Why Blogging Saved Me

by Andie Mitchell on March 15, 2011

Dear Blog World,

When I began losing weight, I knew nothing of blogs. It was 2005 and I was just shy of oblivious to web activity that didn’t include email, People.com, and AIM. I had my priorities, we’ll say. For the first six months, I was largely on my own. I worked out, I ate lighter, I ate better, I made vision boards for inspiration. And at first, I talked to friends about it. There was always someone who shared the desire to lose weight, or at least to shape up and get healthy. It’s not hard to jump on a bandwagon; I’ve done it many, many times. That sense of support was uplifting. There was someone who’d knowingly nod when I said I was too tired to work out, too sad to eat a salad, too mad to stay motivated. Or someone to go with me to the gym. Like any other big goal, it’s consuming; it’s hard if you’re going it alone.

But after a while, the friends that were with me in the very beginning in trying to lose weight, they fell off our wagon. Maybe they took breaks, maybe they got bored, maybe they weren’t ready. It was okay. I knew that losing 135 lbs wasn’t going to breeze by and I reconciled that the work began and ended with me. Just me.

I chugged along and thirteen months after starting, I was literally half of my original size. Most of my friends didn’t even weigh as much as I’d just shed. I was that person who might grace the cover of People Magazine at the start of the New Year, one of those folks who lost seven thousand million pounds combined. Altogether thrilled and devastated at the newness, I took to the internet. A college friend’s registered dietician sister was now journaling what she ate daily on a blog for Self.com. Eat Like Me, as it was (and still is) called. The intention was to show a balanced and normal, healthy way of eating. I was immediately hooked. From there, I found other blogs discussed in the comment section. On to KathEats and EatLiveRun and HealthyTippingPoint and on and on and on.

And what I loved the most was that I felt alike. There’s a bonding that happens in shared experience, a tremendous calm and comfort that comes with fitting in and finding empathy. In truth, it’s the entire reason I love blogging now. Yes, I love posting recipes. I love cooking; I love baking til the sugar covers my floor like a white sand beach, and I love being absolutely out of my mind and showcasing that on a public domain. But those things, to me, mean far less than the grit of what I share about weight, about loss, about life.

It’s not that weight is more important. It’s not that weight loss and diets are consuming and worth complete attention. It’s the sharing. It’s making it known that this is what I felt, this is what I did, and oh how I cried or smiled, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find a sense of peace somewhere in my mess.

I have trouble sharing my everyday life. I wind up thinking it’s not enough, not interesting enough to make a page. Maybe I’m scared you wouldn’t want to know what I ate for lunch, what Daniel told me about my hair in the morning, the logistics of my work, the way I eat straight from the pint at night. But yet writing nothing short of a novella about my emotional state after having lost 135lbs feels easier. More worthwhile. I suppose I think you’ll gain something from my loss. You’ll be able to do it, possibly better, possibly easier, possibly feeling more sane and normal, knowing what I’ve said about the journey.

Because that’s what happened for me. I read blogs and felt supported. It is really really easy to embark on a new path in life and to lose sight of everything else. When you’re losing weight, or giving any sort of addiction up, you tend to focus on that one aspect of yourself. It clouds the view of everything else. And maybe you isolate. I know I have a tendency to do this. My dad, years and years ago, whenever he tried to move beyond his alcoholism, it was as if that was the only thing he was able to do. He couldn’t go out, he couldn’t try new things, he couldn’t do much of anything outside of focusing on not drinking.

When I first lost the weight, I felt this sense of focus. It felt almost as if life was always getting in my way.

Hi, excuse me, Life? Umm…you’re blocking my weight loss. Can you move to the left five inches? Ooo just a smidge more..yup…to the left…nope still blocking my maintenance…oh OK hold still! Great, thanks. Just stay there til I tell you to move.

I couldn’t live this way. I had to find a balance. A way of living and being lighter and letting change and spontaneity live peaceably under one roof.

And like an outreached hand when you’ve fallen and don’t know how you’ll get up, blogs are there. I found friends, and support, and examples of people who not only knew what I was going through, but knew how to move on and forward. People who understood and exemplified eating both carrots and cupcakes and still moving everyday. A middle place.

There exists an online community for nearly everything, and I found mine in healthy living. In no small way, blogs have helped me stay here, 135lbs down from where I started.

So thank you to everyone who comes here and stays with me. For all the blogs and bloggers who inspire me and have kept me going for nearly six years. Thank you for being a part of my life and making me feel semi-normal, understood, and supported. Thank you thank you thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Very truly yours,

Andrea

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Shanna, like Banana March 15, 2011 at 10:01 am

I’d read your blog any which way you decide to spin it. Your recipes are divine. Your wit is unparalleled. Your story is inspiring!

Reply

Can You Stay for Dinner March 15, 2011 at 10:28 am

Thank you Shanna, thank you so much :)

Reply

Beth March 15, 2011 at 10:02 am

Love this post Andrea, and I completely agree. I was not into healthy living blogs at all when I first started to lose weight, and to be honest with you I think my friends were getting tired of listening to me! When I found this community, it really struck a chord with me and has changed me for the better. It’s so supportive and so amazing to have so many people who you have so much in common with!

Reply

Can You Stay for Dinner March 15, 2011 at 10:27 am

So true Beth. I felt like no one wanted to hear me talk about losing weight and the struggle (or the triumph) anymore. This community never got bored though! Thanks!!

Reply

Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean March 15, 2011 at 10:04 am

girl, you are an inspiration to so many people! your blog is one of my all-time favorites to read and i genuinely look forward to it every day. i’m sure it took a lot of guts for you to hit publish on this post but just remember…for as much support as you’re getting from the blog world…you’re also giving support back to them. and i know for sure there are many people out there who have found their support in YOU! so keep it up. you rock :)

Reply

Can You Stay for Dinner March 15, 2011 at 10:26 am

Thank you so much Lindsay :)

Reply

Lisa March 15, 2011 at 10:05 am

This is lovely. :)

I was all alone when I set out to lose 100 pounds. I never knew this world existed. My friends were supportive as I started to slowly lose weight. But I was all alone in it. I didn’t have anyone who was also trying to lose weight. I did it all by myself. It wasn’t until after I lost all the weight and started running that I discovered the fitblog world and I wished I’d known about it! The support would have been nice…community…because in losing 100 pounds I lost a few friends. Either they were jealous, or couldn’t do it themselves and resented me for losing the weight…I really will never know. All I know is that I lost friends when I lost the weight. Finding the fitblog community meant I made NEW friends! Friends like me that wanted to be healthy!

Reply

Can You Stay for Dinner March 15, 2011 at 10:26 am

This is a really really true and hard part of losing a lot of weight. Friendships are certainly affected in some way. Thank you so much for sharing Lisa!

Reply

Lisa March 15, 2011 at 10:28 am

Losing friends definitely wasn’t something I was expecting. I guess I figured that my friends would be happy for me. It was a sad thing to go through.

Reply

Erica March 15, 2011 at 10:35 am

What a great post, Andrea! I love visiting your blog and trying out your recipes (those mini pumpkin cheesecakes are still a huge hit with my fiance!). It’s also great to hear about your journey. I can’t imagine losing 135 lbs as I’m struggling just to lose 10 – 20!

Reply

Can You Stay for Dinner March 15, 2011 at 10:39 am

Thank you so much for reading Erica! And also, losing any amount of weight is hard, so 10-20 means a lot too! Oh, and now I want a mini pumpkin cheesecake :)

Reply

Samantha March 15, 2011 at 10:43 am

I hope you know that all the support you have found in this community, you are giving to others with your writing. Not only do we get amazing recipes (hello buffalo chicken rolls!!) but I get moving and heartfelt posts about your journey. I love reading every single post because I know I will gain something from it. Loving it!!

Reply

Leah @ Why Deprive? March 15, 2011 at 11:31 am

You are so inspiring Andrea. What you have done for yourself, and your life is incredible. Im very grateful you’re willing to share it the way you do.

Blogging saved me too. I honestly dont think I could have stuck with a healthy lifestyle if it hadnt been for all the blogs out there.

Reply

Sarah March 15, 2011 at 11:45 am

Honestly, I wish you *would* share more of the everyday life too – because I find you so very, very uplifting to read. I realise that may sound daft :) I mean it quite literally though; you have, and do, lift me. Your positivity, warmth, and empathy shines through your writing; it’s a rare gift and so very welcome.

Thank you for all you write and share. Let’s raise a glass and toast the magic of the interwebs, and the amazing community it offers.

Reply

Can You Stay for Dinner March 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Sarah, I am so so very touched by your note. Thank you times one hundred. I will begin to share more of my life, even though I fear you’ll all abandon me once you realize I’m a stark raving madwoman… :)

Reply

cait March 15, 2011 at 11:47 am

what an inspiring post hun! Blogging really helped boos my self confidence and brought me to people I never thought possible :)

Reply

Amy @ Second City Randomness March 15, 2011 at 12:01 pm

You are a beautiful person.
And I am so lucky to have met you. :) Have a fabulous week, Andrea!

Reply

Can You Stay for Dinner March 15, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Thanks Ames :)

Reply

On a Tangent March 15, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Congratulations on your journey! I am new to blogging here on Wordpress, but I will definitely have up more content soon. I am currently trying to lose a bit of re-gained weight with Weight Watchers.

Reply

Lisa @ Thrive Style March 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm

What a great post! I’m enjoying reading your story—there’s so much to be said for having a “community” who relates and supports!

Reply

Sam March 15, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Your posts are daily inspiration to me. It’s nice to know that there are other people out there with the same struggles and triumphs that I encounter everyday. Thanks for blogging, you are motivating and inspiring!

Reply

Brandy March 15, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Hello! I recently found your blog and find it super inspirational! It didn’t take me long to realize I wanted to subscribe to get notified whenever you update. Your journey amazes me!! Thanks for such a beautiful post.

Reply

Peggy March 15, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Congratulations on weight lost and friendships found!

Reply

Jillian March 15, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Great post! I love reading about persons successful at losing weight as that’s what I am striving to do. Daily life and what you ate for lunch will be great! lol Thanks for sharing.

Reply

Can You Stay for Dinner March 15, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Thanks so much Jillian :)

Reply

Kate March 15, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I just want to tell you that yes, you’re absolutely right, reading your stories mean so much. My biggest challenge in losing weight is how much I love to cook, and knowing how wonderfully you succeeded gives me hope. :)

Reply

Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun March 15, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Amen amen amen! I adore the support from blogs and hope that by sharing my own journey I’m giving it back at least a piece to someone else. It’s such a wonderful thing to do. And you know I love yours and all you share. :)

Reply

Can You Stay for Dinner March 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Oh how I love me some Tina :)

Reply

Janie March 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Please keep writing! You are a great source of inspiration to me. I find your recipes delicious and easy to follow but the thing I find the best is your continuing discussions about your weight loss path. You’re a blessing and a guide. Thanks.

Reply

MelissaNibbles March 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm

The support from the blog world is unlike anything I’ve experienced. I’m lucky to have been able to meet my biggest supporters in person and now call them friends. I know we’ve never met in person, but your support this past year has met so much to me that I feel like we’re friends. I don’t think you realize just how many people you touch with your writing. Whether we’re struggling with weight loss or something else, you write in a way that we can apply your experience with ours. Keep it up!

Reply

Can You Stay for Dinner March 15, 2011 at 8:50 pm

You make me smile. Thank you M, I really feel like we’re beginning a wonderful wonderful friendship!

Reply

Erin March 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I only recently found your website by accident and honestly, I already need you in my life. That sounds a bit extreme, but after reading your story (and recipes :) ) I feel better everyday knowing that I can go and read and feel better about my weight-loss journey and about myself.

Thank you for writing. You help me to get past the milkshakes, ice cream, and fries on a daily basis.

Reply

Can You Stay for Dinner March 15, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Erin, this made my entire day. Thank you and please know that I am touched

Reply

britt wil be fit March 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm

yes, so many nice and caring people out there!

Reply

Lisa (Dishes of Mrs. Fish) March 15, 2011 at 6:03 pm

What a beautiful post! :) Blogging is such a wonderful release isn’t it? :)

Reply

Jessica March 15, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Just found your blog and really appreciate your openess to share your story. I’m a new blogger (finally bit the bullet) and completely agree with the satisfaction you get from being able to vent :) I’m also trying to maintain weight loss I finally achieved before my wedding and really enjoying checking out your recipes. xo

Reply

Can You Stay for Dinner March 15, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Thank you, Jessica. I really appreciate it!

Reply

thecompletecookbook March 15, 2011 at 8:57 pm

What a wonderfully inspirational post – thank you for sharing so openly. :-) Mandy

Reply

Amanda March 16, 2011 at 6:20 am

I love the food. I love the pictures of the food more. I love your words the most. I’m not trying to lose any where near 135 pounds. The fact that you did that, you lost what is my GOAL weight when I’m done, is astounding. I don’t think you could ever be told enough how amazing that is. What I envy is your will power. I envy the sheer stubborn-ness that got you through and keeps you from being that person who is entirely too in love with food for all of the wrong reasons again. I use your little soul baring posts to tell myself “No, you can do this. Look what she did! Get off your duff and stop feeling sorry for yourself!” Thanks. You’re much more forgiving than that Jillian Michaels. She’s a word I’m just not going to use here.

Reply

CaitlinHTP March 16, 2011 at 9:13 am

you are beautiful and awesome!

Reply

Megan (Braise The Roof) March 16, 2011 at 11:40 am

Oh, it’s so so true. That’s how I felt about the message boards on Weight Watchers when I was doing that back in the day. Knowing there are other people out there with similar situations, wants, needs and goals is the best kind of support out there.

Any by the way, I would totally read a blog about your everyday life. You are one of the more interesting people that I’ve met. Honest. :)

Reply

shiela cote March 17, 2011 at 5:17 pm

I loved your post! Why are we all so hard on ourselves? I’m no different and I need to lose 135 pounds. It is so frustrating,why do sabotage ourselves and go back to old behaviours?

Reply

lisa worklan November 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm

what a refreshing blog! stumbled upon yours via pinterest.com and am hooked!

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: