water!

I was also not super impressed with my scrambled eggs this morning. They were good, but I guess more than three days in a row is too much. I’ll have to mix it up this next week a bit more. I also felt hungry at several different times today. I think I’m eating plenty, so it may just be withdrawal or thirst for water.

Tonight, I had coffee with one of my amazing friends! I ordered an iced black coffee, nothing added to it – and it was amazing! So good! This was a pleasant surprise. I’ve been having hot black coffee in the morning and it’s been okay, but the coffee at the coffee shop was even better. I’m so glad I can have coffee during this – at least I get to keep one of my addictions.

Spending time with my friend was so good! Today was a bit challenging, so being able to spend some time with someone who always “lights me up” was just what I needed!

LindsayandMe Mariners

(This is my friend and me at a Mariners game this past Summer)

Tomorrow is Day Five. It’s Friday and payday – a day I’d normally treat myself to eating out and/or Starbucks. But friends, I will persevere – I will make it through!




The Best Medicine

This morning, my head felt so heavy – like I had been hit by a truck in the middle of the night! Luckily, there was no pain, but it made it very hard to pull myself out of bed. But I did, and then successfully made everything for my breakfast without having to look at the cookbook! And I know that my “recipes” aren’t super difficult, but for me, this was an accomplishment!

I waited for more detox symptoms to come today – but nothing really came except more tiredness. I actually feel like my mood has already improved! This was very helpful today, as work was crazy stressful!

I mean, most of the day I felt like…


Very grateful for my group of co-workers- wouldn’t want anyone else to be in the “foxhole” with me during battle! A bit dramatic? Yeah probably, but that’s me – hiii!

I did have a few moments today where I got overwhelmed thinking about the length of this thing. But I talked myself down rather quickly – one day at a time, Aubrey. Also, I really hate all the food promos you have to scroll past on social media sites now – Starbucks will you PLEASE STOP with the frappuccino ads?? Help a girl out!

On my way home from work I thought about how I got through the day without making a mistake with eating, considering how stressful it was. I know that at some point I was getting a little cranky and almost wanted to cry (combination of stress and new eating habits will do that). I figured out what I did – I started laughing and making more jokes. I mean, I make jokes on a regular basis, but I think I cranked it up a notch today. I – we – laughed a lot this afternoon and let me tell you – it’s good medicine.

I’ll have to keep that in mind in the future – maybe if I need some stress relief when I’m alone, I’ll watch a funny show or movie or some stand up comedy.

Good night, everyone! Keep laughing and smiling through it all!

Love Yourself First

Day two went better than I expected! I did have to deal with my spring allergies today, but they are starting to clear up a bit – one good thing about it finally raining!

I feel like I’m just waiting here, the calm before the storm of headaches and crankiness and any other withdrawal symptoms that are coming. I’m really trying to embrace how I feel now so I can hold on to that when I’m having a bad day!

The only withdrawal symptom I did start to have this afternoon was tiredness. I felt like I could close my eyes and fall asleep at my desk if I wanted to! But eating helps with that. I ate lunch a little earlier than normal when my sleepiness started to affect my brain function, and I perked right back up!

This morning, when I left my house I found this gift left on the outside of my door:


Ha. Luckily, this early in the journey it didn’t phase me – but nice try!

This Whole 30 thing is pretty interesting. I feel like I’m in an experiment. It’s actually really good that it’s so black and white – there’s no way to trick yourself into cheating. Each day or meal is kind of like a pass/fail test – you either ate what you were supposed to, or you didn’t. I’m a pretty “gray” person naturally, so I guess this will be good for me – no faking myself out!

One of the rules on the Whole30 is no weighing yourself the entire 30 days. I put my scale in a closet that’s hard to open so I wouldn’t be able to weigh myself easily. I didn’t think that would be a big deal, but even last night I thought “I wonder if I lost any weight today – I did so good!” Then I was grateful that I couldn’t check. I felt so good about yesterday, what if the scale told me I’d gained weight? All of the good that happened yesterday would have been ruined.

I can already see how much this journey is a mental/emotional one more than a physical one. Which, when you’ve battled weight for any length of time, is what this all boils down to. You’re eating -or not eating- in healthy way, not because of the food, but because of how you feel about yourself. But most diets and plans focus heavily on the physical – without taking care of the root of the problem.

I’m hoping that this will help me take care of some roots 🙂

One timely thing that happened today was receiving this in the mail:


It’s a t-shirt I bought as a part of a Represent campaign that Jared Padalecki does several times a year to raise money for non-profits (here’s an article about the beginnings of this) . It was a great reminder today that I’m doing this as a way of loving myself first – my whole self. And sometimes loving yourself first means doing hard things so that you can be happier and healthier on the other side.

Two days down, 28 days and a lifetime to go.

Remember friends – love yourself first, and always keep fighting!

Today is the Day!

The plan for this morning was to get up a little earlier than normal so I had time to make breakfast and eat before leaving for work.

Ha – that didn’t happen. I’m a night owl and hate mornings. I also got the inspiration to write a bit last night, so I banked only five hours of fitful sleep before my alarm went off. The snooze button and I are well-acquainted.

Spring allergies have also been making life difficult the last several days. Those are always fun to fight through in the morning to get ready for work. Looks a little like this…


While I was frantically making my breakfast to go, I managed to flip my daily calendar to today’s date, and it said “Today is the Day.” Aww, calendar – how did you know?

All of the food I had today was surprisingly good. While drinking my coffee with coconut milk and cinnamon, however, I had a mantra in my mind: “It’s not gross, it’s just not sweet.” Sigh. I’ll get used to it. It was pretty satisfying to know that the food I was eating was good, healthy, and I made it all myself!

I’m feeling pretty good today, although I know my withdrawal symptoms have yet to kick in, so I’ll be on the lookout for those starting tomorrow. One mistake I made today was that I didn’t realize the chili I was going to eat for dinner tonight was going to need to simmer for an hour. So, as I’m typing this, I’m smelling my amazing dinner, but being force to wait for it. Noted for next time.

I feel very calm and at peace with this today. It feels almost normal – like this is how my life was always meant to be when it concerned food. I’m going to try to remember that feeling when this gets harder.

On to day two!


*Gif used is from

It’s Time. I’m Ready.

On Monday, April 11, 2016, I’m starting The Whole 30.

I have been unhealthy and overweight my entire life.

Sickness has always been a reality for me. I’ve survived many colds, ear infections that required three sets of tubes, and then leukemia when I was 14. My adult life brought a bad case of bronchitis, knee issues, high blood pressure, and an autoimmune disorder (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis). In the last few years I’ve ended up in urgent care/ER twice because of severe stomach/back pain, and most recently I’ve started to deal with sporadic heart palpitations (brought on by, I believe, anxiety).

I’m only 32 years old.

This is unacceptable.

I’ve tried a ton of diets and workouts in the past. I’ve lost weight, and I’ve gained it back. So what makes this time different?

The last six to nine months of my life have been a roller coaster – high highs and low lows. My life personally has been pretty great. I love where I work, I have amazing friends, I go to an awesome church, and have starting doing things that I’ve always wanted to and enjoy, without apology or hesitation. But very real pain and struggle has come to those whom I love dearly. And while my pain is no where near what theirs is, it is still very real and has been quite the road to walk.

The last few months of 2015 were the lowest of low. It felt like in the course of a few weeks, blow after blow kept coming. I felt like I might go a little crazy at first, but I took some deep breaths and seemed to be coping okay.

At the end of December/beginning of January, my body told me differently. I started having heart palpitations. It freaked me out so I of course went to Dr. Google. This is the first time I’ve looked up a medical symptom online and actually felt better afterward. Usually the internet tells me I’m dying or something. But not this time. Apparently living through three months of constant stress affects your body, and in my case, I started to have heart palpitations. I started taking magnesium, and they’ve become less regular, and I’ve been to the doctor since, so all you worriers out there, I’m doing fine!

My palpitations had resolved for about a month, which was nice. Then, I got a phone call from my dad which lead to an extremely stressful evening that ended with a lot of tears. I won’t go into details, but my dad deals with addiction. In talking with my mom that night, she said something that really hit home for me. She said that nothing was ever important enough for him to stop.

Nothing was ever important enough for him to stop.

Nothing has ever been important enough for me to stop.

In the midst of dealing with the bad decisions my dad has made, I was cut to the heart with my own bad decisions. Nothing – no goal or bad experience – has ever been enough for me to stick with a plan to lose weight and get healthy. The next day I started having heart palpitations again – my body processing anxiety.

One of my highs came five days later, though. I went to a convention and got to meet actors from one of my favorite television shows. It was amazing and inspiring – it’s hard to explain how much that weekend meant to me. But it definitely added even more fire to my dreams and goals.

A week after that, I ended up going to the ER at 3 am because I woke up with severe stomach and back pain. Everything ended up okay, but as I laid in the hospital bed, I reflected on my health: I’m 32, but because of my lack of healthy living, it’s completely possible I could have a heart attack.

I’m tired of this. Tired of feeling “a little sick all the time.”

Finally working on things like acting, writing, etc, has made my dreams a little more tangible. It’s like I finally have something that I can hold onto instead of food. Something that I can objectively look at and see that the choices I make in my health will directly impact my ability to move forward.

Also, for the first time, this isn’t about weight or my appearance. I’m sure weight loss will come with healthy eating, but what I’m really after, what I really want, is to FEEL BETTER. To feel alive.

To feel like I’m 32 years old.

I’m going to blog every day of this 30+ day journey. I almost didn’t want to start this because what if I fail? But it’s this flawed thinking that pushes me to start this blog – I have to see myself as a winner. I can’t fail. I’m going to kick it in the ass.*

So welcome to my journey. I hope that it encourages you, makes you laugh, makes you think. I’m not sure what this will look like, so we’ll just find out together.

Comments and thoughts are welcome!


*’Kick it in the ass’ is something the late, great Director Kim Manners used to say – that’s where I got that from and just want to give credit where credit is due.

Walking through Fear

For most of my life, I’ve been pursuing one thing – call it a career path or a lifestyle choice or a calling – vocational ministry.

I served like crazy at church, did an internship at church, went to Bible college, then served some more at church. One time I even thought I was close to being hired on at a church.

It started when I was young. I started going to my brother’s church in fifth grade, and as a shy kid, this small place was the perfect environment for me to be involved and make friends. It was my outlet. Some kids get involved with sports, others various business or farming clubs, others drama and choir or band. Me? I put everything into church.

I loved it. I felt accepted and was able to be involved in things that in the outside world I couldn’t – or felt I couldn’t because I was an overweight girl. I helped with worship, drama, lighting for plays, and anything else I could do. This was all in my teenage years – the time when you learn more about who you are and start making decisions about what you want to do when you “grow up.”

I saw the ultimate option right in front of me. I loved spending all my time at church, so of course vocational ministry was it for me. I loved singing and being on stage, so I wanted to be a worship pastor.

Through the years, that passion has come and gone. I would be certain that I was “called” to vocational ministry, and other times I would feel like I wasn’t built for it, that something else must be out there for me. I won’t lie: it’s been one of the biggest struggles of my adult life.

About seven years ago, I thought I was close to getting my dream. I was helping a lot with a ministry, and they were hoping to get the go-ahead to hire someone to be on staff to do what I was doing as a volunteer. While volunteering I both loved it and hated it. It frustrated me and elated me. It was a roller coaster ride, but it taught me a lot. In the end, they got the go-ahead to hire someone.

And they hired someone else.

A big part of me was relieved. I had been anxious about the idea of having this be my full-time job. Would I possibly be miserable? How does one “quit” a ministry job if it’s not working out? But I know deep down, my heart broke the day I found out. I smiled at everyone and congratulated the person who got the job. That’s what we’re supposed to do right? Celebrate with those who celebrate?

A wall went up that day that took years to tear down. I didn’t want to admit to myself that I was deeply hurt by not even being offered an interview for the position. Again, like many times before in my life, I felt unwanted, and used.

I tried to stay at that church awhile, but realized I had no real connection to anyone there, and it was time to move on – to start fresh somewhere else. I spent the next few years exactly where I needed to be – a church where I could heal and re-learn everything about following Jesus.

I still felt confused about God’s path for me. I tried to get involved with worship, but it didn’t work out. I tried to make friends, but it seemed that no real connection was being made. I moved my entire life to go to this church – how could it not be working out?

I finally gave myself permission to look for another church. I started at a small church when I was a teenager, but since then, I had gone to what people call “mega-churches.” I loved the production value, the excitement of the services, and feeling like I was a part of something huge. But in all those bigger environments, I never really found my niche or “my people.”

I realized that church is not the place I need to find a big show or production. Church is meant to be a community. That’s what I’d been so desperately needing for years. So I set out to find a place that I could thrive and find community. And boy did I find it.

I’ve been in a church for two years now that has exceeded all of my expectations. Each time I’ve held my breath waiting to hear or see something that would remind me of past issues in church, I’ve been able to let out a relieved sigh as the opposite happened. I’ve never felt so loved, welcomed, or safe in a church before. I’ve met friends that I connect with on a real level and my pastors actually know and want to know me. My heart is glad.

This safety, this family, has allowed me to be able to open up again – to be vulnerable. I still had a wall up – protecting myself from being hurt again. But I didn’t want to end up where I ended up seven years ago – feeling hurt and used. Hardened. So, I jumped in with both feet – I got involved in some opportunities for worship. I even allowed my pastor to speak into my heart about calling and ministry.

I opened myself up to the possibility of vocational ministry, but instead of coming at it from a career-path perspective, I let my heart lead. I started to see people and love people. I started to see church as not just about me, but about “us.” I even stepped into a ministry opportunity at a different church for a season, to see what God would do.

All the fear I’d had about what would happen if I opened myself up and tried new things disappeared the instant I walked forward. Fear is not as scary as I thought it was. Fear was not a giant towering over me, but a mosquito I only needed to flick off my arm.

In being involved with worship and ministry, and in being truly honest with myself and God, I’ve discovered something:

I don’t want to be in vocational ministry.

I’m relieved. In the past I’ve avoided worship and have turned away from vocational ministry out of fear. But this time is different, because this time it isn’t fear that I’m running from – it’s truth and freedom that I’m running toward.

I’m discovering what I really want to do, and I have no idea what, if anything, will really become of it. But I know that I love Jesus, and He loves me. I know that I’m in an amazing community of people that will cheer me on in victories and comfort me in failures. And that, is priceless.

I feel so light. I feel like a heavy burden – that I was never meant to carry – has been lifted off my shoulders. Part of me wonders why I went through all of the volunteering and training in the past – I know God led me through each step on my journey – but I trust that God has been building me into the person He created me to be.

So, here’s to truth and being honest with ourselves.

Here’s to walking through fear, instead of running from it.

Here’s to finding your community.

Here’s to exciting, new seasons.

Not Feeling It

Ah, emotion. Such a driving force in our lives, and we don’t even realize it much of the time.

Or at least, I don’t. Or didn’t – until recently.

I’m a pretty neutral person. I keep calm in most circumstances and have a chill, laid-back, “whatever” temperament. I have at times prided myself in taking emotion out of the equation when it comes to approaching issues and people.

But really, that’s a wall. A facade. Because in my core, I am chock-full of emotions. And those emotions drive me.

And I’ve let them. Unknowingly.

Or, more likely the case – apathetically.

I’m dreaming again of my future. What I would love to have happen – the types of dreams that are extremely far-fetched, but something within you says that maybe, just maybe they might come true.

But I’ve been waiting. For what, I don’t know. To lose X amount of pounds. To find a man. To have all the concrete answers. To have a clear and safe path.

Problem is, time waits for no one. The clock keeps ticking, I’m getting older. It’s getting harder to see myself letting go of comfort and stability for something bigger. Not to mention, I found two new gray hairs this morning.

I’m not old. I’m still very young in the grand scheme of things – I have so much more time to accomplish the great things I want to, but they will never happen if I keep waiting.

So I’ve been stepping out into new things – things that I’ve kept hidden in myself most of my life because it’s not practical or because of my insecurities. It’s overwhelming, but it’s been a thrill to step out and find that not only do I enjoy it – I’m good at it!

But emotions. Tricky little bastards.

It’s like working out. You’re supposed to exercise every morning. The alarm clock goes off and your emotions try to seduce you –

You worked hard yesterday, you deserve a sleep-in.

You stayed up too late last night, getting more sleep is more important than working out.

Or it’s just that feeling that causes you to slam the snooze button over and over and over again.

And I gotta say – they win much of the time.

Yesterday, I was looking at a set list for singing for kids worship today, and I just wasn’t “feeling” it.

I’m tired. It’s been a long week. I’m singing with someone new. I’m tired.

I was close to calling out “sick.”

But then I had this epiphany: I’ve “called out sick” far too many times in my life. Because I was too tired or uncomfortable or insecure. So it was easier to lie – to others, but mostly to myself. Better to be comfortable for now and when the time was right, I’d be ready to take the plunge.

The time will never be right.

They say (whoever “they” are) that you’re never completely ready for marriage or having kids. I think I’m starting to understand that that actually applies to most things in life.

Sitting there, I thought about my dreams – the big crazy ones. I realized that they all had something in common – work.

They all take work. A small portion is fun and amazing and validating – and that part is super important. But before I could ever get to that – I have to work. And work hard.

If I can’t even push beyond my “not feeling it” to commit 5 hours on a Sunday to singing worship for kids – how can I even think that I would be able to grasp even a portion of my dreams?

So I sucked it up. I shoved my emotions into the back seat and took the steering wheel. I practiced the music and sang for the kids.

Was it the most amazing experience of my life? No.

Was it the most terrible? Absolutely not, far from it.

I had a good time, but more importantly, I began to teach myself and my emotions who’s boss. I control my actions. And each time I overrule my “not feeling it” and do it anyway, I will grow stronger and will start to achieve things I never thought I could.

This isn’t about shutting down emotion – this is about putting it in it’s proper place, so that when it’s needed, it’s ready to roll.

There’s an echo-ing voice in my head that pops up when I’m feeling especially emotional – read: especially whiny.

A wise old sage once said:

If you don’t quit, you win.

So here I am. Not quitting. Even when – especially when – I’m “not feeling it.”