Sharing food blogger’s transformative journey _lowres

It was Me All Along

“It Was Me All Along” by Andie Mitchell. Clarkson Potter, 2015. $24

In college, I went through a stage when I was an avid reader of food blogs. They were exploding on the Internet, and since I didn’t have the time or resources to cook for myself as much as I would have liked, I lived vicariously through these websites.

I discovered Can You Stay for Dinner and loved the clean design, the delicious-looking and simple food and the inviting author. It wasn’t until I had been reading the site for a couple weeks that I even discovered that the author had lost a significant amount of weight, and that she had started the blog as a way to help others who wanted to do the same.

“It Was Me All Along” chronicles the life of that blogger, Andie Mitchell, and her 20-year struggle with food. As she tells it, food began as a comfort for her when she was dealing with an alcoholic father and a mother struggling to make ends meet.

As she grew older and continued to have problems overeating, she tried diets and weight-loss fads and shed many tears over her size. It was making the already-difficult stage of being a teenage girl that much harder.

And by the time she hit college, she weighed more than 260 pounds and knew that she had to change something. If she didn’t, the number on the scale would continue to creep upward while her health continued to decline. So she stuck to a plan.

She went to the gym regularly. She ate a strict diet.

And gradually, she began to lose weight.

She still struggled with wanting to binge eat and hating the gym, but she stuck with it, and eventually lost almost half of her body weight.

But the weight loss didn’t resolve all of her problems. She became obsessive about what she ate, and still felt anxious and isolated.

After withdrawing and trying to deal with her problems in isolation, she saw a therapist. She realized she was dealing with depression, and that her dependency on food had been a symptom of that, but now that she no longer overate, the problems were manifesting in other ways. The remainder of the book studies her battle to accept herself and be happy.

Andie’s story isn’t unfamiliar — there are many books, TV shows, etc., about transformative weight loss. But her voice and writing style make this an enjoyable journey nonetheless.

— Ellen Zielinski, ezielinski@theadvocate.com