Sunday, I decided was a good day for a rest day from working out. It was also rainy and who wants to go outside on a cold, windy, rainy day? Not me. In between loads of laundry, catching up with the dishes, and cleaning, I opened a book that I'd bought on Wednesday. And I read that thing front to back in the course of the day. To be fair, the print wasn't tiny (or large, FYI) and it wasn't THAT long - somewhere around 250 pages, I think. So, not a huge book. It's no secret though, when I get into a good book, if I have the time, I'll plow through it quickly. So reading a book in a day isn't really that big of a deal for me. BUT it goes to show just how good of a book it is!
I was browsing books at Target on Wednesday and came across one that had a little girl on the front. She had a little belly poking out of her bikini set on a beach. It was most definitely a real photograph. It was also in the best seller section, so I decided to pick it up. Ah-ha! A memoir. And a weight loss memoir at that. I read the description and decided to buy it. I'm so glad I did.
"It Was Me All Along" by Andie Mitchell is one of the best memoirs I've read. Some memoirs aren't that great. They don't draw me in. Jen Lancaster has been the only author to successfully draw me in when it comes to memoirs. I love Jen's style and like to think that it's similar to my own. I guess that's because I just get it. I get the way she says things. Her descriptions are so amazing, that I can clearly see the scene (as I'd imagine it). Jen has a way of drawing me in that's like nothing else. She's the standard against which I hold all memoirs. Are you reading this, Jen? You've set a major standard for anyone who dare write a memoir (in my opinion). My point with that little oh-my-gosh-Jen-Lancaster-is-the-best-ever-and-I-might-have-a-girl-crush-on-her note is that I like a certain style.
Andie's style is not the same as Jen's but they share one amazing quality. They have amazing descriptions and can tell a story. Andie, Jen - you should totally hang out. With me. Please?
Anyway, Andie writes her story from the heart. It's what I do when I write so many of my posts; the ones with meaning and emotion behind them. I could see her life when I read her words. I could feel her feelings. I think that some of that is because Andie's story is a lot like mine in terms of how the words of others could sting right to the core. Boom! Shot through the heart (sorry, I really, love Bon Jovi)!! I've cried similar tears. I've felt similar things. While Andie's childhood varies from mine in her life, where she lives, and the way she overate (you'll have to read the book), the emotions are so much the same. I can remember crying because someone called me fat. More than once. I remember feeling different than my friends. I remember the wild times with food and adult beverages in college. Reading that book made me cry because so much of it hit home for me. Thanks, Andie Mitchell, for the tears.
In reading Andie's story, I found one big difference. After she got to a healthy place and gained a little weight back, she maintained. I did not. I met a guy, adopted his bad habits, and got comfortable being in love. He wasn't the first boyfriend I had post-weight loss. So why in this relationship did I gain weight? Why did I start eating his crap food instead of my healthy food? Why did my workouts dwindle? Because he was local and I enjoyed spending time with him. Because I'm, historically, one who sacrifices and does what others want. We DO do healthy things together sometimes but for me, it's the food. A bad meal on the weekend with him turned into more. I hardly drank but cool beers on a hot summer evening started happening more.
Over the last several months, I've worked hard to recommit to my healthy lifestyle. I have done better but not great. Heck, I thought I was losing weight only to look at a photo and think "I've gained MORE weight." After reading this book, creeping into her social media, and realizing that I need to start again, I'm feeling renewed. I've learned that I won't be successful if I keep beating myself up. Hey I lost like 180 pounds. Then I gained a bit back and was at, what I now know, my comfortable weight. I was good with a 160 pound loss. Hey, guess what, I've gained about 50 back...Give or take since I am far too terrified to weigh myself. I never weighed myself in the beginning. I just started losing. I knew what I had been just before I started and went with that. After I started buying new clothes, I discovered I'd lost some weight. Then I decided to invest in a scale.
I'm really working hard on being positive. I can't look at where I was. I can't let the a-hole comments of "oh wow you got fat again" bother me. I can't internalize the words and thoughts of others and make them my own. Because they are not my own. What I do know is that in most ways I'm happy. I'm happy in love; in my relationship. I'm happy in my career. I'm happy with my family and friends. Those are the things that are most important to me. My life is not perfect and I have areas to work on (not just healthy eating), but I'm happy. Being happy is a place that I can start fresh. I'm not dwelling on how much weight I've gained because that's damaging. I'm not dwelling on how slow my jogging pace is now because that's damaging. I'm not dwelling on the fact that I currently hate shopping because things either fit and look great or don't (and when they don't, I get upset) because that's damaging.
I need to stop looking at where I was and look only at where I am now. I can no longer look at myself as having failed. That is so harmful for me. I need to look at my happiness and just start...Not start again; just start. I know what to do. And I will do it.
So, thank you, Andie Mitchell, for the tears and the rejuvenation for healthy living.