We’ve all seen before and after pictures of extreme weight loss. These moments in time, however, only present you with a tiny fragment of the incredible journey. I recently finished reading It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell, in which she details her struggle to lose weight and keep it off. Mitchell’s journey is incredible, however, the reason that I found the before and after to be so compelling is that Mitchell details not only the physical, but also psychological transformation that was necessary to allow her to live a healthy life.
Mitchell, like many of us, was never “taught” how to eat well. Of course, we all know that apples are healthier than Ho Hos, but portions, nutrition, and recognizing our bodies’ hunger cues is not actually common-sense information. From a young age, Mitchell learned that food was a source of comfort. For enduring some hard task, her mother would reward her with treats. In this way, Mitchell naturally understood that food was a stress reliever and that eating is a legitimate way to dull pain. Yet, as a child, Mitchell knew that there was something shameful about her eating. While her chubby figure bothered her vaguely, it was not until she was 14 years old that she had a rude awakening at a doctor’s appointment that began to fuel real concern. In this moment, Mitchell’s weight was no longer something she could afford to ignore, but the prospect of shedding so much seemed impossible.
Mitchell tried and failed on several diets and even gained several more pounds in college. However, finally, one important summer, she was able to start turning things around. As I do not want to give much more about Mitchell’s story away, I will tell you in the abstract that understanding the foundations of diet and exercise were simply not enough to allow her to live happily at a lower weight. For Mitchell, it was equally, if not more, important to get help to address the psychological issues underlying her eating habits. Agonizingly enough, someone who eats in a compulsive, unhealthy way cannot simply quit food cold turkey and join a support group like alcoholics, gamblers, and smokers are urged to do. Instead, people who struggle to control how they eat must learn to manage and regulate their habits every single day. Luckily, for Mitchell, therapy and medication for depression played a productive role in reforming her relationship with food.
Books about weight loss are admittedly not my thing, however, I found this memoir to be absolutely enchanting. Mitchell tells her story in a most honest, heartwarming, and compelling way. Through this narrative, the reader will also learn about Mitchell’s unstable upbringing, her college years, romantic relationships, brush with Hollywood celebrities, and professional and personal growth. At the risk of sounding silly, I really just want to say that there is “so much good stuff” going on in this memoir.
In short, It Was Me All Along is not just a story about weight loss, but it is also a tale of personal growth. It is a book about the mental and physical strength to change your body and your mind completely and incontrovertibly. Finally, It Was Me All Along is a very-human narrative about one person’s journey and all of the troubles, triumphs, and uncertainty along the way.
If you are even just 9% interested in the above, do consider giving It Was Me All Along a read — it’s worth it.