Ever since Alyssa Greene started her Instagram account to document her weight-loss journey, she's made it a point to keep it real with her followers. Regardless of your starting weight, getting back into shape is no easy task and Greene isn't afraid to admit it. "I struggled with weight but not in the sense of being obese," she told FITNESS in an exclusive interview. "I was always a bigger girl with big thighs, I think to make me feel better my parents told me I was just big boned!"
Throughout high school, Greene found it hard not to compare her body type to those of her friends. "I didn't even own a bikini until I was probably 17," she says. "I loved myself, and wouldn't say I hated my body but I hated that I didn't look like my skinny friends...I hit my lowest point the summer before college and my freshman year. I was around 145 pounds. For a girl who is just under 5-foot-3, that's really not the healthiest."
This was a choice. This is years of mess ups. Years of weight ups and downs. Years of cross trainer, 15 days of p90x looking for the quick fix (which there isn't one by the way). This is weekends of drinking that lead to hangovers, until I realized that it's so extremely overrated. I take pajamas and a movie any day now. This is McDonald's. Fried food. Pop. Excessive eating. Snacking out of control. Guess what? I also failed. I made mistakes. I fell off. It's been 2 years of control over food, weightlifting and cardio. Do I still make mistakes? Of course. You know what changed? I did. I stopped quitting. I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I stopped fixating on my failures and started focusing on my successes. I stopping letting the excuse "well I can so I'm gonna eat as much as I want". I stopped letting the "my migraine is too bad. I'm tired I'm gonna nap" be my go to. Nuh uh no more. You have so much power to work for what you want. This was wasted time wishing I was as skinny as my friends in high school, wishing away my thighs arms and sucking my belly in as much as possible. Now I relish in my athletic STRONG body. I don't have a typical female body, I'm built and don't have boobs. But I have a booty. And I love this body I built, because I worked my ass off for it. Its not all about looking good. This is health. It's as simple as being committed. dedicated. I spend time in the gym instead of on the couch. I live an extremely healthy balanced life revolving around loving myself. #bodybuilding #girlswhoworkout #girlswholift #healthylifestyle #transformation #weightlossjourney #weightloss #diet #healthy #health #train #fitchick #motivation #transformationtuesday #body #fit #goals #workforit #strong #built #weighlifting #iifym #flexibledieting #eattogrow #macros
By the time she reached college, the stress of school and being in a different environment led to an unhealthy lifestyle. "I felt like everyone else was smarter than me, better than me. I found myself studying alone on Friday night or working out just doing cardio. My second semester of college I found beer pong and hangovers. I lost a lot of weight from drinking and not eating when I was hungover."
It wasn't until the summer before her sophomore year that Greene realized getting back into shape had to be a balance of working out and nutrition—a total lifestyle change. "I started weightlifting and really dedicating myself in the gym as a junior/senior in college around 2.5 years ago. And honestly I was anxious, stressed, needed something to do for me. For no one else."
Since then, Greene has lost 25 pounds, but doesn't care to measure her progress through the numbers on a scale. "I take progress pictures because, honestly, the scale means nothing," she says. "Muscle [is] more dense than fat [and] very misleading to the eye. Everyone's body is so different but it's important to remember that it's how you look and feel, never a number that defines you or should give you confidence."
Thursday thoughts: Take care of your body. Treat it like the machine it is. Feed it. Love yourself. And work dang hard for what you want. I started out on a healthier lifestyle because my body wasn't healthy, I wasn't healthy. Not only was I not eating healthy, I wasn't thinking healthy thoughts about myself. Now I'm strong, healthy and taking care of myself#fit #fitness #pushyourself #inspiration #fitspo #thursday #tbt #transformation #motivation #diet #weightloss #motivation #flexibledieting #lifestyle #train #bodybuilding
Now, Green hits the gym six times a week, weightlifting on weekdays and doing HIIT training on Saturdays. "For some people, that sound insane and obsessive. But I love it," she says. "I love waking up before the sun, sweating, lifting weights. It's my me time. My husband is in pilot training in the Air Force and being able to have an outlet that makes me feel amazing is fantastic."
But it wasn't just working out that helped Greene get to where she is today. Cutting back on drinking got her to looking and feeling like she'd always wanted. "Don't get me wrong—I love a good Stella Artois on the patio or a margarita by the pool or a martini out to dinner with my husband," she says, "But it was excessive at one point in my life."
Along with that, self-educating about nutrition helped her learn what foods worked and didn't work for her body. "At the beginning of my lifestyle change, I followed a plan called 'If It Fits Your Macros' or IIFYM," she says. "This refers to the three macronutrients that make up the foods we eat. Carbs, protein and fat."
When your puppy wants to admire the baby shreds I'm not gonna lie to you and tell you it's easy. I'm not going to tell you it's a breeze and you won't make sacrifices. I'm not going to pretend I don't have crazy cravings and over indulge sometimes. Im also not going to pretend that having this body is the end all be all. I have never looked so good in my life, but my body looking this way is nothing more than me being healthy and loving myself. But I will be proud of my hard work. Last night I was able to indulge worry free out at dinner with my husband. THAT is what is important. I am strong. Not weak. Im not shredded or super lean and guess what, I don't want to be. Im healthy. I'm just a normal girl with a full time job, a husband, and a puppy. 5:30am mornings followed by the gym sessions and a job that lasts until 5:30pm. You make time. You decide what's WORTH your time. If I can do it anyone can do it. Make the time, put in the effort. I promise you if you dedicate yourself, educate yourself, and seek motivation from yourself you will reach the place you want to be. Moderation not deprivation. Balance, not one sided. And that's all I got for you tonight make it a great week friends! #fit #fitness #fitfam #fitchick #fitsporation #bodybuilding #girls #instagood #instafit #fitspo #badass #abs #quads #lean #workforit #iifym #macros #fitnessaddict #fitnessmodel #physique #motivation #sweat #cardio #weights #justdoit #weightloss #diet #figure #girlswithmuscle #like #abs
"This allowed me to learn portion sizes and portion control and opened my eyes to how cool nutrition is," she says. "Everyone's body responds differently to macronutrients. I found that processed foods and high sugar food caused me to crave and be hungry all the time."
So, she decided to cut out those foods and focused on a protein based diet with lots of fruits and veggies. That said, she also allowed herself to eat whatever she wanted, but in moderation. "If I have a craving I will usually have it," she said, "depends on how disciplined I am and if my diet has been balanced for the day."
"I always tell people to forget what society makes a diet sound like. Restriction, restriction, restriction. That's what society tells you. A 'diet' should be associated with HOW you eat. I never tell myself I can't eat something."
|this lifestyle isn't for everyone| just another bathroom picture attempting to motivate you, It's a filter free morning back to my opening statement. This "lifestyle" isn't for everyone. Goals aren't for everyone. Nutrition isn't for everyone. And guess what... that's okay. It's a C H O I C E. I choose to eat my weight in veggies (and gasp I actually love them!!) I choose to spend 10hours at the gym a week. Some people don't "have" that time or the ability to do that. This whole lifting and fitness thing will cause you to compare, to want, to hurt, to question yourself. It's going to put more emphasis on your body, the foods you eat, how you view nutrition, and your weaknesses. Not everyone can handle that. But remember: consistency and taking care of yourself are extremely vital in mental/physical health and getting where you want to be. Some advice: don't get wrapped up in restricting food, your diet, your gym routine. One day you're gonna wake up at the age of 60 and I promise you there will be far more important things. Shoutout to those little fish gills you see proud of this strong physique. And yes, I know I look extremely flat
As far as motivation is concerned, Greene doesn't depend on social media, her husband or anyone else. "I do what I want for me, no one else," she says. "For people who have a hard time making a lifestyle change because of family or friends or a significant other, it really boils down to discipline. How bad do you really want to make a lifestyle change?"
"My husband and I eat dinner together every day but our meals are very different. My plate looks more micronutrient dense where his is calorically dense. We eat very different, but we support each other!"
Today, Greene weighs 120 pounds and says she is the happiest and healthiest she has ever been.
"You can do what you put your mind to, and it's never too late," she says. "You don't need a start to a new week or the start of a new year to start loving yourself and treating your body right. Commit yourself to the process. And love yourself! It's so much more than a good body, your body deserves to be taken care of and healthier." We couldn't agree more.
Follow Alyssa's inspirational journey on her Instagram, @ajgreenefit.