Eve Guzman was featured in PEOPLE s 2015 Half Their Size Issue after going from 277 lbs. to 138 lbs. by dramatically decreasing her portion sizes and sticking to a high protein, low-fat, moderate carb diet. Since her weight loss, the genetic toxicology research assistant and mom of two, 33, has coached people all over the country on how to lose weight, helping them drop a combined 2,950 lbs. Guzman recently competed in a figure competition, and will be sharing the next phase of her journey in an exclusive PEOPLE blog. You can also follow her on Instagram.
It’s exactly three months from my last figure competition, and I am enjoying a wonderful off-season.
I am a rehabilitated overeater who has found a way to enjoy food without it letting it control me. I used to indulge in two to three bowls of spaghetti at night, Philly steak n’ cheese subs in between lunch and dinnertime, and could devour half packs of Oreos without a blink.
Food controlled me. It ruled my thoughts, my body and my health. I celebrated, laughed, cried and took my stress out with food. The more junk I ate, the more I craved it. I hated the person I was becoming so I found a way to become the person I dreamed of being, and got away from the binge-eating cycle.
During the beginning of my weight loss journey I tracked every bite I ate to see what my 250-plus-lb. body was made of. It was mostly nutritionally “thin” calories, with a large majority being fat calories.
I learned to cut my food intake back to what was right for my 5’1″ frame, and started to eat clean foods. I followed an 85 percent clean diet and learned to count macronutrients (protein, carbs and fats) to gain control of my metabolism and change my body composition.
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Calorie counting alone can still result in nutrient deficiencies. Since I have a degree in biology and medical laboratory science, and I love science and I definitely love food, why not put the two together?
I have different personal daily macros for muscle gain, weight maintenance and leaning out. Protein increases lead to muscle building and fat loss, and carb cutting leads to leaning out. I learned through trial and error which macros are best for me, and began to see food in a new light.
I follow “IIFYM,” or the “If It Fits Your Macros” eating plan. During completion prep, I follow a plan that is 95 percent clean with very small amounts of processed foods. During the off-season where I maintain my weight, I eat 80 to 85 percent clean for lifestyle balance. You have to love what you’re eating and make it fun because a healthy lifestyle is 80 percent nutrition.
My macro plan allows me to have occasional Oreos (not half the package), pizza or a date night at a bar and grill on a weekly basis without feeling guilty and depriving myself, because I know I worked hard and ate clean most of the week. This allows me variety. I don’t follow a boring diet; it’s a lifestyle for me. Self-control is key – it’s okay to treat yo’self, but you have to earn it!
Here is an example of what I’m eating now in a typical day:
Meal one: Oatmeal with egg whites or Herbalife Protein Shake
Meal two: Protein waffles with homemade fruit topping
Meal three: Lean ground turkey taco bowl with brown rice
Meal four: Chicken breast salad with Trader Joe’s Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette and sweet potatoes
Meal five: Turkey breast wrap with lettuce, tomato and mustard on Flat Out Bread and veggies
Meal six: Protein brownie, protein ice cream bowl or a FIT Crunch protein bar
It has been fun combining science and food. I create new macro-friendly meals including low-carb lasagna, protein ice cream and dark chocolate protein brownies.
Be in control of your food – make it fun, don’t let it control you. People worry so much about giving up food when they are trying to lose weight. The real focus should be on making nutritionally balanced meals taste amazing on a plan that creates a lifestyle.
Changing how I viewed food helped me to take control of my life and gave me food freedom. I love food, but I learned to love myself more.