Just about all of us have experienced frustrations with weight gain. We’ve seen the numbers on the scale creep up, instead of going down. We’ve started and stopped every fad diet imaginable and declared ourselves vegan, carb-free, protein only and we’ve even tested the limits of our wallets (and our patience) on the latest juice cleanse.

5 Food Bloggers' Weight Loss Success Stories on foodiecrush.com

I once tried giving up sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and dairy for an entire week, just to see if I could do it and if I’d lose any weight. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. I was not a happy person without my morning cup of joe—let alone without all of the other things that make me happy. And neither was anyone around me. I almost made it a week…almost.

That’s why our hats are totally off to these five empowering women, each of which has an incredible weight-loss triumph and unique story to share and inspire on their individual food blogs. Their dedication and successful accomplishments are proof that weight can be lost, goals can be achieved, and you can in fact create food for others, plus have your cake and eat it too.

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Cookin-Canuck

Dara Michalski of Cookin’ Canuck

lost 30 pounds by taking up running and calorie counting

 

Dara Michalski is the writer, photographer and recipe developer behind the blog Cookin’ Canuck (she’s a Canadian-born and raised US transplant, and ‘canuck’ is a slang term for Canadian). After several frustrating bouts of failed weight-loss attempts, the mom of two young boys discovered something that would change her life and the weight came off and stayed off…30 pounds to be exact!

Dara also started running—something she had been a complete stranger to for about 10 years. It was rough and painful at first, but with the encouragement of some girlfriends she made a comeback and now runs like it’s her job. She has several half marathons under her belt, and more recently a full marathon, and she’s already training for another half one this summer and a full one in the fall or spring.

Cookin’ Canuck was born two years prior to Dara’s weight loss, but during the process, the recipes on her blog transitioned into healthier ones. She’s seriously passionate about cooking, and loves incorporating exotic flavors that pay tribute to her mother’s childhood in Jamaica, and her parents’ time in Malaysia during their newlywed years. You can find things like Tequila-Spiked Shrimp Ceviche with Avocado, BLT Naan Pizzas and Key Lime Pie Gelato all featured in her list of recipes.

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As for what’s next for Dara? “I would love to write a book that links healthy eating and exercise, focusing on recipes that help to give us energy for exercise and everyday life. It’s amazing what effect food can have on our energy levels and sleep, and little changes really can make a huge difference. In the end, it’s all about making those little changes and making them a part of your lifestyle.”

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Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa

You say the thing that really resonated with you to motivate you to start eating better was using the app My Fitness Pal. There are lots of similar apps out there—why do you think this particular one worked for you, and do you still use it regularly today?

My good friend and running partner introduced me to the MyFitnessPal app, and the nerdy numbers lover in me was hooked right away. You can save meals that you eat frequently (such as the berry yogurt and granola parfait that I eat every chance I get), copy meals from one day to the next, scan barcodes from products so that you can record the nutritional information and see your progress on graphs. Using it became a game (“How many miles do I need to run to work off this margarita?”), then an addiction and then a necessity. As soon as I find myself avoiding having my picture taken with my kids, I know I need to pull out the app and give myself a reminder about portion size.

Your before and after photos are amazing! What keeps you motivated and kicks you back into gear when you’re feeling discouraged, and what advice do you have for others who are struggling to lose weight?

Let me be completely honest. Losing weight and keeping it off is not easy. It took me several years to really get over the initial hump in the process, and I still have to be conscious of it every day. Nobody’s perfect and we all make mistakes, but we don’t have to let those mistakes derail us. I’ve learned that moderation is a good thing. If I tell myself that I can never have chips again (my weakness!), then I will eat a whole bag. If I let myself have a handful every now and then, I don’t feel deprived.

While exercise was a big part of my weight loss, portion control was the real key. Before starting with the MyFitness Pal app, I would eat healthy foods, but portions that were far too big. Understanding portion size made me much more aware of what I was putting in my mouth, and I finally realized that my body didn’t need the amount of food that I used to eat. The first few weeks were tough because my mind kept telling me that I needed more food (even when I wasn’t hungry). I finally learned to listen to my body and stop eating before I was stuffed. Well, except when sushi is involved. That’s what stretchy pants are for.

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No Bake Carrot Cake Granola Bites

You’ve had your blog for five years now, sharing family favorite recipes. How has your personal fitness influenced the recipe you blog now? And has your blog helped you keep up your progress?

Every recipe I blog is a meal that my family has eaten. So, as I started to eat better, that was reflected in the recipes I posted on my blog. There are a few runners in the family, so I’m constantly trying to think of meals and snacks that include whole grains, lean proteins and a good balance of protein and carbs.

What is the biggest difference in your recipes now, versus before you started eating healthier and exercising more?

Eating healthier has inspired me to play around with a variety of whole grains, to find creative ways to cut processed sugars and fats (particularly saturated fat) from my recipes and to look around the supermarket and farmer’s markets for foods that are seasonal and full of vitamins and minerals. It’s a different way of thinking now, and I don’t think I can ever go back to how I cooked before.

You started a series on your blog, called “Run Like a Girl,” to help foster a sense of camaraderie among other runners, and to help them make goals for a more active lifestyle (through running of course)!  This is such an encouraging concept—how did you come up with it, and what has the feedback been like?

It all started when I was part of the Red Faced Runners group. We were a group of 11 food bloggers who formed a virtual running group and challenged others to join us in training for a 5k run. It was so fun to see people who have never run in their lives lace up running shoes and get out there. When I ran my first marathon the support from my readers was overwhelming and so many of them told me their stories of running their first races. They inspired me to start the running series and write about bits and pieces of information that I’ve learned over the years. Selfishly, it’s been incredibly satisfying for me, and I hope that it continues to encourage others to run, bike, swim or whatever inspires them to move their bodies.

Read more about Dara and her recipes on her blog, Cookin’ Canuck.

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Liz Della Croce of The Lemon Bowl

lost 60 pounds thanks to calorie counting and daily exercise

 

Liz Della Croce was heavy for much of her early life. When she saw a photo of herself at a friend’s wedding, the reality of her size really sank in and she finally took action. She discovered MyFoodDiary.com and started tracking her meals and calories. She also began working out regularly—for the first time ever—joining Curves, and participating in group exercise classes like zumba, kickboxing and boot camp.

All of these positive changes led her through a major transformation where she lost a whopping 60 pounds. Best of all, she’s managed to maintain her weight seven years and counting (nice work, sistah)! The Grand Rapids native started her food and lifestyle blog, The Lemon Bowl, in 2010, three years post weight-loss, and has earned quite a following, with numerous mentions and TV appearances. Last year she launched “Healthy Habits,” a corner of her blog where readers can obtain a slew of advice, tips, and resources on living a healthy life.

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The mom of two young boys is passionate about food, and loves incorporating Middle Eastern flavors in her dishes (as a homage to her great grandparents’ Syrian heritage). Some of her recipes include Z’atar Roasted Carrots and Green Beans, Sriracha Chicken Cauliflower Fried Rice and Lemon Shortbread with Salted Chocolate Drizzle. Liz even goes so far as to include a detailed nutrition label with each recipe, making it easier for her readers to stay on track. Her enthusiasm about living life to the fullest and eating healthy is contagious, and her blog is the perfect destination for the motivation one may need to start making positive changes.

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Middle Eastern Salad with Lemon, Mint, and Garlic (aka “Syrian Salad”)

Your weight loss story is amazing and so inspiring—you lost 60 pounds! You attribute the motivation for your healthy changes to the Gillian Michaels book, “Master Your Metabolism.” What was eye-opening for you about reading that book, and why do you think it helped you so much?

Growing up eating whole grains, lean proteins and lots of fresh produce, I already knew that processed foods were bad for us. It wasn’t until I read Master Your Metabolism that I finally understood why they are bad for us. Jillian’s no nonsense approach breaks it down in a scientific manner that really hit home with me. Basically, the foods we eat affect the hormones in our body. Hormones control EVERYTHING from weight loss to skin health to fertility to energy levels and more. This book was the push I needed to give up artificial sweeteners found in sugar free foods and drinks. In fact, I enjoyed my last diet coke in April 2009 as a result of reading this book. (Single tear.)

How have you kept the weight off (especially losing it after your two pregnancies), and what tricks or tips do you swear by?

Every Friday I weigh myself to keep track of my progress. If I’ve gained that week, I commit to tracking my calories in a food diary until I start losing weight again. It’s amazing how much less I eat when I have to think twice about what I put in my mouth. Not having to log the food is a good incentive to skip that extra bite or pass on that third cookie.

What kinds of diet and lifestyle changes have you made, and what did you find to be most challenging?

The biggest lifestyle change I made was incorporating regular exercise into my routine. Initially, I signed up for Curves and LOVED it! In just 30 minutes, 3 days a week, it helped me make exercise a habit.

After losing the first 35 pounds, I was ready for new challenges and signed up for a full service gym. I’ve worked out with personal trainers, hit the pool, trained for a 5K and logged many miles on the treadmill/elliptical. At the end of the day, nothing motivates me like group exercise classes. Every week I take different classes including Kickboxing, Spin, Yoga, Cardio Blast and more. I love the music, I love the variety and I love the energy. I would never do an hour of intense exercise on my own, that’s the bottom line.

Of course, exercising regularly is also the biggest challenge, especially now that I have two little ones home with me all day, every day. It’s all about scheduling the time and putting it in your calendar like a doctor’s appointment or a client meeting. I’ve also found that the key to avoiding burnout and boredom is to do what you love so that it doesn’t feel like exercise.

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Greek Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Feta and Pine Nuts

Did you start your blog before or after your weight loss began? Why “The Lemon Bowl?”

I actually started my blog 3 years after my weight loss began. After losing a significant amount of weight, friends and family started asking what I was eating to lose the weight. The blog became the easiest way to share my healthy recipes as well as the complete nutrition facts for others looking to reach weight loss or healthy lifestyle goals.

The name “The Lemon Bowl” came about because of my Middle Eastern heritage. My mother’s family is Syrian and we use lemons every single day to marinade meat, dress a salad or flavor soup. My mom never bought salad dressing when we were kids and I never do now that I’m a mother myself. A little lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and you’re well on your way to a delicious salad (or grilled chicken, or roasted fish!)

What do you enjoy most about blogging, and what are some of your favorite health-oriented food blogs?

The best, most unexpected gift of blogging is the people. It is a complete honor and pleasure to work with so many creative, talented and hard-working bloggers. As a lifelong foodie, it is extremely comforting to have so many colleagues who get equally excited about life’s small pleasures such as truffle fries, freshly picked peaches or that perfect ripe avocado.

There are so many incredible health-oriented food blogs out there. A few of my favorite include Emily Always Cooks, Ambitious Kitchen, Brooklyn Supper, 101 Cookbooks, and Passports and Pancakes.

Read more about Liz and her recipes on her blog, The Lemon Bowl

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Andie Mitchell of Can You Stay for Dinner

lost over 100 pounds thanks to incorporating exercise into her routine

 

For much of Andie Mitchell’s life she was overweight, but that started to change about eight years ago, while Andie was in college. She had finally reached a limit with her weight struggles. “I couldn’t think of a time in my life when I hadn’t been overweight, when I hadn’t been aware of how big I was.”

One summer, Andie decided to join the YMCA with a friend, and after a few months of cardio classes, elliptical machines, treadmills, and stairmasters, she dropped her first 30 pounds. A few months later, another 20 came off. It gave her the push she needed to start losing the weight she wanted.

Then, Andie went to Rome for a semester, to study film. She found herself in a glorious ancient city full of pizza and gelato and wine—a food lover’s dream. There, something quite extraordinary happened for her. She started walking all over the city, practiced Bikram yoga, and even joined a gym. She still enjoyed every culinary temptation the city had to offer, and yet she managed to lose 60 pounds—a huge milestone, and triumphant feat, especially considering most of us gain weight when we’re on vacation! Andie went on to lose over 100 pounds, and has proudly maintained her weight ever since.

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Andie’s blog, Can You Stay for Dinner was born in 2010—four years after her weight loss. “When I began to eat healthier, I rediscovered cooking and really fell in love with it in a whole new way because I tried new things (vegetables, grains) and experimented with lightening a lot of traditionally heavier dishes. It became a brand new hobby.” Her blog beholds a rainbow of fun and colorful health-conscious recipes—from Healthier Morning Glory Muffins, to Sesame Salmon Burgers with Dill Yogurt Sauce, and S’mores Brownies—she’s got you covered.

She’s currently in the exhilarating throws of editing her first two books—a weight-loss memoir, and a cookbook, scheduled to be published next year. She’s not sure what’s in store for herself over the next five years, but she wouldn’t mind being married to Leonardo Dicaprio. Get it girl.

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Buffalo Chicken Rolls

What triggered you to start making changes in your diet and lifestyle, and where did you find your inspiration and motivation from?

After my sophomore year of college, in the summer of 2005, I knew I was the biggest I’d ever been. The jeans I’d just bought in size 22 were already snug. I decided to join the YMCA with my best friend, just as we’d done for the past few summers. When we got into the locker room to put our bags down before working out, I stepped on the scale to weigh myself — a way to gauge my starting place. 268 was the number I saw and it scared me. Terrified me. A truly sobering moment. It wasn’t a place I’d ever thought I’d be.

I recognized that if I’d only ever gained weight, if I’d only ever climbed up and up and up on the scale, the scary part of weighing 268 pounds wasn’t BEING that particular weight, it was what lies beyond that weight. 300. 315…

I found inspiration in magazines, friends, people walking around outside who seemed to lack that thick aura of self consciousness that I had. When you’re motivated to change your life, when you’re ready, you search for inspiration in everything.

What led you to start blogging, and who are some of your favorite food bloggers or cooks that have influenced you the most?

The first blogs I read for healthy living inspiration were EatLiveRun and Kath Eats. The first food/cooking blogs I fell in love with were Joy the Baker and Smitten Kitchen. All of them helped me somehow. All of them meant so much, because blogs, as anyone who reads them knows, are never just about the subject at hand. They become these friendships, these deep, years-long sagas we follow. I loved them for that. I credit starting to read blogs with a lot of the way I’ve been able to cultivate such a balanced approach to eating: embracing both health and crazy decadence.

Nowadays I can’t even list all of the blogs that give me inspiration. I admire so many bloggers — some because of what they put out there creatively, and some because of the intense kindness they promote with their efforts to build community.

What motivated you to start being so active once you got to Rome, and how did you re-adjust your diet/lifestyle once you returned to the States?

In Rome, while I was studying abroad, I was doing so much walking just exploring every day, that it was easy to make fitness a very integral part of my lifestyle. But soon, I felt this urge to do more. I started jogging. Very slowly. I built up to jogging for thirty minutes, then forty minutes. The thing about exercise is: it’s not that I think it’s absolutely necessary for weight loss; it’s that it tends to make you respect what you put into your body a bit more than you might if you hadn’t exercised. And when I got back to the states, I kept it up without much trouble simply because I’d really begun to believe in the positive cycle of: exercising–> eating well–> feeling good physically/mentally [repeat].

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White Bean Puttanesca with Garlic Bread

How did your life change once you started losing weight, and what was the most gratifying thing about your weight loss?

For me, losing over 100 pounds meant a real gain in confidence. But it also gave me this belief in myself, this sense of strength — knowing that I’d not only done something I’d always promised myself I’d do, but also that I could commit to goals and achieve them. For a time, I felt like there was nothing I couldn’t at least try to do, and that feeling of hopefulness, of tremendous power and possibility, is just about the most incredible thing I’ve ever felt.

What advice do you have for others who are struggling find the motivation to start losing weight, or for those having difficulty maintaining their weight?

Practically speaking, my best advice for those just starting out, and for those who might not know a lot about nutrition, I’d say to try to learn about portion sizes and calories. Not because you need to be a calorie counter or nutrition nut, but because for a lot of us who have been big for much of our lives, we have no idea about the composition of our food, our meals. Spending a few weeks or so just writing down what you’re eating and measuring your food (servings, calories, etc) can be the most valuable learning process.

The other advice, the real heart of what I believe about life and weight loss, is just this: do it today. When you have a lot of weight to lose, as I did, it feels so, so overwhelming to think about the future — all the days you’ll have to keep at this journey. You wonder, ‘Will I ever just be able to fall off the rails and eat a massive slice of cake again? Dear God, can I just have buffalo chicken pizza?’ Those feelings of overwhelm can really send you into a panic that makes it so that you stop trying to lose weight altogether. You keep promising yourself you’ll start tomorrow. But what helps is committing to just today.

All I tried to focus on when I was losing was the present moment. Can I make it to the end of the day in the best way I know how? Not thinking about tomorrow, or how hard it will be to stay on track at happy hour this Friday, or at brunch this weekend. Just today. That’s my mantra with everything — doing the very best I can just for today.

Read more about Andie and her recipes on her blog, Can You Stay for Dinner.

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Multiply-Delicious

Heather Connell of Multiply Delicious

lost the last of the pregnancy weight and cleared up health problems thanks to going Paleo

 

Heather Connell grew up watching her mother and grandmother make biscuits, and baking was an integral part of her family’s lives. She admits that even being around passionate home cooks, she herself never took an interest in cooking until after she got married. And while she was raised in the heart of the south, when she first started cooking, she steered clear of the greasy southern staples she grew up eating.

She started her blog Multiply Delicious in 2008, as a means of documenting her kitchen trials and errors. But shortly after Heather gave birth to twin girls, she started experiencing stomach pain, fatigue and other unusual symptoms, but was not diagnosed with anything. Her doctor advised her to give medicine a try and if things didn’t improve, she’d have to have surgery. Heather took matters into her own hands and began doing some research. She eliminated certain foods from her diet and her symptoms improved, but when she gave Paleo a try, they disappeared completely.

Heather essentially had to learn how to cook and bake all over again and many of the ingredients she one used on a regular basis were suddenly off limits. “I embraced it and dove in and that’s how things start to transform not only in my health but also on the blog and the recipes I started to share. I want people to not feel intimidated by paleo….yes there are a lot of “no’s” that are out of your comfort zone in the beginning, but trust me paleo is pretty darn delicious.”

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Pumpkin Pancakes 

You’ve been on a Paleo diet for about three years now, and you talk about how at first, incorporating these changes to your diet was like learning to cook and eat all over again. What were the hardest things for you to part with?

In the beginning, it was intimidating, but over time it is now a lifestyle and not a diet. The word diet seems so scary too. I did have to learn to cook and eat all over again. I grew up in the South and baking was a huge part of our lives. I still remember being in my grandmother’s kitchen watching her make biscuits. There also were all the holidays that I spent in the kitchen helping my mom bake cookies. That meant flour, sugar, butter, and more things that AREN’T part of paleo. With the paleo lifestyle I really had to get in my kitchen and learn how to cook and bake all over again. That meant taking out dairy, gluten, soy, sugar, legumes, and basically any foods that weren’t REAL. Which come to find out were actually hurting me in more ways than one.

Does your family follow this way of eating as well, and what dishes do you most love to cook for them? What do you think would surprise people the most about eating Paleo?

My kids were young when I started my journey and I gradually started to change them over to a Paleo/Primal lifestyle within months. I chose to take the Primal route with them. Now the question you might be asking is what is the difference between Paleo and Primal? The paleo and primal lifestyles are both based on evolutionary science that states that the diet we westerners are eating nowadays is nothing like what our ancestors ate a hundred thousand years ago. That’s because an agricultural revolution took place roughly ten thousand years ago and we started eating food that our bodies couldn’t digest properly. Both the paleo and primal lifestyles say that if we eat what our ancestors ate, we’ll be healthier.

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Chicken Apple Broccoli Salad

Going Paleo inspired you to write three cookbooks. What was the process of writing each of those books like for you?

It’s been a busy two years for me. Each of the books are each so different from each other and each had a different approach when it came to writing it. The e-cookbook Paleo Recipes for Every Day was my first experience with the “cookbook” writing and it was a learning experience which I think helped in the process of writing Paleo Sweets and Treats. Paleo Sweets and Treats shows you how to make delicious treats using fresh, seasonal produce, natural sweeteners, and nutritionally dense, grain-free flours all to keep you on your Paleo course.  All of the recipes in the book are grain & dairy free, making them suitable for the Paleo diet.

Powerful Paleo Superfoods is the healthy reader’s essential guide to getting the best out of the paleo diet with the help of the top 50 Paleo-approved Superfoods – including power proteins, super fats, fruits, greens, and vegetables. Perfect for Paleo beginners or the Paleo-curious, this new cookbook lets readers integrate key foods and delicious recipes into their diets without the pressure of trying to understand a whole “plan” or adopt a lifestyle shift straight out of the gate. This book is different because not only are there recipes and photo’s but each superfood is covered in depth with nutritional backing and information supporting why it’s a superfood.

Changing your diet and overcoming your health issues also inspired you to get your Holistic Nutrition certification. Can you talk a little about what Holistic Nutrition involves, and what kind of work you do with your certification?

Holistic nutrition focuses on a natural approach to a healthy diet and considers the individual as a whole, including all aspects of their lifestyle. Fundamental principle of holistic nutrition is that food provides the energy needed to function properly and supplies the nutrients that are required to build and regenerate bone, muscle, fat and blood. These components all play an important role in how the body functions and are essential to a complete, balanced diet. Currently the work I’ve done mostly with the certification has been the latest cookbook and I have also done some one-on-one work with some of my crossfit friends. I hope to use it more in the future with helping my readers.

What tips do you have for someone who’s considering giving Paleo a try?

Don’t jump in too quickly. Familiarize yourself with what Paleo is and the yes and the no’s. Then, once you’re ready, cut out all the bad stuff. (The 30 Day Challenge is a great way to do this.)

Read more about Heather and her recipes on her blog, Multiply Delicious.

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Kalyn Denny of Kalyn’s Kitchen

lost over 30 pounds by going on the South Beach Diet

Kalyn Denny started Kalyn’s Kitchen in 2005. She began blogging out of a life-long passion for both writing and cooking, and as a means of trading recipes with friends. But what started out just as a hobby later evolved into a substantial full-time endeavor for the Salt Lake City native. With the success of Kalyn’s Kitchen, she is now able to devote much of her time to that blog, as well as a second blog she started, called Slow Cooker from Scratch where she shares healthful, homemade slow-cooker recipes, and tips (she currently has 10 different slow-cookers in her possession)!

About 10 years ago, while Kalyn’s blog was still new, it began to shift its focus towards more health-conscious recipes when she decided to try the South Beach Diet. “For most of my life I was pretty thin, but when I spent four years in a desk job (as president of the local teachers association) the pounds crept on, and when I hated the way I looked when an old boyfriend came to town, I knew it was time to get serious.” She lost over 40 pounds on the diet, which allowed her to make simple substitutions and continue eating the foods she loved. Her collection of recipes on her blog are mostly comfort food—tweaked so they’re more virtuous and mostly low-glycemic, low-carb, and gluten-free.

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Greek Salad Spaghetti Squash Bowl

There are so many diets out there—what was appealing to you about the South Beach Diet, and why do you think it worked for you?

First of all, thanks to FoodieCrush for including me in this feature! I was absolutely sure that a diet where you had to count calories or points, or keep track of every bite of food that went into your mouth was not going to work for me. I was also attracted to South Beach because of the way it permitted what they call “good carbs” and “good fats” since many of those things were foods I loved. I had to have a diet where I could still eat a lot of my favorite foods, and when I got serious about losing weight and researched a few diets, South Beach seemed to fit my food preferences the best.

What kind of changes did you make to your diet once you started on South Beach, and what are some of your favorite low-glycemic dishes to make?

I wasn’t ever a baker, or someone who ate a lot of desserts, but I did have a pretty serious pasta addiction when I started South Beach and I did love my Mexican food too. What I’ve learned to do is create low-carb versions of dishes with those favorite flavors, such as Sausage and Kale Mock Lasagna (with no noodles) and Lettuce Wrap Fish Tacos (with no tortillas.) Luckily I love salads and there are endless low-glycemic ingredients you can use in those like avocado, Feta cheese, chickpeas, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, and spinach. And there’s no question that South Beach has taught me to cook with a lot more vegetables, including things like kale, chard, and peppers that I never used before I started low-glycemic cooking.

What aspects of cooking do you enjoy the most?

I’ve been a passionate cook from the time I was a young girl, and I used to bug my mom endlessly to jazz up the food with extra ingredients that probably weren’t in the budget for her. And I’ve always loved to write; when I taught school I used to tell people that if I had it to do over I would love to be a writer. So blogging is my “do-over” career!

I love all the creative aspects of food blogging such as brainstorming the idea for a recipe, experimenting in the kitchen, taking the photos, and even writing the posts. I don’t even mind editing photos that much! But I don’t enjoy the day-to-day stuff like promoting my posts on social media, dealing with technology issues, and dealing with the business side of blogging nearly as much.

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Green Chili and Chicken Mock Enchilada Casserole

You started your blog well before food blogs really took off! What have you learned since you started your blog, how have you seen the food blog community change, and what are some other blogs you follow that inspire you or keep you motivated?

I could spend a week answering this question! One of the main things I’ve learned about blogging is that in order to attract long-time readers, a food blog has to be USEFUL above all. In 2012 I redesigned my site, adding categories like Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo and others to make it easier for people to find the recipes they wanted, and hopefully make the site useful for more people. I also think one of the keys to blogging success is to be generous in linking to and sharing other bloggers’ work and when another blogger features you, you should absolutely use social media to promote that post. I call those kinds of things “good blogging Karma.”

There are definitely a lot of changes in the food blogging community since I started, and some of them I don’t like very much. I hate the way food blogging has gotten competitive as more people are making a living from blogging. I also feel sometimes food blogging feels a bit like high school now, where the “cool crowd” hangs out together and features each others’ work. In the earlier days with far fewer bloggers, it felt much more collegial. I also think the increased emphasis on sponsored work gives too many non-bloggers control over what people feature on their blogs (although I totally understand why those opportunities appeal to newer bloggers.) But I do see some good changes; I love the way food bloggers band together on social media and share tips about what works for them, and that kind of information-sharing was much harder to do back in 2005. I also love that blogging conferences now allow a chance to meet so many more fellow bloggers in person.

I’d have a hard time narrowing down a short list of my “favorite” blogs; I follow several hundred blogs in Feedly! But in general I like blogs that are useful (as I said above!) and that have mostly healthy food or recipe classics that I might not attempt to make myself. I never miss the posts from my long-time blogging friends at The Perfect Pantry, Simply Recipes, and Skinnytaste. Newer sites that I admire and always read include Oh My Veggies, Eats Well With Others, and Healthy Seasonal Recipes.

What is the most challenging thing about dieting, and what suggestions do you have for others who are trying to lose weight?

I think everyone who has lost a significant amount of weight will tell you that the hardest thing about dieting is keeping the weight off once you’ve lost it. I did well with that for quite a few years, but then I had some health issues that led me to gain weight and although I’ve kept most of the weight off, I’ve been struggling for a few years now with those last ten pounds that would get me back to my very lowest weight post South Beach.

There are two things I think are essential when you’re deciding to change your diet to lose weight. The first one is choosing a diet that fits your own personal food preferences. If you don’t do that, you’re setting yourself up to fail. The second thing I think is crucial is realizing that losing weight is a lifestyle change, not just a change in what you eat. You’ll be most successful at losing weight if you incorporate things like daily exercise, positive mental attitude, and health-promoting habits (like cooking at home and planning your meals) along with dietary changes.

You have to choose those things one day at a time, and don’t give up when you  and go back to the old habits that made you gain the weight in the first place just because you have an off day!

Read more about Kalyn and her recipes on her blog, Kalyn’s Kitchen.

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Thanks for learning more about these food bloggers who are sharing their own experiences in hopes to inspire others who face similar challenges in the kitchen. Please visit their blogs to learn more. If you have a favorite food blog where weight loss is featured, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Written by contributor Hayley Teater.

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