EXCLUSIVE: Tamra Judge Shares Secrets Behind Her Total Body Transformation -- and Takes on Her Critics

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Tamra Judge really doesn't care what you think of her new body.

"I mean, it's not perfection," The Real Housewives of Orange County star jokes. "I mean, I know it's not for everybody … [but] it's also not easy."

Tamra has undergone a total body transformation over the last year, ramping up her workouts and changing her diet to get down to just 14 percent body fat. The TV personality did it to -- in her words -- kick menopause's a**."

WATCH: Vicki Gunvalson’s Extreme Diet Helped Her Drop 22 Pounds

"I truly believe that working out, eating well, and taking your supplements is really the key to staying young," she shares with ET. "I can see it in my face. I can see it in my skin. I can just see it in my whole body. You know, I'm 48 years old. I started to see just a layer of fat developing around my midsection. And I'm like, 'Oh hell no! This is not happening.'"

The CUT Fitness owner enlisted the help of friend and trainer Mia Finnegan to whip her into shape, as seen on the Bravo series.

"She fine-tuned my diet, got me lifting heavy, and put me on supplements," Tamra shares. "My whole body composition has changed … I wish I could teach everybody that's going through menopause, trust me, you don't have to accept it. You can reverse it."

The star credits consistent workouts and a consistent diet with helping her achieve her fitness goals.

"I get up at 4:30, 5:00 in the morning," Tamra shares, "eat a little bit, then I go work out with Mia, and we work out for about two hours, then I do an hour of cardio … [I do it] five, six days a week."

"It doesn't matter what age you are, you can do it," she says. "I would say 80 percent of it is your diet, and for women, lifting heavy weights [is key]. Everyone thinks, 'I'm gonna get bulky, I'm gonna get this...' No. When you build muscle, and you eat that extra protein, your body is burning that fat all day long. So girls, eat your protein all day long, and lift heavy weights!"

WATCH: Tamra Judge Shows Off Impressive Abs in Bikini Selfie

"Most women think, 'I'm just not gonna eat, and I'm gonna be thin,'" Tamra continues. "Well, you're going to be thin, but you're going to have zero muscle tone -- zero. And you're body fat's gonna be higher than what you think it is."

Tamra encourages men and women trying to lose weight not to focus on numbers.

"You have to realize that you're building muscle as fast as you're losing body fat," she says. "So, the scale won't move … Don't step on the scale, that's all I can say. Don't do it."

Tamra says she's been getting a lot of compliments about looking younger since she's toned up, but she's also gotten her fair share of body shaming.

"[People say] I look like a man, that I went on steroids," she shares. "I don't know, that I'm old -- too old. 'Put your clothes on!' People say whatever they want, I don't care."

WATCH: Tamra Judge Rocks First Fitness Competition

What Tamra does care about is sharing what she's learned with the world -- and getting a little recognition for it doesn't hurt, either. Mia helped Tamra train for her first fitness competition, which she won back in May.

"I didn't expect to win at all!" she admits. "It was beginners, amateurs, so now I've qualified for the next level … starting next week, I'm back on this super, super strict diet."

The star will compete at "Muscle Mania" in Las Vegas this November, and confesses she's "excited and scared at the same time."

"There's like 700 competitors," she says. "It's crazy!"

Watch Tamra’s fitness journey unfold every Monday night at 9 p.m. ET when The Real Housewives of Orange County airs on Bravo. For more from our chat with the reality star, check out the video below.