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How I Lost 59 Pounds (And Kept It Off)

    How I lost 59 pounds and kept it off – my personal weight loss journey and success story including tips, advice, and suggestions to help others.

    Liz Della Croce weight loss success story

    There is a story behind every blog and today I am honored to finally share mine. As you can imagine, there is a reason why I am so passionate about creating healthy food that is not only good for you but is also delicious. Grab a cup of coffee, get comfy, and join me as I open up about the true inspiration behind every leafy green, whole grain, and clove of garlic that embodies The Lemon Bowl.

    Life as an overweight child:

    Like many sedentary Americans, I spent much (all) of my early years as an overweight child. Believe it or not, we always ate healthy, homemade meals. We drank skim milk, shopped at the farmer’s market, and filled our plates with bright colors and lean proteins. White bread was not an option, pancakes were made with buckwheat and our oats were steel cut. (I love you, Mom!)

    buckwheat pancakes

    Ultimately, though, if you eat more than your body needs for fuel, you will gain weight. Despite a love for softball, volleyball, and skiing, my athletic ability was lacking and I often got cut from the team. After years of dance lessons, I eventually quit performing because squeezing my body into skin-tight spandex costumes became too much for my pre-teen self to handle.

    As the years went by, I gained more weight and eventually graduated from high school weighing over 220 pounds. I had no idea how big I was until my first post-college doctors visit when I learned I had lost 23 pounds my Freshman year of college. How on earth did that happen? One reason: I didn’t have a car and had to walk every single day. By incorporating daily movement without making any other changes, the weight fell off.

    Liz Della Croce weight loss exercise

    During my Junior year of college, I moved to London to study abroad and travel through Europe. When I returned home 5 months later, I had ballooned up to a size 20 and was stuck wearing Men’s Gap pants size 42.

    Despite being overweight, I graduated from college and began a successful career in hotel sales. In 2001, I met my husband and we got married in 2005. With a great career, plenty of friends and a wonderful love life, I was fat and happy.

    HR7 scaled

    Tracking & Exercise:

    My weight loss journey didn’t officially begin until 6 months after my wedding, at the age of 25. I saw a photo taken of me at a friend’s wedding and couldn’t believe what I saw. The photo was worth 1,000 words and within minutes I did an online search and discovered MyFoodDiary, a website that helps you track calories and exercise to gradually lose about one pound/week.

    In addition to weighing, measuring and tracking food calories for the first time, I also began exercising regularly. Just 30 minutes, 3 times a week is exactly what sold me on joining Curves. Within 18 months, I lost 35 pounds and was just 5 pounds away from my goal weight when I moved back home to Michigan with my husband to buy a house and start a new job.

    013 Salty Dog Cocktail 2 scaled

    Unfortunately, as anyone within sales can attest, my life was soon filled with client dinners, food-filled trade shows, and networking cocktail receptions. Instead of nipping the problem in the bud, I kept living my life and ignoring the scale. Within a year of moving home, I had gained back half the weight and my brand new work wardrobe no longer fit.

    Life changes:

    In 2008, I was laid off from my dream job. All of those horrible things you hear and read about losing your job are true. It was one of the lowest points in my life. The good news? I joined a gym to help cope and fell in love with group exercise. Each week I took Kickboxing, Boot Camp, Yoga, and Spin. The bad news? I was making lots of friends and taking advantage of my “pre-baby” life with too many nights of drinking and 2 am snacking.

    01 BBQ Pork Lettuce Wraps WEB

    Lesson learned: it doesn’t matter how many hours a week you exercise if you spend your weekend drinking vodka sodas.

    Fast forward to 2010 – we were expecting a baby! For the first time in my life, I had to be comfortable watching the scale creep up each week. In 2011, we had our beautiful baby boy and I was officially over 200 pounds again (after he was born.) Something had to give.

    Liz and Boys Eating Garlic Roasted Hummus

    You know the phrase “If it worked once, it will work again.”? Two weeks after my son was born, I re-committed to logging and tracking my calories on MyFoodDiary. Six weeks after giving birth (with my OB’s blessing), I was back at the gym. Was I taking boot camp classes? No. But I was moving again and learning to be more mindful of what I put in my mouth.

    Slowly but surely, the weight came off. The feeling of accomplishment and setting a good example for my son was so motivating that I was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight just six months after he was born. Riding the wave, I decided to keep going and I am proud to say that I am now 20 pounds lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight. (And yes, I’m still 5 pounds away from the ever-elusive goal weight.)

    Liz Drinking Smoothie

    The icing on the cake? On January 2nd, 2013, MyFoodDiary featured my official Weight Loss Success Story on the front page of their website. In my interview, I answer questions such as “What has been your biggest challenge along the way and how did you overcome it?” and “What has been your greatest reward of weight loss?” After reading so many success stories over the years, it is very surreal to be on the other end.

    Thank you for reading my personal weight loss journey. I encourage you to read other posts I’ve written along the way:

    Additional reading:

    As always, thank you for being here. It is an honor and a joy to interact with all of you every day.

    Curtsy Lunge



    Liz DellaCroce

    Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families. Click Here To Subscribe to my newsletter:


    1. Congratulations! Just came across your site on Pinterest. Today one of your recipes made a 5 star dinner (hubby approved). I am incredibly inspired by your story and can not wait to share my success with you. Today I feel like you did when you saw that photo. Something has to give and this is exactly what I needed to see today – the day I will look back on as my pivotal moment. Thank you!

      1. Thank you for saying hi, Carla! Your comment is incredibly touching – thank you! Please keep me posted of your journey. I wish you all the best!

    2. Great blog Liz! I really enjoyed your story, because not only was I compelled to read your story, but it was so well written (and we all know the ‘font’ has a lot to do with that), but it was interesting and easy to read all the way to the end without getting bored or wanting to just move on.
      I know this is not the ‘typical’ comment, but I think it’s worth noting to you!!

      Best of luck to you. You look HAPPY!!

      1. Wow Nancy thank you so much for the kind words- it truly means the world to me. Please keep in touch and let me know what posts you enjoy!

    3. Hi Liz.
      Today was hard. I think I’ve finally hit rock bottom. My 14 year old daughter told me she was embarrassed by my weight. I weighed in at 257. I truly hope that logging on and listening to all the advise and hearing others stories will help.
      Thank you for your courage to come forth and share your story. I hope it helps change mine.

      1. Mindy – The good news about hitting rock bottom is that it’s only going to get better from here on out! Best wishes on your journey and keep me posted on your progress!

    4. Wow I just read this. You are truly an inspiration. Although I’d like to loose about 10lbs or more. I want to get healthier and fit. I want to be a good example for not only my kids but my mom who is struggling with her diabetes. Your story has really inspired me. Thank you for sharing. I’m committed to changing things in my own home for my kids and husband & I.

    5. Hi Liz,
      I found your web site from Monique at Ambitious Kitchen and I’m so glad I did! It seems we have a lot in common. I’m Liz and I too lost 60 lbs 3 years ago and have kept it off. I live in California but my heart is in Michigan. My family has a cottage on Elk Lake, which is just outside of Traverse City. It’s where I recharge my batteries every year. Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey, it’s what I needed to read right now. After the holidays I got a little off track and it’s encouraging to see that the ups and downs are all part of the journey. In fact, I’m heading out for a run right now :-) I love the Healthy Habits section (great idea!) and I look forward to trying your recipes too!

      1. Oh my goodness I’m so glad you introduced yourself, Liz!! Great name. ;-) Congratulations on your weight loss success!!! That is incredibly inspiring. I love that you are a Michigan girl at heart as well!! Isn’t Northern Michigan the best kept secret? Thank you again and keep in touch!

      1. Thank you so much for reading, Amanda! It was not easy to publish but if it helps encourage or inspire just one person, it will be worth it.

      1. Thank you so much Joanne! I totally agree with you on calorie counting. It’s amazing how quickly tastes, bites and licks adds up otherwise!! :) Thanks again for reading. :)

    6. What a wonderful story Liz and thank you so much for sharing it with others who may be struggling with their weight. Kudos to you for sticking with healthy eating and exercise, and I’m looking forward to your Healthy Habit posts, along with your always delicious recipes in the new year. Happy, happy 2013 to you!!

      1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate your support friend!! I hope you like Healthy Habits and I also hope you’ll let me feature you. :) xo

    7. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m in the mood to get some weight off. Last year I lost 20 pounds through dogged determination! I’ve got to do it again! Trouble is, I’m too good at cooking! I’m too good at eating! I’m too good at sedentary activities! So that is a combination to overcome! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I am looking forward to getting something done again. I have really liked your approach with food.

    8. Thank you for sharing your story! I found you via Sandy at Reluctant Entertainer. I can’t wait to browse your blog. I have 40-50 stubborn pounds…of course me not being very motivated to exercise doesn’t help. I’m inspired by your story.

      1. Thank you so much for the support, Julie. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to get so personal but I really think it’s important to get real and honest, especially when it comes to something as personal as weight loss. Again – thank you for the love and support! xo

    9. WOW! You look amazing! What an inspiration! I have a few friends that have a similar story but not a similar ending. I cannot wait to share your story with them to keep them on top of their goals! You’re a true testament!

      1. Karen – Thank you so much for your kind words. Please pass it along – the entire reason I decided to be so open is because I think it will help others. Happy New Year!!

    10. Wow, girl, just wow! You have such an amazing and inspirational story! I am so happy to have “bumped into you” via Instagram :) I have no doubt in my mind that you will continue to achieve success and create deliciously healthy recipes that will inspire others to follow your lead!

    11. Congratulations! Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s so inspiring for others. I, myself, have lost 30 lbs and I know that it is a great accomplishment. Great job! =)

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