Putting My Mom on a Diet: Part 1

by Andie Mitchell on June 18, 2013

The first thing you have to ask yourself when putting your mom on a diet is a no-brainer:

Am I going to hell for this?


Once you’ve come to grips with the fact that yes, you are, indeed, headed south, it’s really only the logistics of the actual diet that will seem daunting.

I guess I should start by saying that my mom asked me to do this. But wait—no; let’s start over. The beginning.

For as long as I can remember, Mom has been overweight. “Thick” to use a modern word. At 5’7”, she’s classically pear-shaped—small throughout her upper body with wider hips and an ample bum. In her younger years—late teens and early twenties—she was naturally slim, one of those women who drank Coke and ate Ring Dings with seemingly little effect on her waistline. She modeled briefly before she had my brother and got married.  But then. The weight slowly crept on. She had me three months before her 30th birthday. And year after year, decade after decade, the pounds came, turning from two to five to ten to twenty.


Growing up, I can’t remember hearing her utter a word of dissatisfaction about her body, other than gripes about the varicose veins on her legs, which caused her pain. We didn’t own a scale, didn’t speak of diets, and, since Dad and I were both well beyond chubby, none of us would ever have shamed another for their fatness. I’ve always been quietly but abundantly grateful for that.

We loved food then as we love food now: a crazy lot. More than most, certainly. My mother is a woman who shipped our favorite White’s Bakery cake 3,000 miles across the country to celebrate my book deals when I lived in Seattle. (And this is her daughter, who ate that cake in spite of the good smashing it took in transit.) She eats whatever she wants, whenever she wants, and owns it. None of those guilty “oh I shouldn’t!” or “I’m being bad today” phrases tumble from her lips before she tucks into a brownie sundae. Mom’s spirited about food; she’s unabashed, and I love that. But all of this is not to say that she doesn’t have her own set of issues with eating. She uses food, admittedly, for a number of reasons unbound to hunger—for comfort, stress relief, fun, to quell boredom, and to stay awake at work, to name a few. On a very basic level, though, what I see in her eating is this: Mom uses food as the way she gives back to herself after she’s given all she has to everyone else. Food—the amount, the choice of what and when and where—it’s the only thing that’s hers and hers alone.

Only when I turned twelve—sixteen years ago—and I embarked on my first diet at the urging of my doctor, did Mom begin to talk about her own weight as something she’d consider changing. Since then, she’s lost weight two times—fifty pounds, about twelve years ago, which left her in the most glowingly confident state I’ve ever seen her, and twenty-ish pounds in the fall of 2011 for my brother’s wedding.


Now, she’s the heaviest she’s ever been, a place she tells me she thought she’d never find herself. She’s in constant back and joint pain (note that she does suffer from osteoarthritis); she’s tired all the time; she’s struggling with digestive issues. For the past three years, she’s had to buy a new set of clothing to accommodate her growing size. This summer, she said to me, “I just–I can’t do this to myself anymore.”

And for the most part, since I, too, once found myself so far from where I ever thought I could end up—the corner of 268 pounds and 20 years old—I get it. I won’t pretend to fully understand what it’s like to be 57-years-old and 210 pounds and married with 5 children, a dog, and 2 jobs, just as I’d never want to pretend to know how you, out there, are experiencing life. Acting as if I know the uniqueness of her particular situation would be naïve and, worse, patronizing. What I can do, though, is be compassionate, and loving, and kind. I can empathize with the struggle because I know it well. I don’t know her struggle—or at least, I don’t own it, can’t fight it for her—but I know the struggle as it exists in a greater sense; I know the sensation of hopelessness as it pertains to weight loss and if I can spare her anything in her journey, I hope it’s that.

The interesting thing about this journey I’m going to take with my mom—before I head off to Hell, anyway—is that I can share it here, with all of you. And, magically, Mom’s OK with that. The very idea to blog about it was hers. Her weight, her age, her photos, every last detail she’s signed off on with a blessing. “Francie, put it out there,” she told me.

It’s crucial to note that I’m not certified to be dispensing medical or nutritional advice. My only credential—all I can offer—is my own experience. Mom acknowledges that, and still, she feels comfortable with me as her guide. It’s also important to note that she met with her doctor recently and had a full work-up. Her doctor is now aware that she’s going to be making positive changes towards losing weight. To those of you reading, I ask that you please consult your own physician before beginning any sort of plan, let alone the one I’ll be sharing here for my mom.

The rest of this series will show not only what she’s eating (the plan) and drinking, but also how she’s handling all of the changes, physically and emotionally. She’s simply the most wonderful, generous, and vivid person, and I’m hopeful we’ll get her voice on here weekly for a check-in. You can trust that she’s as honest and outspoken as I am. Stay tuned.

So here we go. I’ve devised a [reasonable, livable, lovable] plan. She’s on it and we’re full steam ahead.



Meet Maryellen.

{ 107 comments… read them below or add one }

Silvia June 18, 2013 at 12:39 am

Can I just say how…awesome and spirited your Mom is?!! Go Maryellen!!! I, too, reached a point of disgust with myself. I really should lose 20 pounds, but am focused on 10. Size 12.

Thanks for letting us be a part of this/YOUR process of getting healthier (because you couldn’t be prettier!).

I do think that your Mom is more of an apple shape that pear shape. Seriously. Believe me, I know the difference.


DianeKay June 18, 2013 at 12:39 am

I want a daughter just like you – lucky mom you have.
I’ll be watching every step of the way -


Stephanie June 18, 2013 at 12:40 am

You have a beautiful mommy.


Diane @ Vintage Zest June 18, 2013 at 1:07 am

Good luck on your journey! Your kid has quite the story and I’m sure yours will be amazing, hard, and rewarding (not to mention well documented too!).


Monica June 18, 2013 at 1:26 am

I can’t wait to read about and see the results of this journey! Your Mom is beautiful!


The Hidden List June 18, 2013 at 1:42 am

I’m SO inspired by this! Cheers to Mom! She can do it and will encourage many others to do the same (many other = me)


Deborah June 18, 2013 at 4:21 am

You have a lovely looking mom. I really enjoyed this post. x


Lauren @ The Highlands Life June 18, 2013 at 5:58 am

This is so exciting. Your writing about your mom is just beautiful. A non-judgmental, caring story was just began and I cannot wait to follow and cheer her on from afar! She’s going to do great!


Cookie June 18, 2013 at 6:33 am

This is a wonderful journey for you both! You mom sounds a lot like me :) I really appreciate your insights into “why” she eats as I have been trying to figure out the same thing about myself. Your description that food is something “just for her to give back to herself” really opened my eyes … kind of had that “aha” moment. Thank you for this as I have been searching for an answer for a long time. Will be watching the journey … more power to you both!


Laura June 18, 2013 at 6:34 am

Go Mary Ellen! Can’t wait to see the progress and hear all about it.


Beverly hall June 18, 2013 at 6:43 am

I am about your mom’s age….I am struggling with the same issues….I look so forward to following her journey…and maybe trying to follow along with her…


diane June 18, 2013 at 7:38 am

I’m right there with you! I actually think I might have my daughter snap a picture of me as a ‘before’ and try to keep up with Maryellen. I’m the same age…weigh a bit more and have had the same ups and downs with my weight. Looks like there are quite a few of us out here!


michelle June 18, 2013 at 8:53 am

I’m 58 and know how hard it is to lose as you age. This will be interesting and I can’t wait to see the results.

Go Mom!!!


Allison Day June 18, 2013 at 6:47 am

Your mom sounds so wonderful. Just reading about her has put a huge smile on my face. ^_^


Erin B June 18, 2013 at 7:30 am

Best wishes to your mom!! It’s so easy to get into a weightloss routine, but sticking with it is the tough part!! I’ve lost 60+ pounds in a period of one year and still struggle sometimes. Making healthy choices has become just as easy as whipping through the drive thru at Wendy’s! Tell her to not give up-even when she has a bad day, and pick cheat days!! Those are my favorite! I cheat on my cheat days by choosing fruit instead of chocolate! Ha!


diane June 18, 2013 at 8:00 am

Dear Andie,
I hope you realize how inspirational this post is! I’m the same age as your mom, weigh a little more and have had the same ups and downs as she has. I am SO unbelievably happy to see this today and am encouraged by her confidence to put herself out there. I am going to try and work alongside your Mom to shed some of this weight. It’s nice to know that while I am trying…I’m not alone. Do you have any tips for going on vacation without going overboard? We will be at the ocean for 8 days (starting 6/28) and that has historically meant lots of fried fish and ice cream!
Does it sound silly to say that I’m actually excited about setting up a plan for once? Here’s hoping…
Thanks for sharing your Mom’s story and thank you for introducing us to Maryellen! Please let her know what an inspiration she is.


Nancy keefe June 18, 2013 at 8:03 am

Can’t wait to hear more. I wish you were here with me to inspire me. I will be following along with Mary Ellen on this journey…She is so brave to put it all out there….


Patricia June 18, 2013 at 8:10 am

I’m looking forward to following the progress and I can already see another book in this.


Janet June 18, 2013 at 8:17 am

I’m your mom’s age. Your body fights it! I’ve had some luck by adding pool walking and treadmill to the diet.


Frieda June 18, 2013 at 8:49 am

Yeah Maryellen :) soo awesome :)
Does she want to be my diet buddy? :)

Motivational greetings from Germany :)


Leslie June 18, 2013 at 8:52 am

What a gift you are giving your Mom and ya’ll can do it together. Being 51 and gaining 50 lbs in my 40′s I can relate. I am trying to get healthy as well and look forward to taking my journey with you both. Go Mom!


Brittany June 18, 2013 at 9:04 am

This is my first comment. I lost about 50 pounds a couple of years ago (after gaining it all after quitting smoking.) I would now consider myself athletic and at a healthy weight. Many people, understandably struggling with their own weight loss and addictions, and seeing my success, have looked to me for advice, and I always feel uncomfortable dispensing it. Who am I to say, that what worked for me, will work for you? Everyone is so unique in what motivates them, it’s so hard to pin down what will work for them. Although the basic formula is always the same (creating a calorie deficit) it’s so hard to execute that in a way or plan that works people on an individual level. And many people are looking for some kind of trick. If it wasn’t difficult, we’d all be healthy and in shape, I guess.
Enter my mother, who has struggled with her weight her entire adult life. When she came to me for advice, pleading for a diet and work out plan that would help her regain her health, I couldn’t say no, even though it made me uncomfortable. I spent a few hours writing up something simple, but very detailed, for her to follow. It’s hard, because we’re a few states away from each other, but I think with some encouragement and follow-up, she’ll figure out what works and what doesn’t, and hopefully get to a place where she is happy and healthy.
Just wanted to say, I sympathize with the whole “going to hell for putting your mom on a diet,” -feeling! It’s not a fun thing! Good luck to your Mom, and to you! I look forward to sharing her progress with my mom, as an inspiration for her to stick with it.


Betty June 18, 2013 at 9:04 am

I’m really excited about this journey you are both starting. I am 55 and about the same weight (plus 2 lbs) as Maryellen. I had a sister Mary Ellen who passed at 54 of a stroke, even though she was the “thin” one at 110 lbs. She lives on in these sort of connections, Andie. I have a daughter a little younger than you but just as devoted to her mom (lucky me!). She is my nutritional supporter, if not guide, so I really relate here. I am going to attempt to follow in your footsteps and match the progress. Wish us all luck!


Erin K June 18, 2013 at 9:04 am

This is a wonderful post, go Mary Ellen! I’m in a similar situation, my Mom says my weight loss (115 lbs years ago) inspired her. She’s recently lost 50 lbs and I am so proud of her – she’s 59. Isn’t it amazing how the world works? For years we’ve looked up to our Mothers and now they turn the tables and use us as inspiration. I am humbled by the experience. I can’t wait to see how life changing this is for your family.


Ariel June 18, 2013 at 9:06 am

Go Maryellen!!! Best of luck to her and you in your guidance :)


Arlene June 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

I look forward to the journey. Your Mom is just where I find myself. I got on board 3 weeks ago, and it is a slow go. But , going I am….

Bon temps, and push through the frustration and hunger!



Lanae June 18, 2013 at 9:51 am

Maryellen you are an inspiration following in your daughter’s footsteps. With such support and motivation you’ll do great and I wish you all the best. Andie as for going to Hell, honey I have news for you, there is a special seat for your in heaven so no worries there! Thank you for sharing your journey and now your Mom’s as you have no idea the impact it has on so many of us. XO


Corinne June 18, 2013 at 10:12 am

I think it’s wonderful that you’re Mom is trusting you to help her in this way. I think your mother & daughter bond will only deepen as you go through this journey together.
I can’t wait to see more! Your Mom is such a beautiful woman!


Anne Weber-Falk June 18, 2013 at 10:22 am

Nice to meet you Maryellen! I wish you well on your journey to better health and well being. I’m here for you. Peace, Anne Weber-Falk


J9 June 18, 2013 at 10:25 am

Good Luck, Maryellen! You can do it!


Barb R. June 18, 2013 at 10:45 am

Good luck Mary Ellen! 56 years here and also a pear shape like you. But I also have a lot more to lose than you. Lost 60 pounds over the last year. Another 100 to go. Taking it slow. Very much looking forward to following your story! Love your daughter’s blog, but it will be fun to see this from an older person’s viewpoint. Your life story is almost identical to mine.


Flavorseeker June 18, 2013 at 10:47 am

Love it!! Can’t wait to see your success! What a team!!! I love your mom’s smile!!!


Karen June 18, 2013 at 11:16 am

Mom Daughter Teams are the best!!! Go Mom :)


Kathy White June 18, 2013 at 11:19 am

I look forward to reading about Maryellen’s journey and devoutly hope that I will be inspired to share her trials…….I turned sixty this year and I’m tired of being a little dumpy lady. Kudos to your mother for her courageous decision!



MDV June 18, 2013 at 11:28 am

Looking forward to reading up on your weight-loss health-found journey!


Jane Tierney June 18, 2013 at 11:43 am

Thank you for doing this for your mom and all the moms out there who deal with these problems. Thank your mom for being will to share. I’m looking forward to learning and enjoying the journey.


Kym Donachie June 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Oh Andie – thanks so much for helping your mom out. I just turned 53 and am at the heaviest ever (5’4 and 200). My kids are both at college and the last 25 pounds crept up in the last year and a half. NEVER thought I would be at this weight – I actually thought I was hopelessly fat at 185 lbs – I look at those pictures (from 1.5 years ago and think, dang, I didn’t look that bad!). With hormones and age and general boredom with dieting and exercise I DO know how I got here – the question is, HOW to get it off. I use to drop 5-10 pounds in a week or two with no problems. Hardly anything I do will make the scale budge – I’ve gained and lost the same 5 pounds the past several months. So I will be excited and encouraged to see how your mom does – Good Luck to her and trust me, you are NOT going to hell. If my daughter were home this summer, I know she would be encouraging and helping me to shed some of the weight. GO GIRL!


vanessa June 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm

love this! your mom seems wonderful – i’m looking forward to reading about this!


Melissa June 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

YAY Maryellen! We love you and your beautiful mom, Andie! Can’t wait to follow along with her amazing progress. XO


Holly H. June 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Love that you are helping out your Mom! I can’t wait to follow her journey – she is a beautiful woman, and I love that she is proud of who she is inside and out. I hope that she can feel her beauty shine through as you help her through this journey.


Lisa June 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I love your mom already! Reading about her reminded me of my mom. She is beautiful and I can’t wait to read about her experience!


Jess June 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I am beyond excited about this! My mom isn’t greatly overweight, but she does complain about the how the little extra she carries affects her body. She also isn’t much of a blog reader, but I’m going to ask her to keep up with this, with me……in hopes it will help motivate me, as well. Thanks, Andie, and Andie’s mom!


Jacey June 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm

This is fantastic. And may I just say that I am so happy to see that my little dog isn’t the only one who insists on putting his cold nose on my leg for no apparent reason? Love that picture. :)


Heather June 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm

This is really inspiring. Weight is always such a sensitive issue, props to your mom for asking for help!! Best of luck to you both!


Lauren June 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm

“And for the most part, since I, too, once found myself so far from where I ever thought I could end up—the corner of 268 pounds and 20 years old—I get it. I won’t pretend to fully understand what it’s like to be 57-years-old and 210 pounds and married with 5 children, a dog, and 2 jobs, just as I’d never want to pretend to know how you, out there, are experiencing life. Acting as if I know the uniqueness of her particular situation would be naïve and, worse, patronizing. What I can do, though, is be compassionate, and loving, and kind. I can empathize with the struggle because I know it well. I don’t know her struggle—or at least, I don’t own it, can’t fight it for her—but I know the struggle as it exists in a greater sense; I know the sensation of hopelessness as it pertains to weight loss and if I can spare her anything in her journey, I hope it’s that.”

…I just want to carry this paragraph with me in my pocket everywhere I go. So beautiful and well-articulated!

Great post, and good luck to your mom (and you- with that whole hell thing, haha)!


Sharon Randall June 18, 2013 at 1:34 pm

You are giving your mother an incredible gift. Your story is beautifully written-very heartwarming. Good luck on this journey, you two!!


Kayte June 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Go mom!! Go luck to you!! You can do it! We all have faith and believe in you!!

Earlier this year I was told that I have food allergies to wheat, corn, peanuts, soy and some other things I have never experienced a “normal” allergic reaction to. Evidently an allergic reaction can not only cause rashes, but also joint pain, general aches and pains and digestive problems. A relitive introduced me to The Conscious Cleanse. It isn’t like most of the cleanses out there; you actually get to eat :) and at the end you slowly reintroduce foods back in to your system, paying attention to how your body reacts to see if you have an allergy to it. I’m in the middle of the first week and I feel AMAZINGly better already. Your mom should definitely check it out.


Diana June 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm

I am 54 (and a half!), weigh 230 pounds and have five children. I have loved reading your posts and now am looking forward INTENSELY to reading about your mom’s quest. Good Fortune to you both. And no Andie you won’t be going to hell. Unless you fail of course.


Cheryl June 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm

This is so wonderful and exciting all at the same time for you and Mom, Maryellen. I cannot wait to see all your future posts :)


GGMcMurray June 18, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I love how you are helping your mom to lose weight. I am inspired and looking forward to reading your updates.


Doreen June 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Can’t wait to follow your mom. Hope I can keep up with her!


sarah June 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm

I had a weight intervention with my Dad almost 2 years ago now. He was over 300 pounds, diabetic, and eating terribly. I want him to be around for awhile, so I made the decision to put him on a diet. I decided that he would not do it himself (cooking, shopping, etc), so I put him on the Bistro MD mail-order diet. All fresh/frozen meals planned for you and delivered weekly. That day I went to his house to tell him what I was going to do, I was terrified. He never asked for help. I don’t think he ever would have. Almost 2 years later and he’s lost over 100 pounds and we went skiing last winter for the first time together in 15 years. He’s off the Bistro MD diet now, but it really helped him understand portion control and the importance of eating meals throughout the day (instead of 1 gigantic meal like he tended to do). He did gain a little bit back when he stopped the plan, but I’m so proud of him! And he’s so grateful that I stepped up and helped him. Good luck to you and your mom!


Anne June 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm

You’re such a GOOD daughter…and an inspiration to not only your Mom, but to all of us!

I’m a year younger, a few inches taller, and a few pounds heavier than Maryellen. I’ve been inspired by your own weight loss adventure, and am looking forward to following your Mom’s. I’m anxiously awaiting your posts on Maryellen’s progress…as I’m going to implement the same into my discovery of the new me!

P.S. My doctor always gives me the thumbs up to taking off the pounds…so I’m good to go there!


amanda June 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm

This is just so inspiring. I would give anything for my parents to be open to this. They both struggle with weight, and between all of the cancer and heart issues in our family, I feel like I am seeing their mortality – and their refusal to change – more than ever. As a whole foods eater and writer, I have tried hard to offer guidance for my parents, but right now they’re just not in the same place as your mother.

Thank you both so much for sharing your journey with us. Maryellen – you give me hope that maybe, someday my parents will embrace changes like yours, and that we too can feel happy and healthy as a family.


Sharon June 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Amazing I need my daughter to put me on a Diet !


Rocio June 18, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I love these kinds of posts Andie where we can see your AMAZING talent in writing and your big heart and honesty. I seriously can’t wait to read your book. I am so excited about these posts :D:D


Rocio June 18, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Oh and MaryEllen I am so happy to meet you, thank you for sharing your journey with us! You are so brave and will do great! Can’t wait to read all about it :D


Nancy A. June 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm

I admire your courage! Will be an interesting journey and I will definitely follow your path down it. I will be so interested to read how you are doing each week and it may help a lot of us out here. The eating part always gets me, I don’t know what is good for a diet anymore. Everything seems to be bad for you. So, let us all in on all your tips and how it feels to be on this for life.


Jennifer June 18, 2013 at 8:14 pm

This is wonderful! Such a joy to read that you are there to help your beautiful mother :) I look forward to reading and experiencing the journey with you both. Cute pug :)


Pat M June 18, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Long time reader but this is my first comment. I love your inspiration, honesty and motivational insights and always look forward to your delicious and healthy recipes, but I was beginning to miss the more motivational posts about the actual process of weight loss and maintenance. I am beyond excited to follow your mom’s weight loss journey. I too find myself overweight (40 lbs to lose) at 58 and beginning to suffer the health consequences of overeating and lack of exercise. I applaud your mom for the courage to take this journey in the public eye, but let her know she will be a huge inspiration to me and will have many cheerleaders, as these comments prove.

Your mother has a very special daughter and I thank you for taking us all on this journey.


elizabeth whitehill June 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm

love her. I too, am on a weight loss journey. I had my third child two months ago and cannot wait to get some weight off. I’ll be following along!


EmilyM June 18, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Andie this is wonderful and I wish your mother the best of luck!

I have a question for you. I lost 50 pounds in the last year, am still at a healthy weight but I find that I am having difficulty switching into the maintenance mindset and still have weight loss rules on my mind and its really messing me up. Like I’ll slip one day and tell myself I’ll restrict to makeup for it but I only end up not doing that the next day and I feel guilty for eating at maintenance. And now I overeat because of the psychological trauma this weight loss has had on my mind. Did you ever suffer from these physical manifestations of the emotional effects of losing weight? If so how did you pick yourself up?


EmilyM June 18, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Also I know that you’re a former binge eater but I’m referring specifically to reactive eating as a result of having restricted caloric intake for so long. I’m in therapy as well and this is having a huge impact on my mental state. It’s like my brain is severely conflicted because I know what it feels like to realize that losing the weight didnt solve all my problems but I also don’t want to gain it back because I was unhappy then also..


Andie Mitchell June 18, 2013 at 11:48 pm


GAH! Thank you. Your support and kindness is just…wow, tremendous. Mumma, how lucky are we?!

I’ll share Mom’s plan with you tomorrow (Thursday) and her one week update will be here on Monday morning first thing. Exciting stuff :)

Your Hellion,


PS- Mom’s nervous about her writing skills here. She shouldn’t be because, really? Who cares? This isn’t some fancy schmancy novel. It’s me; it’s you. Just because I’m all verbose doesn’t mean she has to be. I’ve assured her that we’ll love anything she has to say. I guess her fear of sharing her writing touches upon a larger goal I had in putting this series together, and that is to express a very honest, and perhaps at times stumbling experience. The way to express that is through rawness, typos and grammatical errors and all.


Amy June 18, 2013 at 11:50 pm

I’m excited to follow this journey! Can’t wait to see the detailed plan.


Becky June 19, 2013 at 2:47 am

Your mom is beautiful and vibrant in those photos, despite not feeling her best.

Thank you both for sharing this journey. I am 58, in the 260s, and just started my own weight loss road about 4 days ago. Definitely not my first attempt, but hopefully the last. Your timing couldn’t be better.

And also, thanks as always for your insightful and articulate writing, and being one of the very few role models out there who puts the lie to the idea that weight loss is a black-or-white, indulgence-or-deprivation thing. Your philosophy seems to embrace both good health but profound pleasure, and that both are to be celebrated. For that, I celebrate you.


Donna June 19, 2013 at 5:51 am

I am ready to go the journey with your mom. I am 58 and could stand to lose 100 pounds and would look like my young self. I am trying the paleo diet but just began and would love to go along the journey with someone, even if it’s not exactly that plan. I am open to suggestions. I have cooked many of your items and loved them so I am really looking forward to this journey. Make sure all of us continue to get your emails so we can keep up and know what steps your mom is taking. What a great plan….


Christina June 19, 2013 at 7:29 am

Yeah Maryellen!! I’m so happy for you :)


Andi June 19, 2013 at 8:03 am

When you said that your mother used food as her way to give back to herself, that resonated with me! I am 50 & dealing with some of the same weight issues. I, too, am 5’7 and am ready to take a look at the weight. I need to lose about 30 pounds and came to the realization that the weight crept on for the same reasons. Food became the way in which I expressed love to my family but also to myself…a way to wind down, relax, and mother myself! And, like your mum, weight was not an issue in my teens through my early thirties. My youngest (I have 3 wonderful children) just graduated high school & it’s that moment as a mother when you look around and wonder “what now?”
So excited for you both! I can tell you that this journey y’all take together will be special for you both! Thanks so much for allowing your readers to share in it with you two!


Erin June 19, 2013 at 9:05 am

Loved this post! Both you and your mom seem like beautiful people, and I can’t wait to read future posts about this journey! Thank you ladies!


Edie June 19, 2013 at 9:25 am

This is really exciting. Best of luck to your Mom! I can’t wait to read more :-)


Anna June 19, 2013 at 10:44 am

Go Maryellen! Good luck!! We are all rooting for ya!!!


Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) June 19, 2013 at 10:47 am

Congrats to your mom! Cannot wait to see her journey!


triza June 19, 2013 at 11:18 am

Andie…so proud of you and your mother…I did the same exact thing in 2009 and my mom was 75 y/o at that time…she had just moved to the place where they retired and my dad my having health problems and she need knee replacement surgeries…before i knew it she was having one knee done. I went to the hospital and she was so miserable and I asked her why in the world would this Dr. do this surgery and you need to lose 50 lbs…she told me I hurt her feelings anyway, after rehab I took her straight to Weight Watchers and she’s over 30 lbs lighters and faithfully attends each week…i know this sounded harsh but she had such a hard time and she knew she needed to lose weight…best of luck…she will do well with your help, my mom is very happy I intervened!!!


Sheri June 19, 2013 at 11:37 am

Hi Andie,
Will you be posting the eating and exercising plan that your mom will follow because I would love to do it with her. I’m 51 and want to lose 30 lbs.


Jessica June 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Long time reader that usually doesn’t comment, but I wanted to make sure Maryellen knew just how many people are cheering her on! :)

My advice on her fear of expressing herself on here? Be yourself! Your journey, and your honesty as you go through it, will be so much more valuable than any kind of poetic language or perfect grammar.

Can’t wait to hear more!


Braden June 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Girl your story is such an inspiration to me. i’m currently in the place you were in your early 20′s; stuck in a body and at a weight that has made me someone i don’t know. i’ve just recently started my own blog to help me process through my own journey of becoming a healthier and happier me. i’d love for others to come follow me and give me some support.


AnnMarie June 19, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Wishing your mom luck! Can’t wait to read all about her successes!


Laura O June 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Kudo’s to your mom and to you for putting it all out there. It’s very inspirational!


Nathalie June 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Good luck!! I wish you all the best! My mother looks a lot like yours and she has been having some digestive issues as well. I wish I could help her with her weight… I am just nit sure where to start! Some ideas of what she will be eating would be SO helpful! Nathalie, in France.


Ames June 19, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Go Mommy!!! How exciting and touching! I look fwd to following her journey. I only wished my mom was ready to accept a change like this.


Maryellen June 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Thank you all so much for your well wishes and inspiration! I have to admit that I am getting the easier part of the plan as Andrea is doing all my meals and I come home to a wonderful dinner every night. She is a fabulous cook and makes delicious dinner with great variety ( so I am eating different things all the time) Sadly I spent the last year eating candy throughout the day and then driving to Whites pastry shop on my way home many nights and having cake after dinner. I am a horrible picky eater and love sweets above anything else so Andie has her work cut out for her. I don’t know how she keeps herself motivated when I am eating snack after snack in front of her (shame on me!). I really want to do this now and I want to do it right and Andrea will make sure that I learn how to eat correctly. I also have to get out and start walking each and every day. Again thank you for all your support, it will make a huge difference and God Bless Andrea for having the patience to deal with her biggest food abuser her mom (me). I am so blessed to be her mother!!!!


April June 19, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Good luck to you both! How wonderful that you are doing something so positive together. I wish my mom would allow me to help her be more healthy too. You guys are an inspiration! With such a wonderful attitude I can’t see any result other than success!


Maryellen June 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm

HELP!!!! My friend Gail just left me a two pound package of my favorite candy on my desk. Jelly beans (all the colors I love, yellow,red,orange and purple). This will be tough since I could eat these in two minutes. I have a serious weakness for jelly beans. Andrea, I am going to remember your sayings “nothing is a good as the first bite!” and “everyday there will be something you can’t resist, you just have to sacrifice!” Damn it!!!!!


Claudia June 19, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Oh, no! Just drop the bag of jelly beans and back away slowly. If that doesn’t work, give the bag back to Gail and explain that you have just told the world that you are going to start eating healthy, and you really can’t let the whole world down.


Dovalyn June 19, 2013 at 5:32 pm

I stumbled onto your website from a pinterest post and am very impressed with your journey and the voice in which you express it. I’m looking forward to your book becoming available. I really want to read it. (If it’s already happened and I missed it, let me know!) I appreciate the introspection the most. You are wise beyond your years.
I’ve tried some of the recipes and they are wonderfull! Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work. :)

It sounds from the posts that I’ve read that you have raised a talented and wonderful girl. She had to get her strength and patience from someone – probably you. It takes a lot of courage to change your lifestyle and even more to document it for the cyber universe to see, so on days that it gets hard – because it will get hard – remember that you are courageous and strong and that you can do anything. Good luck on your journey.

Love and support to both of you!


Mel Nunn June 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm

How sweet, can I have you as my personal coach too?

I can’t wait to see mom’s progress :)


Mary Cosedine June 20, 2013 at 1:36 am

A most impressive blog and post, a most impressive daughter and a most impressive mum.
It is a brave and special person that is so open and “visible” about their intention to lose weight. This is really putting a mark in the sand!

How many Daughters would have the dedication and ability to team up with their Mother, and guide and support her through a weight loss program?

I think this is wonderful and a model that should be promoted far and wide. So Andie and MaryEllen we are all proud of what you are doing, and will keep an eye out for your progress..


Becky June 20, 2013 at 2:48 am

I already commented yesterday, but was just checking in again and wanted to comment that your mom has amazingly good arms and ankles for being in her 50s! Weird comment, maybe, but I can’t help but compare to my own very large, very flabby upper arms and swollen ankles!


Becky again! June 20, 2013 at 3:14 am

Maryellen, I can SO relate to your love of sweets! They are my weakness as well! So sorry you had to deal with the jellybean crisis so early in the game!


Emily June 20, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Good luck, Maryellen! Kick some butt!


Ruth June 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm

I too am struggling to lose weight. I am 75 years old nd need to lose 75+ pounds. A month ago me and my trusty walker started walking and are up to 30 minutes daily. I wish your mother success in her journey and look forward to following her progress. Bless both of you.


Sarah June 21, 2013 at 8:23 am

Can I join in? I can start on Monday after a weekend of eating and drinking in Charleston!


Annie Brewer June 21, 2013 at 8:45 am

What a lucky mom to have such a loving and understanding daughter. You’re also a wonderful writer! I feel like I know your mom, Maryellen, already! I can certainly relate, being the same age and 30-40 lbs. overweight myself. I’ve had my own come-to-Jesus this year and really want to take off the weight . I’ve been trying to exercise (bike and walk) and reduce portions, increase fiber and protein and reduce carbs, fats, and sugar. I will be following to gain some extra tips and to cheer on Maryellen!


Janice June 22, 2013 at 10:19 am

I thought I was reading about myself until I got to Maryellen’s likes and dislikes. Great job. I think I have been on every diet out there and would lose and then it would slowly reappear with even more weight. ugh. I am going to try and follow you and see if I can lose it too. Thanks for sharing how to calculate calories and exercise. I saw the calories but didn’t know how to break down based on exercise. Way to go and God bless you for your success even if it is only a pound here or there.


Kim June 23, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Andie, I’ve followed your blog for quite some time now. I’m so excited to follow this journey with you and your mom. MaryEllen, I’m hoping to follow along as I too need to lose weight and get healthier. I’m approaching 50 y ears old…turning 49 years old this year and want to be in better shape! I too am a sweet lover. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s post with your first weeks results and the meal plans for the week, which I plan on starting! Here’s hoping you had a successful and satisfying week. Thanks for the inspiration gals!!!!


Tracy Crosby June 23, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I think you are awesome. (In a hero, non weird-ish, stalker way) :) I think this post, this help you are giving your mom….is awesome. I am forwarding this on to my own mother. She was always super thin, and I was the chubby one wishing I had her genes rather than my father’s. Now that she is older, she is always fighting the fat as I have my entire life. Currently, I am fighting off the pounds from my 3rd baby…. ANYWAY, I am super smitten with your blog, and I know it will help my mama, too. THANKS for being so REAL about this process, and for making me laugh along the way. :)


Shelly Duggan June 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Awesome! You are not going to go to hell since I don’t believe it exists!
You are a wonderful daughter and I could only wish for such support!
I too am over 50 and the heaviest I’ve ever been! I’m thinking of following along with
your mom and see where it takes me.
You Totally Rock Andie!


Samantha June 27, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Best of luck to your mother as she embarks on her weight loss journey!


Hazel June 28, 2013 at 9:13 am

Couldn’t resist adding my little comment among all the other wonderful words of encouragement above.
Such an inspiring post – and lovely to see such a great mother daughter bond between you both!
Good luck :)


susan June 28, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Looking forward to seeing the progress….best of luck!


Ellen July 2, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Hats off to your mom she is already an inspiration I look forward to reading more. “Experience” is the best research thanks


Louise July 5, 2013 at 3:10 am

Inspired, My husband and I will start our journey today.
We will be following your mums journey closely and cannot wait to try some of your recipes.
Good luck xx


kimmerbean July 15, 2013 at 6:40 pm

I am so excited to find this post. I have peeked ahead and LOVE LOVE LOVE the menu’s. They actually consist of food I would really like to eat! THANK YOU.


Beth Katz July 23, 2013 at 1:04 pm

This is so inspiring! Everything you said about your mom sounds like me too. I’m reading your blog – thanks to a very inspiring friend!


Hester October 23, 2013 at 6:33 am

Your mother’s story could be mine, line for line, except I never had any children. But I still gained weight steadily over the years. Easy to pick up, impossible to get rid of. I think you are awesome to help your mom!


Kathy November 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm

“Mom uses food as the way she gives back to herself after she’s given all she has to everyone else. Food—the amount, the choice of what and when and where—it’s the only thing that’s hers and hers alone.”
YES, YES, YES! I said the same thing to my health coach when I finally decided that enough was enough. Down 19 pounds and feeling like choosing NOT to eat whenever/wherever is where the real power is!


Leave a Comment

{ 21 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: