IT WAS ME ALL ALONG

A Memoir

Andie Mitchell

Raising provocative questions about body image, emotional hunger, and the power of our earliest experiences with food, It Was Me All Along is the memoir of a culinary writer who, weighing 268 pounds at age twenty, embarked on an inspiring journey to overcome her addiction to food.

Watching her talented, beloved father succumb to alcoholism when she was a child, Andie Mitchell comforted herself with the cooking of her mother, who struggled to make ends meet but always found a way to serve generous portions and pack the pantry with sugary treats. As Andie grew up,

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Raising provocative questions about body image, emotional hunger, and the power of our earliest experiences with food, It Was Me All Along is the memoir of a culinary writer who, weighing 268 pounds at age twenty, embarked on an inspiring journey to overcome her addiction to food.

Watching her talented, beloved father succumb to alcoholism when she was a child, Andie Mitchell comforted herself with the cooking of her mother, who struggled to make ends meet but always found a way to serve generous portions and pack the pantry with sugary treats. As Andie grew up, leaving behind her working-class neighborhood to pursue a college degree (including a study-abroad program in Italy), her love of food became as intense as her hatred of her body. In mesmerizing scenes, she recounts her road to recovery, confronting the anguish that had haunted her for a lifetime. Along the way, she learns to savor every morsel, finding beauty in herself and in the balanced life she at last achieves.

Inspiring and enlightening, It Was Me All Along is a wonderful choice for reading groups. We hope that this guide will enhance your discussion.

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  • Clarkson Potter
  • Paperback
  • December 2015
  • 256 Pages
  • 9780770433253

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$14.00

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About Andie Mitchell

Andie Mitchell is a writer, recipe developer, and lover of cake. Her popular blog, CanYouStayForDinner.com, shares the inspiring story of her successful weight loss and continued passion for good food. She lives in New York City, where she is the social media director for ShriverReport.org.

Praise

A charming memoir about weight loss and self-discovery.”People magazine

The book’s biggest surprise is how relatable it is: Beneath the extreme eating scenarios, Mitchell describes some universal truths about how women connect and clash with food.”—Glamour.com

A poetically written, honest account of Andie Mitchell’s struggles with bingeing, obesity and the traumatic childhood that led her to seek solace in food.”—StyleBistro.com

In a moving new memoir, It Was Me All Along, Andie Mitchell describes how her life became a prison of calorie-counting, cravings and self-consciousness until she found a comfortable weight.”—Daily Mail

Discussion Questions

How do Andie’s childhood food cravings compare to yours? What are your earliest memories of cooking and mealtimes?

As a little girl, what did Andie learn about happiness and sorrow? As a young adult, how did the memory of her father influence her beliefs about love and loss?

How has Andie’s relationship with her mother, Maryellen, sustained her? What came to mind as you read about Maryellen’s multiple jobs and her determination to feed her family abundantly? How have she and Andie shaped each other over the years?

As Andie experienced both the pain of ridicule and the joy of acceptance, what influence did her friends have on her view of the world?

In her quest to lose weight, Andie incorporated wisdom from Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous, and ultimately a skilled therapist in order to “recognize the pain of white-knuckling my way through life” (page 6). What were the essential strategies that helped her find balance?

Throughout your life, have you been able to experience eating as an intuitive practice, eating only when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full? What does Andie teach us about the middle ground between eating purely for pleasure and eating to fuel our bodies?

What were the emotional ingredients for Andie’s binges, including their aftermath? What did the book help you discover about these powerful cycles?

During Andie’s sojourn in Italy, how did her exercise breakthroughs make a lasting impact on her? When have you experienced a similar breakthrough, in a situation that forced you to step out of your comfort zone?

Why were movies an ideal solace for Andie and her mother? In college and in her first job, how did the world of film inspire her and spark self-confidence?

What was meaningful about the phase of life when Andie met Daniel? How did they help each other grow emotionally? How did Daniel help Andie gradually learn to love herself?

Discuss the title, It Was Me All Along. What does Andie’s journey tell us about the way our bodies help us express our identity, or hide it? By the end of the book, what has she shed beyond pounds? How has your “outer world” reflected your inner self at various points in your life?

As a food writer, Andie has garnered considerable praise for her unique, multisensory descriptions of cooking and savoring. Did you find yourself developing any cravings as you read her memoir?

It Was Me All Along ends with the recipe for the Sour Cream Fudge Cake featured in the opening chapter. Which recipes have special significance for you? What one would you want to feature at the end of your memoir?