I Stopped Eating Meat…Kind of

Exactly 31 days ago I stopped eating meat…kind of. I must be honest. I had one meat dish a week and for the first three weeks those were some sort of fish dish. This week I had chicken for the first time. But other than that it has been 28 days without any meat at all and here are a few things I have learned/noticed and things no one tells you when I stop eating meat, just in case you were wondering.

1. It wasn’t as difficult as I expected in some ways. I figured I would have killed someone for a chicken nugget by now but I’ve been alright. There has not been any murder due to meat deprivation…yet. There have been times though that I have been really upset at vegetables.

2. A meatless diet makes you gassy. Like seriously flatulent. Not even silent but deadly just full on loud and disastrous! I had to google this to make sure I wasn’t dying. I wasn’t, I just smelt like it.

3. Probably common sense, but I did not realize how limited the non meat options are at fast food restaurants. Essentially you have French fries and salads and that’s not easy to eat driving down the highway.

4. Your family won’t immediately jump on board. I started this partially because my daughter said she wanted to but then she bailed on me until about 2 days ago. My parents are still very much judgmental carnivores.

5. Bread and cheese become the most logical substitute for meat. Which as we all know isn’t the most healthy of options. I have not seen any weight loss, which I’m not sure was actually a goal. If it was, this would definitely be the reason.

6. Family reunions are tough but under absolutely no circumstances should you bring black bean burgers or veggie dogs to a black family reunion as an alternative. Just lay low and only eat sides. Also, pretend you don’t see the ham hock in the greens.

7. Tofu is meh. It’s just a thing. It does the job. Black bean burgers are pretty good though but you can’t eat burgers every day, black bean or not.

8. I have been craving a roast beef sandwich for a few weeks. I couldn’t tell you the last time that I actually had a roast beef sandwich.

9. Meat makes your skin break out. Not eating meat clears it up. Or at least this might be true. My mom told me it was all in my head but I don’t normally get acne except for my monthly period pimple. Throughout this process I noticed an increase in acne. I then realized I was getting one or two, painful bumps once a week. I didn’t pay that much mind until this week. On Tuesday I had wings (not even going to lie, they were good) and then on Wednesday I had two new bumps. Coincidence…I think not. I also have weird blotchy skin on my back and was mildly hopeful it might clear up. I went to the dermatologist a while back and the antibiotic cream they prescribed didn’t work. The next step was two months of daily antibiotic pills which seemed like a yeast infection and pregnancy waiting to happen so I declined. Throughout the month I started to feel like things were clearing up but didn’t want to say anything. The other day my daughter randomly said “your back is clearing up” so I’m not crazy!

10. I am actually capable of doing something that is totally internally motivated without much pomp and circumstance to encourage me. I tried to only tell people when absolutely necessary and to not make a big deal out of it. Other then my daughter, I didn’t ask anyone to join in. I only didn’t really set a goal. I figured I’d give it a go, see what happens and reassess at the 30 day mark.

So here we are, 30 days in. I thought at this point I would probably decide to go back to some meat consumption while being mindful, but honestly number 9 is a huge motivator for me to at the very least keep up what I’ve been doing if not cut it out all together. Next stop, return to meal prep. Which should be a lot easier since…well…vegetables. Who knows…that roast beef sandwich still sounds really good.

Happy Thursday beautiful people!

I have become that person…but how?

I spent a lot of time with friends yesterday. A group of friends for brunch and then another friend stopped by to chat for a bit. That’s what adults do right? Eat brunch and chat? How did I get here?

Those two conversations were filled with lots of catching up and discussion of future plans as most conversations are. I’ve had similar conversations with all of these people multiple times because while I love them all dearly and am super close to them all I don’t see them frequently because of life and adulting. And that’s fine. We all are doing it and no one gets mad about it. I appreciate that about my friends.

At some point during both conversations though I realized, I have become that person. What person you ask? Well if your just a little patient I’ll tell!

In discussing some of my personal goals, the usual, weight loss, saving money, moving out (yep…I’m 30 years old and still live with my parents. That’s a blog for another day) came up. I’ve recently started to pick up on peoples responses to my saying I’m going to do these things. Let’s just say they aren’t good. Sometimes it’s met with laughter (thanks Dad), sometimes it’s met with harsh reminders (I thought you were on a diet) that only really serve to annoy me and trigger my stubbornness (thanks Mom), most times it’s met with slight side eye, sighs of “that’s great” with the undertone of “we’ve had this conversation plenty of times but yet here you still are” and encouragement with a hint of “there’s really no reason why you haven’t already done this you’re just lazy/content and used to this lifestyle” (thanks friends, family, coworkers, strangers). And I admit, since these are areas I am not happy with in my life, I probably read more into people’s slight shifts in tone, side eyes, eye rolls, and comments than they actually mean. And I put some of the stuff I’ve been already thinking into their comments too.

But, the realization that I have become that person, officially hit me after brunch, when my friend Michael stopped by and I told him my plan to move out and then my thoughts about potential life style changes for health purposes and both comments got a sarcastic slow clap with a “we’ll see.” A lot of people would be pissed at Michael for this response. I, however, have known Michael for going on 20 years (how did we get so old) and while he may be a self proclaimed ass hole, his intentions (towards me at least) are never to hurt or harm. We could all use a level headed, blunt, call it what it is friend…even if it bruises our ego a bit because on the flip side, Michael has always celebrated any of my successes with the fierceness of a loving brother.

So, what have my friends responses for several weeks/months/years and at brunch and Michael’s slow clap helped me to realize…I have become that person. Dear God lady what person?!?! I’ve become the person that no one actually takes serious when they set goals. The person that sets these goals and is super excited about them but somewhere down the line, and usually very quickly, falls off. It would not surprise me if my family secretly takes bets on how long I will keep up any dieting or healthy living practices. And I know for certain they do not believe me or even entertain my talks about moving out anymore. It’s as if everyone is just waiting to see if it happens but no one is holding their breath because they know the possibility of them dying in the process is high.

But how did I get here?

I’m not sure I’ve ever been a highly goal oriented person. I’ve always felt like most people have known since they were 6 what they wanted to do with their life. I literally decided I wanted to be a counselor one day while on campus my senior year of undergrad talking to a friend. I had about 3 months to get my application turned in take the necessary tests to apply. Then in grad school I felt everyone knew what population they wanted to work with. I have stumbled through the last five years finally finding a population that I absolutely love but even then had to step away from in order to be effective and not lose my own mind. Once a month, usually right before I start my period when I feel bloated and disgusting I go to bed and say “ok this is it. I’m going to get my life together.” Then I start my period, refuse to do anything that week because life is hard enough when your vagina is dying so I have all intentions of doing something when it’s over. My period ends, the bloating goes away, and while my body is far from perfect I usually catch a glimpse in the mirror before I shower one day and say “you know what, you good Ashley! If someone can’t love all of this then they don’t deserve you” and the cycle begins again. I can justify a lot of things and I ultimately refuse to shame myself for being human and doing things that humans need to do like eat, and rest, and enjoy life so as not to go crazy…but then I can justify doing these to excess which is where the problem begins.

It’s almost as if that slow clap Michael did made me connect all the dots and realize that while he’s the only person who did it outright, everyone else is probably doing it in their mind. My response to him was something along the lines of “don’t doubt me” to which he responded with something far less enlightening but similar too “I don’t doubt you can do it. I’m just waiting for it to happen.”

I know a few things about myself. One of which is that I can be really stubborn and strong willed and there is a certain level and type of negativity that I use as a driving force. It’s what caused me to give birth without an epidural, because everyone said I wouldn’t. It’s what caused me to go to college and grad school and find a career that I love, because I was afraid of becoming a teen mom statistic or being what I knew people were betting I would be…a failure.

But sometimes that backfires. And there is a moment where those negative comments become my way of fighting the system and my stubbornness becomes “oh I’ll show you that I absolutely do not have to do these things.” That’s usually surrounds any negative responses to my weight gain/loss or my still living at home.

So yes, I have become that person. I’m aware. I apologize to the people who are sick of hearing me talk about these things without seeing any action. I thank you for loving me all the same and not giving up. I’ve decided to make no promises and to also stop talking about it. Thank you Michael for that slow clap and gentle chuckle of supportive pessimism.

We shall see what happens!!

Rain, Rain go Away…Or Stay. That’s Fine Too.

The weather out here in North Carolina has been all over the place the last week or two, but that’s pretty normal. I have literally experienced a tornado, sunshine, heat, and rain in the last two weeks. I also saw some left over snow while traveling for work. Currently we are on hour 10473729202840727 of steady rain. Ok that’s an exaggeration but we are approaching 48 hours. There is currently flooding in parts of the city.

I really enjoy a good storm. It’s soothing and I get some really good sleep. But after a while, I start to wonder if it’s ever going to stop and if I’ll survive. I also despise driving in the rain so there’s that reason why I get a little antsy when it just keeps raining

Today, while driving in the rain funnily enough, I started making a list of reasons why we need a good storm every now and then. Some literal. Some metaphorical. Most are both. Enjoy.

1. Growth. Everything needs water to grow. Part of me is really sad my garden isn’t planted yet because this would be the most amazing watering ever. I really hate dragging the hose across the yard and back again so I am always thankful for a good rain to water things for me. Every once in a while a good storm comes along and while it may be scary while your in the midst of it, afterwards you can definitely see how the downpour helped creat abundance, beauty and growth. (That’s the metaphor part if you didn’t catch it)

2. Cleansing: have you bathed lately? Not just your physical being but other areas as well. A good soul cleansing scrub is sometimes needed. A good soak in a tub is good for the soul and one of my favorite forms of self care. When was the last time you just stood in the rain? One day in grad school I was so stressed and overwhelmed and I had parked my car on the opposite side of campus and it was raining. I walked to my car with my umbrella but when I got there I closed it and put it in the car. I stayed outside and just let the rain wash over me a little bit. A tear or two may have mixed in with the rain drops. I don’t know. But I do know it was cathartic. If I hadn’t just spend $90 on my hair I would consider going outside right now for a few minutes.

3. Healing: A good storm can be therapeutic I think. Healing for the heart, mind and soul. And for one instance for me, the body. I used to have really bad TMJ issues. For 10 years my jaw popped out of place every time I opened my mouth wide. It hurt constantly and was made worse by a lot of talking or excessive smiling. I couldn’t chew gum. The only good thing that ever came out of my TMJ issues is that I learned the joys of medium cooked steaks as anything above that irritated my jaw. I went to the doctor, I took ibuprofen for pain, I had a $200 mouth guard made by the dentist, I had a $5 bite guard from Walmart. I even had a chiropractor punch me in the jaw repeatedly with some tool. Nothing helped. One day, after a few days of rain, and some pretty serious thunder and lightening, I came home in serious pain, took some ibuprofen and put in the $5 mouth guard. I went to sleep so as not to feel anything. I woke up the next day and immediately knew something was different. My jaw has only popped when I yawn unexpectedly or open my mouth funny since then. I WAS HEALED!! I will never be angry about rainy days ever again because one literally healed my body.

(In case you were wondering how your jaw works)

4. Rest: I think a good storm causes us all to slow down a little bit. Whether it’s slowing down while driving or just choosing to stay in for the day, rest is needed. Also, waterbeds weren’t all the rage back in the day for no reason! Water is soothing to the soul. No matter what anyone says, sleep is not the cousin of death. You have to sleep to live. If anything, if you don’t sleep you will die sooner! So if you too are experiencing a stormy day (of any kind) consider using it to take a good nap.

So there you have it. I know it’s a much shorter list than I normally make but I hope you have enjoyed it all the same. I also hope, if you are currently experiencing any sort of storm in your life, literal or otherwise, that you take a few moments to find and appreciate just a little of the beauty that there may be in the midst of it.

A Healthy Change for Myself…

We talk a lot about body positivity here and loving the skin you are you in. However, this post shares a few moments of weakness when loving the skin you are in isn’t enough, because it can’t cure health problems. I wholly believe in that there are unrealistic expectations put out in the universe (facebook, twitter, or any kind of media for that matter) that causes people to obsess over having the perfect body and that doesn’t work for everyone. It causes a lot of pain and suffering mentally for some, but this isn’t one of those posts. Well, I don’t want it to be. This post may not be for you, and I understand, but this is my truth.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been telling myself that I need to get back in the gym. That I need to start eating better. That I should probably be more mindful of my health overall. Not because I’ve been hearing it from others. Not because I’ve seen other people go to the gym on a regular basis. But because my doctor told me I’m close to having pre-diabetes. Because I have family that is now going to a class to help keep pre-diabetes from becoming full fledged diabetes. Because I’ve started to run out of breath walking up my stairs. Because I keep finding clothes that I love that no longer fit… among a lot of other things.

Yes, I’m all about being comfortable in the skin you’re in. That’s part of living a happy life. But when things start to affect your health, it becomes more than just loving your body as it is. I’ve hit the heaviest I’ve been ever in life, but I’ve been happy with life for the most part (Maybe not in the relationship department, but that’s another story for another time…). Not really caring about what I’ve been eating, because food is bae. I’ve just been really reckless with how I’ve treated my body. The whole while I knew what I was doing. Fast food and restaurant foods for most of my meals during the week. Beers and Liquor almost every day. I’ve been “living it up”.

I’ve never been the “biggest” person. Other than being tall, people used to think I was skinny for the longest, and I still get comments about not really looking “big” to this day. I don’t know if people were just being nice, or actually felt that way, but it did help me feel more comfortable with myself and my weight, because at one point I really wasn’t comfortable with it. I still have problems with it but I’m aware of my situation and that I need to control it before its too late. Back in the day, I used to follow all of these crazy unrealistic Instagram pages who seem to lose weight in like 5 seconds. Looking for the miracle workouts to make me lose weight faster. But over time I got over that after I realized that this was damaging to myself. I realized my worth and my sanity wasn’t worth it and I started focusing on loving the skin I was in. But as time went along, I gained more weight, and it made it harder to love the skin I was in. Not because I didn’t look like a model, but because I knew I was not taking care of myself properly.

So, as of today, I’ve made a promise to myself to work towards a healthier lifestyle again. To get back in the gym, and eat better overall. This is a process to be a better me and ensure that I live to be 150 years old; or try towards it anyway :-). I don’t only want to lose weight and look better. I want to get my health back in order. That is my top priority. I don’t care about the six pack abs or the hard rock pecs. I just want to not feel tired all the time and not die sooner rather than later in life. Thankfully though, losing weight is a wonderful by-product of living a healthier lifestyle and additionally, I get to do something I thoroughly enjoy, which is working out (^_^).

This blog will never be a fitness blog and I don’t want it to be. Sure, while I go through the process of being healthier, I will share my successes and most likely rant about my setbacks, because that’s a part of the process. As you all know, I usually blog about my life and my journey as a whole and this is a part of it. So while I restart this journey of becoming more healthy, I will also work more to love myself flaws and all, because only I can guarantee myself that. But I will also strive to become a better, healthier, and non “getting tired while walking up on flight of stairs” person as well. Because I want to love the skin I’m in for a very long time.

To all the women…

To all the women, like myself, who saw this meme and realized we were a “Ford F-150 extended cab 4×4 with pro Tow Package…

To all the women who are still trying to lose pregnancy weight 12 years later…

To all the women whose stomach sticks out further than their boobs or butt…

To all the women whose waist is not shaped like an hour glass…

To all the women who get super excited when they see unaltered images in your Lane Bryant emails

But even then feel self conscious because your body doesn’t even look “that good”…

To all the women who know there actually is an answer to this question…

And you fall on the wrong side of the scale…

To all the women who have made them self sick from dieting and exercising with little to no results…

To all the women who judge them selves harsher than anyone in the world ever will…

To all the women who know that very few people in the world respond this way

But you hold out hope that one day you’ll find someone who does…

For all the women who have been offered random fitness advice by people you don’t know or barely know…

To all the women who hate the gym…

To all the women who bought gym memberships in January but haven’t gone back…

To all the women who struggle to fit in airplane seats…

To all the women who crave chocolate cake during their period and afterwards…

To all the women who consistently give into cravings…

To all the women who know the pain that is “chub rub”…

To all the women who have decided they aren’t good enough based on something someone else has said or done…

Know this

And this

And we are gorgeous just the way we are.

An incomplete list of my life at 30 and proof that I definitely don’t have it all together

While writing my other blog “30 and wandering…“, I came across this idea to list out pretty much every little detail about how imperfect my life is, and after going through the list, I can truly say that for the amount of things on this list, I’m doing pretty well for myself, I think. Enjoy!

I didn’t own a pair of boots as an adult until January of 2018. MAYBE a pair of Timbs during high school.

No…Lugz…they were definitely Lugz

I go grocery shopping to save money and eat better, but still end up getting fast food because most times I’m too tired to cook.

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I choose what wine I want to drink according to the alcohol to price ratio.

Actually, that goes for any alcoholic drink.

Speaking of alcohol, I buy the cheapest because it’s just going to get mixed with something else anyway. Don’t let these brand whores steer you wrong.

My car has been overheating while idling for months now and I still haven’t gotten it fixed.

I’m still paying for my old car I had before my current one. Negative equity is a bitch yall.

I owe State taxes for both SC and NC and even though I have a big refund that will cover them both, I’ll probably spend my refund on something silly then freak out when April 17th comes around and I’ll have to scrounge up money to pay the IRS.

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I buy things that I don’t use, but will refuse to get rid of them.

My home that I’ve lived in for three years still hasn’t necessarily been decorated in any form or fashion.

I’d rather fall asleep hungry than spend money on fast food because I’m too lazy to cook.

I tell myself I’m going to work out, but I don’t. Week after week.

I tend to not have complete thoughts a lot…if ever…

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I have clothes in my closet I know that I will never wear again, but will complain about not having space in my dresser.

I think those light up shoes are terrible, but I secretly want a pair

I’m in so much debt…

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I don’t know how to date

I don’t know if I want to date

I don’t know if I’m date-able

I go on hookup apps looking for love.

I go on dates with people who clearly don’t want anything from me other than sex even though that’s not what I’m looking for.

A healthy meal to me is something not fried.

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My tub probably has like 5 layers of dirt in it.

I like naps

Like seriously, LOVE naps.

Sometimes, I have clean clothes and dirty clothes strewn all over the floor and don’t know the difference between the two until I smell test them.

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If I had to choose between Reese’s or having gas for my car to go places. I’d probably choose the Reese’s every time, no question.

Instead of planning out my day and taking advantage of the time I have, I procrastinate and then rush through everything when time starts getting slim.

I pay to have my groceries delivered because I’m terrible at grocery shopping.


These are only a few things that make me terrible. Hopefully some of you out there deal with the same terribleness I do, and if not then maybe there isn’t any hope for me.

The problem with being overweight in an environment that doesn’t think you are…

When I say I’m fat, I’m not saying it just for kicks. I’m not saying it to hear someone reply back to me “no you’re not”, just so I can feel better about myself . I’m not saying it because it makes me feel better in certain situations.

I’m saying it because it’s true!

Sure, “fat” is a harsh word, but it’s the truth. Overweight, of course, is the better choice of word here, but in any case, it’s a problem that I need to deal with. I just love the fact that when I say I shouldn’t be eating something because I need to lose weight, I get so many interesting, perplexed even, looks. Looks from people who may be bigger than me that says “You are not fat, I’M fat”. Looks from people who are smaller than me saying “I wish I was your size, I can’t gain any weight”. Looks from people that literally say “You’ll be fine”. Looks from people who’ve said “Well, it’s because you’re tall!”.

And yes, while some of these things are true, this still doesn’t negate the fact that I am overweight; Height considered and all. But, of course, I give into the idea of being perfectly fine because I have no willpower. Invite me to go fast food, I’ll go along with all the dinner plans. Mostly because 1, it’s convenient and 2, I can’t eat healthier foods when I see friends are going out and ordering terrible foods. All in all, I’m glad that my weight isn’t a problem for you, but my weight IS a problem for me, and I intend to address it.

I had a enlightening moment the other morning, attempting to put on a pair of pants that I probably have worn no more than a year prior with ease, and I could no longer button them. All of my favorite shirts are starting to “shrink” and I have to buy things in 2XL out of necessity, and not choice (like we used to do back in the college, over-sized shirt, days). It was an eye opener.

The problem with being overweight in an environment that doesn’t think you are, is that you’re surrounded by well-intentioned enablers. Even if it’s on purpose or by accident. This is my reality, plain and simple. No I may not be your definition of overweight, and that’s part of the problem. People around me don’t truly understand that I need to do something about my health before it gets too late. And the “you’re fine the way you are” comments make it seem like people are disregarding my feelings about my self, my health or my general happiness. Being close to being pre-diabetic will have you thinking about these things.

But you know, I can’t blame my environment. I can only blame myself. I should have the willpower and wherewithal to be a healthier person, but in certain situations, that’s easier said than done.

Temptation is a bitch…

I should definitely have more self control…

My appetite laughs hysterically at both of those statements. I can’t control it (how many people are rolling their eyes at this); And I feel that it’s getting worse as time goes along. So when I make these statements, it’s because I’m trying to train my brain into wanting to be better. Trying to tell myself that hey, you might want to catch this before you get too crazy. Before it’s too late. So yeah, I might not be your definition of fat, but my physical from the doctor is saying I’m headed on the wrong path.

And yeah, for the people who knew me when I was in the gym 5 times a week, working out regularly and keeping up with it pretty consistently. I enjoyed that I was getting stronger, but still not dropping most of my fatty weight. It was kind of the trade off muscle for fat thing going on, but the reason for this happening was because I was still eating like a pig. So then i got to a point where I stopped working out, and lost track of my progress, never to find it again. I stopped working out, but kept eating like I was still working out. A recipe for disaster.

This started due to the fact of going through a mild case of depression during the end and after my last serious relationship, which kind of led me to just not really being into ANYTHING other than food. Eating was a comfort zone for me, instead of hitting the gym harder. It’s known to be a common coping method for many people, and I ended up gaining about 20 or some odd pounds (after already being like 30 pounds overweight). I wouldn’t say that I am addicted to food, but more so addicted to unhealthy food. And even though I’d like to think that I’m technically out of that depression phase, the eating continued and I just started not caring. Then when I got back to the point where I wasn’t happy with my weight and vocalized it, the majority of people I’ve hung out with or around has always asked me why I was so worried about it. Well, because I am, in a word, fat. I’m owning it and will continue to until I do something about it. Hopefully the path I’m taking now will lead me back to the track that I once wandered off of, but I can’t say for sure at this point.

It will be a process.

Life is tough. No sugarcoating it. You will be beat up by it time after time. I don’t think I was ever taught that officially until college. I had to learn on my own, and this is just another battle I’m trying to take head on. And if I’m being honest to myself, I haven’t been trying hard enough, I know that. So if I say I’m fat around you, it’s because I am; And I need to do something about it. I might be annoying…sure. Just ignore me. I know that just saying it does nothing about it, but just know that I’m working on it. This is just me trying to get my mind back to the point where I NEED to force myself to be better. Hopefully this is the beginning of another era of working towards health.