Every once in a while, I run across a book that moves me.
Truthfully, I think the last one that captured my heart like this one did was Eat Pray Love, which continues to be an inspiration and guiding force in my life. I’ve read EPL no less than 7 times and every time I learn something new. This month, I’ve found my next Eat Pray Love.
Eat Pray Love is my spiritual journey… the story of finding hope, joy, and love in this crazy world in which we live. It Was Me All Along is a version of my childhood, my weight loss story, my feelings about the weight all captured in a book… written much more beautifully than I could have ever expressed it. I’ve never read a book that was “more me” than this one, and I’m so grateful Andie was brave enough to share this story.
I’m going to do my best to capture what I love about this book, without (hopefully) droning on too long. That’s why I’ve limited myself to just FIVE reasons you need to read this book, instead of five hundred. I’ve also included a few snippets that I was compelled to live-tweet along the way…
Ok, folks, let’s get started.
Reason #1: It’s Beautifully Written
I first “met” Andie Mitchell years ago via her weight loss, healthy cooking blog Can You Stay for Dinner. She even taught me how to make roasted broccoli and buffalo chicken egg rolls, back in the early days of NTTC.
Andie’s story was one of the first I read, one of the first weight loss blogs that showed me that significant weight loss was possible. And, she had done it. She wasn’t just writing about the process, but she was in maintenance mode and creating the most beautiful dishes. She inspired me immediately.
Through her blog and now through the book, the story of how she lost the weight captivated me. She has done something that no one I’ve “met” to date had done. She makes weight loss seem beautiful. When I was carrying 70 extra pounds, there was very little I would have described to be beautiful. Andie made all 130+ pounds that she lost seem gorgeous.
Full-disclosure, her writing style can cause hunger pains in the night. There are points in the book where I literally felt hungry. The way she describes food and cooking can only be written by someone who truly loves food.
Her words will pull you in. This, I guarantee…
Reason #2: It Demonstrates that People Just Don’t Wake Up Obese
You heard me, America. We’re not just obese because we eat cheeseburgers and don’t workout enough. While some people do put on weight because of ever-present fast food and a sedentary lifestyle, weight gain (and weight loss) is INCREDIBLY complex.
Andie opens the kimono and shares how and why she gained the weight. These chapters broke my heart as we see a young Andie trying to understand her alcohol-abusing father’s behaviors, navigating her social scene in high school and college as the “big girl” in the group, and ultimately, we see her emerge post-weight loss with a tremendous amount of learning still to be done.
As someone who’s lived through a similar process, let me assure you… her words speak the truth of how it feels to go through this journey.
Reason #3: It Talks About Things No One is Talking About
Andie chronicles her childhood in the early chapters of the book. She talks about her home life and describes a very familiar recipe for how she gained the weight. Familiar to this girl, at least. She talks about how difficult it can be for a child to deal with grown-up issues, and how she ate to smother the pain and to ignore what was going on. I’ve always considered my eating habits as a child to be my shameful dirty secrets… not anymore. I’m clearly not alone in this. There’s at least two of us out there… and I’m certain many, many more that don’t speak of it.
She makes me want to look back at that young girl who was me. To understand and appreciate more about what she was doing. How she was in survival mode so much of the time, despite the smile on her face… There is more to my story here. This I am certain.
Reason #4: It Promotes Growth and Conversation
I talk a lot on NTTC about how important I think “real-talk” is… and how that’s where we grow, that’s where we release, and that’s where the magic happens. This book is real-talk at its finest.
You’ve seen it on my Facebook page, and through text messages if you’re a close friend of mine. I’ve been gushing about this book every since I started reading it.
I’ve had so many chats with women about emotional eating, eating habits that developed during childhood, and how we all need to be having this conversation.
Without even trying, Andie is generating a significant conversation within my circles about emotional eating and, more importantly, how to conquer it once and for all. With the hundreds of thousands of copies she’s selling, I can’t help but hope that the story (and associated real-talk) becomes a world-wide epidemic. It’s time.
Reason #5: It Reminds Me that “It (Really) Was Me All Along”
The conclusion of the book was one of my favorite chapters. And, it very eloquently captures the meaning behind the title of the book.
“Here’s the truth I’ve come to know: fat or thin, it was me all along. I don’t flip pages of my baby book and think, Dear, what cankles you had! I don’t see my adolescent self, my teenage self, and wish those pictures, scrapbooked and framed, would disappear…. My life, big, was always all I knew. And that is perfect in its own right.” – Andie Mitchell
Yes, yes, and yes!!!! Enough with feeling ashamed for any moment in your life. Enough hiding of the pictures where you were overweight. Every blessed part of it is you. Every single moment made you the beautiful creature you are today. And the same is true for all of us… Embrace it.
Disclosure: I received a pre-release copy of It Was Me All Along from the publisher to review; however, all opinions expressed in this post are explicitly my own. Of note, the publishing house is also sponsoring the giveaway I’m sharing as part of this post.