As I mentioned in last week’s nerdtastic book organizing post—I’m thrilled to be launching a new blog series in which I will review books I’ve read—and then give them away to one lucky reader when I’m finished! In part because I love to share the books I’ve loved myself; and in part because I sure don’t need to keep all the books I’ve read. If you’d like to recommend a book for me to review, feel free to contact me.
**Please note, this giveaway has ended.**
I decided to launch this series with a book by an author I loved before she even wrote her book.
I discovered Andie Mitchell’s blog, Can You Stay For Dinner?, years ago, and was immediately captivated by both her deeply open approach to sharing her story and her unmatched taste in quality recipes (Oh, hello, buffalo chicken rolls. Get in my belly.)
I was drawn to Andie’s blog (and book) in part because I see so many of my own experiences mirrored in hers. We share an affinity for Britney Spears circa early 2000s, and both have fond memories of watching Nick at Nite as children. (Andie, if you’re reading this, have you ever tried a peanut butter and fluff sandwich with homemade marshmallow fluff? I DIE.)
But of course, I was drawn to the deeper core of her story as well—a lifelong struggle with food. It Was Me All Along is a memoir of Andie’s lifelong relationship with food. From finding comfort in food throughout the ups and downs of her childhood, through losing 100+ pounds, to the lessons she’s learned along the way that have nothing (and everything) to do with food.
Although weight loss isn’t one of my regular topics around here, I challenge each of you reading this to throw a rock and not hit a woman who has never been overweight, underweight, or struggled to maintain a healthy relationship with food.
(I believe “throw a rock” is a safe metaphor because none of us would get hit. But if I am wrong, let me remind you it is a metaphor only, please do not actually throw any rocks.)
Andie talks about the really hard things, with love. How peoples’ reactions to you change when your body size changes. How food is a reliable comfort when relationships aren’t. That aching feeling of loss and grief that food can’t fill, no matter how badly you want it to.
Around page 158 I recognized my own story. After dropping over a hundred pounds and Andie was diagnosed with an “eating disorder not otherwise specified.” When I think back to college, I cringe to remember my own version of disordered eating. It may have not been a clinical “eating disorder,” but it wasn’t healthy: Agonizing about calories. Trying to limit myself to 500 calories per meal, or paltry half-sized snacks when I was hungry. 100 calorie packs, non-fat everything, and seeping guilt when I fell off the wagon. Needing to get and stay skinny, more than I needed real nourishment, vibrant health and actual happiness.
In skillfully peeling back the layers of her own thought patterns about food, emotional eating and the ups and downs of life, Andie gives us new words and perspectives to approach our own. And the vulnerability and openness with which she shares the things that are hard (I’m in therapy. I use food to soothe my sadness. It doesn’t feel like its getting better.) makes the reader feel like maybe admitting those things will be more helpful than scary.
Andie tells her story with great skill, and the lessons she’s learned about her own struggle can benefit so many of us. I highly recommend this book!
Giveaway has ended
Thanks to everyone who threw their name in the hat for the book. Congrats to the lucky winner, Mariette! Sign up here to be notified of future book giveaways, plus weekly(ish) emails with tips & inspiration for your beautiful home.