I’ve been reading Andie Mitchell’s blog on and off for several years. I love her writing style and how deep and raw and honest some of her posts are. I knew her book, It Was Me All Along, would be the same and I couldn’t wait to devour it.
I finished it in two days several months ago, and I’ve been processing how I wanted to write about it.
@StayForDinner reading a galley of your book, and…WOW. Can’t wait to see it hit the NYT bestseller list.
— Theodora Blanchfield (@tblanchfield) November 22, 2014
Also, I can tell the future, because it did hit the bestseller list!
I’ve had trouble figuring out how I wanted to write about this book, because some of it hit so close to home, and some of it is quite the opposite.
I’ll start with the end of the book, because that part of the journey is where I can identify most. Andie talks about all the things she misses from when she was overweight and all the things she doesn’t miss.
I’ll miss the reckless abandon.
I’ll miss not thinking before deciding that, why yes, I’d absolutely adore three doughnuts for breakfast.
I’ll miss that feeling I had when every fiber of my anatomy believed food to be the kindest, most loving friend a girl could have.
I won’t miss the way my legs chafed, the way shorts rode up until I discreetly pulled them down.
I won’t miss the names – fat and pig and whale – and my ignored cries for mercy.
I won’t miss the excuses and the regrets and feeling I’d wasted precious years.
Her journey is a rocky road – she deals with losing her father to alcoholism, being raised by a single mother struggling to make ends meet, and how she numbs her feelings with food.
I couldn’t read this without thinking and wondering what, really, deep down (if anything) got me to weigh nearly 200 pounds.
I can’t point to any childhood struggles – although my life wasn’t perfect, it was honestly pretty damn near close. I had two parents who loved each other and me, and I grew up never wanting for anything.
It may have been a mix of carelessness and insecurity. Athletic through high school, I went off to college the same size I am now. I had no idea how to work out if it wasn’t in an organized team setting, and I loved the freedom of as much beer and takeout as I could handle, and perhaps it became a way to anesthetize feeling insecure about dating, as it seemed my friends were always landing the cute guys, and I…wasn’t.
Her wake-up moment was similar to mine; she stared down 268 on the scale and saw it turning into 275, 300. I stared down 189 and saw it turning into 190, 200, 200+.
This book is so captivating because of how well Andie puts her emotions into words – she has a big heart and when she writes about struggle, you feel yourself wanting to hug her; when she writes about highs in her life (such as working with Matt Damon as a PA on a movie), you feel happy along with her.
She loses more than 130 pounds and ends up becoming obsessed with food, developing obsessions over eating the right, healthy food, before she makes peace with herself and finding balance.
She writes about reading other weight loss accounts and how most speak of their former selves in a detached way, as if the current self is superior to the former one. Ultimately, Andie accepts that her struggles made her who she is today, and that overweight or thin, she’s the same person, that even if she didn’t always care for herself, she poured her heart into caring for others and she wouldn’t redo any of it.
I’ll admit that I completely talk about that former self in a detached way, that I say things about Former Theodora I’d never say to or about a friend. I call her fat, I talk about how unhappy and bitter she was.
But I wouldn’t be who I am today without her – if I hadn’t realized that I was unhappy, that I needed to make a change. I’m glad she was able to realize that and make those changes for the better.