Thursday, February 4, 2016

Book Review: It Was Me All Along




I've been meaning to review Andie Mitchell's It Was Me All Along for some time but its release on
paperback recently reminded me just how long I'd put it off! So let me tell you now, this book is a treasure.

This is a book for ANYONE who had had an unhealthy relationship with food or struggled with being overweight. I won't bury the lead, one of the things I love most about Andie's memoir is that she perfectly balances on the line between being a victim to her weight issues and taking responsibility for her role in her unhealthy eating.

I did two things I rarely do when I read a book in private: I laughed to myself and cried quietly as I felt the author's frustrations and pain of being overweight and feeling powerless over her own journey. Here are some moments that jumped out at me as I read:

Relatable Moments

"Back at Kate's house...she always had Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies, and for that, I worshipped her cupboard. Kate pulled two from the package, set them on a napkin, and ate them as slowly as she'd eaten breakfast. I pulled out two at first, but when I finished and noticed she still had one left to eat, I reached in the bag for two more." 
Uh, first of all, Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies were my FAVORITE growing up and I gasped as I read this. And YES I ate them a package at a time. In fact, I also consistently had the issue of visiting friends' houses and not understanding at all how little or infrequently they ate! I would gauge my portions based on my pal's but then watch where my friend's mom returned the package to the cupboard so if I really needed to I could go sneak some later. I never did but it made me feel less anxious just knowing where they were if I did. And of course, when I went home, I would quietly binge like crazy after my relative fast at a friend's house.

"I plunged the empty wrappers deep into the trash can, below a wad of paper towels so that Mom wouldn't find them and become as disappointed in me as I already was with myself. If she noticed the missing boxes, she never said anything."
I openly cried at this part; my mom also loved me too much to bring my shame to light when she discovered wrappers in my bedroom trash can or packages of cookies empty the day after we bought them. I still don't understand what drove me to that self-destructive behavior (the impulse still sometimes returns) but sneaking food was my most loved and most hated secret. It felt like control but it was actually the opposite.

On dress shopping as a high schooler "Mom wrote a check for the dress without even blinking. At $250 before significant alterations...When I hesitated at the register, swallowing the price like a handful of rocks, she took my face in her hands. 'You can't put a price on feeling beautiful.' I looked into her eyes, so loved and in love with her and smiled through tears."
There's no counting the number of painful shopping trips my mother and I embarked on. Mom would be a little too bright, too positive as we got in the car and headed out and if things ended well we were both on top of the entire world, if it ended badly, you can bet we had chocolate malts from Goodrich to take the edge off. She was trying to do the right thing; she was desperate to make things okay after a day when all the money in the world couldn't buy her daughter something pretty to wear. I'd be lying if I said it doesn't still make me emotional today to know how deeply she loved me and tried to make my world perfect despite my decidedly imperfect body.

Favorite Quotes and Moments of Truth
"When you've never been thin, never met normal numbers on the scale, you don't know that living in moderation is possible." 
This is the truest thing I've ever read about the prospect of losing weight when you've never had real success.

"There was a pleasurable quality in reporting to the journal, to myself, what I'd put into my body. A Tetris-like game was born. I found ways to fit healthy foods and treats perfectly side by side in the same day."

"I want to quit. I want to quit. I want to quit. And when I'm done quitting, I'd like to quit all over again."

"Chocolate wasn't 'bad,' carrots weren't 'good,' and Bavarian cream donuts alone didn't make me morbidly obese. I was the one who abused the food and gave it character."

These are just some pieces I pulled out of Andie's story but the whole is so much greater than the parts I've presented here. Please consider reading this lovely book if you've ever struggled with your weight and I hope you learn as much as I did from Andie. She embodies the "lifestyle"mentality of living healthily and I just adore her for sharing her heart with her readers. She has a cookbook coming out in March I can't wait to gobble up and here's her wildly inspiring blog if you'd like to learn more about her!

5 comments:

  1. this sounds like an awesome book, thanks for sharing!

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  2. Hey Sarah, thanks for commenting!
    Yes, this book is a GEM! It's so obvious it's almost embarrassing but Andie's memoir reminds me that I am not a crazy person who binges for the fun of it; something drives me each and every time to do it and it's only a mystery if I refuse to examine outside influences. It's also just a really fun read; there's a part in here about the author and Leonardo DiCaprio that's just amazing. Highly recommend! :)

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  3. I saw your review, put it on hold, read it in 2 days, and loved it. I can't wait to get her cookbook (still on order at my library!). What a great memoir. Rooting for all of us!

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  4. Leslie, I'm so glad you added it to your list; I don't think you'll regret it!

    Sarah, I'm soooo happy you loved it as much as I did! I also can't wait to get my hands on that cookbook, I've enjoyed making her recipes from her blog. Her buffalo chicken recipes are to die for. :)

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