January 11, 2016 12:50 PM

Courtesy Eve Guzman

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. In the next phase of her journey, Guzman is preparing to compete in a figure competition, and will be sharing her preparation in an exclusive PEOPLE blog. You can also follow her on Instagram.

My last check-in with my figure coach Jennifer Sturges was on Christmas Eve morning. I was nervous, but excited to see if I would earn a cheat meal for Christmas. We did my measurements and I was down 3 lbs. of fat, gained 2 lbs. of muscle, and dropped my body fat by 2 percent in my first three weeks of prep! I knew my weight was down, but the fat drop blew me away.

We decided to break my Christmas cheat up into two meals: one on Christmas Eve and the other on Christmas day. I went high fat on one day and high carbs the next. I chose nacho dip and chicken tenders for my fatty meal, and on Christmas day I had Cajun shrimp and grits and Christmas cookies. I indulged in three Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookie Cups, two sugar cookies and four chocolate chip cookies.

RELATED: Half Their Size’s Eve Guzman: Training for My Figure Competition Has Been Like Starting Fresh

The cheat meal was guilt-free because my body was ready for a re-feed, and I had worked so hard to earn the cheat meals. I weighed in five days after the cheat meals and lost an additional 2 lbs. Trusting the process is critical!

When I’m not having a cheat meal, my meals typically consist of whole eggs, egg whites, oatmeal, protein shakes, complex vegetables and carbs, lean-to moderate-fat meats, whole grains and small amounts of dairy daily. The progress I make will dictate if I get to have cheat meals.

I have gotten very creative with my meals, and learned to make protein pancakes, waffles and mug cakes that taste amazing.

Here is an example of a typical day during my January prep:

Meal One: Whole egg, egg whites and rice

Meal Two: Protein shake

Meal Three: Chicken Breast, green beans and rice

Meal Four: Steak, potatoes and broccoli

Meal Five: Ground turkey zucchini noodle-free lasagna

Meal Six: Blueberry protein pancakes

RELATED: Half Their Size’s Eve Guzman: How I Became ‘a Girl Who Went for It’ and Conquered Obesity

My coach calculates my macros (proteins, carbs and fats) based on my current measurements to figure where I need to be to hit my stage weight and final body fat percentage. I am shooting for a body fat percentage of 10 percent for my first show.

There are days where I am completely exhausted and want to give up, and other days where I have endless amounts of energy. Every time I want to quit I think about a quote from Eric Thomas: “You have to want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe.”

Eve Guzman

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