I recently read a book entitled “It Was Me All Along”, written by Andie Mitchell. It was recommended to me by one of my best friends and is a memoir about one girl's struggles with binging and restricting; difficult relationships with others and with herself; about how food had so often been used for comfort in her life; and coming to a point of ease within her body after years of struggle.
While I personally have not had as tumultuous of an experience of binging and restricting as Andie has, I have definitely done my fair share of both. It seems that so many of us women struggle with weight, our body image, and this cycle of dieting and overindulgence. Food addiction is especially complicated quite simply because we NEED to eat. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Food is all around us. And if the relationship we have with food is unhealthy, there is just so much opportunity for it to be abused. If you're a smoker or addicted to drugs, pills, sex, or whatever the hell else...it's just not as obvious as a food/weight issue and that makes things even MORE complicated. The 'icing on the cake' as it were, is our culture. The expectations to be a certain way, look a certain way, act a certain way. Gawd - I am exhausted just thinking about it all.
I admire Andie's courage in writing such a personal story, and there were two quotes from the book that stood out to me and that I would like to share with you here:
“Maybe the difference between a standard meal and a great meal has as much to do with its taste as it does my perception, my energy in devouring it. The food had not changed. My perception of it had." (pg. 142/143)
I believe this wholeheartedly. Too often we eat while doing something else (watching TV or on the computer, standing or in our cars) or we eat out of habit without any real thought as to the taste, texture, and aroma. OR, maybe you have always thought about food less as nutrition for your body, and more as comfort or something to tame your boredom. Either way, in Andie's case she as the "eater" had changed. The food had not. Who are you as an eater?
“What I’d learned is that enjoyment and satisfaction can’t always be quantified as energy input and output. Treating myself to foods and meals that might have put me in a caloric surplus did not make me fat, as I’d once feared they would. Intellectually, I always knew that all food was fine in moderation, but now the practical reality finally clicked”. (pg. 216)
YESSS. HELL YESSSSSSSSSS! Guys, I will never ever recommend that someone completely cut out all foods that they find enjoyable in the name of healthy eating. Life is too short! Stop calling treats “bad” and stop calling them "cheats". It’s about moderation. If you're eating an overall well balanced diet and taking care of your body, occasional treats are not cheats - they are gustatory enjoyment which is a part of living a great life! I know it's complicated because some people struggle with an "off" button to certain foods, but I simply mean that we cannot always eat "perfectly" or "clean" or "without surplus". There is a balance - only we can find it.
The takeaway of the book for me was that we really all struggle around these issues of food and body image. Some of us struggle more so than others, but we all do to some extent. It's literally a lifelong journey of finding what works for us, and living in that balance. The faster one can figure this out, the easier their life will be.I enjoyed the book -- it's an easy read and I believe that you will be able to relate to Andie in some capacity. Please let me know what you think of it.