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Thanks for sharing this with the Angel Blog, Alyssa! We love reading about your journey and the invaluable lessons you've learned.
"Hey guys, so my name is Alyssa Flores... some of you may know me better as @dumbbells_n_doughnuts on Instagram... some of you may also know my checkered past with my weight, food struggles, and body image issues, but here's a side of my story you may not know yet. What pushed me over the edge to finally say, "I'm going to be a bikini competitor?" and What made me keep going on those low days?
I have been in love with bodybuilding since fall of 2012! Not many know this, but one day while sitting in my college dorm I stumbled across a tv broadcasting (more than likely an old show recording) of a huge bodybuilding show. I sat on my bed watching those women strut across the stage with such grace, poise, and confidence... I INSTANTLY WANTED TO BE JUST LIKE THEM. The issue was that at that time I had no idea what being a bodybuilder really entailed... all I cared about was the thought that "if I can look like them, maybe I'd actually love myself then." What a sad thought... When I look back, I cannot believe or even recognize myself most days. At this point, in fall 2012, my now husband had just proposed. I was 30 lbs over my "target" wedding day weight, and I thought this would be just the right amount of weight to lose in order to then compete in one of those bikini shows. As I started exercising for pretty much the first time in my life, I quickly gravitated towards the cardio machines... "I mean, come on! Look at how many calories I'm burning doing 2+hours on here! There's no way lifting could help me, I don't want to look too manly anyways." Oh boy, 2012 Alyssa was hilarious.
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I bounced around from fad diet to fad diet... at one point I was on this diet that preached eating no more than 600 calories a day... so that's what I did. I ate less than 600 calories a day, I did 2+ hours of cardio a day, and I was miserable. No need to go into all the details of this part of my past... but let's just say I was headed down a slippery downward path and I was heading down it FAST. Oh, and I did hit that goal weight of 130 lbs... but it didn't last more than a week after the wedding. By December 2013 I was back up to my 160 lbs starting point.
But what finally clicked in my brain? What finally made me wake up and realize that eating minimal food during the week and then bingeing on the weekend wasn't optimal for my health? EASY- my husband. It's actually kind of ironic, and he more than likely will never know that he's the main reason for me wanting to compete... and he actually doesn't support the sport itself, but there it is. His never ending love for me through my darkest days was shown by trying to educate me on what my body really did need, was what snapped me back to reality--BACKGROUND-- my husband has his undergraduate degree in kinesiology (exercise science); so he really did know what he was talking about.
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He knew I needed more support than what he could give me, so in 2014/2015 I joined a group where they helped educate me on what my body really does need in order to perform. This was the start to an amazing base for self love and self respect. I watched my body go from 160-185 lbs over just a few months... and the thing was, for the first time in my entire life, I WASN'T FOCUSED ON HOW I LOOKED--I cared more about how I felt, who I was as a wife, and what my relationship with God really looked like. This was a time of physical growth, but also a time for mental and spiritual growth as well.
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So, I had gained nearly 55 lbs since my wedding day 2013, I had found this amazing love for my body, and now was ready to try to get in shape. 2016 was a time of trial and error for me... but mostly it was the first time during this journey that I felt nearly ALONE. This was the time in my life where I learned how to believe in myself FIRST... Many of you ask how I stay positive, how I keep pushing, how I can talk so positive about myself... well the truth is, if it hadn't of been for the hard times in 2016, I really don't think I would be as confident as I am today. Back then, I had reached out to many women (most of whom are "big Instagram influencers" now) and many of them blew me off after I sent my first check in... I think many of them didn't take me seriously when they saw my 185 lb 5' nothing frame check in picture next to my long term goal of "I want to compete in 2017." I had hired and then been ghosted by SIX "coaches" in 2016... That was until found my current coach Adam Atkinson with team SeeYouLaterLeaner.
This was the first person outside of myself and my husband to actually believe in me; he calls me a champ... and I believe him. I'm not saying that everyone needs to work with my coach... what I'm saying is: make sure you have a coach who truly believes in you and knows that you're not just a source of income. Many of you ask how I stay so positive... and the truth is, I'm not always. Sometimes, Adam has to shake some positive thoughts into me. But if you have the right support system in place, believing in yourself, staying positive, and being consistent isn't hard at all.
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I'm not saying I've had the hardest journey... but I'm sure as heck not saying I've had it easy. I think that bodybuilding, like many other avenues, requires a village behind one successful person. For me, I have my husband who may not support bodybuilding shows, but he supports me no matter what. I have my coach, who knows exactly how I need to be pushed next. I now have my family behind me, even thought they can't understand why I want to be on stage, they understand it's a passion of mine and continue to support me. I have ACBikinis -- not just the Facebook community, but the company itself-- who encourages me to push myself even outside of the competing realm (hello fashion show June 2019!). And of course, I have many of you to thank. I share nearly 100% of my life-- the good, the bad, the ugly-- on Instagram. Many of you remind me that I'm not alone in this thing-- which is also one of the reasons I feel like being completely open with this journey is such a good thing to do! You might feel alone at times, but you truly never are. We have all struggled, but know you're stronger than you think. Just remember, the best is yet to come if you want it bad enough and you work hard enough....
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I have yet to place at a show, but I still feel like I've won so far on this journey. Not only have I gone from 185 lbs to 113 lbs (stage weight Nov. 2018), but I've found this undeniable love for myself that just can't be shook, I've realigned my priorities in life, and I've become a healthier person physically, mentally, and spiritually. I love bodybuilding, and I thank the Lord nearly daily for me stumbling across that bodybuilding show so many years ago."