What College Really Taught Me


As much as I love to write, I often find myself wishing that there were a way to share the thoughts inside my head instantaneously. It can sometimes be a difficult task trying to put them into words. As I was driving back to Nashville, leaving the life I have known for the past four years behind and following a road that was leading me to so many unknowns, this was the one wish I had.

My time in college was filled with a lot of lessons and growth. Ultimately looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. Did I go through hard times? Yes. Were there times when I doubted myself? Yes. Did I make mistakes? Absolutely.

During my drive I was reflecting on all of these things, making a list of what college taught me outside of the textbooks. College may be over, but I know I will never stop learning. So here’s to a new beginning and here’s to the new additions that my list of lessons will soon hold. I’m excited for the rest of the ride.

What College Really Taught Me:

  1. Change is inevitable so embrace it.
  2. A room filled with people can be the loneliest of places.
  3. An ice cream cone can make a bad day good.
  4. Grades do not define you.
  5. Neither do your number of Instagram likes.
  6. Singing karaoke is a lot more fun than watching someone else sing karaoke.
  7. You can break your own heart.
  8. Healthy food feels a lot better than junk food.
  9. Exercise is free therapy
  10. And so is calling your mom.
  11. Letting go of someone doesn’t mean you don’t care.
  12. Girls and boys are crazy.
  13. Being the bigger person is almost always worth it.
  14. The best nights are the ones that you can actually remember.
  15. Friends can become family and family can become friends.
  16. Some people in your life are just there for a season, but every person in your life is there for a reason.
  17. Wear sunscreen when you go to Talladega.
  18. It is okay to be unsure.
  19. A handwritten letter can go a long way.
  20. Clean sheets are life changing so you should wash them.
  21. No one has it all figured out.
  22. Overthinking is just as dangerous as under thinking.
  23. You will never regret being kind.
  24. You can lose yourself in a matter of moments.
  25. You can find yourself in a matter of moments.



70lb Weight Loss: What I Eat in A Day


From the very beginning I have received countless messages asking for help or advice regarding weight loss. The thing is, nothing that I have done is a secret. I have no magic trick to melt the pounds off of your body, but I do have the personal experience and knowledge to help you get to where you want to be.

Through many trials and errors, I have found what works for me and what does not. This did not happen overnight, and as I moved forward making progress, some things in my diet and exercise had to be tweaked and altered.

Below is a rundown of what I typically eat in a day now if I am trying to lose weight. This diet is high in protein, the key macronutrient that your body needs in order to stay full longer while also maintaining/building muscle as you are losing fat. If I stick to it exactly, this plan allows me to lose on an average of 1-2lb a week while indulging in one “cheat” meal (last week it consisted of a margarita and ice cream… what more would anyone want?) *Before anyone tells me “Aby, you don’t need to lose any more weight”: #1: It’s nothing drastic, I’m just wanting to tone up and feel bangin’ this summer. #2: I’m not trying to lose a little bit of weight for you; I’m doing it for me.

Keep in mind that your body is different from mine. A 6’4’ male is going to need a lot more calories to sustain energy and keep his body running than a 5’6’ female like myself. The heavier you are, the easier it will be to lose weight because your body has more to lose. As you progress, you might find your weight loss hitting a plateau due to your body adapting to your diet and exercise routine. It is during this time when you might need to adjust your diet or up your exercise in order to keep making progress.

If you are curious about approximately how many calories you should be eating (these will differ depending on your goals: losing weight or maybe you just want to gain muscle), feel free to message me. Just by getting some basic information from you, I can give you a number to start out with and some meal ideas. I would love to help you.

My Meal Plan:


½ cup liquid egg whites, scrambled with 1 cup spinach

1/3rd cup oatmeal with 1 serving PbFit (Powdered Peanut Butter, similar to PB2)

Coffee with Splenda and 1tbsp creamer

Multivitamin (because micronutrients are cool)

Mid-morning Snack: Pure Protein Bar (Chocolate Peanut Butter is my favorite flavor)


4oz grilled chicken (3oz is around the size and thickness of a deck of cards, so use this trick to estimate your amounts)

1.5 cups roasted green beans

½ cup sweet potato (baked)

Mid-afternoon Snack: Quest Protein Shake

Dinner: Same as lunch.

*If you get bored with eating the same things over and over again, you can definitely switch it up! Just make sure you have a lean protein (chicken, turkey, lean beef, or fish), a complex carb (sweet potato, quinoa, or brown rice), and a green vegetable (broccoli, asparagus, spinach, etc.)


A TON of water (you should at least be drinking ½ of your body weight in ounces every day). This will help keep your stomach full and cause you to be less hungry in between meals.

Powerade Zero –These have zero calories and are sweet enough to ease your sweet tooth if you have one.

Reduced sugar ketchup/Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Dressing –As long as you do not overdo it with condiments, you can definitely still use them! These are great options because they are very low in calories and definitely help add more excitement to grilled protein. Make sure to avoid high sugar/fat ones.

Spices –adding different spices is a great way to add flavor to your meat/vegetables—try to go easy with the salt, as excess sodium will have your body hold onto water (not to mention the potential of developing high blood pressure).

Finally, just a little food for thought… 😉

I have heard a lot of different reasons that people associate their inability to lose weight. A lot of them have consisted of: “eating healthy is too expensive”, “I can’t afford a gym membership”, and “I don’t have time”. Let me tell you, all of these are not reasons, but rather excuses.

My grocery bill is not outrageous, and I bet if you cut out those couple of coffees or beers out a week, you would have more than enough to cover the cost of healthy food. A gym is not necessary either, exercise is simply moving your body—so go outside and move; walk, run, skip, jump, I don’t care just do something.

Life is made up of many different choices. We choose our attitudes, whether our days are good or bad, and whether or not we are going to fulfill our responsibilities. Choose to be healthy and choose to put your time into this. Trust me, it is well worth it.

You don’t need to spend half of your paycheck on groceries to lose weight. You don’t need a gym to lose weight. You don’t need me to lose weight.

What you do need is effort, determination, and a good attitude. Have enough confidence in yourself to know that you are capable of sticking to this and you will achieve your goals.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Go knock ‘em dead.



Life Is Imperfect and So Am I


Avoidance. It is something that can be so easily done, but can also be so detrimental to many aspects of our lives. Lately, I have begun to master this.

My head is filled with enough thoughts to drive me crazy at pretty much any time of day. I am a thinker and over analyzer. While I pride myself in being able to find a positive in any situation, I have found that the majority of my thoughts lately have not been happy-go-lucky.

I have not posted anything in over a month. Writing this has been something that I have been avoiding. I find myself coming up with excuses and justifications, when actually I guess I just did not want to admit to anyone or even myself the reality of it all.

Today I saw someone post, “Instagram is the perfect platform for one to give the illusion that they are doing well”. We are constantly posting ourselves in the best light. If you look at my Instagram, you will see a big smile on my face. My Snapchat story will tell you I am having a great time and life is good, however what it does not show you is the times when it is not.

I preach confidence and loving yourself in every stage of life, no matter where you are compared to where you want to be. This is something that I have been struggling with. Life has been hard, my self-esteem has been low, and it feels like I have been constantly messing up. Sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me; I have said things without thinking or at a completely wrong time.

I have always said that I feel like my life is together when I make my bed. My bed has not been made in over week, I have gained 5 pounds, and found myself defining my worth based on what I think other people think of me.

How can I sit here and tell other people how to lose weight when I am the one gaining it? How can I tell people to be confident when I am not? How can I tell people the only person whose opinion matters of you is yourself when I am the one wondering what exactly I need to change in order to make myself more desirable?

I can because I know all of these things. Life is messy and imperfect and so am I. The mistakes I have made recently, those 5 pounds, and anyone’s opinion do not define me. What does define me is how I choose to handle those things. If I have lost 70 pounds before, I sure as hell can lose 5. I know who I am and I like who I am, forgetting that for a split second does not change it. I am worthy and I am enough, exactly the way I am right now.

You are the one who is in charge of your emotions. You decide whether your day is good or bad, so make the choice to make it good.

This stage of life is scary, there are so many unknowns and I know more mistakes lie ahead. What I also know is these are the things I will learn from and no matter what I will be okay. In January I wrote about how I would not let fear overwhelm me to the point where it keeps me from moving forward. These past two months have shown me that it is much easier said than done. That may be the case, but as of now I am making the choice to make things good.

So this morning, I made my bed.

How to Lose Weight in College

Freshman Year Move-In Day –> Fall of Senior Year

College comes with freedom, responsibility, and a lot of good times to be had. Chances are, you have either heard of or experienced first hand the dreaded ‘Freshman 15’, which ultimately can become the ‘Junior 30’ if you are not careful. Alcohol, poor food choices, and lack of exercise can all be attributed to this.

If you have gained a few pounds throughout college, do not worry. First, know that you are not alone! I have had a lot of messages from plenty of people asking for advice because they have gained weight after high school. Second, know that just because the weight was put on does not mean it cannot come off.

My weight loss was definitely slow and steady. I lost about 40lb throughout my senior year of high school and then managed to lose another 30lb more during my time in college. Let that be your encouragement to know that although college is filled with a lot of temptation and typically unhealthy choices, losing weight is not impossible. Below are a few tips to help you achieve your weight loss goals, without missing out on the fun in the mean time.

  1. Walk to Class

This one is probably the simplest one you can start incorporating into your daily routine. Many schools, including mine, offer shuttle services to students going to and from class. Unless there is a tornado, hurricane, ten feet of snow on the ground, or whatever severe weather conditions of your choice (chances are you will not be going to class anyways), walk to class. These extra steps will lead to more calories burned and ones that will be virtually effortless.

  1. Make Healthy Choices in the Caf

Chances are, the caf, dining hall, or whatever food service your school offers is not five-star quality. Therefore, the unhealthy options like fried foods, high fat and starchy sides, and sweet treats probably are not even that good. Save these unhealthy foods for your “cheat meal” on the weekends when you go out to eat with friends and can actually enjoy something that is worth it. When you are eating in the caf, stick to lean proteins like grilled chicken, vegetables, and the salad bar. Fill half of your plate with vegetables, a fourth of it with lean protein, and if available, the last fourth with a whole grain like brown rice.

  1. Utilize Your School’s Gym

This is probably one of the only times where you will have access to a gym that is completely free. Make the most out of your parent’s tuition money and use.the.gym. *If I could insert the hand-clapping emoji in between those words, I would—just pretend for emphasis*. Set a goal for yourself for a certain number of days a week and tell a friend this goal. You will be much more likely to stick to it if you have your friends keep you accountable, or even better, having an accountability partner who goes with you! If you try to tell me you do not have time to workout because of school, work, etc., I will laugh. If you have time to take a nap or watch Netflix, you have time to go to the gym (and I would be willing to bet that you have time to do all three if you plan accordingly).

  1. Limit/Avoid Alcohol

This one is huge. It is no secret that college comes with a lot of late nights and parties which often includes alcohol. Alcohol can be detrimental to weight loss because of many reasons. First, it is very high in calories; 1.5oz of liquor on average contains approximately 100 calories. Add this with sugary mixers; one night of drinking can cancel out all of the hard work you put in during the whole week. These late nights mixed with alcohol also often ends with a quick stop through a fast-food restaurant, when your decision-making might not be at its prime. Add in the regret of an empty box of chicken nuggets next to your bed on top of your headache the next morning, you are in for a pretty miserable day.

With that being said, if you do not drink—do not start. Avoiding alcohol is the best thing to do if you are serious about weight loss. If you do decide that you want to drink, vodka or tequila is the best option. There are a lot of 0 calorie flavored drinks that can be paired with them, soda water with lemon or lime is also a good choice. Avoid regular soda at all cost and do not indulge in high sugar mix drinks (yes, this sadly includes margaritas). You can enjoy alcohol in moderation, and as always do so in a safe and smart way.

  1. Do Not Keep Junk Food in Your Dorm/Apartment

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If it is not there, you will not eat it. I will write a post about my favorite healthy snacks soon, but some good options to keep in your room are apples, bananas, mini smart-pop bags of popcorn, and individual packs of nuts. Snacking can add up quickly, so try to do this minimally. Focus on meals filled with whole, nutrient-dense foods that will keep you fuller longer and keep you from being tempted to snack too often.

  1. Limit/Avoid Late Night Eating/Drive-Thru Runs

Thinking back to my freshman year, I have many memories of 11pm Sonic-runs with a car full of girls, or a stop at Heavenly Donuts for half-priced donuts past midnight. Although these made for fun nights, I would not recommend making these things habits. Your body uses the time that you are sleeping to digest your food and repair itself. Eating right before bed actually impacts your sleep cycle and throws off your normal body rhythm, while using any excess calories consumed to form excess fat. Because of this, try not to eat anything 2-3 hours before you go to bed. If you come down with a case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and still want to be with your friends, try to make better choices. For example: order a Diet Cherry Limeade at Sonic or try to convince your friend that it really is a better idea to split a donut with you than for everyone to each order a half-dozen.


College is fun and goes by even more quickly than everyone tells you it will, so please enjoy it! Small changes lead to big ones as long as you just take it one step at a time. Live your life, stay determined, and always keep your eye on the prize. Let me tell you, running into someone from high school and hearing them say “Woah, what happened to you?” makes skipping out on that donut well worth it.




Eat This, Not That.


I have preached time and time again that whole, nutrient dense foods are of the utmost importance when it comes to weight loss. Fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains should always be the majority of your diet—they will keep you fuller longer, supply your body with energy, and overall just make you feel better.

Many people find weight loss to be difficult and boring due to eating the same foods over and over again. Luckily, as health and nutrition have been on the rise within these past few years, many companies are coming out with healthy alternatives to some of the foods that we love most.

Below you will find some of my favorite healthy alternatives to typical higher caloric foods. Incorporating these into your diet will not only liven things up a bit, but will still allow you to stay on track and achieve your weight loss goals.


  1. PB2

Nutrition: 45 calories per 2 tablespoons, 1.5g fat, 5g carb, 5g protein, and 1g sugar. 

Compared to Regular Peanut Butter: 190 calories per 2 tablespoons, 16g fat, 7g carb, 7g protein and 3g sugars.

While regular peanut butter does have health benefits, it is definitely something that can be easy to overdo. If your anything like me, it is not uncommon to have the urge to grab a spoon and eat it straight from the jar. PB2 is an incredible alternative to peanut butter because it lacks the excess added sugars and hydrogenated oils. PB2 is a powdered peanut butter containing only roasted peanuts, sugar, and salt. To prepare it, simply combine two parts PB2 to one part water, and stir. Although it is not as thick and creamy as normal peanut butter, it does not lack taste and has become a staple in my diet. I love it on top of oatmeal for breakfast or paired with an apple as an afternoon snack.

*Purchase at any grocery store. (or if you’re like me, save some money and buy in bulk on Groupon—yes, I eat this that much).


  1. Halo Top Ice Cream

Nutrition (Vanilla Bean flavor): 60 calories per ½ cup, 2g fat, 14g carb, 6g protein.

Compared to Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream: 250 calories per ½ cup, 16g fat, 21g carb, 4g protein.

If I was an angel and I could sing, I would sing about this ice cream. Let me tell you, Halo Top Ice Cream is a gift and one that we should be thankful for. I have tried many low calorie ice creams and none even compare to this one. Halo Top has definitely made a name for themselves because unlike their competitors, these actually taste good. All of their ice creams are low-sugar, low-carb, low-fat, and high protein. I promise, you will not even be able to tell that the ice cream you are eating is low calorie. Although it is on more of the pricier side at around $5 a pint, if you are in need of a treat this is well worth it. Of the flavors I have tried, Vanilla Bean has been my favorite, however they just came out with a lot of new fun flavors like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter Cup, Sea Salt Caramel, and more. You better believe I will be getting my hands on Peanut Butter Cup soon.

*I have purchased mine at Kroger, but Whole Foods seems to have the best selection. Go to https://www.halotop.com/where-to-buy/ to find a location near you.


  1. La Croix

Nutrition: 0 calories per 12 oz can, 0g fat, 0g carb, 0g protein.

Compared to Regular Coke: 140 calories per 12 oz can, 0g fat, 39g carb, 0g protein.

You might have read this and thought “basic white girl”, however please let me finish. Soda consists completely of empty calories, processed sugars, and chemicals. Not only are all of these things detrimental when it comes to weight loss, but soda has been linked to higher blood pressure, and damages to your teeth and bones. Long story short, avoid it at all costs. La Croix is simply sparkling water with flavors derived from the natural essence oils from whichever fruit is named in the flavor. La Croix will give you a similar experience as drinking soda due to the carbonation, without all of the negative effects.

*Purchase at any grocery store.


  1. Silk Almond Milk Hazelnut Creamer

Nutrition: 15 calories per 1 tablespoon, 0g fat, 3g carb, 0g protein.

Compared to Nestle Coffee-Mate Hazelnut Creamer: 35 calories per 1 tablespoon, 1.5g fat, 5g carb, 0g protein.

Although these comparisons might not look like much, coffee creamer is another item that is often overdone. Your morning cup of coffee could be something you do not even think twice about, but what you put in it should definitely be something you consider. Even a small pour of regular creamer can add up to easily be 100 calories, which is significant if you are in a calorie deficit (to put this in perspective: it would take you approximately 10 minutes of running on the treadmill to burn that off, no thank you).

My sister introduced me to this creamer, which is lower in calories and fat, without lacking taste. Portion sizes are extremely important when it comes to tracking your intake and calories, so take the time to measure everything using measuring cups and spoons. You may be surprised what an actual serving size is compared to what you are used to, but reading labels and measuring will give you insight to proper amounts and what you should be consuming.

*Purchase at any grocery store.


  1. Lean Cuisine Vermont White Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Nutrition: 260 calories per one container, 6g fat, 35g carb, 14g protein.

Compared to Marie Calendar’s Mac & Cheese: 380 calories per one cup, 21g of fat, 33g of carb, 14g of protein.

Any of my nutrition professors would probably faint, have a heart attack, or want to strangle me if they saw that I was recommending a frozen meal item to be a part of your diet… but I like to live life on the edge. Frozen meals are known to have very high amounts of sodium and truly, the less processed, the better. With that being said, if you occasionally crave comfort food and maybe feeling a little bit lazy (me, lazy? Never)—this is a good option compared to some of the rest. It is lower in fat than most and has a good amount of protein as well. The portion size is large and will definitely keep you satisfied due to its creamy texture and richness. Pair this with a green vegetable to make me feel a little bit better about recommending it, please.

Happy eating 🙂



Fresh Start


16 Things That I Learned In 2016:

  1. Margaritas are always a good idea.
  2. However, two on an empty stomach is not.
  3. The things that scare you the most are the things that will help you grow.
  4. Expect the unexpected.
  5. Heartbreak comes in many different forms.
  6. Dancing on stage is way more fun than on the dance floor.
  7. Words are powerful and can make a difference.
  8. Most conversations lack depth these days… and I crave depth.
  9. “Fake it til you make it” really does work.
  10. Family is everything.
  11. Confidence is sexy and most people will agree with that.
  12. Uber drivers have a lot of wisdom.
  13. Prince Charming will be more than just charming.
  14. Pretending like you do not care is a waste of time.
  15. It is okay to say no.
  16. There is no such thing as too many, “I love you”s.

2016, damn. What a year it has been. 365 days of a lot of the good, the bad, and the ugly. When I think back on this year my mind wanders from the people, the experiences, and life changing news that all are apart of this year. All have had an impact on who I am and ultimately who I will grow to become. Growing means changing, change is something that I have known to dislike… However, change is inevitable and growth is beautiful so embracing it is what I will choose to do.

While I am a firm believer in making changes at any point in the year, I do love the New Year. January 1st is a breath of fresh air, an opportunity for us to reflect on the past and dive head first into our goals, passions, and striving to be exactly who we want to be. I love that feeling.

I have written a lot about fear in the past. Fear is something that tends to be so overwhelming that it can freeze us, stopping us from allowing the water to hit our face and make the plunge that could ultimately be life changing. In 2017, I vow to not let this happen. This year is a big one, a season of the unknown and questioning the paths in which I will decide to take. This comes with a sense of unease, but pairs with a wild feeling of excitement and constant reminders that I’ve got this. I am not one to give up, and this past year has given me a new kind of confidence that as long as I keep steady determination and faith in myself, I can accomplish anything.

Let 2017 be your year. Let go of negatives, whether they are people, thoughts, or the past. Let these things be the fire inside of you to move forward with grace, dignity, and buoyancy. Fill this year with love, abundance, creativity, and happiness. Tell everyone you know how much they mean to you, and never let one of these next 365 days go by without them hearing it. YOU have the power to create your dream life, so stop waiting. Chase your dreams, follow your heart, and be yourself. You are worthy, you are strong, and you are capable.

2017, let’s do this.

Let Her Love Live On.


Numb. The one word that I can think of to describe the overwhelming feeling that has overcome me within these last few days. While the world keeps spinning, I wonder why it does. There is emptiness in my heart that at times has caused physical pain, a spot that I do not think will ever be filled.

Questions roam endlessly in my head as I wait for this nightmare to be over, for me to wake up and say, “it’s okay, it was just a bad dream”. I keep waiting, until reality sets in that no, this nightmare is one of the heartbreaking tragedies in this thing called life, one that no one will ever truly understand.

These questions keeping me awake at night consist of, “why?” and “how?”. Why did this happen? How could someone who gave off so much light, actually be in a place with so much dark?

My emotions have run rampant, but one of the strongest has been guilt. This guilt comes from me thinking about continuing on. The thought of going about my day-to-day life without someone I love, and who was loved by so many, here on this earth makes me feel guilty. This life that I will continue to live should have her in it.

It was this thought that changed my thinking. “This life that I will continue to live should have her in it”. Yes, she is no longer physically here, but that does not mean that she is gone. By losing the ones we love, we have the opportunity to live our lives in a way that will honor them forever.

The huge smile that she always wore, the laugh that was contagious, and the love that she spread to all who knew her. She radiated fun, free spiritedness, and the utmost joy. These are the things that our world needs more of. These are the things that I am going to live, all in her honor and to insure that the light that she was in this world will never fade.

The tears will still fall. The pain will still hurt. The sorrow will still linger. But, they will dry, we will be strong, and we will remember the good. All for the girl that we love so much.

Be kind. Laugh more. Spread love. Be the light that this world needs more of.