This is Part 2 of the Alyssa Lemus Transformation. Be sure to read Part 1 first!
Going to work and school full time was my biggest battle when trying to eat clean. There was nothing healthy around. Between late night studying, a hectic schedule, and being surrounded by terrible food, my will power was put to the test. Then I read an article about cooking in bulk. I did it for a week and it was the smartest thing I had ever done. I would cook a few pounds of chicken breast, buy a huge bag of frozen veggies and Tupperware all my servings the night before. The next morning I would have my lunch packed and ready to go. You can’t fail if you plan ahead. I highly recommend picking one day out of the week to cook in bulk. Nearly anyone can find an hour a day to do this. Instead of sitting on the couch while you watch tv, stand up and cook!
It took me three years to lose 40 pounds. Since no friends or family lived a healthy lifestyle, I had to figure it out on my own. I read, read, and read some more. The slow weight loss gave me time to have the new good habits settle in. I would write my goals on paper and put them up on a wall in my room. They would remind me, everyday, what I was trying to do. To hold myself accountable I logged my food intakes on www.my-calorie-counter.com. Just by adding exercise and making smarter food choices I lost 35lbs. Seeing this fit woman staring back at me in the mirror was an incredible accomplishment. I told myself this is not a ‘diet’ anymore, it is a lifestyle.
Eventually my body hit a plateau. It didn’t react the same old cardio sessions anymore. The weight loss stopped and I didn’t know what to do.
Around that time, my brother began to work as an EMT. He got a discount package for gym passes and offered me one. Long gone were the days of him calling me ‘chubby’, but I had never joined a gym! My workouts were done outdoors and in my garage since all I ever did was cardio. I was scared of weights for fear of being ‘bulky’.
After some deliberation, I took up my brothers offer and was exposed to the world of weights. I was still scared of them so I took classes which incorporated weights. My body started to change for the better. Then I stopped the classes and started to weight lift on my own. I didn’t lift heavy but I was trying out machines and dumbbells and I really began to enjoy it. I read that in order for a girl to be toned she must lift heavy weight. We don’t have enough testosterone to get bulky like a man so heavy weights equals a toned body. That’s exactly what I did – lift in the super heavy 6-8 rep range. Because of that I am now toned, not bulky. Who would have thought!
Weight training was helping me achieve me the body I wanted but I needed something – a goal – to push me harder. Not only in the gym but for the motivation to keep going. That’s when a trainer at my gym told me I should sign up for a bikini competition. I thought he was crazy – I didn’t belong on stage. He persisted, explaining what a huge accomplishment it would be. My workouts had become a bit dull, and I needed an extra push. So, on June, 2011 I signed up for my first Bikini Competition to take place on September 10th, 2011. I cleaned up my diet, changed my workouts and the result were amazing! I felt so great.
Going up on stage was terrifying! For 12 weeks I woke up thinking about it and fell asleep thinking about it. I just wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted my body to be perfect, my tan, my hair, my posing. It was so overwhelming. My trainer told me that “Nothing is going to be perfect this is your first show, it’s going to be a learning experience and all you can be is your personal best and that is going to be the best of all.” These words were so motivating because it was true. Nothing in this life is perfect, but we can make it better by setting goals and reaching them.
I look back now and can’t believe how far I’ve come. I started with the mentality of someone unmotivated and scared. “I can’t do it” or “I’m not meant to be skinny”. Once I started to believed in myself I became healthy and happy.
I share this with you because I want every male and female out there who reads this to know that you can do it. You CAN make yourself and your life different. You deserve to be happy and healthy for the rest of your life. You just have to want it. You have to push past your limit. Run that extra mile, choose wheat over white bread, drink water instead of soda. It’s the little things, added up, that make the greatest changes in life.