It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

A complimentary advanced reader copy of this book was provided by Clarkson Potter in exchange for an honest review. (Thank you!) My review was in no way influenced by this consideration.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to be coming out of a three-month review hiatus to talk about Andie’s book. If you follow me here or on Instagram or …well, anywhere, really, you’ll know that a) I love to cook, b) I’ve been working hard to lose weight for a long time, and c) I adore Andie. This book is about all of those things, so really, how could it go wrong?

For those who aren’t familiar with Andie’s story, I came across her on Pinterest, touted as a food blogger who’d successfully shed more than 100 pounds. Her recipes looked gloriously beautiful, and it turned out, they lived up to their promise. I started following her blog, Can You Stay for Dinner, immediately, but I stayed because her frank, chatty, friendly tone was just so disarmingly loveable.

That same charming Andie permeates It Was Me All Along–the book is lovely. A memoir, she begins with cake, weaving together the sensory experiences of two sugary, buttery confections as she takes us back, slowly, as far as her fifth birthday, and a discussion about the use of food as comfort, food as reward, food as substitute.

I came away so impressed by Andie’s ability to walk through certain (sometimes really dark) points in her life and examine how she was using food as a tool; when it was an accompaniment to her happiness, and when she was trying to use it to make her happy. While Andie’s issues with food aren’t the same as mine–and no one’s are, really, when it comes right down to any two people–my book is full of highlights; there were so many things, here that resonated with me.

I wanted to avoid the awkwardness I felt when I could see others surveying me for the first time, when my weight greeted them before my handshake.

Oh, how anyone who’s spent years overweight can understand feeling that way, at least sometimes, and how perfectly stated.

Lately, though, having lost quite a bit of weight myself, I’m feeling a whole new sort of uncomfortability sometimes, and I haven’t been sure how to quantify it. I just ran into it again yesterday, in fact, and re-reading this quote this morning made me shouty!

A part of me was disdainful of the newfound attention I was receiving. You see me now? I’m attractive now? Receiving the congratulations, the praises, in some small way felt like accepting that what I’d been before–all of my life–was wrong.

Aaaaah! YES! THIS!

This book is full of so much wisdom, from Andie’s layperson, boots-on-the-ground perspective. She’s fought the good fight. She knows what it’s like to be heavy. She’s had to work hard and sweat it off one pound at a time, and keep it off by making good food choices. If you follow her blog, you know she even gained a tiny bit of it back, and had to work through what that meant, and then worked it off again. In short, Andie is a rockstar, but she’s a real-life rockstar. She’s a true inspiration, and this book is filled with thoughts that I think might help anyone who’s looking for a some solid ground when it comes to body image. While it’s a little heavy on the food metaphors in the first few chapters, things smooth out quickly, and my copy is absolutely filled with highlights. I really enjoyed it!

Highly recommend. 4 stars.

4 Stars

About Andie Mitchell

Ten years ago, I weighed nearly 300 pounds. After 20 years of being big, knowing I needed to change—and trying to, but failing—hitting 268 on the scale was my turning point. I started eating better, learning about nutrition for the first time in my life. I started exercising regularly. In short, I overhauled my life. A little over a year after I began, I lost 135 pounds. It was the hardest and most rewarding experience, and although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was only at the beginning. This story—the 20 year lead-up, the weight loss, and the lessons learned long after—in my memoir, It Was Me All Along.

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