What I miss from 135lbs ago…Part 3

by Andie Mitchell on May 11, 2011

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Read part 1 here and part 2 here

What’s the moral here?

What’s the matter with missing 135lbs? With letting every one of them go completely and asking, gently, that they never come back? It’s not you, it’s me.

The matter is that, fat or thin, big or bitty, I’ll always be both. No, I won’t look in the mirror and see the other. No, I won’t praise one too highly. Because they’re all I know.

Each is valuable.

When you’re big for twenty years, the only twenty you’ve ever known, you’ll kindly not frown upon two decades. You’ll know that who you are was formed in there, and that’s beautiful.

Hear me.

Beautiful.

I hear accounts of those who’ve lost a tremendous amount of weight. Maybe they were on the Biggest Loser; maybe the cover of People. Most often, they speak about their former selves, the bigger ones, in a very detached way. As if the here and now is infinitely better and more lovely than the past. And maybe it is in lots of ways. But here’s the thing: it was you all along.

I don’t think back on my past and want to redo it. I don’t flip pages of my baby book and think, ‘dear, what cankles you had.’ I don’t see my adolescent self, my teenage self, and wish those pictures, scrapbooked and framed, would disappear. Mom, really, with the Glamour Shots? Really? My life, big, was always all I knew. And that is perfect in its own right.

Yes, I know now that with 135 extra pounds, something more was wrong than my weight. The scales I tipped should have tipped me off to emotional suffering. But not all of it was sad, or scared.

Some of the weight was happy and as well rounded as it came across.

Some of it meant that I developed a personality first.

A sense of humor before a sense of entitlement.

Empathy before ego.

Some of the weight meant that I didn’t care about myself. But in turn, maybe I cared deeply about a number of meaningful external parts of life. I poured my heart into relationships, molded to fit friends and circumstances. A big ball, I rolled with the changes. I doubt I’d be able to do that now, so much more rigid and spindly. I had a protective layer. Something to pull over my eyes when my dad, and the world, threatened to break me.

I found spirit.

I cared deeply about the way people perceived me. But maybe that made me more in tune and intuitive. Maybe that’s why, now and always, I could and would like to sit for hours and days on end, just listening to someone else. What’s your story? Where are you from? And, are you content?

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Maybe because I was painfully aware of my size, I cultivated an awareness of all of my life. A deep knowing. A way of sensing and trusting and believing that others won’t, or can’t, know as well. Maybe I feel deeper. More purely and intensely.

Maybe when I learned to, finally, love just being alone with myself, I fell harder in love than others ever will.

Maybe my present is more precious.

Maybe because my heart has ripped, and lost pieces, and still has visible stretch marks and sewn seams, my character will be ultimately more resilient.

The thing is, it’s easy to find the bad. I’m cynical. Pessimistic and realistic, too weathered to seem breezy. I can, and do, look at situations in pros and cons. But what I’ve come to know as true, in the last twenty-six years is that I am everything I’ve ever been.

I will always know fat. And love her. And know that fat, in itself, is not a bad word. I’ll own it and respect those two decades. They were hard, but they were sweet too. I grew up in that body, in that time, in that big, and beautiful, mind.

I will always know thin. She’s heavier mentally and maybe in presence overall. She’s effervescent. More willing and able to go toe to toe with life. Small but brawny. Seeking.

I will always know that the grass, though it seems emerald and glowing in that field on the other side, it isn’t. Flowers grow here; they grow over there. As weeds do, too.

But both are wide and they’re open. And I can lie and cry in one and move and spin in the other. Just knowing this: they’re the same field.

And they’re both mine.

Queen Anne 041

{ 236 comments… read them below or add one }

Halley May 11, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I love how you see the whole story. I love how you wouldn’t erase the past and pretend it wasn’t there. I love this. This definitely gives me hope and better perspective. Thanks Andie.

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Shelley May 11, 2011 at 11:20 pm

you are literally the best writer out of any blog I read. I can’t even describe my admiration for you and I look up to you so much! Not so much because of any similarity in our lives, but more so because you are a strong, real, intelligent woman who I think just about anyone could relate to. I really mean all this! So inspiring :)

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Ashley May 11, 2011 at 11:33 pm

This is so beautifully written and honest. Thank you for sharing this. I have never looked at my weight loss like this, but you are right. I love your magazine cover too :)

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Bianca May 12, 2011 at 12:41 am

Hi, your story is inspiring, but I have one question..how can you mantain your weight? I mean..you cook all that delicious food, food that is not precisely “diet food” and still you stay thin. How do you do it? Thanks.

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Lisa in OKC May 12, 2011 at 12:47 am

Keep reading, Bianca. I wondered the same thing…and she does talk about that. If you’re new – you have a lot of catching up to do. I suggest taking a leave of absence from work. ;)

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Tracy December 15, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I am seriously new as well. I am just sitting here crying, remembering all these feelings, my father, my life, my fears. If you have any suggestions on catching up I would appreciate it. This is so beautiful and I am grateful Andrea will be writing books, I am surely going to buy them. God Bless and thank you. Tracy (need to lose 125 #)

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Krystina (Organically Me) May 12, 2011 at 5:40 am

If I may interject…

You don’t have to eat “diet food” to maintain your weight. Food is one of our biggest pleasures, and should be treated as such – just in moderation. If we don’t enjoy what we eat because we’re preoccupied with eating “diet food” then what’s the point in eating? By eating what we want (while trying to get the proper nutrients) and, well, moving a little – whether it be running, yoga, cycling, or even walking – people can lose or maintain their weight.

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admin May 12, 2011 at 7:55 am

Bianca, I know. It seems impossible. But here’s the thing: once you know that it’s really not about the food, you are set free in a way. You realize, that if the second cupcake never made you any happier than the first, if you never felt more content after three slices of pizza than you did after two, then you can decide to stop when you’ve enjoyed all you can of a food, of a moment. So much of the reason we continue to eat past fullness is tied to not wanting a feeling to be over, not wanting to lose out on fleeting joy. The truth is that the food will make you feel joy, but treating it with respect and stopping to appreciate one big, beautiful cupcake, and not two or three, is the most loving thing you can do for yourself.
And Lisa, thanks for stepping in to field questions. You know me well :)

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Bianca May 12, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Thanks Andrea and Lisa. I understand..everything is about moderation and learning to enjoy the good stuff in small doses :) I’ll try that!

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Rosa November 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Beautifully stated! Do you mind if I quote you? I know some people who could benefit from your insight.

Thanks for your blog, and healthy outlook on Life, Love, and Happiness!

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Laura May 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Just stumbled across your blog – of all the ways – on Pinterest after I followed the link from a recipe…

I am so struck with your writing…and when you just replied to a post by saying, “So much of the reason we continue to eat past fullness is tied to not wanting a feeling to be over, not wanting to lose out on fleeting joy” I could have broken down and cried at the truth of that statement.

I am so very happy you were able to become healthy (body and mind) at a relatively young age. I am 52 and wanting desperately to change, wondering how I got here, knowing the answer lies within me (even in therapy to try to figure that out as I certainly know how to diet my way up to 300 lbs)…your writing inspires, gives me hope for another day, and how important that is to me…

Thank you.

Laura

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Diane May 29, 2012 at 11:35 am

@ Laura, I can so relate! I also found this site by way of a link from Pinterest. It was like you were writing for me…I too am 50 years old, wondering how I got here, and dieted my way UP the scale! Are we sisters separated at birth? :) Most recently, I have been running to “comfort food” as we have been dealing with my husband’s cancer diagnosis. I’m banking on the phrase above “Maybe because my heart has ripped, and lost pieces, and still has visible stretch marks and sewn seams, my character will be ultimately more resilient.” It’s hard, but for today, I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other! Good luck to you.

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Laura May 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm

@Diane – nice to know I have a cyber sister out there. :) Thanks for replying to my post. Made me not feel so alone….

Rob August 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I am 51–you could be writing this for me!

CindyLu July 11, 2012 at 6:14 am

Laura,
It’s as if I’m reading my own thoughts in your words. I’m 48 this year, and wonder how in the heck I have gained 100lbs since getting married 18 years ago. I mean, saying that I’m still carrying baby fat after 10 years is not even on the verge of insane – it IS insane.
One day at a time. Now why didn’t I think of that? Just today. My problem is (every year) I keep beating myself up about this time of year because I get to July and realize that if I had stuck to my new year’s resolution, that I could be down 50lbs by now. But noooo! UGH!
But now I realize that I CAN do this, just by putting one foot in front of the other. Just by taking it one day at a time. Just by eating this time only until satisfaction is met.
Thank you all for sharing. God bless!

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collette August 21, 2012 at 6:37 am

WOW! that is the best advice I have ever heard about weight loss! You are wise beyond your years!

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Christina January 9, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Seriously debating framing this statement: “So much of the reason we continue to eat past fullness is tied to not wanting a feeling to be over, not wanting to lose out on fleeting joy.” I read that sentence over & over because it truly hit home. When your life has been filled with a sea of misery you tend to indulge in simple things that bring you any amount of happiness. You’re wise beyond your years & it’s good to see. :)

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Marz May 1, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Yes…this.

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Josephine January 19, 2014 at 4:54 am

Thank you Andrea, for this insight into mindful eating. It was written so eloquently, I feel I should have this framed on my kitchen wall. I have written out this response so I can refer to it when feeling lost as how to maintain my weight. Since my mid twenties I have yo-yo dieted going through periods of trying to be perfect and not eating any of what I wanted and then eating too much of what I want. Hopefully this help me find balance. I love your writing, your blog is beautiful and so are you.

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Lisa in OKC May 12, 2011 at 12:48 am

Bravo, Andie. Bravo.

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Cait @ Beyond Bananas May 12, 2011 at 2:39 am

Wow, Andie … Another amazing post in which your poured your heart out – and were truly upfront and honest about everything. Thank you… for being you.. your entire life. Big..small..inbetween.. everything.

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Johnny May 12, 2011 at 2:44 am

“You’ll know that who you are was formed in there, and that’s beautiful.”

Those are the words in this part that struck me. Please,Please,Please write a book!!!:)

I like the grass being emerald on the other side of the fence part. I’ve always told people that there is always one constant about which side of the fence you’re on..YOU! You can change your environment, looks, personality, but you always bring YOU along. Learning to know and love you is the only really important thing.

There was an old Indian tale that talked about the good and the bad wolf in us, always at war trying to influence what we did and thought. When a small child asked the wise old Indian woman which one wins the war, the woman replied..”the one you feed”.

When you chose to change your wieght you made another even more profound choice, you decided to bring you along and not someone else! You stayed beutiful and that is why we all love you and can’t wait to wake up and open your page for what is next! :)

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gabby May 12, 2011 at 3:34 am

“empathy before ego”
sigh. i so love your words. SO.
xoxoxo.

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admin May 12, 2011 at 7:51 am

Gabby, thank you. I love language. I love empathy, but yes, ego too :)

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet May 12, 2011 at 3:48 am

Amazing, you are such an incredible writer. You put everything together so eloquently. Thank you for sharing so much with us!

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey May 12, 2011 at 4:36 am

Beautiful. I love how you are not totally detattching yourself from your former body. I think that makes all the difference in the world and why you are successful!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat May 12, 2011 at 5:33 am

I wasn’t even expecting a Part 3 but I love it! So beautifully put, and I’m on the same page as you with this one – do I miss some of the things I experienced from when I was heavier? Sure. I certainly don’t miss other parts. But like you said, all of those experiences have made you who your are today, and I wouldn’t change that for the world!

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Krystina (Organically Me) May 12, 2011 at 5:35 am

I remember saying recently that fat will follow me wherever I go. It’s not as if this is a bad thing, but it will always follow me. In a way, I look at it as a beautiful thing – I’ve been on both sides, I know how difficult (or easy) each side can be and the pros and cons of both. I’ve been both horrifically teased and revered. I’ve not experienced one whole life, but two halves to a whole.

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Mila @ loftyappetite May 12, 2011 at 5:51 am

Thank you for sharing. All 3 parts of the series are beautiful and so well written, I may have teared up a few times… You mentioned on twitter you have a ton more series planned, and I was wondering if you could write about your relationships and friendships and if any of those changed through all of this or are your friends and boyfriend all the same through this journey you’ve been through? I know some people kind of break through and start over like it’s a new life, and as you mentioned in this post it sounds like you don’t have that distinct separation, so I was wondering if anything else besides your body chaned through all of this.

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Melissa May 12, 2011 at 5:59 am

I want to crawl into these words and breathe deeply till each of my cells are imprinted with them.

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admin May 12, 2011 at 7:50 am

I love this sentence. Words like this speak to me. Crawl in, I’ll meet you there :)

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Kristin May 12, 2011 at 6:04 am

Yes. So true, and so beautiful. Thanks again for sharing this.

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Kelly May 12, 2011 at 6:06 am

I think it is incredible the perspective that you have. Truly amazing.

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ally@girlVfood May 12, 2011 at 6:19 am

“When you’re big for twenty years, the only twenty you’ve ever known, you’ll kindly not frown upon two decades. You’ll know that who you are was formed in there, and that’s beautiful.”

Tears are rolling down my face. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am still struggling to reconcile my current self with my old self, but I know we were one and the same and we still are and always will be linked. I know she’ll always be in side of me, and while that requires me to be extra vigilant sometimes, it also shows me I am stronger than I know. I know what it’s like to crash and burn, and so do you.

And YES for the ‘empathy over ego’ comment! It’s becuase I was overweight for so long that I developed the kind of heart I have.

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Jamie S May 12, 2011 at 6:29 am

Add me to the list of those admiring your eloquence and saying thanks.

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Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic May 12, 2011 at 6:47 am

“Maybe because my heart has ripped, and lost pieces, and still has visible stretch marks and sewn seams, my character will be ultimately more resilient.”
These are beautiful words, and this series is so heart-warming. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

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LG May 12, 2011 at 6:57 am

Excellent excellent excellent. Thank you for this post! I totally hear you about this: “I will always know thin. She’s heavier mentally and maybe in presence overall. She’s effervescent. More willing and able to go toe to toe with life. Small but brawny. Seeking.” I definitely feel this in my life now after having dealt with disordered eating behaviors and, dare I say, come out on the other side happy and healthy. Now I can’t get enough books and can think much more clearly. I feel strong mentally and can sit with my emotions much better. I might be the same size or slightly smaller, but I feel very steady on my feet.

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Melissa May 12, 2011 at 7:03 am

I love how you address the ease and the effort of BOTH sides of the scale. You’re so right. It’s all valid and it’s all important. I admire that you know who you are regardless of your weight. Yes, it’s a part of you, but it doesn’t define you. That’s definitely something I still struggle with. I wish I knew myself as well as you know yourself.

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brandi May 12, 2011 at 7:07 am

Love, love, love this. The honesty, the heart and soul you pour into this. Just beautiful.

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Rachel @ The Avid Appetite May 12, 2011 at 7:12 am

Beautifully said. You are an inspiration Andie! And you are beautiful inside and out :)

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Barefootcookingirl May 12, 2011 at 7:21 am

I sigh. Just beautiful. Inside and out. So well spoken. So deeply thought. Thank you.

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Chad @ thebreakupnote May 12, 2011 at 7:26 am

This is really inspiring. I’m glad you wrote this whole thing, and also… congratulations on all your hard work!

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Rachel @ Rachel's Recipe Reviews May 12, 2011 at 7:49 am

I loved all three of these posts! You are a wonderful writer. Thanks for sharing!

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Leah @ Why Deprive? May 12, 2011 at 8:34 am

You are amazing. I dont even know what else to say.

This is the best thing I’ve read in a very long time.

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Claire @ Live and Love to Eat May 12, 2011 at 8:44 am

Your writing is just as beautiful as your magazine cover – go girl, you’re amazing!

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Leanne (Bride to Mrs.) May 12, 2011 at 9:19 am

You are so well written.

I’m so happy that I found your blog.

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JaNelle May 12, 2011 at 9:23 am

You already know I love you. But seriously, this spoke to me. This entire series was beautifully written but more important it was a necessary voice. My favorite part: I will always know fat. And love her. And know that fat, in itself, is not a bad word. I’ll own it and respect those two decades. They were hard, but they were sweet too. I grew up in that body, in that time, in that big, and beautiful, mind.”
I love this because I get it. So many people, after they loose weight, act like they hated their old body. I love that you see the value in that body and how it helped you and nurtured you into the beautiful woman you are now. I love that! Simply love that!

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kathy........... May 12, 2011 at 9:36 am

Just want to say…Thank-you! I don’t know if you realize when you open yourself up, share you pains, your joys, your truimphs and tears………That you are having the ripple effect in us, reaching us and touching us with you wisdom and knowledge,,, And that my dear is such true Blessing!!! (HUGS)

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Brittany (Eating Bird Food) May 12, 2011 at 9:45 am

I’ve loved reading the 3 part series. Thank you for sharing your honest words. This post brought tears to my eyes.

The paragraph, “I will always know that the grass, though it seems emerald and glowing in that field on the other side, it isn’t. Flowers grow here; they grow over there. As weeds do, too.” spoke to me! I think a lot of times people get wrapped up in the idea that they can’t be happy unless they are are certain size or weight, but happiness isn’t in a number.

Also, you look so much like my 17 year old niece in your before photos- honestly it’s like you all could be sisters. She’s been trying to lose weight for the past few years and struggling with it immensely. I think I’m going to send her a link to your blog. :)

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Online Sunshine May 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

When we are overweight, we think, “If I could just lose the weight, then I’d be happy.” We also think if we had more money or a bigger house or whatever else it is that we think we need to be happy. But in reality, if we aren’t happy now, none of that will make us happy. We’ll just be thinner and miserable. Or rich and miserable. Look at a lot of the celebrities. They are thin and rich…and in rehab and crumbling relationships.
Anyway, I love reading your blog and look forward to it every day. It’s my guilty pleasure. :)
I just wish I’d read your blog sooner…I feel like one of those people who is always one step behind all the cool kids. lol!

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Michelle May 12, 2011 at 10:21 am

I think some of the other commenters have hit the nail on the head – not only is it your authenticity in writing that I love – it’s the writing itself. Your words are so beautiful and so evocative. You’ve brought tears to my eyes, yet again. Thank you for writing this.

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Sophiegoose May 12, 2011 at 10:47 am

What a wonderful wrap up to your story. And a side note — I love your makeup in those pictures! What do you use?

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Cortney @ Nerd on the Run May 12, 2011 at 10:59 am

I just found your blog from Keeping up with Katie. Your story is amazing and I give you major props for figuring out all of the emotional stuff that goes with losing weight and feeling better about yourself! How can I follow you so I can read every day? I look forward to hearing more from you! :)

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Jo @ Jo In the Kitchen May 12, 2011 at 11:03 am

I adore all of your 3 part series. I love your take on life, and I hope that others are as inspired as I am.

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Gina May 12, 2011 at 11:57 am

I could completely identify with Parts 1 and 2, bringing up my own stories and facets of my life that I may miss or not miss. But now with Part 3, I’m getting this overwhelming feeling of excitement and love for myself (and your beautiful writing!) I love that you bring up your love for your “former” self. It’s so true, why would I want to detach myself from myself…it’s all about what has made me the person I am today:) And what is joy and love without some amount of pain and sorrow???

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Stacy May 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I love this on: “it was you all along” We have a hard time remembering that we are on the inside truly, and the outer shell is just that – a shell we carry around along with all our emotional baggage (good and bad).

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Jamie May 12, 2011 at 12:15 pm

What an incredible 3-part story, so beautiful told and heartfelt. So many of us have those two selves, those two halves of our lives, the before and the after yet always there, together, holding hands. Mine wasn’t a problem of weight, rather it was something much more invisible, but your words touch home, somewhere deep and profound and say it all. Marvelous! You are truly beautiful inside and out and I am so happy to have gotten to know you. xo

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Katherine May 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm

These posts really have spoken to me. I often wonder if I would be happier at a specific size, if it would make me more beautiful or smart or less worried, etc. In the back of my mind I know that this isn’t true, I would be the exact same person I am today. I just think if there are things about myself (not weight related) that I want to change, its probably easier to work on them before I get to where I think I should be instead of where I am. I believe that I need to lose weight, but my personality and the things I believe in or don’t believe won’t change. But, I think deep down inside most of us want to believe the opposite is true, because it means we don’t have to work as hard to change it (just lose weight). When in actuality its the hardest thing we have to do. Look ourselves in the mirror and just accept the person looking back at us.

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Jenn May 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Literally wiping tears from my eyes — what a beautiful post!!!

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Dana May 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm

LOVED this series!!! I lost 50 pounds almost 20 years ago (WW too, and in college!) and although I have kept the weight off, I still struggle from time to time. You write beautifully, I am thrilled to have found your blog! However, I am not as accepting of the big me, those old pictures still make me sad for that young girl that missed so much. :)

–Dana

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Mandy May 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Andie – I just want to give you a big hug and cry. I’m so jealous that you’ve reached the point (physically and emotionally) that you’re at, I’ve got a long way to go (again, physically and emotionally), I’m not excited for the painful lessons along the way but I know you can’t get to that healthy point without them. Thanks for all you do with your powerful words and emotions!

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Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie) May 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Another great post. Eating is all about perspective and convincing yourself that healthy is delicious. I think for me the worst part of the way I eat are the remarks about why I chose the veggies over the fries or burger. Anyone can lose weight, I do think it’s partly a mental disorder but one that you can overcome :)

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Emma @ La Vie en Ginger May 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm

What you said about the person who you are being formed in your fat years really resonated with me. After my weight loss, I feel like I abandoned a lot of the personality traits that had made me lovable as a big girl. I embraced the fact that I no longer had to be the jovial, people-pleasing chubster. I got a lot meaner and more affected because I could get away with it as a slim person. I’m not proud of that. I loved this series for a lot of reasons, but I’m walking away with a renewed desire to get in touch with the kind, confident person I was 70 pounds ago, who had just as many friends and just as much drive and intelligence to offer the world, but didn’t take the fact that she would be well-received for granted. Because you’re right: anyone I’ve ever been, I have been all along.

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Ashley May 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Your writing. Your story. Are. Inspirational. Thank you!!

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Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily May 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Such a great post. I was once 60lbs heavier then I am now and the transition mentally and physically is hard to put into words but you did a great job.

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Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily May 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I would love to go to a beach front cafe and spend the rest of the afternoon drinking coffee, reading a book, and eating pastries.

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MelissaNibbles May 12, 2011 at 2:53 pm

“Maybe because my heart has ripped, and lost pieces, and still has visible stretch marks and sewn seams, my character will be ultimately more resilient. ”

This. I relate to so much in this and with you. I wish I had the guts to tell my entire weight loss and weight gain story. You are a talented and gifted write Andrea. Such a beautiful, strong, woman. I’m lucky to know you.

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Megan @ On the Road Again May 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm

This 3-part series was simply amazing. I enjoyed reading every word of it and appreciate you putting out your honesty and insight for all of us to read.

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Naomi May 12, 2011 at 7:23 pm

This series was beautiful. You write freely with such honesty and emotion. I am inspired to take a more introspective look at myself.

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sophia May 12, 2011 at 9:09 pm

I’ve never been overweight, but I can empathize too much with this post(s).

It’s funny how we think losing/gaining weight is just a purely biological matter, but there are so many intersecting psychological and emotional processes behind it.

You are so awesome, and I commend you for sharing this honest series.

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Annie May 13, 2011 at 8:39 am

It’s so great that you can embrace both sides of your life because so many people can’t.

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emily May 13, 2011 at 6:11 pm

i’m a fairly new reader and i’m so glad i’ve found your blog. what a beautiful post. your words reminded me of this short film by pixar. have you seen it? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpN0vwgVBZk both wanting what they don’t have then realizing they are actually one in the same. i love it!

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fittingbackin May 14, 2011 at 9:15 am

This was such an inspiration. I just love your outlook and honesty. “A sense of humor before a sense of entitlement.” wow. I really loved this. Thank you for sharing!

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Sam May 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Tears.I feel your writing in my bones. You say everything that I feel, things I didn’t know that I felt until you put them into words.
I relate to you in a way that you are a few steps ahead of me, I am halfway through my weightloss journey and I fear and look forward to the finish line.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing and sharing your life.

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Casey May 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I love your writing you truly have a gift and the way you write I feel like we are just talking to each other you seem like a real genuine, beautiful person. Congratulations on much-deserved success!

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Clarissa @ Sober and the City May 16, 2011 at 10:48 am

Love it! And You!

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Erin @ Big Girl Feats May 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm

You are truly amazing. It takes such kindness to realize that 135+ you and 135- you are still the same wonderful person. I love this and strive to be this kind towards myself. I’m making strides every day and realizing it has nothing to do with my weight and everything to do with my life, my worth and my future. Thank you for sharing your story.

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Cara May 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I can relate to so much of this – but could never put it into these beautiful words. Thank you for doing that!

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carol May 16, 2011 at 7:02 pm

I found your website ages ago on Boston.com. I enjoyed your writing and recipes and check in every so often after your move West.

I am moved to tears by your lovely posts. Its an amazing journey and I thank you for sharing it with us. I have never posted comments before but just had to give a quick kudos for your hard working!

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Liza May 17, 2011 at 7:39 pm

I am in tears girl!! What an amazing journey. I would never see you on the street and think, I wonder if that beautiful girl ever had the same struggles as I do with my weight? It just goes to show you that you never know what people have been through, never judge a book by it’s cover! Thanks for sharing :)

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Mnemosyne May 18, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I’m completely in awe of how well-written your three-part success story in your path to goal. I can definitely say that I can relate on so many levels.
The best part about your story is, it made me cry because what you’re saying and what I’ve gone through, basically what we’ve gone through are almost the same. I can relate on so many levels.
Thank you for making me realize that I wasn’t alone. And although I’m a 14, I started from at least a 20+, and now I know that what I’m doing I won’t miss those other sizes and nothing is a waste even if I feel like I’m constantly needing to buy new clothes.
Once again, thank you & God bless :)
☮ & ♥

~Nym

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james May 19, 2011 at 7:20 pm

you are amazing.

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Emily May 25, 2011 at 3:31 pm

What an inspiration. Linda from The Orange Bee told me that I should stop by your site. It is so encouraging to see what people can do with healthy eating and exercise. I just started blogging about my weightloss goals. I have 75 pounds to lose but know that I can do it. Thank you, really I thank you for being an inspiration.

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Sharilee June 10, 2011 at 7:42 am

I sit here with a huge lump in my throat after reading this. Beautiful girl you are. (Both of you) :o) I can relate to so much you wrote in all three parts. I have struggled with my weight a few times in life. Before my wedding 6 years ago I dropped 10 dress sizes by living at eh gym and eating really healthy…now two little girls later, there isn’t much time for me, after two pregnancies, two misscarriages and my youngest’s brush with death (Born with a malformed kidney) AND COMPLCATIONS AS A RESULT… I am the biggest I have ever been.

My children are my life, but I need to be there for them. I need to be back in control and I find it so hard to even take time to put make up on my face. I am sick and tired of avoiding the camera, shopping for clothes that never fit right or look good. I hate the heat of the summer, I am red faced and hidieous, I am embarassed and I even avoid people just so they won’t have to look at me. ( I cannot believe I just admitted that…but it is true.)

I want to be a good role model for my daughters, already my 5 1/2 year old has mentioned that Mommy is Fat a few times. :o( I need to turn this around, thanks for the inpiration.

Sharilee

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Dolores June 11, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Sharilee…

I too have lost 110 lbs reaching my goal in 2005. Like you, I felt out of control. I hated my body everytime I looked in the mirror. Most nights I would dream I’d wake up thin and my weight was all a bad dream. My weight affected my self esteem right down to it’s deepest core. I hear your pain. I feel your pain. I’ve been there. I’m sorry for your troubles. I’m glad you posted your feelings. For a long time I thought the solution was dieting (aka deprivation). I also discovered that perfectionism had ALOT to do with delaying what I needed to do…and that was chip away at the weight one lb at a time. Never mind the huge number of lbs you think you need to take off. This month aim to lose ONE lb…no more. How long have you done nothing now? Most folks think they have to go from irresponsible, mindless, reckless eating without any restraint to PERFECT controlled eating. Small steps, honey…tiny baby steps. 10 minutes of exercise every day is better than none at all. Start slow. Surely, you can manage 10 minutes. Set a timer and find 10 minutes! AS the weight melts off, it will give you confidence to continue, and continue….and continue. It’s slow but it stays off…that’s what you want. And don’t forget that you’re worth the happiness and the freedom. In the end, it will never be the weight that gives you happiness…but that you took control of your life. Unhealthy weight doesn’t mean you’re weak, or bad, or a failure…it means your life is out of balance. Nutrition (eating whole foods as much as possible) helps to keep cravings at bay. Now go for it! And I LOVE you!

Dolores Neilson

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Jeniece June 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm

This is incredible. I thought I was the only one. I was always a heavy kid and now I’m a heavy 20-something. I have a happy life for the first time and have noticed that I’m losing weight because of it. It’s quite the phenomenon.

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Sabrina June 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Just wanted to leave a quick comment that I stumbled across your blog when I was looking for a recipe (mashed cauliflower actually :)) and kept reading and reading. This three part series about what you miss is beautifully written and gives me hope – I just joined WW two months, have lost some weight and a lot more to go. Reading your blog made me feel better about this journey and encouraged me to not start seeing the past as so negative (I keep wondering why I didn’t start earlier, etc.). Anyways, long-winded comment just to say THANKS!

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Lorri July 7, 2011 at 8:02 am

Your blog is so touching…congrats on your lifstyle change..you are an inspiration!!! Thank you!!! I joined My fitness pal 8 months ago, and have lost 25lbs..felling discourage cause i havnt seen the scale move in 2/3 months…but thanks to your blog i will not give up..cause i dont want to fall back into the “Fat lifestyle” i want to be healthy and run and play with my kids!!

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Stephanie July 7, 2011 at 8:33 pm

I have been SO inspired by your stories. I stumbled upon your site a few months ago, and was blown away by your story. The way you put the feelings of being heavy and the weight loss process into words makes it feel do-able. The one thing I have taken away, and use daily, is the quote from one of your other posts, “can you do it, just today can you do it?” It really is a day by day thing. I really loved these 3 part post, because I am learning through my own weight loss is that I am mourning my old self-the self I have been for over 20 years…it’s so hard, but so possible! Thanks!!!

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Barbara July 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Just a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it.

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Beth Luwandi July 16, 2011 at 11:11 am

I haven’t been here in a while. I love the way you’ve reformatted and I love this series of three.
Over the past year of my own losses including fat, marriage, job, children, security, housing, church family, pride, reputation, and shame… it has been so important to fully embrace every aspect of who I truly am. Even the me that kept accepting unacceptable treatment from my husband, in particular.
But also sometimes from myself.
You were an inspiration when I found you a year ago.. and I’m so glad to be back on the trail! ;D

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Kristen @ notsodomesticated July 18, 2011 at 6:52 am

I’m going to sound like a broken record, after seeing everyone else’s comments… but I loved reading your story. You are a beautiful writer. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story so honestly. :)

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Retromodgirl July 19, 2011 at 9:49 am

You give me so much hope and insight as a present-day big woman. When I was thin, I used to reject the idea and images of my bigger self, but you have shown how to love and integrate the two, as they both have their uses. You have given me a better You have given me a better perception of the weight loss process. You are wonderful and wise beyond your years.

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Kate July 25, 2011 at 11:25 am

Andrea, I found your blog via a Pinterest post on your mini lasagnas — and discovered so much more than recipes! This is just beautiful. You have a new follower.

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Beth Jungemann August 9, 2011 at 5:12 pm

I just want you to know after reading “What I miss from 135lbs Ago” (Part 1, 2 and 3), I am a big ball of goo!

I had gastric bypass 4 years ago. I lost 110 pounds. And just a few weeks ago, I have come to terms with the fact that I’ve gained 30 of those precious pounds back. And I’ve been an emotional mess. The thought that I am allowing myself get back on the road to that place terrifies me. That place of self-hatred, loathing and discomfort makes me cry.

But then reading your blog, I realize that things weren’t always bad, and yes, living the first 31 years of my life obese (I hate that word) did cultivate a compassion and appreciation for life in me, that I don’t think I would have had otherwise.

So now I will try to look back on the past with less fear and regret, and with more acceptance.

Thank you for sharing your story, and for being you. I feel like I know you so well, even though we’ve never met. And I will be a follower as long as you continue to blog.

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Amanda August 31, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I just discovered your site today thanks to my best friend. I’m no where near as good with words as you are, but I have to tell you I’m hooked already!! You are an amazing writer and have a way of saying everything I never knew I thought or felt. As others have said, yes please write a book! Congratulations on all of your achievements! I look forward to frequenting your site and learning from you.

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Heather August 31, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Just found your blog and it is truly motivating!! I am also trying to lose 100+ pounds and am so curious as to what your body was like after, like your skin?! I know this is personal, and I’m not used to your blog enough to know if you share this kind of information! So no worries if not! Thanks for sharing your story.

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Beth September 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Good. Lord.

I briefly met you at IFBC New Orleans, and was struck by very happy and, well, present you seemed to be. Of course, I had no idea about any of this story of yours. I’ve had my own struggles with disordered eating, and weight, and depression, all those horrible things one would never wish on anyone, but that one is ultimately profoundly grateful for. No one else really understands it; you had to have been there.

Your writing has really touched a nerve with me, in a very deep and secret place that I don’t often show. You’re very brave to put yourself out there so openly, to share your story and hopefully help others. I think I understand your brilliant smile now: it’s because you’ve seen a piece of hell, and pulled yourself back to the light. You can’t help but smile.

Thank you.

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Chadae September 18, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Reading this left me with mixed feelings…not about YOU of course but about myself. I’m a year younger than you (actually my 25th is on Sunday) and I am STRUGGLING to lose weight. I am miserable. Seriously miserable. I see no hope in sight…I hate cutting out foods…to be honest I don’t know what to eat. Exercising is a pain because I feel like I get used to it too quickly or I just become frustrated. Like I said…I’m miserable :-( but reading your blog has made me feel a little better. I still go into a panic trying to figure out meals (and honestly trying to fit losing weight into my weird busy schedule) or what foods to pick out. I just don’t know any more…but again I feel a little better. So if you or anyone has any words of advice I would love it. I’m around 172 trying to get to 145 (or 140 at the least). I don’t want to yo-yo anymore…I want to just live my life again!

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Mary September 19, 2011 at 10:33 am

Wow, Andrea. This is so entirely what I needed to read today. I’ve put on almost 20 pounds in the past 6 months, after being desperately close to my goal this time last year AND working out every single morning. (I do still LOVE the workouts!) I need and want to regain my focus.

I’m already planning to start browsing your archives as my kids nap today. Thank you again for the inspiration.

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Amy September 22, 2011 at 9:39 am

I have never replied to a blog before but this was one of the most honestly beautiful things I have ever read. Thank you for sharing your journey.

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Tracy September 23, 2011 at 8:46 am

You are truly amazing! So much of what you have said resonates with me and like so many other people have said in their comments, I needed to read what you wrote. You are a true inspiration to so many. I find myself craving to read more of your writing… Thank you for sharing :)

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Michelle October 17, 2011 at 7:26 pm

This was beautiful. You described it all so perfectly. I have lost 76lbs and still have about 60 to lose to get where I want to be, and I have trouble sometimes accepting the thinner me, but this helped me understand that she made me who I am today and it makes me embrace who and am and was with much more ease, love and acceptance. Thank you.

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Jessamyn October 23, 2011 at 7:06 am

will you be my fairy godmother?

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Shannon November 3, 2011 at 7:12 am

I stumbled upon your blog last night and I just wanted to say that you and your writing are so beautiful. Your writing is very poetic and moving. Thank you for sharing your life and your journey with the world, it is truly inspiring!

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Danielle Esparza November 3, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Absolutely beautiful. Nothing more to say.

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Emma November 9, 2011 at 6:43 am

This really resonated with me, thank you.

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Colleen November 10, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Love love love -where’s the book???

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Jamie November 11, 2011 at 10:22 am

I just wanted to say this is such an inspiration to read, wow!

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Lindsay November 12, 2011 at 10:19 pm

I cried while reading this. Being overweight since the third grade has made me think and do things to myself that I shouldn’t. I’m always trying to push that part of me to the side, longing for people to not see the fat, but to see me. It wasn’t even until I turned 20 that I thought I was beautiful in any way or had anything to offer…and though I say I cried when I read this, and am still crying now, your words gave me comfort tonight. Thank you.

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Mari November 13, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I could live and die by what you’ve written. I LOVE the hell out of the fact that you did all of this without becoming obsessed with the gym. You sound real- and that’s better than anything else. I want to say good for you, but that’s not a big enough accolade for what you did, and still do.

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Courtney November 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Were we separated at birth??? Honestly, this is my history coming through your pen..or keyboard. I have never heard anyone describe the journey so honestly as you have, or so close to my own feelings about it. Thank you for sharing this.

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Dawna November 15, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I ditto Courtney. It sounds like you’re the author of my life! Thank you.

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Emese November 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm

You are a great personality and a great writer. There are many weight loss blogs and stories out there, but yours is truly inspiring and beautiful. This is my favorite post, because you have captured so well the fact, that no matter if fat or skinny, it really is the person who matters at the end…Beautiful and inspiring thought. I truly like you, though I don’t know you. Oh, and you look gorgeous. You were gorgeous 135 lbs bigger too. :)

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Spenser November 22, 2011 at 11:52 am

WOW! This. is. me! I am 24 yrs. old and 270 lbs. I have worked hard to lose just 10 lbs so far. It is such a struggle but I agree with every word you just said! I have come to love who I am no matter what! Thank you for this piece of encouragement I so desperately needed!

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Jenna November 23, 2011 at 6:55 am

I just found your blog on pinterest and decided to take a look. You are honestly an inspiration to anyone and everyone! Thank you! I have about 10 pounds I need to lose and this just helped me get up, get dressed, and pack my gym back. You are a very strong person and I’m happy that you decided to share your journey through a blog. Thanks again :)

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Cassia Zoe November 24, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I read your exercise history (I found my exercise love and it is running) and I read this and this one made me weep. I am 39. I have about 45 pounds to lose. I just stopped fighting the battle to feel as if I am “enough” and realized that I already AM. It was a huge relief. Reading this made me feel like there is someone who really understands. I do not think that I was ready to be thin before now. I have lost 10 lbs. already and am proud of that. I have a long way to go internally and externally, but the journey no longer feels like a burden, it feels like a blessing strewn with lessons to make me stronger, just like every part of the journey has until now. Thank you so much for sharing this, for being so real, so touchingly lovely and for showing me a new dimension to loving myself.

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Traci November 28, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Really, you had to make me cry? My first time on your site? How rude. lol I clicked on a link to your buffalo chicken roll recipe, and the next thing I know, I’m bawling my eyes out, seeing parts of me in your story, and knowing that my journey is just beginning. I was slim growing up, never even thought about my weight until I got married and started having kids. But somewhere along that uphill trail as I gained weight, I actually learned how to make myself be heard and seen for who I am. So I completely get what you mean by not trading it or hiding what you used to look like. Our lives and actions shape us, inside and out! Thanks for giving me some encouragement I really needed today. <3 But next time, warn me before you make me cry. :)

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Susan November 29, 2011 at 5:13 am

Part 3 was just a delight to read.

I would really like to see a Part 4 addressing the differences in the way others interact with you after weight loss.

I found it insulting that people made such a big deal about how I looked after I reached my goal weight. I would think to myself, “I just lost weight. I haven’t found a cure for cancer. I’m the same person I always was.” And the endless stupid questions. How much did you lose? How did you do it? How does it feel? What does your husband think about having such a sexy looking wife?

It made me very self conscious. I felt like I was on display. I kind of missed being “invisible”.

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Tara November 29, 2011 at 8:13 am

It’s amazing how similar our thoughts are! I have lost 110 pounds over a period of 3 years. I started this journey during my junior year in college. I know what it feels like to be stared at when you walk into a room with all your skinny, beautiful friends. People who act like they’re my best friend now wouldn’t even speak to me back then. I used to always think that everything would be perfect if I could just lose weight. I found out that it isn’t true. Yes, many things have improved. Yes, I do feel a million times better physically and emotionally. But at the same time, I am thankful for my struggle. When you go your whole life not being able to rely on your looks, it allows you to focus on developing a winning personality. And it made me realize that no matter how beautiful you are on the outside, none of that matters if you’re rotten on the inside. Thank you for sharing your journey with the world. You are truly an inspiration.

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Brianna November 29, 2011 at 12:42 pm

What an inspirational story you have here.. I have a dietician (sp?) currently, due to health issues that came up.. because of my weight gain. I’m borderline diabetic just because of the weight I’ve gained, but anyways my dietician told me about your blog and I’m just insanely inspired. I do however, have a few questions for you. First off, where did the extra skin go? Because I have a bit of it.. and Second, how’d you get rid of the stretch marks, (if you did), because mine are deep and purple. But on a positive note, I’ve been eating better and taking dance classes (as my exercise) for two weeks now and have lost a whole SIX pounds which is crazily motivating!! Thank you for your story!!

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Laura December 1, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Wow. I’m bawling reading these posts in succession. I am a big girl, and have been for a long time. I have this sad feeling that I’m betraying the big person I have been all these years by losing weight. I’ve felt rejected so much, that I don’t want to tell this self that she is not good enough, and reject her once more. Your story is so empowering, and you are a godsend in your beautiful voice and perspective. Thank you!

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Emily December 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Wow, can I say amazing?! You go girl!

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Heather December 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Thank you for this. I work with teenaged girls, and their attitude toward weight and food is often very unhealthy. Thank you for publicly honoring yourself at all weights, for loving your past as much as your present and future, and for focusing, not JUST on the weight loss, but on the unhealthy behaviors that kept you heavier.

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Andrea December 2, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Your words push me to my truths. You help me live one more day, even better than the last. My perspective has now changed.

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Hannah December 3, 2011 at 10:03 pm

This has me in tears. It’s just so easy to relate to, but at the same time I don’t see how you look so positively at the past 20 years of your life. I wish I could. I’m 18 years old- I look at pictures of the past 10 years of my life, pictures that used to make me laugh and brought back some of my best memories, and all I see is how over weight I was. I contemplated throwing them away time and time again, but I convince myself that one day I’ll appreciate those memories. For right now, they simply disgust me.

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melissa December 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm

thank you…just thank you

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Nora December 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Amazing and so inspirational! Glad I found your blog!

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HR December 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I appreciate this. I am trying to appreciate it more than I am envious of it, more than I wish I could say it all. I felt this way once. Once, I lost around 75 lbs. I felt amazing. And over the past year, I have watched the size of my jeans creep slowly upward. And all I can think most of the time : how did you let this happen again? Knowing what you know, how could you?

Those who have not been where we have been don’t understand what a difficult psychological battle it is, or how it is so relentless. And I’m trying to find that balance again– where I no longer feel so awful for eating a carb and too stressed out by counting calories. I love that you have found it and you have not let it go. I’ll be coming back regularly, just for the reminders.

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Jennifer December 6, 2011 at 8:17 am

Reading your story is so inspiring. I started my journey to shed the extra pounds about 11 months ago. So far I’ve lost 90lbs (out of 130) & I have never looked at my weight loss like I am now after reading everything you’ve written. You’re an amazing writer & I can’t wait to read more :)

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Jennifer December 6, 2011 at 10:36 am

I had tears in my eyes reading this – you hit the nail on the head! I am 38 years old, and have struggled with this my entire life – until recently. I have lost 85 pounds, and have 60 more to go to reach my goal. You have successfully written about every emotion that I am feeling now, before I even get to where I want to be. You are an amazing inspiration to so many!

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Mariah December 9, 2011 at 8:00 pm

What an inspirational person you are. You are truly amazing. Your words are so deep, beautiful, and they touched me to my core. I really hope that I can be as positive as you are one day, and really see all the beauty in myself, fat or not. I especially loved part 3. Thank you for sharing your journey, and story, with the world.

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Savanna December 13, 2011 at 7:27 pm

I’m 19 years old and in the past year have lost over 60 pounds.. This just brought me to tears. You’ve said everything that I’ve not been able to find the words for, and for that I thank you.

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Jennifer December 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm

I just found your blog – I am in awe. I lived more than 30 years overweight (with a few attempts at extreme diets), but during the last 15 months, I have lost 99 pounds. Not so much a diet, I have just changed the way I eat – I cut my portions by 1/3, and then, about 35 lbs in, a friend suggested I get moving, and I have. I found your blog because of your running post, and I found it so interesting. I have been so scared to stop running. I am so afraid if I don’t exercise constantly, the weight will come back. It will take me a few days to get through your blog, I’m sure, but as a fellow foodie, I know that I’ve found a place that I can definitely relate to! Thank you so much for sharing your journey!

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sarah solkema December 20, 2011 at 10:15 pm

what an incredibly articulate and ever so true story. i am struggling to lose over 100 lbs myself and you have put into words what races inside me daily. you are an amazing, beautiful soul. thank you.

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Joyce Johnston December 22, 2011 at 5:47 am

Thanks for writing this. It was an awesome read

Part of it sounded like I had written it LOL

Keep up the good work
Enjoy life

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Lisa December 23, 2011 at 10:58 am

Congratulations! I was overweight for a long time, and shedding the weight was one of my biggest accomplishments. It’s hard though – every day I have to remember I can’t eat whatever I want. I have to stop myself from reaching for that chocolate bar. It’s been 4 years and I keep track every day, every week, to keep the weight off. But pulling on that size 5 feels good every time.

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Sarah December 26, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Absolutely beautifully written. I felt like crying because certain parts of this touched me to the core. Thank you for sharing this.

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lisa December 29, 2011 at 3:42 pm

“Maybe because my heart has ripped, and lost pieces, and still has visible stretch marks and sewn seams, my character will be ultimately more resilient.”
This spoke to me.

I’m looking at 120 lbs to lose and am feeling completely overwhelmed. Thanks for some perspective.

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Kelly December 30, 2011 at 11:30 pm

You are absolutely wise beyond your years… I believe that God gave you that body and those struggles to mold you into an inspirational leader and a voice to those who may not know, or have forgotten how to get out of that prison. I’m the girl that forgot how to get out. I’ve been out… free as a bird at age 22…trapped again at 30. I’ve loved life and that fearless feeling of being content mind, body and soul. I was still missing something. I had a rough upbringing and I wanted so desperately to find my mate and start my family of my own. I did both and still had more struggles. I found everything i was missing +60lbs… + more pain. I found that girl I had struggled so long to realize was me, and loved both sides… and then in a string of bad circumstances I let her drift away. My marriage was challenged (not by the weight but other life issues) and my God-given dream to be a mom was put to the test. I felt inadequate and worthless, like my daughter deserved someone with less problems and I should give her away to someone who could care for her better. It’s crazy the thoughts we have when we are desperate and struggling… even more when we lose our best self… yet it’s what has kept me holding on… that promise of a life I enjoyed living beyond weight and circumstances. It seems that God uses the paralyzing situations to teach me the most… paralyzed at my highest weight after knowing the life of having those pounds off my body. I know that in life I accomplish so much more without those added pounds of emotional baggage and the physical strains that feel like a prison. Tying your shoes, squeezing into jeans, finding the right outfits and not thinking my feet look like toothpicks in heels with this overwhelming body on top. It’s awful to go back… and it’s even harder to find the way when you let it slip away. I learned the life lesson and kept it all… my marriage is healing and my daughter is the absolute greatest gift I’ve ever been blessed to receive. Four long years of pain and life lessons and I’ve been ready to go back to the girl that loved her body too. I miss the body that could walk a mile in my shoes and not feel the way I feel lately. It’s such a struggle to feel like her on the inside and carry the weight outside. I really just need to make time for her… plan time for my other self. I miss her and she misses me. A friend told me about your site and I’m soooo inspired. Girl, you are amazing!!! I know both sides, just like you do… and I’m happy to say that I love this me, but my clothes don’t… my spirit is screaming for me to get out… and my clothes always speak louder than than any voice! haha I’m looking forward to keeping tabs on this blog and I will share my journey if you wish to see it. Thank you so much for being a voice. Your words are so loud and clear… I know what I need to do, but I’m so grateful that you shared your inspiring story. It motivated me more than anything I’ve seen in years!

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Heather Dowd January 8, 2012 at 11:47 am

Your story brought tears to my eyes. I felt like I was reading my story!

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Laura January 2, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Hi. You’re AWESOME. Awesome, awesome, awesome! Idk how much I weigh (I don’t own a scale, for obvious reasons), but at my heaviest(when I was 9 months pregnant, mind you), I was pushing 260. I’m betting I’m somewhere around 230 now. I am very much like you: I know HOW to lose weight. I know how to eat healthy. I lost 15 lbs. once on Weight Watchers (and working out). But then, like everything, I lost my resolve. Your blog is very inspiring!

I’m also 5’9″. Unlike you, I don’t have a tiny frame underneath. When I was slimmer, in high school (I say slimmER, I was never skinny or thin), I was 150ish. I can’t expect to look like a 15-year-old again, obviously. If I lost “the weight”, I’d be somewhere between 150-170.

The blog about maintaining, and not having to jog every day and kill yourself, is very encouraging! I am SOOOOOOOO lazy. I do like walking, love yoga, and swimming, and lots of other activities. But really. So lazy. It would be a BIG change for me to be active every day. But…heart disease, diabetes…not something I want in my near future. Especially b/c I have a child, and plan on having more soon! I want to be a good example, and give them the best start I can, too, so they can be healthy.

If I shortened this up a bit, I just want to say, Thank you for your amazing weight loss, and this inspiring blog. It touches on ALL the “issues”, not just, this is how I did it, see how amazing I am.

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Angie January 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm

WOW, that blew me away. Way to go. Your thinking is beautiful.

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Sara Simmons January 8, 2012 at 4:51 am

Beautifully written. You go girl!!

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Sarah Watts January 8, 2012 at 9:01 am

I stumbled on your website from a link on Pinterest! Bravo girl! Your accomplishments are amazing! I’m looking forward to following along!!

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Angie January 10, 2012 at 6:29 am

Wow… I never thought an article about weight loss could make me tear up like this. Well said, Andie!

I “struggle” with my weight, but have never been obese. As with many women, I gained quite a bit of weight in my pregnancies. I am trying to loose about 20 pounds, which will bring me to my “ideal” healthy weight… at least according to Wii Fit. :-)

Thank you for the encouraging words — not only in the area of weight loss, but in the area of seeing ourselves and others in a healthy light… about keeping all things in perspective and loving ourselves and others for the right reasons.

You were an encouragement to me today.

Angie

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Megan McCoy January 10, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I think finding your blog is going to be a crucial part in my journey to making myself better. You are my motivation. Thank you for sharing your story and for changing my life.

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Paula January 11, 2012 at 7:17 pm

This story is truly a great story and inspiration for some of us who have those extra lbs to lose. The exact same thoughts about dresses, high heels etc.. now how to start…thank you for sharing your journey to a healthier life.

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Lisa Gatz January 12, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Again, you have an amazing outlook. I love that you embrace yourself and recognize that you’re not a different person than you were. You’re beautiful at any weight. I have adapted the way that I communicate with people like any fat person does: I compensate. I have also used it as a barrier so that people, men especially, wouldn’t see me. It was much safer. I want to be ready to take the next step but don’t believe in myself. And I’m going to be 50 in April!
Bless you.
Lisa

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Becca January 18, 2012 at 1:46 pm

This is so beautiful. Your journey is very incredible. I’m wishing for change, but I agree – I don’t want to lose who I have been for as long as I have known. Thank you for helping me see that it is okay to be both. To embrace both.

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Erika January 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm

My friend and I were talking the other day and I mentioned to her how I recently lost all the weight I gained during depression. She said to me:

“you weren’t trying to lose the weight, you were trying to lose the hurt.”

It’s the only thing that’s made sense to me in the past 8 years of gaining and 2 of yoyoing and finally losing (fingers crossed) for good. I thought it might help someone here too.

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admin January 22, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I adore this quote. Thank you.
Andie

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Melly January 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Well written, thoughtful and sincere. I was really touched. I sit in my current unhealthy state and think “this isn’t me, this isn’t who I am” but it is me. This has offered me a very fresh perspective. Thank you.

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Melissa Rodrigues January 25, 2012 at 8:34 am

Your story is truly inspiring! I had tears filling my eyes while reading this. Thank you for being so open with how you felt, and feel. Also, you recipes sound delicious i just got done copying and pasting a ton! ha Going to plan some meals off of them for sure. Oh, i don’t remember for sure if you said you were from Seattle, Wa? Cause if so thats funny cause i’m from Vancouver, Wa. Anyways.. God Bless. :)

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Laurel January 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm

This is so beautifully written. I am new to your blog and I can’t stop reading it. It’s wonderful and inspirational. Thank you, Andie. I can’t wait to read your book.

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Debbie January 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I just found this..due to finding a recipe. So I stayed to read…and boy, I really needed to read this today. Thank you for your view!

I have never heard anyone talk of the value of the ‘life before THIN’! We all hear about the horror stories of being FAT! I love your picture of the whole picture! Why do we always just think we are ‘not good enough’? no thin enough? pretty enough? not ENOUGH?

I have lost 90+ lbs but I struggle with the thoughts of when have I lost enough?…will I ever be ‘enough’..perfect enough? Will this change make me ‘alright’? So I love your words!

Thank you! I will stop by again! Your words are powerful!

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Amanda January 31, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Thanks to pinterst I found your wesbite, and like the other’s can’t stop reading. The part 2 really got to me as I could relate to ever word. However, at this time, I still feel those things and can’t wait not to know what it is not to have chaffing and not to worry about fitting in a booth at a resturant. I’m toward the beginning of my weight loss journey, but for many years I didn’t think I could do it. It took me 29 years to realize I’m worth being healthy and having many more years to live. The good thing is that this time it’s different and I know I will get there one day at a time. I’m happy to read more about your journey to help me stay motivate.
Thanks

Amanda

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megan February 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Wow…you are fantastic writer. I stumbled upon your blog while looking at a photo on Pinterest. I started to read tour blog and you just sucked me right in! Your honesty is refreshing. :)

Megan

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Rachel February 20, 2012 at 11:14 am

Thank you so much for your story. I bookmarked it so I can come back again and again to help myself find the strength I need to complete my journey.

I couldn’t have said it better – “Some of it meant that I developed a personality first.”

Thank you. Thank you.

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Laurie February 26, 2012 at 5:51 pm

I too found you thanks to Pinterest and stayed to read your amazing story and now I’m not leaving!! You are so inspiring. What a great person you are for sharing your story and giving hope to all. I have walked for along time and always thought about jogging…weather pending tomorrow I try jogging for the first time :)

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Colby March 23, 2012 at 7:55 am

I have to agree with everyone that has already commented.. you are seriously the best blogger I have ever read. I can just feel your sincerity and realness in every word. You are truly an inspiration. You help me realize that this is a battle against weight loss can be won, and does not have to be as hard as I make it out to be. I love your perspective on life, and how you view yourself with or without 135 pounds. Your story is absolutely amazing! I know I don’t know you, but I can tell you are an amazingly beautiful person inside and out! Thanks so much for sharing!!

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Ashley March 28, 2012 at 2:23 pm

This “Part 3″ brought a tear to my eye. I feel the same way about the past, wanting to forget, forget being fat, feel like that part of life was wasted. I love love love your writing, I feel like I am going through the same stuggles that you have/are. Reading your stories makes me feel like someone truly understands what it is like for someone like me who has been overweight most of my life. When I find myself doubting that I will be able to change my life for the better, reading your blog gives me strength. You give me hope that it is possible. Thank You!

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Judy Jergins April 1, 2012 at 8:52 am

Thank you sweet angel. I have learned that, although I have never been what you’d call fat, in fact my largest weight has only been 140 lbs, but I do know misery and self defeat. They have been frequent friends of mine for a great deal of my life. Alwas feeling less than, no matter how pretty, sweet or whatever adjectives people consider compliments were said in cunjunction with my name. Big, skinny, not pretty, beautiful, funny, boring, drunk, sober, quiet, the life of the party. What matters is, do I love myself and the answer to that was often times NO! Reading your blog has made me see that our lives are all filled with the good and the bad. We are all of it and it is really o-k. Thank you for holding a mirror up in front of myself. We can be whoever we want to be but the most important thing is to be the best “you” you can be, satisfied with my self no matter what. You deserve a big huge hug for your honesty, unselfishness, the sharing of your journey. I happened upon your blog on Pinterest somehow in persuit of the perfect curly hairstyle for a 59 yearold woman, that would be me! Dear child, you have taught me to love myself no matter what…..today.

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Leila April 4, 2012 at 7:50 pm

You are amazing, thank you for sharing!

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donkaminor April 21, 2012 at 8:33 am

I’ve meet you through your thaï tofu recipe. I made it last sunday and all my family just loved it. It’s now in my recipe book. thanks for that.

I then thought, let’s see other recipes and there i see that you’re sharing a part of your story.
I’ve read it and had to tell you how great your writting is, in what a beautifull, simple way you say things.

Thanks for sharing with me, with us.

Donkaminor from Mauritius

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Brit April 25, 2012 at 7:28 am

I am reading this thinking, this is what I want. Exactly what I want. But like you, I have spent my 25 years on this earth either losing weight or gaining it. I’ve never been anything but fat. I have set forth to reach my goal hundreds of time, and always fail. I can’t see the hole I’m trying to fill with food? Did you always know there was a void you were shoving pizza into? I just really like food and like you said, an abundance. Did the realization of a void come later? I hope one day I can have a story like yours. I’m tired of my story being all “wah wah” and no “YAY!”

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Nina April 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Wow, what an inspiration you are!! Congrats on all your success, hard work truly pays off and you are a great example of that. =)

PS, you look great!

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suzanne May 5, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I found you thru Pinterest as well…..wow, you sure know how to write well…and identify so many things that are deep inside. I so admire that about you! I hope you are planning to write a book……just compile the blog and you’d have a best-seller!! Truly!
Thanks for the inspiration!
Suzanne

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suzanne May 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm

okay, just finished reading current posts to see that you are indeed writing a book!! Hooray. I will enjoy reading it!!! Congrats on your progress!

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Melody Wilkerson May 7, 2012 at 10:22 am

You write beautifully. You are inspiring. I will encourage my daughters to read your blog. I truly enjoyed your journey. God Bless You, Melody.

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Lou May 10, 2012 at 6:18 am

I loved your What i miss from 135 pounds post. I haven’t been able to successfully lose and keep off my weight. I need to lose 70 lbs. Reading this post got me teary eyed, because weight loss IS bittersweet, you do miss some things and definitely do not miss others. Your journey has been lovely. Thanks for sharing.

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Benjamin May 16, 2012 at 2:03 pm

What an amazing perspective on the first 20 years of your life as a big girl. Maybe if I had the right perspective with the way I am now as a big guy maybe weight loss would be easier and more rewarding. Thank you.

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kelly May 24, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Beautifully written and insightful… and deeply true… thank you!

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Amanda May 29, 2012 at 1:00 am

I just wanted to say “Thank you!” for this blog. I just started my weight loss journey. 2 years ago I was diagnosed w/ diabetes. I tried to do the right thing for about 6 months and then I got so fed up that I decided I would eat everything in the world and if I died – then so be it! Then several months ago, I got a call from my doctor in response to an insanely high A1c test result and she said “this is your life…” – that’s it. That simple sentence and I felt the need to not destroy myself. I started out at 312 and have lost 28 lbs to date. I ran on the small weight loss high for a bit, but noticed the last couple days I had started not caring again and wanting more than anything to eat a whole cheesecake…. or alfredo.. yeah – a whole cheesecake w/ a skillet full of fettucini alfredo. Then while searching for somewhat healthy recipes to try to force myself to continue down the path of healthiness – I found your blog via pinterest. It has served as a reminder, as a small subtle push back to being content with making these changes to my life. Again, thank you, for sharing your story that sounds so much like mine. Seeing someone write it out from my side of the roller coaster has helped refuel my motivation.

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Kimberley June 1, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Wow! I just found your website. “What I Miss…” is so beautifully written and expressed. I’m just learning at 42 what you figured out at 20. Good for you! Thank you for sharing your story and your words.

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Alyssa June 3, 2012 at 9:28 am

I have read everything you wrote from your about me to your what i miss from 135LBS.. I am 268LBS right now… My life has never been easy i lived with abuse physical and emotional. I had always been told that i was nothing and will always be nothing, that i was fat and worthless and i would never amount to anything…. I have lived with the mentality for my whole life. I am 21 and have two kids and have been married for 4 year. My husband is in the US Army and currently deployed. He has devoted his life to me and his boys, he tells me how beautiful i am how much he loves me day in and day out!!! But i am unable to see what he sees…. Everything that you said lays so heavily on me because it is how i feel right now…. I wonder if i will ever be truly happy with who i am and what i look like. Or if there is even a possibility that i could ever be 135LBS light…. I know that you hear all the time that you inspire people and help them see the light, but i admire your honesty and braveness to share your life… You have given me something that no one in this life has given me to this day… and that FAITH.. You have inspired me to fight for myself and not worry about the possibility of it being unrealistic… You have filled me with possibilities and optimism, and for that I THANK YOU!!!!!

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Tracey June 4, 2012 at 8:23 am

Wow.

What beautiful writing, what a powerful soul. You are an instrument for change. Thank you for sharing, and sharing.

Much love to all those struggling to come an understanding with food and exercise. You’ve come to the right place for inspiration! I know I feel it!

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Raven June 4, 2012 at 10:15 pm

A Rainbow, called by God’s command…
The painter’s brush, it’s in His hand…
He makes one stroke, so perfectly…
Life’s much like that, if we could see…

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Neha June 9, 2012 at 11:34 am

Thank you for this : )

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Diana June 12, 2012 at 10:16 pm

I absolutely love, love, love the way you have put all of your life into perspective. I have several friends who lost quite a bit of weight as well & sadly they have become so self absorbed. I am overweight (never felt/feel comfortable calling myself fat) & as most do, I have my ups & downs. But anyway :) the thing I can so relate to are these sentences.

“Some of it meant that I developed a personality first.

A sense of humor before a sense of entitlement.

Empathy before ego.”

WTG on your weight loss but more so on the ability to not lose sight of who you are!

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David June 21, 2012 at 6:11 am

I just discovered this blog and this post and want to say: Thank you for putting my feelings into words. This is exactly how I feel about my fat self. He will always be a part of me.

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Kaitlin June 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your story. You so eloquently put into words what I have been feeling for so long. I’ve been heavy my entire life and I’m on a weight loss journey myself. Your blog has given me the inspiration whenever I’m feeling like I can’t reach my goal. I just wanted you to know how much your story has inspired me, thank you!!!

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Dee June 29, 2012 at 10:24 am

love your recipes and posts, i want to follow them for encouragement and weight loss, thank God for creating you and putting you on this earth to encourage others and thanks for your beautiful transparency, awesome !

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Priscilla Mcconnell June 30, 2012 at 7:09 pm

So so beautiful… both you and your story. Although I didn’t spend 20 years overweight, I know the feelings you described so perfectly. I always say the same thing as you- I’ve always been me. Seems obvious but a lot of times people (like you said) disregard the before-the-weight-loss life. I gained 100 lbs when I was pregnant and my body was forever changed. I’ve since lost the weight although my body will never be the same. Like you, I gained a new perspective. I know it wasn’t in vain. I learned that no matter how others perceive me I’m always “everything I’ve always been”. Love that quote from you! I’ve learned humility, selflessness and what it truly means to be beautiful. I can tell you have that down as well. Loved reading this. My heart is glad that you didn’t necessarily find yourself, but you intuitively know you’ve always been you and the good, the bad and the ugly are all part of the journey…

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Yunaleska July 5, 2012 at 12:03 am

I am crying, and i dont think I can stop. This is the most beautifully written blog I have ever come across in the entire web! So filled with emotion and wisdom. Your words are so powerful, and your thoughts so inspiring and life changing. You are amazing!

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-S July 6, 2012 at 10:43 am

Wow! Very inspiring! I had tears reading all three parts of this blog..it is beautiful and very touching.

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Marcia Keen Townsend July 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Andie, congratulations and thank you for sharing your adventures. In the past several years I have lost myself…you are exactly right…If you are not happy and at peace with yourself nothing will make your happy. I am very appreciative for your comments and will continue to follow your blog. I too need to get a grip and lose 80+ pounds and find who I am once again. Take care and God bless you.

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Noel Brannum July 10, 2012 at 9:27 am

With tears in my eyes I want to thank for for sharing your life and the perspective you have of it. You have helped me more than you will ever know!!!! Thanks and my God hold you in the palm of his hand!!

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Amanda July 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Thank you. So much. I am embarking on a weight loss journey myself but I am struggling with that because truthfully, I am happy. I know that being 5’4″ and weighting 190 pounds is not healthy, but I am happy. I love the vulnerability you showed in saying that you don’t want to look back on your 20 years with regret. I don’t either. Thank you for being so inspiring, both with you weightloss, but more so with your knowledge that it is not what life is all about.

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Haley July 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm

I am beginning my quest for a healthier life and came across your blog. I’m very inspired by the way you have been transparent about who you are and how you’ve gotten to where you are. I am about the same size you were when you started your journey and only pray that in 5 years I can look back and reflect as you are doing.

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Ashley July 11, 2012 at 7:24 pm

I don’t think I’ve ever read something that literally describes every feeling and thought that I have ever had. My story is basically the same, different background no doubt. I’m still fighting it, I know I’ll have to everyday. Just kudos to you! Damn fine job!

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Jessica July 12, 2012 at 7:54 am

You hit the nail on the head- it’s you all along. I have struggled with my weight for years, and I know I always will. I’ve recently lost 20 of my 40 lb weight loss goal and I’ve been losing track of my progress focusing instead on what’s to come. “Oh my gosh I’ve still got 20 pounds to go” I need to keep thinking, “Oh my gosh, I’ve lost 20 pounds!!” I too thought losing weight would make everything OK, I’ve been fat and I’ve been thin and I’m still here just the same. I think it’s important for people to realize that nothing is going to get better from the outside just by losing weight- it all comes from within and you have to be happy with yourself 100% of the time!

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Kristine J. Trudeau July 13, 2012 at 4:37 am

I found you on Pinterest and am so glad I did. I just turned 60 and I’m tipping the scale at 243#, dropped from 275# about a year ago. I can say that I’ve been thin maybe 4 years (not consecutively) in my entire life. There’s not a day that goes by that I’ve hated my weight and my self. Your blog just woke me up to the fact that I need to come to terms with who I am in this body, so I can get on with what little life I have left. Only then will I be able to release this weight that I’ve been hiding in. Food has been my escape, my friend, and my excuse. But there’s another side of me that “wishes” I could leave this fat jail and see something else besides pity or disgust when people look at me. Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration and the kick in the pants I needed. Kris

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Carla July 16, 2012 at 6:01 am

Thank you for writing so eloquently what I know many of us feel. Lacing up my running shoes right now to unleash life again.

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Kelsey July 22, 2012 at 5:14 pm

You are insperational!

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Becki July 24, 2012 at 8:13 am

Wow! I stumbled upon this but needed it so badly! Thanks for sharing…it’s wonderful and I felt every single word!

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Jay July 26, 2012 at 9:19 am

I couldn’t stop reading your story. It is so beautifully written. It resounds with similarity to my own recovery story. The feeling of freedom is a wonderful thing and is not to be taken lightly. It must be nurtured in deep gratitude, as it comes across in your eloquence. Thank you for the hope you give and for the affirmation that deep self examination helps to bring us to ourselves and and eventually to health. You helped me today.

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Keke July 31, 2012 at 1:56 pm

OMG this has got to be the best blog I’ve ever read. I’ve gained so much insight and inspiration reading this. Now, I am going enjoy my JOURNEY to healthy and the lessons I learn along the the way. Thanks for sharing.

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Bobbi Lynn Peters August 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm

You are amazing….so wise beyond your years. Thank you, from the bottom of my being, for writing this blog. It is SO powerful and such a blessing.

You’re a beautiful spirit and I’m hooked on this blog! lol

:) <3

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Lynn August 14, 2012 at 9:16 am

Wow. I just finished reading all 3 parts and well, I’m bawling my eyes out. So brilliant, so beautifully expressed. I have not been heavy my whole life, but I have been for the past 10 years or so, and reading this is really, really powerful for me today.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and writing this blog. You are an old soul, and I mean that as a strong compliment – wise beyond your young years. I can’t wait to dive deeper in to what you have to say on this blog, and to seek out my own wisdom as I strike out on a more self-loving path. Thank you again!

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Elaine Morinelli August 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I just came across this article and related to it so deeply! I lost 125 pounds over the last eight years and I find myself constantly reminded of it. Now I can sit on the ground or a bench and pull my leg up to tie my shoe; now i can cross my arms across my chest and they will reach all the way around; it was so hard to buy clothes; i finally threw them all away after losing six sizes and me looking like an elephant in baggy pant; people, EVERYONE men and women, treats me differently. Why, I wonder? I truly do wonder. Why do women treat me differently?

Your article was profound. Thank yo.

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Lea August 29, 2012 at 11:38 am

Hi there lady Jane!
I loved stumbling on your blog, it’s been a long journey for me losing weight, I started like you when I was 20, and 5 years later I’m also down 135 lbs. I look back and I never get unhappy with what I see, I really treasure what happened when that photo was taken, rather than judge myself. I used to escape from my all of my problems with my family with food.
All in all, thank you for sharing your story, it relates a lot to mine, and darling you have always looked fantastic :)

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Elaine August 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Hello again – I get new comments in my mailbox and I just had to comment myself again.

I am 62 years old and I was fat my whole life. I weighed as much as 315 pounds and I’m 5’2″. Ten years ago, I had a very light heart attack that scared the you-know-what out of me. Although I was 52, my youngest was still in elementary school as we adopted her as older parents. When I looked into her eyes afterward, I knew I could not leave her. She would be shattered, to lose a mother after having lost a birthmother.

From that day forward it was like I was “clean and sober.” I went religiously to cardiac rehab. I went to the gym. I was scared to eat anything.

Ten years later, I am not “skinny” but I am down 125 pounds and now look average for an American woman my age. In other words, no one stares any more and I don’t worry about hiding anything that much.

As a young woman I had a lot of the thoughts you had in your original post, about developing a personality instead of a sense of entitlement. And I’m happy about that. But now, at 62, I just want a man to stare at my breasts once in a while. LOL

I. Will. Never. Go. Back. I simply cannot be that person any more. But she’s still here every day.

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Patsy Hodges September 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Wow! I just discovered your blog while searching Pinterest for recipes for my weight loss journey. I have 5 decades to look back on being obese and you have provided a different perspective. You are truly a gifted writer and put into words many of the thoughts that I have about the journey thus far. I wish you well in your continued quest to become you.

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Joanna September 18, 2012 at 10:32 pm

I was trying on clothes earlier this evening which, anyone who’s ever been 5’6″ and 212 pounds knows, is not fun. As I was trying things on and getting more discouraged and tryng to figure out how I let myself get this fat, something snapped. I’m 29 years old, and I love my life, but I hate my body. 30 by 30 popped in my head, and now I can’t wait to get started on the journey to 30! I have 25 weeks until the big 3-0, and I’ve always had this fear that if I don’t do it by 30, I never will. I know lots of people do, but minds are quirky sometimes. I was trying to decide how to keep myself on track, and I considered blogging about it, but I wanted to figure out exactly how to go about it. I googled “boog about weight loss”ands found your blog immediately. You are just the inspiration I needed. I absolutely love everything in this post. I realized that I truly love Everytging but my weight, and it’s time to make it happen. I’ll be spending lots of time here catching up on everything, and I look forward to your books! Congratulations on all your success!

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Joanna September 18, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Silly iPad! Sorry for the typos!

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Amy W. September 25, 2012 at 10:22 am

I just found your site and read these posts about what you miss from 135 lbs ago. And I cried. You are a wonderful writer and perfectly capture the love/hate part I struggle with. And to know that you accept both aspects of yourself and you’ve kept the weight off… You’re just an inspiration, thank you for these posts.

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Lynsey September 26, 2012 at 9:10 am

I just read your story and saw myself in every word. I’m a writer myself and admire your way with words. I don’t know how you got into my head and pulled out all my thoughts and fears and struggles when you wrote part 2 of this piece, but it was uncannily me. I’m in the midst of my own journey with weight loss. I’m slowly making progress, but it’s so hard not to fall into my old habits. Thanks for inspiring me to not only continue with what I’m doing, but push harder. In high school I was thin and felt beautiful, but a bad relationship and low self esteem left me with lots of baggage and I stopped caring about myself. I’m 60 lbs from my goal now. I’m a mom now too so excuses are easy to come by for not having “time” or “energy” to get things done. Still, I’m doing this now for my daughter more than anything. I want her to have a healthy relationship with food and not feel like throwing away her life is ok. Thanks again for speaking to me on such a meaningful level. You’re an inspiration.

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Ruthie September 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Thank you. Thank you ever so much. I am making my journey now too. You’ve given it more meaning. :)

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Amanda October 28, 2012 at 4:49 am

Thank you! I’ve been at a battle tryin
g to lose weight for years. People making fun of me, telling me i was fat. but, thank you for the encouragement. i see now that it can really be done.

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Vanesa November 2, 2012 at 10:23 am

Hi,
I’ve been reading your blog and I never leave comments like this but your story really moved me and I will make myself and my voice vulnerable because your way of sharing is so beautiful and inspiring. I am 22, I had anorexia and bulimia for years and have just recently learned what you talk about when you say the grass may appear greener on the other side but flowers grow here and there along with the weeds. I started crying because I really did love who I was when I was chubbier and it was a fear of missing out on life because I wasn’t thin enough that sent me too far. And when I got to skeletal I was still empty. I completely relate that happiness doesn’t equal being skinny. I am recovered and weigh a healthy weight and eat healthy (my discovery of your blog) and have a stronger sense of what to love about myself. Thank you. For your personality, your inspiration, and your beauty within.

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Kelly November 13, 2012 at 10:48 am

THANK YOU! This is outstanding and I am so happy to have found you. This is what I needed.

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Liz November 21, 2012 at 11:39 am

Andrea, You are amazing. This made me cry so hard. I lost my dad when I was 12 also(I am 26 now). I turned to bulimia and now know it was never about the food or weight for me. I am better now but have gained 10 pounds ( I know, that is nothing)but it is for me. Your blog is inspiring. I know if I lost 10 pounds and was a size 2 I would still find something wrong with it. I wish I could just be happy like you.

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Brittany November 21, 2012 at 11:38 pm

This is amazing. You write how I feel, only I am back at the beginning of my journey.
I come from the same place. I don’t hate my body, or my weight. It’s my past, my scars and my coping mechanism. I appreciate how it got me through tough times, how eating kept me away from doing worse things to my health and how It tells my story. It enabled me to feel everything. I can’t wait to know what the ‘thin’ me is like.

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Kiersten November 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I’m sitting here in tears, screaming in my head.. This is you. Your words are infectious, inspirational, and beautiful. I’ve been trying for so long to get into shape and lose weight, and I always feel as if there’s always an excuse of why I can’t.. I was too busy, or I didn’t feel well, but all it’s doing is hurting me. I feel like I don’t have the willpower to overcome losing weight. I want to love myself for the first time in my life.. but it just continues to be a struggle.

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Beth November 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Great post.

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Molly December 31, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I think you’re a great girl!

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Ashley January 21, 2013 at 9:48 am

Thank you for giving me hope today. Your story could easily be my story, and i feel like i can actually do something about my weight, I can live the life i’ve always dreamed of.

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Amanda February 7, 2013 at 9:41 am

Andie, you are such an inspiration. Thank you for your honesty. Food is such a love and hate relationship for me. I am trying to learn to appreciate it for the fuel it provides my body but, also not to take it to far to where I make myself feel guilty anytime I eat. It is such a thin line to walk. I just wanted to say thank you for your blog and recipes, they are a great help. Thank you Andie. :)

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Liz February 8, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Thank you for putting into words how I have felt all my life. Reading your story has given me a sense of freedom and validation. Thank you and please keep writing!

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Jessica February 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm

*tears not of sadness but of joy for you! I send you a great big hug and applaud that the girl you’ve always been will continue on in a brand new skin!!! What a journey and what a blessing that it has been an education! Thank you for sharing!

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Pam March 5, 2013 at 2:54 pm

You are such a wonderful writer!
Your words brought me to tears, as I’ve felt the way you do
so often in my 60+ years of being overweight.
Thank you for being so honest, and for saying it so well.

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Michele March 9, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Thank you.
You have made my journey just a bit easier.

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Kay Marie April 25, 2013 at 12:10 pm

This was a beautiful post. I went from being 232 lbs to 149 lbs (and counting down) over the course of about 4 years. I love the way you remember the time you were bigger with happiness. It’s true – I was big, but it wasn’t all bad – most of those times were happy for me too and I don’t want to forget that or mistreat my memories just because I happened to be in a bigger body at that time. I really want to appreciate every step of my journey because my bigger years helped my cultivate the personality I have now.

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becky April 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm

thank you so much for writing this it really spoke to me especially this post and what you siad in the previous section about waiting
best wishes becky x

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Marz May 1, 2013 at 5:28 pm

It is an amazing thing you’ve done, loosing that much weight and keeping it off so long. But I even more impressed by your writing. I’ve read so many blogs and I have to say yours is one of the most well written, most poetic ones I’ve read. You really have a way with words that really expresses the underlying emotions. I’ll definitely be looking for your books, and if you aren’t already writing for a ‘day job’, I’d recommend looking into it. It’s that good.

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simone May 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm

I wish i had read this years ago but reading it now has reduced me to tears. Its so beautiful and your words touch my soul because i feel how you used to feel. The constant up and down ride if gaining and loosing. Whenever i feel demotivated i know i will come back here and read your words again because they inspire me so much. Thankyou for shaaring that part of you.

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Pam June 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I love your prosaic way of relating your experiences/feelings around weight your weight issues and the resulting life/health changes. It is such a struggle. I have been a yo-yo dieter for the past 30 years losing 25 on WW, then 35 on Atkins etc. I feel like I have spent every day thinking about food. I am either thinking about how “bad” Im being, or what I need to do, or what to make, or what my next step should be, or Im justifying the latest indiscretion because Im stressed out or I’ll just eat light next meal. I realize recently that it is as much a psychological issue as a physical issue. To that extent I am going to try not to procrastinate any longer and reach out to a counselor for help. My health is at risk with a BMI of 32 so it can’t wait any longer. I will pray on it.

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Pati August 8, 2013 at 6:24 pm

You are an incredible writer.
In-credible!!
And all you did was amazing, and how you feel about it is even more amazing!

I read several parts of this blog, the exercise parts, all the weight loss and maintenance among others.

I really relate to how you feel now but also how you used to feel.
Except that I did the exact opposite that you did: I stopped eating.

You make me feel like sharing a part of my story here… so if you don’t mind.. :)

I was a chubby girl from 10 to 14, but not overweight at all. Just normal chubby.

Instead of ‘abandoning’ myself, I was always so hard on myself, in every aspect of my life, that I never knew what true happiness felt like. Never, not once. And I began being hard on my weight, from 14 to 15 years old, I lost 21 pounds, and went from 123 to 102.

Although I weighed 102 pounds (I’m 5’6) I would always look in the mirror and think I looked fat, chubby or fatter than the other girls, when actually everyone was so worried about me and my health. I hated everyone for that, but hated myself even more when I ate. So I chose to deal with hating other people, hating my friends who said that I was too skinny, hating my parents for telling me to eat and for watching me while eating, and hating all of my boyfriends from 15 to 21 (there were 3).

I don’t know exaclty when things changed, but they did. I started to notice that in fact I could eat, and exercise normally, and maintain a healthy weight, still considered thin (which is what I always wanted to be).

But I started to imagine what I had done to myself by not eating, all the nutrients I was deprived of, and I started fearing an awful disease or some other tragedy, and could no longer live a normal life. I got seriously depressed and anxious about my health.

I took me 2 years of counseling, a few anti-depressants, discovering healthy vegetables, a better job and getting engaged to overcome that depression.

And to feel FREE.

To be able to go on vacation, to gain weight, and then lose it.

To be able to imagine myself getting pregnant one day, putting on as much weight as I need to, and feel happy, feel pretty and loved. And then lose it later, or not all of it.

For many of us, food is intimately related to our emotions… for most of us really, since it is such a basic necessity…. But we really have to try and find a balance in this relationship, since it can be so important in other aspects of life too!!

I am definitely you fan. ;)

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kimlynn919@gmail.com October 15, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Wow! i heard about your website through myfitnesspal.com, decided to seek it out because it mentioned meal planning. You’re an inspiration!! I started at 263 and am trying to lose at least the 100 and try to go from there…I love that you feel so in tuned with yourself and it reminds me a little of me. I, however, decided to start after realizing my blood pressure was too high and getting scared that I’m 33 and if i don’t get my act together I won’t be around to watch my daughter grow and thrive. i want to be there for her and teach her to be healthy and have a healthy self esteem as well. Thank you for sharing your story!!

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Bekah November 30, 2013 at 12:47 am

I just cried. Such a beautiful story! I am 100 lbs overweight. I have just started my journey to losing it.. but honestly I think sometimes the thing that can hold me back, is knowing in the future, I may be complimented more, respected more, desired more… and that hurts. It will be the same me, the same heart and mind. I don’t want people to treat me different because of my size. But they will. I do believe that being this way has given me so much more empathy for those around me. I love how you shared that, and celebrated that. So glad I found this blog!

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Carly January 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm

I love everything about your story! What an inspiration!

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Aishah @ Coffee, Love, Health January 30, 2014 at 10:50 am

I can’t get enough of your blog. This is so beautifully written by a beautiful young lady- so inspiring!

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Sabra March 17, 2014 at 2:24 am

Andie, thank you so much for this post. You have put my struggles in the crazy space between the fat me and the thin me into words. I have very similar very cliche story life long big girls turns her life around and find the thin girl she always knew was waiting inside, the girl that played her in her dreams. I will say it took me over 3decades though and I do regret the wait. Now here I am the same person, minus 100lbs, that I have always been but the way I see the world and the way the world sees me are so foreign. People comment on how different I am but I often get the impression that the miss the soft round version and are secretly waiting till this phase is over. I miss her to sometimes I haven’t found my balance yet I only recently let myself share my success with others. I think people underestimate how much bravery it takes to be a success story. It makes it real and puts you right out in front of everyone to praise and judge, I’ve spent 34 years hiding in the back row of pictures so I was never in that spotlight. This post had me in tears because you never think when you make the commitment to lose weight that you will also be losing others parts of you that have protected and comforted you for your whole life. I’m infinitely proud of my journey and I think that the fat part of me that I had to say goodbye to is as well, may she rest in peace!!

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maureen March 20, 2014 at 6:28 pm

when is your book being published?

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Louise April 9, 2014 at 6:26 am

Such a down to earth and honest post. Not to mention you are gorgeous!
http://louiseplace.com

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