Aubrey’s lifestyle change resulted in an extreme weight loss and an inspiring story.
You might recognize Aubrey Johansen from her Instagram account @thatswhatsheeats or her blog ThatsWhatSheEats.com, but you may not know about the girl behind the social media. Johansen is a personal chef who transformed her body and her life through extreme weight loss and has learned how to kick old habits and live a healthier, happier lifestyle. She isn’t just another #TransformationTuesday you see on Instagram – Johansen is teaching others the tricks and tools she’s learned along the way so that they, too, can achieve their weight loss and wellness goals.
Can you walk us through a day in your life?
I usually wake up around 7:15 everyday and start my day with a large glass of water, followed by a glass of cold brew mixed with some nut milk and protein! My protein of choice lately has been the Vital Proteins Cocoa Collagen Whey. It turns cold brew into a healthy mocha! YUM!
I might add some sprouted toast with nut butter, then I usually head to my client family homes, check the situation in their fridge, and head to the grocery store!
As a personal chef, I spend a ton of time in a grocery store, which I actually love. It keeps me up to date on everything new and trendy, and keeps my mind on fresh foods.
So, I usually grab what’s on sale, and try to think about their weekly menu as a puzzle, ranging from Greek to Indian food, rotating proteins throughout the week. *Insert me shoving a huge salad into my mouth somewhere in there!*
After I accomplish two families for the day, I head to the gym. I try to train with my trainer once a week, as it keeps me motivated and focused, which is good, because I’m easily distracted! Haha.
After I’m done at the gym, I head home to make dinner with my fiancé. Usually people are shocked that I want to go home and cook another meal, but truly, it’s my favorite thing to do. It helps me unwind from the day, and keeps my waistline in check when I am feeding myself versus always eating out.
I’m not much of a TV watcher, so I like to spend the rest of the evening on the porch, with a glass of wine, answering emails, planning my next blog recipe, or just with a good playlist. Being outside is my happy place.
Right before bed I wash my face with an oil based cleanser that smells like a spa and fall asleep so I can wake up and do it alllll over again the next day. Plus I love going to bed – it’s a time machine to breakfast 🙂
What inspired your amazing weight loss transformation?
Well, I was 23 years old and frankly just missing out on life. I’d been morbidly obese my entire young life, and finally weighing in at 350 plus pounds, I couldn’t fasten my seatbelt on an airplane and I was done. I was killing myself slowly, and I couldn’t be that person anymore.
In 2014 I underwent gastric bypass and obtained the tools to take my life back. Almost 3 years later, I’ve maintained my 160lb loss and truly love life on the other side. I’ve done countless races, and accomplished a mini-triathalon on my 1 year “surgiversary”. Honestly, one of the coolest moments of my life. I cried all the way into the finish line, just remembering the girl who lived in this body one short year ago.
You often here of people struggling with maintaining motivation to continue their transformational journey. How did you stay on track with your weight loss?
Instagram – Isn’t that crazy?!
I created this virtual world of accountability that just kept me going. There’s such a support system within the walls of that app, and I needed every virtual high five and hug that followers were freely giving out.
I tell them (my followers) all the time that I would have never made it this far without them, and I really mean that. There’s something kind of awesome about knowing you can choose a cheeseburger, or some lean protein and veggies, but someone will be proud of you when you post a photo of the second choice. It’s been such an amazing platform of support for me, and I know, for so many others.
What was the hardest part of achieving your goals?
I think overcoming the mental hurdles is the hardest part- things I’m still working on to this day.
Some days you would see your new body and be so proud, on top of the world ecstatic. Other days, you’d still see the girl who was 350+ lbs, and it is so hard to battle with yourself in that way when you know how far you’ve really come, but some days your mind isn’t on your side!
I constantly look back at before photos for continual motivation and moments of self pride & worth. It’s ok to have weird days, we all do!
What is your advice for someone who is just starting a major life change?
I really think it’s about small changes. They add up!
It’s about starting small – don’t overwhelm yourself.
As humans, we love routine, our comfort zone, things that are safe. When we finally make that choice to live a healthier life, I think it’s overwhelming to think about all the changes you really need to make, or the things you’ll be “giving up”. So, try to trick yourself. Make a new change each week. Maybe the first week is ditching the soda, the next week is adding a serving of fruit to your breakfast, the next week is adding a 30 minute walk to your day. These small changes really add up over time, and will make it less daunting when you look back over a month, and realize all the good you’ve already done!
How has your day-to-day lifestyle evolved throughout your weight loss transformation?
I’d have to say my relationship with food has changed the most, and that is something I’m so proud of. Having a healthy relationship with food is a goal I’ve worked toward these last few years, and I really feel like I’m there!
As a chef, I’ve always thought about food 24/7, but now it’s different. I think in colors, in freshness, as fuel, instead of craving sugar and wanting to binge or just eat for the sake of eating. I never deprive myself, and constantly find myself craving healthy choices over my past vices. I’m telling you, it’s all about those small changes, and pretty soon, they’re just habits!