Alyssa Monique Lemus is a full time student at the University California of Irvine studying to get a Public Health Sciences degree. She is also in the process of being certified by NESTA. She loves to write and you can also find her at http://payfitnessforward.blogspot.com where she shares fitness and health information.
All my life I was a chubby short girl, and those are two things that do not mix well. The teasing started with my older brothers. They knew the easiest way to upset me was to make fun of my weight. “Fatty” was not a nickname I took kindly to and as I grew up things didn’t get better. In fact, the only thing worse than older brothers are high school girls. Read on to learn how I went from a 150lb girl at 32% body fat with low energy, low self esteem and unhealthy habits to a 105lb woman at 11.5% body fat who is fully energized and unstoppable.
I was jealous of the other girls who were fit and athletic. I’d wonder how they were in such good shape and wished I could be too. I figured they either didn’t eat, or they were just lucky and born that way. How wrong I was! This is why I love to share my knowledge with other girls who are struggling. Food is not your enemy, you just have to make the right choices! But before I knew that, I never cared about what I ate. It was the lifestyle of my family to eat what you want, when you want. Eating was for pleasure, not fueling my body and my life. But that all changed.
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996. I was too young at the time to really understand what that meant but my entire family was shocked. Breast cancer didn’t run in my family, so we had no idea where it came from. Being the only other girl in the family, I was terrified to lose my mom. After the diagnosis there weren’t many lifestyle changes, despite the doctor telling my mom she needed to lose weight and live healthier. We were naive about healthy eating and exercise. As a Hispanic household, we focused more on religion to cure sick family members. We didn’t think to look at our food choices.
My mom went through chemotherapy. Watching her lose her hair and laying sick in bed all day made me feel helpless. She eventually got bette despite our families bad habits staying the same. While my mom surviving breast cancer had a big impact, I didn’t change my ways. I didn’t understand that my lifestyle put me at a higher risk. So I continued on eating pizza, chips, fast food and drinking LOTS of soda. I avoided the beach, skipped gym class at school, remained terrified of bikinis and the mirror, and would get out of breath just walking a flight of stairs. My self-esteem was low, I was unhappy, and I had no idea what to do about it.
At some point, I subscribed to a fitness magazine. At first I read it with the same disdain I had for those athletic girls in high school. Then, I began to see that eating well and exercising wasn’t complicated. I discovered all I had to do was make small changes and eventually I’d get where I wanted. I replaced bad foods with good alternatives – instead of sour cream I used non-fat greek yogurt, calorie dense high-carb salad dressing became lemon juice with some honey, sugar-filled soda become sugar-free flavored water, and white bread became wheat. All these little things added up and my body started to transform.
I began to feel better.
My first goal was to just be skinny. I spent hours on the stationary bike and jogged for miles. Weight came off, my energy went up, but I was’t happy with it. I was skinny fat and then … it was time for college.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Alyssa Lemus Transformation!