Over the weekend we stopped at Powell's Book Store so that Eric could use a gift card he got at Christmas, and so that I could spend an obscene amount of money on books. I don't know what it is about Powell's, but when I get in there it's like, "Books, all the books, in my basket, now!" I suppose there are worse things that I could be addicted to buying! And now that I don't feel brain dead and am actually reading almost every day, I'm mowing through books fast and furious. I bought a nice stack the other day and quickly got to work on the one I'm about to review for you.
I've been reading good things about "It Was Me All Along" for awhile, and every time I log into Amazon it's all up in my biz about recommending it to me so it was on my priority list to get at Powell's. Andie Mitchell has a very successful blog that I'm ashamed to say I'd not heard of called "Can You Stay For Dinner", and recently released this memoir detailing her struggles with weight, binge eating and a less than ideal childhood. I figured it would probably be a good read, but didn't expect it to touch me the way it did.
I am not lying when I tell you that I read this book in a single evening because I simply couldn't bear to put it down. Andie is so descriptive about her life and her struggles that you feel as though you are there with her. From the first instance of binging on cupcakes as a kid to the peace that she found with food as a young woman, I felt like I was walking her journey step by step. I personally have had a pretty good existence so I can't relate to some of the more tragic elements of the book, but the way she describes her mental process when she binges or the despair over her weight had me nodding several times. I related to her attempts to lose weight in a way that made her miserable (ie denying herself the food she liked) and the constant starting and restarting of the process.
The book gave me hope that if I keep continuing on the path I'm on that everything is going to work out. It affirmed that yes, living the way I'm living now will lead me to achieve my goals physically and hopefully personally. I wanted to post this picture of a passage towards the end of the book that really spoke to me in so many ways. To set up the context, she is talking about how she eats a bagel at her favorite coffee shop every Saturday morning, and that one of her coworkers said that she eats bagels every once in awhile but always feels guilty about it.
Yes, yes, hell yes. This is the life I'm living now and it feels really freaking great. I wish I'd had the sense to have felt this way in my 20's, but at least I finally figured it out. Do I mostly eat healthy food? Of course! Eating healthfully will make your body perform better and make you feel much more alive, plus you can typically eat more. Being able to eat more and eat often is good.
On the other hand, will I ever deny myself the foods that everyone slaps the "bad" label on? Nope, never again. Will I feel guilt when I eat those foods? Nope. Will I say that I'll never eat such-and-such again, knowing full well I love that food item and won't be able to adhere to that? Nope.
Eating a diet of whole grains, fresh produce, fiber, lean proteins and all that other stuff we're told to eat is what I do 80% of the time. But that other 20%? Sometimes you have to have the burger, or the piece of cake, or the chips and guac, or the ice cold beer. Just have it. Plan for it, enjoy it, savor it, and don't feel guilty about it. Be satisfied, be grateful and continue on with your life. What I've found is that giving myself the freedom to have those things without guilt, and in sane amounts any time I want, has freed me from the urge to overeat. I don't feel like a bad person or a failure anymore, I have my treats and enjoy them, then go back to my salads and lean proteins and enjoy those too. Andi seems to have the same outlook on life, and it feels good to read my feelings on paper so to speak.
I highly recommend the book, especially if you are struggling with binging issues or low self esteem over your weight. You should also check out her site. Besides the fact that she has several recipes that made me want to salivate on my keyboard, she also has lots of great posts on weight loss and binge eating.