I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am an avid book reader. I’ll read just about anything, from any genre. Reading is my escape and my favorite way to spend my free time. It is rare that I read something that moves me so much that I think about it for days afterward. And then feel like I need to share it with everyone I know
It Was Me All Along has not been far from my mind since I finished it. It is such a beautifully written book, and the story is one that I feel like I could have written myself. Anyone that struggles with their weight, body image, or self-worth should read this book.
Andie Mitchell tells her story with such bravery, honesty, and rawness. After suffering a lonely childhood and the loss of her alcoholic father, she turns to food for comfort. She becomes morbidly obese and grows into a woman with little confidence. She goes to college and loses over 100 pounds – the old-fashioned way – through diet and exercise.
After she has reached her goal weight, she realizes that hitting the magic number was not the key to happiness that she had expected it to be. When you lose weight and no longer have it to hide behind, there is a surprising new wave of emotions and pressure to deal with. People treat you differently. You are praised in ways that can be uncomfortable and make you question the person that you were before the weight loss. Was I not pretty before? What was wrong with me when I weighed more than I do now? Why are you noticing me now? Why am I worthy now that I am smaller, but not when I was bigger?
As someone that is an emotional eater, I could 100% identify with her story. I have spent many years of my life comforting myself with food. Eating when I am happy, sad, depressed, anxious, celebrating, bored – all of the emotions. Food was my friend when I was lonely. Food is a cheap and easy form of entertainment. It is socially acceptable to overindulge and unlike alcoholics or drug addicts who never have to take another drink or do drugs, you have to face your demons three times a day, every day of your life. It’s really, really, hard.
After gaining and losing the same 30 pounds over and over again, you can easily become obsessed with your weight. When you are heavy, all you think about is losing it and why can’t you just stop eating bad shit and go on a diet like a normal person. And when you do lose it, you are constantly thinking about keeping it off and the pressure to stay thin. It makes you feel like an absolute lunatic.
The thing is, losing weight is not everything. It doesn’t matter if I am a size 8 or 18, if I am not happy and content in my own skin and fulfilled living the life that I have now. It only changes what is on the outside. Not being fat didn’t make me happier or fix everything that was wrong with my life. It didn’t make all of my problems go away. It really was just a symptom for everything that was out of balance in my life. Fixing my inside was the key to my happiness, not buying smaller jeans.
Your weight can’t be the barometer for your life.
Reading Andie’s book reminded me that it was me all along. We are all worthy of being happy and loved and fulfilled, regardless of where we are on our journey. Being healthy and happy trumps everything else.
This Sour Cream Fudge Cake with Simple Chocolate Buttercream is a recipe included in the book. She made it for her birthday and ate the whole thing. The shame and guilt that she felt was something that I have felt many times in my own life. I made this cake with my 9 year old daughter. When we were baking it, we talked about body image and self-worth. I want my children to have a healthy relationship with food. All foods. I think that it starts with having these conversations.
Thank you Andie for writing this moving memoir. I thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing your story with honesty and realness.