Originally published 2015-04-01: When Andie realized she was 268 pounds at 20 years old, she knew she had to shed everything she ever knew to shed the pounds.
The cover of this book got my attention immediately among the dozen or so other book images that I perused. There stands a little girl, the waves rolling in on the serene beach scene behind her; the bright, snaggle-toothed grin on her face as sunny as the day on which the picture was taken.
Despite that, you can see her struggle immediately, a problem that one can only imagine will follow her into adulthood. Childhood obesity, as we all know, has been a problem in America (and other developed countries) for decades, and little Andie’s story is no different.
All her life, Andie Mitchell had eaten lustily and mindlessly. Food was her babysitter, her best friend, her confidant, and it provided a refuge from her fractured family. But when she stepped on the scale on her twentieth birthday and it registered a shocking 268 pounds, she knew she had to change the way she thought about food and herself; that her life was at stake.
It Was Me All Along takes Andie from working class Boston to the romantic streets of Rome, from morbidly obese to half her size, from seeking comfort in anything that came cream-filled and two-to-a-pack to finding balance in exquisite (but modest) bowls of handmade pasta.
It’s about much more than a woman who loves food and abhors her body. It is about someone who made changes when her situation seemed too far gone and how she discovered balance in an off-kilter world. More than anything, though, it is the story of her finding beauty in acceptance and learning to love all parts of herself.
This book is more than the story of a girl who lost a bunch of weight. This is the story a lot of us live, or have lived; some have succeeded while others failed, and no one story is exactly alike. And that’s part of the reason that I enjoyed, and identified with, this story so much.
Before the end of the first chapter, I felt like I knew Andie. Having struggled with yo-yoing weight, one poor diet incarnation after the next, and severe body image issues my whole life, I felt a kinship with this author that kept me turning pages faster than I ever thought I would.
If you have ever faced a chocolate cake (or a dozen donuts, a rack of ribs, a bucket of fried chicken…) with a curious amalgamation of dread and delight, this is one memoir you can’t afford to miss.
And if you haven’t? If you have never sat down to dinner knowing you’re about to make yourself sick with gluttony, or bawled into a tub of ice cream, hating it as much as you love it, feeling chained to it while simultaneously fearing it will be taken from you before you’ve had your fill? This is still a book you should read.
Understanding is the first step to conquering this devastating disease.
If you’re interesting in learning more about Andie Mitchell, her weight loss journey, or how she continues to love food after her struggle to fitness, you can find her at any of the following links: Can You Stay For Dinner, Facebook, Pinterest.
I give this book five of five stars and recommend it to anyone who has (or suspects they have), or knows someone who has a diagnosed or suspected eating disorder of any kind.
These are affiliate links; click to buy your copy & I get a percentage of the sale, but it doesn’t cost you any more than your regular purchases. Blogging For Books sent me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.