“…there was no more that I could do to make myself look better in that moment than smile and be kind…”
I love food. I love food SO much, and I enjoy grocery shopping (which is weird, I know) and subsequent cooking. So after reading Andie Mitchells’ It was me all along, I realised I probably take for granted the reasonably healthy relationship I have with food. In a memoir like none I have read before, Andie Mitchell provided an incredibly honest reflection on her relationship with food, obsessive eating and dieting.
If you’ve ever read something and felt as if you could taste what they were talking about, Andie Mitchell will take that and trump it. Her extensive description of edible delights from cupcakes to pizza draws you in as she paints a picture of mindless eating, and finding refuge in treats when her alcoholic father was at his worst.
In the book, Mitchell outlines how after trying her best to make it through a traumatic childhood paired with comfort eating, she weighed herself on her 20th birthday at nearly 300 pounds (nearly 136kg) and decided it was time to make a change.
After months of failed diets, medical studies and weight loss programs, Andie’s body image was at an all-time low. A semester away in Rome, however, turned this negative relationship on its head, as she learnt to embrace a whole new way of eating,: savouring each delicious Italian dish, and learning to cook hearty meals, thus creating a sense of cathartic energy at dinnertime. During this time, she eventually lost over half of her bodyweight, making her way down to 135 pounds (61kgs).
This wasn’t the end of her journey however, as she soon learnt that there was something deeper going on than just what the scales told her.
“For the first time, I appeared healthy on the outside. I wanted so badly to conceal the fact that, despite a radical transformation, I remained as screwed up as I had ever been.”
Mitchell had to learn to love herself, to appreciate her body for whatever shape it may be, and then to focus on the numbers last. This to me was the most poignant part of the entire book. Sure, some among us enjoy following people’s weight-loss journeys, browsing the #transformationtuesday hashtag on Instagram or for others, following becoming fixated on the alleged diets of celebrities. We fixate on a number, or we guilt ourselves for never looking like a Victoria’s Secret model - but what we should really be focusing on is embracing what we have, what shape we are or loving that weird mole on our arm. It was me all along does just that, helping you to find self-love at any size and to work with what works best for you - not what anyone else tells you to be.
Although the book is a must-read (and a New York Times bestseller at that), some chapters can become slightly repetitive and a little tedious, however it only accentuates the obsessive compulsive battle the author endured with food. Overall, this book is perfect for any Twenty Something Human who needs a reminder to love yourself you are, or who just needs some inspiration to keep on doin’ you.
From her journey, Andie started her very own blog - sharing recipes and ways to keep a healthy relationship with food; which still includes cupcakes (thank goodness).
3 out of 5 raviolis
Dominique is a Novocastrian with a passion for writing, eating and patting dogs. When she's not working hard for the money in Marketing, she can be found hanging out with her two greyhounds, her girlfriend and most likely, drinking a beer. You can lurk her @domfoxx.