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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

    xoxo,
    Liz

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    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:

    163 Comments

    1. I have used a natural remedy to get rid of my extra weight and belly fat. Mummy magic tea is a healthy, natural and herbal product that helped me getting rid of 35 pounds extra from my body. If you have just given birth to your child and want to shed your baby weight, but also planning to breastfeed your baby, this tea will help you without affecting your breastmilk.

    2. Fantastic! 59lb is huge! and to keep it off is testimant that it can be done, change your life and never go back to the old you. Love it, and well done

    3. Fantastic…so honest! My questions would be how to stay fit while recovering from injury. Or really, some other major exercise interference. ( I haven’t run in two months due to a sprained ankle…and it STILL hurts!) Also, how do you stay motivated when you’re not exactly “fat” but you’re creeping upward and no longer fitting comfortably into those clothes you bought a few months back.

    4. Congratulations. Any tips on getting water in you when you really HATE water? I’m starting a journey of my own and water is my nemesis.

      1. I love adding flavors to water like ginger root slices, lime slices, fresh mint, pineapple cubes, etc. I also love sparkling water with lime! I hope that helps!! Good luck on your journey!

    5. Great story Liz! It’s an inspiration to hear how you’ve never given up. You always came back to keep trying. I am going to be your newest follower to TheLemonBowl and Healthy Habits. I seriously need to drop about 70-80 pounds. Friday I booked a consult appointment and I am going to Curves to join the Complete program and get to exercising. I eat good, and I’m even a vegetarian! I just don’t come close to moving enough. I sit at my job all day and when I get home I sit some more! I hope once I start moving I’ll feel like keeping it up. I see where your on MyFoodDiary. I do the same type of logging for food and nutrition and soon my exercise on MyFitnessPal. Do you know if there are any features on MyFoodDiary that have any advantages over MyFitnessPal? Good luck to you on keeping your weight off. I pray I can say the same thing in the future.

      1. Thank you so much for your sweet words! I loved loved loved Curves- it was such an uplifting, positive environment and very welcoming. As for My Food Diary, I’ve never used My Fitness Pal so I really can’t compare!! I have heard great things about it though and I think it’s a great service, especially since it’s free. Keep me posted of your progress!

    6. Hi Liz,

      I am not sure I found The Lemon Bowl a few days ago, but I am so glad I did — it has quickly become a favorite blog of mine. Now, after reading your story, I am even more of a fan!

      I am 26 years old and have battled the bulge my whole life. I stepped on the scale this morning and am heavier than I have ever been. Not only am I devastated but I am motivated. Something has to give. I want to be healthy. I want to look good and feel good. I know life is not supposed to be lived like this – uncomfortable, unhealthy and in pain.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story…its so inspiring and helpful to see someone real share their struggle. I plan on visiting your blog often and using your recipes even more!
      :)

      1. Hi Jessica – Thank you so much for writing and sharing your story. Your words mean so much to me! The fact that you’ve said it out loud is reason for me to believe you will absolutely make positive changes in your life. Just take it one day at a time. Make small changes, day in and day out. Don’t get too caught up in the big picture. You can do it!!! Please keep me posted!

        1. Thanks, Liz! I will try and remember your advice — especially about not getting caught up in the big picture. :)

          Have a great day!

    7. What a great story, what a great website. Why haven’t I found you sooner?! It’s amazing what a Google search for bean salad can turn up! It’s like reading about me only I haven’t experienced your success – yet. Never say never.

    8. I’ve been reading your blog and website for a few weeks now; I feel somehow like I’ve known you forever. I lost about 40 lbs last year and have another 20 to go to feel comfortable. Instead of going in that direction, I’ve put back on around 10. I’ve been looking to your blog for inspiration and recipes — thank you for sharing your journey and helping others like me.

      Linda

      1. Thank you so much for your nice words Linda. Congratulations on 40 pounds! That is an incredible accomplishment. I have no doubt you’ll reach your final goals. Keep me posted on your progress and let me know if you try any recipes!

    9. What a great story, Liz!!! Thanks for sharing it!! I think I told you before that I lost 35+lbs. with Weight Watchers and kept it off for 13 years! Nothing feels so good than to be healthy!! In 2008 I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, had chemo and radiation and now have been in remission for 5 years! I thank God for restoring me to health; and I also credit my healthy lifestyle with WW for getting me through it! It would have so much more difficult to battle my cancer at my former weight!! Thank you for your amazing blog and wonderful, healthy recipes!!

      1. Oh my goodness your story is so inspiring Corry!! What a journey you’ve been through. I bet all of those healthy items in your garden help your healing.

    10. As one who has struggled with her weight ever since she left for college (my mother tightly controlled everything I ate until then), I applaud your efforts to keep your weight under control. My husband and I have been on an eating plan for almost two years, which has really helped us with our weight. My biggest challenge is still the emotional things that make me want to overeat. I’ve been through a lot of therapy and have resolved a lot of those issues, but serious stress still gets me. Last night I had a little binge (no that’s not an oxymoron, the binge was about my emotional state and eating more than I should, but not stuffing myself) for the first time since we started on our plan. The good part is having knowledge about how to eat and what to eat, and the fact that if I mess up, I can immediately go back to doing it right. I really appreciate your willingness to pay it forward. Another lesson I’ve learned is that when you help others you help yourself. I just signed up to receive your blog posts yesterday and am really looking forward to seeing what you share.

    11. Hi Liz, I recently found your site and just read your story – very inspirational. I shared my own weight loss journey a few months ago and had no idea how emotional and naked it would feel to share it with the world. It was especially odd – and painful – that some people (like my mother-in-law and first cousins) never said a word to me about it, though I knew they read it. It makes me feel good about sharing my story and helping others every day when I find good people like you out there doing the same thing. Thank you for sharing yourself so openly! Orna (www.ornabakes.com)

      1. Thank you so much for your nice words Orna. I appreciate you taking the time to read my story. Congratulations on your success as well!

    12. Liz, I am so glad that I read this today. I’ve been a fan of your blog for a while now because I love your healthy, sensible approach to life (and hello, everything is delicious here), but for some reason, I hadn’t checked out this particular page. You are an inspiration, my friend. What I love most is how reasonable, how realistic your outlook was and is about weight loss and maintenance. Lots of love and admiration for you :)

      Andie

      1. Andie – Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comment! It truly made my day. I really do try to find a health balance in all things. Extremes are tempting but I don’t think they are the key to long term success (or happiness!) Thank you again for your kind words – it really means a lot. :)

    13. Wow! Inspirational story! I happened upon your blog from Pinterest. Small world…I live in Grand Rapids too! I lost 25 pounds 2 years ago and have kept it off with new eating habits and I am a runner (used to hate running)! Look forward to more of your posts!

      1. Oh my goodness I’m so glad you said hi!!! What a small world – congrats on your weight loss as well!!! Keeping it off is a major feat – kudos to you!!! Keep in touch. :)

    14. WHOA. So, we’re not the same person, right?! Haha! I also grew up in Michigan, always overweight…despite graham crackers being the least healthy thing in our home! I tried a variety of sports but was always generally out of shape and so discouraged/embarassed (for me it was tiny tennis uniforms…yikes!) Then I went off to MSU and lost over 20 pounds just by walking around that giant campus :) More recently, I got married to a foodie and moved to the city, where I eat a LOT, drink a little, and exercise none, and am now back to where I used to be. Your story really resonated with me. I’m inspired to work towards healthy goals again! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the world :)

      1. Wow what a small world!! I’m so glad you found my story. I can’t believe our similarities!!!! Please keep me posted as you reach your goals!!

    15. Your story is so inspiring. I am also on a weight loss journey, no diet just eating healthy and loving myself. Wishing you the best and may God bless you!

    16. Wow! Such an amazing and inspiring story-I literally got goosebumps reading it, it hit so close to home! I feel like I am just starting this journey and really excited to read all your amazing recipes.

      1. Thank you so much for your kind words- I’m so glad you could relate to my story!! That’s exactly why I wanted to share it. Good luck on your journey and please keep me posted on your progress!

        1. Thank You for taking the time to reply, truly made my day, and just pushes me to actually go to the gym and continue tracking my food :) Thanks again for the amazing post and sharing your journey!

    17. I’m so glad I found this post today! I love all your recipes on Pinterest and finally I made it over to your blog and instagram. After over 20 years of marriage and four kids, I’ve struggled as an adult with weight. I always feel so overwhelmed with the numbers! I love your opening quote and feel that fear of failure gets me every time! I love to cook and am inspired by the emphasis on flavor and color in your recipes. Thanks for the motivating words! I can do this! :)

      1. Thank you so much for your kind and heart felt note, Amy. Your comment has truly made my day! I’m so glad the post has inspired you and I hope my recipes give you the push to get excited about creating healthy and delicious foods for your family!! Keep me posted on your progress!

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