I recently shared a blog post entitled “Why you don’t have to count calories (and can still lose weight).” And while I was sure to clarify that “I am not saying counting calories doesn’t help some with the control they’re seeking – I’m just saying a healthy weight can be maintained without this mundane task,” I still got the expected counter argument that calorie counting is not only helpful but necessary for some, especially for those with food addictions and/or little self-control.
A Memoir About Weight Loss
So on the heels of that feedback, a new memoir recently came out called It Was Me All Along. The cover picture and title caught my attention, and then upon closer look I realized the author, Andie Mitchell, is a fellow food blogger who I heard speak at a blogging conference several years ago. Driven by my curiosity about weight loss struggles, I couldn’t wait to hear what Andie had to say about her journey to looking fit and feeling fabulous (and losing 135 pounds along the way).
I’m gonna be honest here. I’ve never been considered overweight, and I think I’m one of the people Andie describes in the book as not having to work nearly as hard as she does to end up being small. Now, while I used to eat absolutely whatever my heart desired (and I mean whatever) with no visible repercussions, I will say that as I’ve aged (I’m going on 38 this year!) and birthed a couple of children, I do have to be much more conscious of my food choices, portion sizes, and exercise routines. Basically, if I slack off too much, it’s noticeable – to me, at least. BUT, I’ve also had an entire life with a completely healthy relationship with food to help me, and that’s where Andie’s interesting story comes in.
Andie’s Journey to Losing 135 Pounds
While I thoroughly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it, I must admit the first couple of chapters were hard to read. The lack of guidance and general parenting Andie received throughout her childhood was just heartbreaking. But at the same time, this brutally honest window into her life really helped me understand the challenges one faces when they don’t have a healthy relationship with food. And why, at 20 years old when you have almost no experience with proper portion control, calorie counting might be the only way to learn what is in the realm of normal.
In the book, you follow Andie on her journey of first attempting to just accept her obesity as a teen (268 pounds was her peak), to then wanting to make changes but not being sure how or if she has the willpower to do it, to finally – after many difficult and inspiring challenges – getting down to even below her goal weight (as a size 4) and finally learning to accept and love her new body.
You also follow Andie along as she goes from eating whatever she wants (times a dozen in some cases) to embracing Weight Watchers and the meticulous counting which helped her get on the right path, to the overly obsessive tracking of numbers which eventually took the joy out of eating and basically her life, to finally her happy place. Which I was really pleased to learn involves real food, the right proportions (by simply listening to her body), and occasional treats that are now much appreciated. No meticulous tracking necessary.
Real Food Plays a Role
So while Andie desperately needed clear boundaries (i.e., point and calorie counting) to figure out how to get from one end of the spectrum to the other, in the very end, real food prevails! And thanks to this well written memoir, it’s now clearer to me how food addiction can happen in the first place and why weight loss can be such a huge battle for some. While my hope is for us all to simply enjoy a variety of real food in the right proportions, I now fully understand how some don’t have the tools (and in Andie’s case – the self-control) they need to live this way. And if you need some inspiration, I think you’ll be equally amazed at how hard Andie was willing to work to achieve her amazing transformation and finally find peace in the end.