How One Woman Lost 135 Pounds + The Recipes That Helped Her Get There

Written by mindbodygreen

Photo by Crown Publishing

Welcome to your summer book club with Crown Publishing! Here’s an introduction to our second and third books, It Was Me All Along and Eating in the Middle: A Mostly Wholesome Cookbook, both by Andie Mitchell. Check out our full summer reading list here, and come back for more from Andie Mitchell in two weeks. Summer reading has never been this fun.

You might have heard about Andie Mitchell from Good Morning America, People magazine, or Marie Claire; seen her memoir on the New York Times best-seller list; or come across her blog (which Health magazine ranked the best weight-loss blog last year). But if somehow you haven't, that's where we come in.

If you're anything like us, you might be a bit skeptical of the whole weight-loss memoir genre. We wonder, Is it going to be trite or preachy? Is it going to make us feel like perfect health is just a matter of finding this magical balance that will annihilate our French fry cravings and make us feel truly satisfied after eating just one square of dark chocolate? But Andie Mitchell's story couldn't be more different from your typical transformation tale.

Even if you aren't on a weight-loss journey, Andie's story is a beautifully written, inspirational story about conquering the demons that plagued her since childhood and it will empower you to be the best version of yourself possible.

The utterly relatable, deeply personal memoir chronicles Andie's lifelong struggle with emotional eating through vulnerable anecdotes told in rich, descriptive prose. The book opens with Andie reminiscing about three different birthdays when she had the same sour cream fudge cake, filtering her relationship with food through this milestone.

She describes the experience of eating her 20th birthday cake with an almost spiritual reverence: "I began to notice just how satiny the fudge batter was. I made swirls and figure eights with my spatula. In transferring heaping spoonfuls of espresso-hued chocolate cream to the cake tins, I reveled in the lightness of the texture..." That year, Andie ate her entire birthday cake in one sitting. Alone.

Then we skip to three years after she lost half her body weight, when food was a source of fear rather than a comfort: "I spent the hours and days leading up to the cake searching my mind desperately for ways to escape eating it. Three birthdays came and went without my so much as licking the frosting that touched my fingers while icing the layers."

Eight years after her 20th birthday, Andie expounds on the hard-won balance she found only after seesawing from one unhealthy extreme to another: "I can, I want to, I choose to eat a full slice of this cake and love deeply all the many bites I take. I linger on the cocoa flavor, the suede texture, and, when one piece has reached its clean-plate end, I don't look for another to replace it."

The most compelling element of It Was Me All Along is Andie herself. She is a true lover of food—and that zeal for eating hasn't fallen away with the 135 pounds she shed. She believes food is meant to be enjoyed, and she savors every single bite. If she can eat with joy and still maintain a happy, healthy body, so can we.

Andie's cookbook, Eating in the Middle, is exactly what you'd expect from a chef and food lover whose goal is to enjoy delicious food that makes her feel good, too. The book's 80 recipes are flavor- and nutrition-packed dishes like lemon roasted chicken with Moroccan couscous and butternut squash salad with kale and pomegranate, but with a few indulgences thrown in. (We can't wait to make her peanut butter mousse pie with marshmallow whipped cream.)

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