I read two types of books. For work it’s mostly non-fiction. There’s a stack of books staring at me on fascinating topics such as probiotics, hormones and seeds. On the weekends, I’ll treat myself a novel, something I can read more than one chapter of at a time. Though I like anything nutrition-related, rarely am I captivated by something I’m reading for work. However, I spent most of Saturday on the couch with It Was Me all Along. And if you’ve ever struggled with food or family, you will cherish Andie Mitchell’s story.
I do something weird while I read (and I randomly found out another friend does too). I fold the bottom of the page in a book if there’s something I want to return to. I had so many corner flips as I read this one. A few of my favorites:
Where does emotional eating begin?
Without giving too much away, in the first part of the book you learn about Andie’s early years. In a way both of her parents were absent. But it was her mother who was “scared of scarcity” and baked and cooked excessively when she was around who had a steady influence on Andie’s food and weight. When she was around, we get the picture of a loving mom who truly wants what’s best for her daughter.
Change of circumstances, change of eating?
As I read, I thought surely when Andie left home and went off to college she’d be less lonely and her food might fall into place. I was wrong, what started off as eating out of loneliness morphed into social eating. She found friends and entered relationships with those who enjoyed overeating too. In many ways, for better or for worse, our peers have an effect on our eating.
The realizations that start to change things
At one point, after visiting a drive through with a friend, Andie remarks she doesn’t even like McDonald’s fries “I wondered how many other foods I ate that I didn’t even like. Then I wondered, however briefly, if my eating was even about liking food at all”. Eating can be about so many non-taste related things. As Andie said best, “whenever I started to feel even one inkling of boredom, doubt, anxiety or anger, food would soothe me. At least temporarily.”
There are always “two voices”
Andie captures the struggle, the pull of “both voices” many of us have. “I struggled between wishing away all the food that had collected on my body as fat and fiercely missing every morsel.”
What to do when things aren’t going so well
I loved a breakthrough Andie had when she was wavering “oh so this is going to suck for a while”. She compares eating to a marathon “where miles 10 through twenty-six just purely, uncompromisingly suck. ” It’s not always fun and many of us have to realize that.
Some of my favorite parts of this book are when Andie goes abroad to Italy. She discovers running and cooking but also pleasure in food. It’s a major, meaningful and beautiful shift going “from someone who ate to capacity to distract her mind, into someone who purposefully tasted every morsel, was not unconscious”
We can lose weight without really addressing things
“I wanted so badly to conceal the fact that, despite a radical transformation, I remained as screwed up as I had been. I was alone with myself. I was exposed. I was left with emotions I’d eaten for twenty years”
“I was simply one person who happened to have lots of history and personal experience with dieting, losing weight and learning to love her whole self”
Have you read or heard of this book? Which quote resonated with you? What are you reading now?