After being overweight her entire life, Marlies began her weight loss journey in 2003 after moving to Florence, Italy, for 6 months. While spending the first few weeks there eating like a tourist, she was concerned that by the time she left, she wouldn’t be able to fit into any of her clothes. “I was eating loads of pasta, pizza, pasta on my pizza… I immediately felt even more bloated and uncomfortable in my body than usual. I knew I was gaining more weight, and I was already considered ‘obese’. I knew something had to change.” The first thing she did was begin to shift her eating habits from those of a “tourist on vacation” to those more aligned with the locals of Florence. “I noticed that most people living in and around the city weren’t overweight. I couldn’t believe that even with all of the amazing food and wine that the country is famous for, people still managed to be slim.” She found a local indoor market and felt as if she had discovered some secret food underworld. “Suddenly I found myself in a huge industrial-type building filled with organic fresh produce, meats, dairy and grains. It was like discovering the mecca of healthy eating.” She began shopping and cooking for herself and her roommates and instantly found a love for real food. 

Once she discovered the beauty of eating wholesome, nourishing foods she never looked back. She began educating herself more and more on healthy eating, portion sizes and other simple lifestyle changes. Marlies even started incorporating workouts into her daily life. “I was taking classes several days a week at a villa just outside the main city. By the time she left Italy, she had imprinted several new habits into her daily routine. And she saw results of those changes.

‘ I am a girl who worked hard to figure out her body and how to make it work with her. I chose to read blogs and studies regarding health and fitness rather than hit up the L.A. happy hour scene, and I’d rather watch documentaries about wellness than reality shows about unsustainable weight loss.’

This inspirational mom is now a certified health coach and photographer living in Los Angeles, CA. In total Marlies lost over 75 lbs back in 2003 and kept it off through changes in her diet and overall lifestyle. 

Keep your eye on this beautiful woman. Her journey and discipline has something to teach us all.