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When Lisa Morales booked her first role on the Telemundo network at age 19, it immediately amped up her motivation to be fit and healthy. She joined a gym with her sights set on ripped abs and toned muscles and began researching and learning everything she could about fitness and healthy living. But soon after her career took off, she suffered a major setback.
TV Doesn’t Always Add 10 Pounds
“I got so busy shooting 10- to 12-hour days and traveling that I started skipping breakfast and lunch,” Morales says. “It didn’t take long for this unhealthy routine to destroy all the hard work I had put in. Before I knew it, I was down to the lowest weight of my adult life — a skinny and unhealthy 95 pounds. I felt physically and mentally sick.”
Morales knew her career was not more important than her physical and mental well-being, so she got back on track right away and focused on gaining weight through a more frequent and nutritious eating plan.
“In life, we have two choices: One is to keep walking backward, which takes you further from your goals, and two to take a step forward, no matter how small it is,” says Morales, who at 5 feet 2 inches is now a healthy 112 pounds. “You’re either going forward or backward, and the direction is far more important than the size of your steps.”
Giving Back to Move Forward
Morales still challenges herself both mentally and physically each day, naming her upbringing as her driving force. “My mother brought my siblings and I to the U.S. from Cuba at a young age,” she explains. “As a single mother in a new country, it wasn’t easy, but she instilled a strong work ethic in us to set our goals high.”
Part of that work ethic includes strong community ties. In 2013, Morales co-founded Miami Model Citizens, a nonprofit organization of 30 empowered women dedicated to helping animals and families in need (miamimodelcitizens.com). At its super-popular annual fundraiser, the Doggies & Divas Fashion Show, attendees can adopt or support rescue animals from a local shelter, work that earned Morales recognition by CNN Español as one of the most influential women in the community.
Today, Morales has a worldwide social media presence of more than 8 million followers, and she regularly posts fitness tips and answers questions on her Instagram page. “I love sharing my knowledge to help others achieve their personal best, and watching their progression inspires me,” she says.
Lisa’s Sample One-Day Meal Plan
“I’m a pretty simple girl when it comes to meal planning, but I find simplicity helps with consistency,” Morales says.
Breakfast: Egg-white omelet with spinach, onions and tomatoes, whole-wheat toast with avocado and a piece of fruit
Snack: Optimum Nutrition Protein Almonds and fat-free Greek yogurt
Lunch: Shredded chicken, brown rice/quinoa mix and asparagus
Snack: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey protein shake with peanut butter and half a banana
Dinner: Salmon, sweet potatoes and zucchini
Dessert: Oatmeal cookie