Peace with Food

I read a lot of weight loss stories. I’m always interested to see how others have gone about their journey. More than the path they chose and the foods they ate, I’m looking to see introspection. Not the diet, not the will power, not the tips. I want to know the ‘why.’ Because at the end of the day that is the only question that matters. Why did carry those earned pounds? Why did you decide to let them go? Why won’t you pick them up again? Confronting the ‘why,’ confronting the truth behind each ounce of flesh, with eyes wide open, is the answer.

If you read healthy living blogs then I might assume you also read magazines geared toward health-minded individuals. You read Shape, you read Health, you read Self and Women’s Fitness. You could probably be the editor in chief at this point. When you really think about the articles, the studies, and the advice that you read each month, you might realize that it is all the same information reissued over and over again. It feels vaguely familiar to read that study about the link between eating breakfast and consuming less during the day overall. Hey, haven’t you heard that getting more sleep could curb the constant sugar cravings you’re having? Or that people who exercise in the morning are more successful at developing a routine fitness program because they get it over with first thing? My point is that you know most of this information. If we can agree that the health focused magazines tend to rehash the same diet and fitness information each month (give or take a few great contributing articles), then I wonder what I hoped to get out of these monthly issues while losing weight. I know that I buy them now because I like the motivation they provide me with. I like to read about topics I’m interested in and I feel supported and encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But I realize that for years I paid $3.99 a pop for an answer to my weight battle that didn’t exist within the pages of a magazine.

The main reason I used to buy these health focused magazines during my weight loss was because I was seeking the plans, the recipes, and the research about how to feel good, look good, and be happy. I believed that just reading about nutrition and exercise would make me as bright and vibrant as the pages themselves. My best friend wouldn’t be Count Chocula. He’s a drag anyway.

The problem with my reasoning here was that I was treating compulsive eating and emotional eating as a physical problem that can be remedied with tips, advice, and weight loss plans. If I’m to be honest with myself, I know that this information, no matter how many times I read it, will never cure me. If there were real answers to why I have always felt like I need a Reese’s Blizzard and a large fry from Wendy’s to get me through the night, then maybe I wouldn’t have to write this now. But the magazines, the top selling books, the TV shows, and the national campaigns don’t have the answers I need. Because my compulsive eating is a problem of psychology. It is deeply rooted in my emotions and it will only be “solved” when I allow myself to feel the things I run away from. The magazines did help to motivate me to sprint to the finish line in my weight loss race, they left me hangin’ when I found myself thin and still unhappy.

Throughout my lifetime I developed what Geneen Roth calls “the inclination to bolt.” She is the incredible author of such books as “When Food is Love,” “Feeding the Hungry Heart,” and her latest, “Women, Food, and God.” She has a keen understanding of emotional eating and her writing has made a world of difference to me. Her book, “Women, Food, and God,” deals in part with this “inclination to bolt” as it refers to the intense desire to leave yourself, to flee, when life becomes difficult. It is the wanting to be anywhere but where you are. To escape boredom, anxiety, sadness, fear, and loneliness. Food is the place I go to escape. Many people do this. Obsession, in any form- be it with food, with schedules, with the future, with alcohol or drugs, is an avoidance of the present. It is a way of passing time, a way to “get through” life. Not to live life, but survive it.

Since I didn’t confront my emotional eating until I had lost all the weight, I met it at a time when I was sober from food. I was a thin person reconciling with two decades of compulsive eating. It’s like drinking yourself into an oblivion at night, getting sober by morning and having to clean up the house party you didn’t realize you threw. I came to understand that ending my emotional eating meant resisting Roth’s “inclination to bolt.” I had to stay here, to sit with myself. Just as I wouldn’t turn away from a friend who needed me, I had to love myself as much. I promised the little girl, the teenager, and the adult versions of me that I was going to stick around for the hard parts and that I was willing to feel. I made an agreement to fully live in the present moment. Because if I leave the moment when I feel uncomfortable, I am missing the opportunity to grow, to learn, to be strong, and to be loved.

101 thoughts on “Peace with Food

  1. Divina

    Andrea, you are an amazing writer. Not only that, but a lot of what you write resonates with me as I found myself nodding in agreement with each paragraph… I appreciate you so much for who you are and for sharing your story.

    Reply
  2. Healthy Coconut

    Thank you for writing this post. Sometimes I find comfort in eating sweets but the last line rings true, that you have to be in the moment, both good and bad. Do not run away when it is uncomfortable. I might used that as a quote :)

    Reply
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    1. Piper Sullivan

      I love this. I understand this. I have lived this. Thank you for writing. I am going to find and buy Ms. Roth’s books. After a lifetime this time I will make my “Peace with Food”.
      Thank you.

      Reply
  4. MeMe

    You are beautiful, inside & out. Congratulations on going to the finish line & beyond. I am sure you are Thin for lIfe. I find myself in the place of knowing what I need to do and just stick with it. You are an inspiration.
    It has been 11 years for me since my hysterectomy & then buried myself in emotional overeating to the point of making myself sick!
    My brother died, I was diagnosed with Osteo arthritis of my spine, intense pain/emotional & physical.
    I want to celebrate LIFE again/to FEELalive, to LIVE AGAIN!
    Thank you! You have inspired me to forge on, move forward and take care of myself.

    Reply
    1. Can You Stay for Dinner

      Wow, MeMe, what a journey you’ve had! Thank you for sharing! I believe in your ability to do what you want to do, to live your best life. Thank you for reading and for such a thoughtful, kind comment! You’ve made my day!

      Reply
  5. Maria

    I love you!!!! I love Geneen Roth books too !!!! They really helped me understand me…..I don’t feel alone anymore……I know I will be able to lose the weight because I wan’t to enjoy life as it is I don’t want to let it pass anymore waiting for something better, I have everything that I wanted all my life, friends, family, kids, husband, but because of my fight with my weight I could not enjoy my life……I am starting a new life for me…..I am in peace with myself…..I am starting to love myself like I should have done before…..It is never too late………….

    Reply
  6. alisha

    It is so true! And yes, I own all “those magazines!” I find your stories so inspirational. Right now I am having a hard time with my emotional eating and I just can’t seem to get around it. It’s like I just don’t know where to start. Any suggestions……. I have read “Women Food and God” and I belong to Weight Watchers online. I joined the gym but feel like it won’t help if I don`t get a hold of my eating. I feel like I am going around in circles, Monday always comes and goes and we are back at square one. Please help if u can. thanxs

    Reply
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  9. Tina

    That is amazing!!!I really admire you exploring the “why?” because I have constantly bought those magazines and explored how to “get fit”. The funny thing is I always bet myself up because I know that I am aware of what I “should” be eating and that I “should be exercising”. I know the “tricks”, but I can never stick to them because, as you said, the root is not physical. It has to do with the psychological! I am always wanting to run away and I am so inspired by your story!!! I think I will order one of those books very soon because I have a lot to face! Which would you recommend first?

    Reply
  10. Jennifer

    Today I found your website for the first time and I have to say, by far the best find I’ve come across in years!! Your recipes look amazing and I can’t wait to make them for my husband and myself. :)

    Your story amazes and inspires me more than you could imagine. I am 21 years old and have been overweight almost my whole life – I had a very sad and traumatic childhood and used food to fill “the void.” Today I am 240 lbs and 5’11”, so I’m looking to lose about 80-100 lbs. It’s an important, difficult, long term goal but I am ready to finally do it…to finally be healthy! I shed some tears reading your story, you made me think very much of myself and have inspired me to get this plan into action more than anything else has (my hubby’s lean and fit but doesn’t care about my weight – not a great motivator in that sense!). Thank you for sharing your story, your recipes, your life. <3

    Reply
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  12. Katie

    My jaw drops when I read you wise words, you certainly have wisdom beyond your years. I have used my weight to shield me from emotions and to fill voids. Now that I have let go of the weight I am trying to find out what those voids are and feel those emotions so I can truly embrace myself and my life.
    I bought Geneen Roth’s book “Women, Food, and God” recently and haven’t gotten around to reading it, or have been avoiding reading perhaps. But now I feel motivated to read it and see what discoveries about myself it will lead me to.
    Thanks for the motivation Andrea, you are more inspiring that any of the numerous fitness magazines I read on a monthly basis.

    Reply
  13. Katie

    Hi Andrea! I just wanted to say first of all that your story is so inspirationnal, I’m a 17 year old girl – 5’4 and 133 pounds – which is rather overweight for my height. Anyways I love the fact that your a proponent of eating to enjoy, and not necessarily working yourself out to death…but didn’t you lose 135 pounds *because* you completely limited your food intake and ran 5 miles everyday (something I struggle to do!) I really would like to lose weight, but alas, I do have a loving relationship with food, one I’m struggling to fix…Thank you again for your lovely recipes and wonderful writing!

    Reply
    1. Alma Carroll

      I am 5 1 1/2, and in the 9th grade I could bench my weight, of 125. I have always been a little bit over weight. So now that I am almost 40(in October), and done having kids. I am now back on the road to being fit and healthy. I have worked out of and on for the last 20 years. Always watching what I eat, has kept me on my toes. I weigh 150, but would like to get to 135, more fit, toned and healthy. I have lost 7 lbs already. Slow and steady wins the race.

      Reply
  14. Kim

    Hi Andrea!
    I just so enjoy your website! What a refreshing and inspiring girl you are! Say, I’m interested in ordering a Geneen Roth book, which one would you suggest that I read first?
    Thank You!
    Kim
    P.S. I read that you are in Washington, I’m in Idaho! We are neighbors!

    Reply
  15. Kim

    Oh my goodness, I just read a few posts and see the answer to my question, I should read “When Food is Love” first! Sorry about that!

    Reply
  16. erin

    Wow! Your website is great Thank you for the book recommendation. Thank you for sharing your story. You are a wonderful writer! I am going out today to get that book.
    thanks
    erin

    Reply
  17. Cheryl Arkison

    Hmm. I always factored my weight in with laziness. And, of course, that need to comfort with cookies. But, for me, I scoffed at the psychology. Reading those last few paragraphs, however, are opening my eyes. I do like to hide when life gets tough. I fantasize about hiding under the covers. Eating nachos and ice cream is the same thing. This is a very different perspective from the way I’ve usually thought. Hmmm…

    Reply
  18. Val @ Balancing Val

    I’m amazed by your experience and the way you write about them!

    I just re-committed myself to the process of intutive eating which needed to be done as my life has changed dramatically.

    I just wrote a post today about making peace with food!

    I couldn’t have found this blog at a better time :)

    In the reader you go!

    Reply
  19. Dolores Neilson

    Hi Val…

    I’m so happy you mentioned intuitive eating. I didn’t realize much later into my weight loss “program” how important this is. I believe most of us who have dieted to solve overeating issues have damaged ourselves psychologically. We were/are so used to having outside influences tell us how to eat (doctors, weight loss clinics, mom, friends, etc) that we are totally disconnected from our physiological selves. Intuitive eating reconnects us to ourselves. Our individual eating is unique for each one of us. Since we all have different lifestyles, activity levels, metabolisms…we all hunger at different times. It’s so important to learn to listen to our bodies. I believe most of us with weight issues have been desensitized to our feelings, our thoughts, true hunger and our need for rest when we are fatigued. We are trained at an early age to do this. Well meaning parents, guardians force us to finish our plates even if we’re not hungry. We learn to disconnect from our bodies and listen to others tell us how we should feel. We were taught to be INSENSITIVE to ourselves. Most of us who do not listen to true hunger also ignored the need for sleep or rest when the body indicated it had done enough for one day. I made the same mistakes with my children: I “loved” them with food whether they were hungry or not. But it was I who wanted love….and it confused them. Fortunately I was able to share this (and apologize) to my girls. I have taught them the difference. I now ask my children if they are HUNGRY before I offer food. Val, thank you for mentioning a way to reconnect ourselves to our bodies. This has been the most difficult part of my journey. It’s not easy to connect when we have been disconnected for so long. Love, Dolores

    Reply
  20. Liz

    Andrea,

    In June of 2010 I set out on a mission to reclaim myself. I joined a gym saying that junk food had stolen my body so I was going to get it back. Well, the gym didn’t last too long. With no one to encourage me to drive 15 minutes to the next town over, I had waved a white flag. Pathetic. I know. A couple of months later I saw several photos of myself that made me cry. I thought, “Where did I go? Who IS that person?!” It was very scary, and I felt completely lost and alone.

    Last year was more than difficult. I was laid off from my job of 7 years, had an unfortunate falling out with one of my closest friends, ended things with a serious boyfriend, and sat at my grandmother’s bedside and watched as she took her last breath. Food became my escape from reality – a reality that I didn’t want to face.

    In December, things turned around for the better. I found a new job and took charge of my life. I came to terms with things that had happened… that were beyond my control. I have since lost 25 pounds and I’m finally finding the person I always knew was hiding under the pain.

    As I read through your beautiful words, I sat at my desk staring at a cupcake that someone had given me. I ate a small bowl of Cheerios instead. That’s will-power!

    Sometimes we just have to realize that things don’t always go the way we want them to. Things go the way they need to in order for us to become stronger, more amazing people. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. It is truly inspirational. Keep up the determination, courage, and strength.

    Best wishes,
    Liz

    Reply
  21. April

    Amen!
    love everything you said. and i LOVE geneen roth i cant tell enough people about her and her books. I dont think “diet” plans like WW talk enough about “how things came to be this way” and just dive right into how you should eat. as you pointed out most of us overweight people could WRITE the book on how to lose weight! the problem is WHY we cant seem to do it. and i think the answer lies in what got you here in the first place. in my opinion, this is where the REAL work lies, and often hard work and how so many of us fail and gain it all back.
    congrats on all your success im still so amazed at what you peave you’ve found with yourself and your body. i hope to make it there one day! thanks for your blog!

    Reply
  22. Jennie Larsen

    WOW very WELL WRITTEN. Great jog. This has certainly opened my eyes to the “inclination to bolt” I truly need to stop and realize what I am feeling and “why” I choose to eat something when i am not even hungry. I have had baby #4 and he is 3 months old right now, all I think about is that small size 6 I was when i got married. I want to release the skinny girl living inside. You are beautiful and congratulations on your success and sticking with it. I am very inspired to be healthier and wiser in my day to day eating choices.

    Reply
  23. Liz Vadset-Olver

    First of all let me say very loudly that what I am writing is my own opinion..applying to me only. I have always been the chubby kid in my family, my mother always let me know it, she called me fat, made fun of me in front of people. I ate all the time. Yes, I was molested as a young girl by an uncle. Yes, I was the fat kid in school. I was also the smartest kid in the class and was popular. I was a fat pre-teen but lost a lot of weight my sophomore year and had my first boyfriend. I regained all that weight and more and stayed that way forever. I did get married and had kids. I was married for 26 years, divorced a few years ago. I still have a mother who lets me know I am fat. I found out the reason my sister was so thin growing up is that she was bulimic because she didn’t want our mother picking on her..is that sad or what? I could blame my weight problems on a cruel mom, or being molested, any of a dozen sob stories..but the bottom line for me is that I’ve always like to eat and to eat a lot! And to eat a lot of food that is delicious and usually not good for me. Greasy, sugary, calorie laden, etc. My name is Liz and I’m a foodaholic. In the past 11 years I have lost 115 pounds, 45 of them since the end of March when I was diagnosed with diabetes–that scared the hell out of me. Now my motto is “I am eating to live, not living to eat.” (Oh, the other weight I lost, before the diabetes scare was because of my thyroid and radiation treatment I had to get..not the most fun way to lose weight!) :)

    Reply
  24. Ashley | Domestic Fashionista

    This is really interesting and I am going to look into that book you mentioned. About 2 years ago I lost 45 lbs and kept it off very easily my first year. But this past year has been hard. I have gained 10 lbs, though unnoticeable by other, to me it is steps back to my old ways. I realize it goes back to my unhealthy relationship with food. I think it is so interesting that it is a source to “get away”. Why do I need to get away? This is a deep rooted question I need to face. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Reply
  25. erin

    you are so right! i too am a compulsive eater, i kind of feel like i will always be one, and the only way i’ve managed to triumph is to acknowledge what is going on with my mind when i have the impulse to overeat. like the “inclination to bolt” — so me! you’re right, i DO read a lot of fitness and women’s health magazines. and i’ve never read anything that described me and my relationship with food so accurately — i can completely relate. i can’t wait to read the rest of your blog. yep, this is the first i’ve read of it, and i just HAD to say something! cheers! :)

    Reply
  26. Christina

    Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for putting to words what I’ve thought and felt for SO long!! I am new to your blog (linked through Saavy Julie), and a huge fan already.

    Reply
  27. Jiggs

    Funny how sometimes we’re “guided” to a certain place or people…
    There’s a blog that I follow all the time; which had a comment by someone that caught my eye; which had you listed as one of the blogs they read; which lead me to you…
    I am excited to take the time to really read everything here, but what got my attention at the beginning was “Peace With Food”. I’ve been a stress eater for years, and have reached the point where I can’t stand being 50 pounds overweight anymore! I want to get off my meds. I want to have more stamina and energy. I want to feel good in my skin and in my clothes… And, I want it for ME, no one else, ME!
    I think you’re going to be able to help me… and for that I want to thank you in advance.
    We never know who will see/read what we write, or whether we will be able to make a positive impact in someone’s life. I think you’re going to make a difference… at least for me.

    Reply
  28. Becky

    Andrea,
    Peace with food is all I’ve really wanted, but I didn’t know that until I read your blog. Someone mentioned your blog on the weight watcher’s forum and said to read “what I miss from 135lb ago”. So I did, and then I read the “journey to lose 135lb” and then I read the recipes. Then I thought I NEED to know more! I started from the beginning of your blog and read it all in chronological order! I’ve been thin and fat, but more importantly I’ve been either gaining or losing weight for almost 20 years. I know no middle ground, either I’m having a battle of wills with myself or I’m letting it all go. If I’m sitting at work with a deadline looming and I’m eating whatever sweet I can find, it’s not that I can’t deal with stress, I can, and have done quite well. It’s that I’m eating to stuff that feeling of anxiety down, that maybe I won’t succeed. I think I’ve always used food as an escape, it’s just when I was a girl I was exercising so much (competitive swim team up through college) that the impact was not as great. I’m exploring the why I feel the need to eat everything that isn’t nailed down in the evening. Boredom? Exhaustion? It certainly isn’t hunger.

    Reply
  29. Michelle

    Thank you for this. I know this has been up for years, but I was swirling around between the diet and intuitive crap..and I thought to myself I’ve gotta find that blog..yours. After reading your last paragraph it all clicked again for me. Stop bolting and trust. Thank you.

    Reply
  30. Joy

    You are wise beyond your years. I am 60 years old and still struggling with these issues. Your story touched me deep in my soul. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

    Reply
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  32. Erica

    Andie,
    “The magazines did help to motivate me to sprint to the finish line in my weight loss race, they left me hangin’ when I found myself thin and still unhappy.” I love this line! I am newly married and at 5’3″ 130 pounds I’m not a big girl by any means, but I’m not lacking a stomach! :-) I’ve been battling being consistent at the gym or cuddling up with my husband in the mornings.
    Society has convinced me that to be a better wife, I need to lose about 15 pounds.
    My husband loves all 130 pounds of me and if I lose 10 or gain 10 he’ll still love it all.
    Having a great relationship with the creator of the universe and a fantastic marriage are what make me happy, not six pack abs and 5% body fat.
    Thanks for giving me perspective!!! :-)

    Reply
  33. Brittany

    Thankyou for sharing. I’m so happy to find your blog and really relate to your struggles with emotional eating. What do you mean by sitting with myself and resisting hhe urge to bolt as I believe this is what I need to do but not sure how?? Thankyou

    Reply
  34. Angie

    Andrea,
    What an honest account of your journey. Thank you for so clearly translating what you have felt and continue to feel. I too, have had a long life of deep food dependence. I lost 40+ pounds last year ( in a very healthy, conscious way) only to put it all back on within a matter of 5 months. The only way I can describe how I felt after losing the weight was that I was coming undone. I felt so vulnerable, lonely and anxious. As soon as I put the weight back on I started to feel more settled, yet unhappy because I know this isn’t where I want to be. I am going to check into Geneen Roth’s books. I also grew up with an addict for a dad and as far back as I can remember, I have used food to calm that deep anxiety in the middle of my core. Wow! This little post has even been therapeutic, thanks hon!

    Reply
  35. Jessica

    You are immensely inspiring and insightful. I’ve struggled with eating disorders since I was 9; I am 30 now. The emotional component to eating disorders is not something I’ve really addressed and then there is the addictive component to sugary foods that one should be aware of. I’m finally in a great place in my life and have an incredible, supportive boyfriend, and I believe I can start confronting the complicated relationship I have with food. I applaud you for your courage and am grateful to have found your site.

    Reply
  36. Andrea

    I adore your writing style. The words you write feel. They make me feel. It’s like my soul is talking to me through the words I am reading.

    The inner and deeply emotion, psychological part of the weight loss journey is, for me, the most fascinating, the most important. The more pure the motivations, the longer the physical transformation will last.

    I am motivated by needing me back. Finding myself, the self that was lost in a long and unhappy marriage. Buried under layers of comfort in food, hiding from hurtful words and a controlling husband.

    I love the new me, the old me that is new again. The woman I am discovering I am from the girl I used to be. I walk. And I look ahead.

    Reply
  37. Kate

    Wow. I’m sitting here bawling reading this. Thank you. THANK YOU for writing all this out. Your incite and willingness to be open truly helps me.

    Reply
  38. Mel

    I come from a long family history of addictive behaviors including those involving food and have faced my own personal demons- this in part led me to working as a clinical exercise specialist for females struggling with eating disorders and I just wanted you to know that I think your story is beautiful and perfectly describes the dreams I had for myself, my sister, and all of the girls that I work with. In a world with so many distortions about food and weight and exercise, finding that healthy balance can feel impossible, scary, and beyond our ability. . but I know it is possible, because I have both expereinced and seen it happen for so many. YOu convey what I wish every woman could understand very eloquently. Thank you for sharing your story with the world- it’s a message that so many of us need and will never hear!

    Reply
  39. Celeste

    I found your blog through a link on pinterest. I have to say I’m so thankful I decided to click. I always hear stories of the struggles with weight loss and someone wakes up one day and decides “This is the day!” Well, I have never had one of those moments until now. I’m 5’3 and 270. I was always telling myself and my family that I don’t know how I got to this point. I try to exercise and I try to eat right. It’s all a bunch of bull. After reading “Peace with food”, I really tried to take a look back at when, why and how I started putting on weight. I was a ballerina from age 5-15. I was very active and athletic. I was 16 and my parents were getting divorced. I never tried to show my dissapointment to my parents because I had always been the mature and responsible child. They would talk to me about things that they couldn’t with my other siblings. They would say, “We know you understand”. But, really I didn’t. I would go to school and not even want to talk to people because I knew they knew what was going on in my family. I would hide in a bathroom stall during lunch and stuff my face because I was so embarrased. That was when I started mindlessly eating to keep my emotions in check. It’s now been 20 years and I’m still doing it! I need to end this misery and learn to live with my emotions and take them head on! Thank you so much for giving the inspiration!

    Reply
  40. Amanda

    Geneen Roth’s book “When You Eat At The Refridgerator Pull Up A Chair” helped me through losing my first twenty pounds at the beginning of this year. Unfortunately, I’ve gained half of it back, but I’m not done yet.

    There needs to be more real, honest content like yours out there.

    Reply
  41. Karen

    I’m reeling from the beauty and raw transparency of your writing. Found you through a friend’s Facebook posting of recipes. Just had to keep reading and reading. I dared to write down your suggestion of Geneen Roth’s book. Now to be brave enough to read it and believe that I too might actually figure out a way to get a handle on my emotional eating. For 30 years I was supper skinny. Then 20 years of being 100+ overweight. I want to change. I need to change. I’m ready to change. Thanks for encouraging me to see that I’m beautiful fat or thin or somewhere in between.

    Reply
  42. Pingback: Check it out: An inspiring blog about losing 135 lbs and keeping it off « He Has Eyes

  43. Jordan

    THANK YOU!
    For writting this.
    My dietician suggested that I take a peek at your blog.
    AND I am glad I did.
    This is so true.
    Just lost 65 pounds and it has been ever increasingly hard.
    I am trying to learn how to be me in this newness.
    It is a weird place to be…65 down, but
    I feel even more self conscious than in the begginning.
    ON the journey!
    THANK YOU again.

    Reply
  44. Lily

    Thank you, THANK YOU! I’ve cried and laugh while reading your blog. I have found answers to questions I did not even know I had. Your blog has truly been a revelation.

    Reply
  45. Lorraine Lee

    FINALLY! A weight loss story that actually addresses the psychological problems and reasons behind it! FINALLY, FINALLY FINALLY!! Once I hit my goal weight, I already know what my Facebook status is going to be “After 5 years of emotional work and 10 months of physical work, I’ve reached my goal weight!” Thank you for being emotionally honest about what it can take to lose weight and keep it off!!

    Reply
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  47. Elmina Coblentz

    Hello,
    I was turned onto your blog by a friend of mine who found it. I have constantly struggled with weight since I was 15. I now have over 100 lbs to lose. At the beginning of 2011 I lost 50lbs in 6 months. But then it all stopped. I wasn’t motivated anymore. And through the last 7 months I have been struggling with the why. The more days go by I realize I am addicted to food. But how can I go cold turkey? I can’t. So unlike an alcoholic I cannot just stay away from the food I am addicted to. I have to learn how to control it. I know I like to eat food because it tastes good but I also like the feeling it gives me. I have been using it to help me hide from my feelings as well. What you have described in this post is exactly what I struggle with. You mentioned some books and I am interested in reading some but I am not sure which one would be the best to get. Could you suggest one that was most helpful for you to be able to fight your feeling of wanting food anytime time something happens?
    Thanks,
    Mina

    Reply
    1. admin

      Thank you Mina! I’d recommend that you read each and every one of Geneen Roth’s books. But as a start, go with “When Food is Love” followed by “Feeding the Hungry Heart.”
      :)
      Andie

      Reply
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  49. Shirley Perry

    Women, Food and God was my key to understanding what I had been doing for 53 years. Love this story. Love this writer. Girl, you rock!!!!

    Reply
  50. Laurel

    This is so true. I am a chronic dieter (since I was 8 years old). I lose 30lbs, maintain it for a day, and then gain 40lbs back. This cycle is not working and I am finally realizing it isn’t about the food. I feel I know all there is to know about dieting- but I haven’t addressed why I am overeating. Thank you for your insight, Andie. You’re such an inspiration.

    Reply
  51. Hard to love myself

    Andrea, I just have to thank you for your inspiration. I’ve tried just about every diet out there, but always end up gaining every pound (and then some) back. I’m a very impatient person and really struggle with seeing my current 2 lb loss per week as a success. I can just smell food fumes and gain 2 lbs. I have a hard time being consistent and motivated. You have given me hope and courage that I can continue on my journey to physical freedom. Thank you for helping me to see that my inside is beautiful–and that I need to be content with me no matter my state of fitness. I’ve always thought it would be easier to work on my “inner me” when I don’t loathe my physical appearance as much as I do now–and that I’d work on my state of happiness later. I thought somehow that would just “come to be” after the weight loss. Well, later has turned into years of detatchment. From myself, my husband, my family, and my friends. But it’s time to make a change. I’m writing through tears and a heart full of gratitude to you and your insightful, honest writings. Really hits home and gives me comfort that I’m not alone in this struggle. Thanks. <3

    Reply
  52. Erin

    I am now 22 years old and struggling to find myself when it comes to weight. I’ve been a yo-yo dieter for years. Compulsive/emotional eating and then starving myself to lose 50 lbs at a time. I am currently close to 200 lbs but am done with all the games. I’m sick of seeing food as the enemy. I am currently meeting with a nutritionist and while reading your story, I feel like I’m reading my autobiography. I just wanted to tell you that you are an inspiration. I always diet in a way that I lose those 50 lbs (still 15 lbs from my goal) and my body/mind just won’t let me go any further. Food is fuel for the body and the soul. Am I really never going to eat a chocolate chip cookie again? What about french fries? The fear of “never again” would send me into an uncontrollable binge of a large fry and three double cheeseburgers. Or those 7 snickerdoodles at 2am. I am at a point where I need to make peace with food. It’s going to be a long journey. Not the 50 lbs in 3 months that I’m so used to. But the idea of loving myself and still being able to love food as you do is all the inspiration I need. Thank you.

    Reply
  53. Theresa

    Andrea…thank you for this blog…wow…just like sitting or being with a fiend in need is loving myself…a concept which is the direct link to overeating…I feel so much more in touch with myself after reading this…thank you…wish me love and perseverance in my journey to lose weight..now I am ready …in this part of my life….blessings

    Reply
  54. Cynthia

    Okay didn’t think I’d write but I am going to. I can totally relate to the “inclination to bolt”. I am over-weight and I hate it, but I feel as if that’s not enough. I know that I need to love myself, but I feel a burning pain to love myself. A hurt that is not even bearable at times. What’s harder is that I have a daughter that needs to love herself and I can’t even teach her how to do it. It hurts to know that I need to change and I need to love me. It hurts to think that the man that loves me, that would as he says, “take a bullet” for me, that treats me with respect day after day, that hugs, kisses me, him consoling me day after day, year after year, that he cannot “touch” me or “inspire” me to love myself. Not even my daughter can do that because I’m afraid of loving me because of this “inclination to bolt”. I hate that I don’t want to feel and as I’ve been doing this for over 30+ years and praying to have something to take me swiftly then feeling guilty that some that have it never choose to have their “said” disease makes me feel even more guilty. I will be doing some thing about my weight sooner rather then later, but I never knew that it was that I wasn’t feeling and that’s what was going on. I was told that I FELT to much, that I wore my heart on my sleeve. That I took things to personally. I am an emotional person but I thought that I did feel. Thinking about it I didn’t feel I just shoved the food into my mouth to shut myself up, to not say what I was thinking or made fun of because of how I was feeling about the situation(s). Trying to do “everything” to be the good daughter only to feel that I was failing at it miserably and knowing that “they” wanted something “better”. At least that’s how it always felt and at times still does feel. I wasn’t funny enough or pretty enough, smart enough, special enough…that it didn’t matter what I felt….I felt like screaming and running and hiding and leaving and having to feel love by those that wanted even needed me. I will loose my weight and I will feel again and I will love myself for who I am and not for who I’m not. I will love myself because I AM WORTH IT, because I DESERVE IT. Thank you for your site and for letting me see what is possible when you “do something”. Thank you for letting me see what true beauty is and that’s in all of us not just those that are thin or beautiful. Thank you

    Reply
  55. Frida Cobar

    You have no idea how much I relate to all you write! I had problems with my eating habits in the past and even a little bit now , 60lbs thinner . I’m still not at peace with food, buy you have give some things to think about! thank you! I love your blog!

    Reply
  56. Heather

    Today, I “happened” upon your blog while looking for a tie dyed cupcake recipe to make with my niece and I found so much more. I think the solace that many of us find in your words and in your story is that we are not alone. That we all have our struggles to overcome and personal demons to battle…but that peace is possible. This morning while having a heart to heart with myself, I realized that I do often want to “cut and run” from situations that bring discomfort…so thanks for showing me that an “inclination to bolt” is not just a “me issue”. :)

    Reply
  57. Ange

    I came for the Black Bean Enchiladas recipe and have stayed to read every single thing you have written. Your writing is so inspirational and touching. I am now going to go outside for a walk and then go to Trader Joe’s for the ingredients and then, everyday, I am going to come back to you for a reminder of how and why I need to change my life (and recipes for a healthy meal)
    Thank you…
    Be Well…
    Be happy…

    Reply
    1. Whit

      I also found this website looking for an enchilada recipe, and am enthralled with your story. I am majoring in Community Health and recently took a Body Image, Weight Management, and Self-Esteem class that focused so much on Intutive Eating and making peace with food. It has changed my life and my view of body acceptance and the importance of loving yourself and those around you for WHO they are. There can be health at every size! I’m sure you have read the book titled; “Intuitive Eating A Revolutionary Program that Works” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. It’s a great read and has helped me figure out so many things in order to make peace with food! Thank you for your insight, its comforting knowing someone else understands this path, and that extreme dieting isn’t the answer like society wants us to believe… You are AWESOME!

      Reply
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  59. Ashley

    I stumbled upon your blog from recipes I found on Pinterest. I began reading your weight loss journey story and I love that a young woman like you has come to realize that losing weight and being healthy is about a mental and emotional struggle, not just eating too much pizza. Most people just think it’s a physical problem that can be fixed. Myself being overweight and having the same issues with food, I feel comforted in knowing I am not the only woman out there who has struggles and will hopefully someday find peace. I love your recipes and your stories. I look forward to visiting your blog on a regular basis!

    Reply
  60. Melissa

    I have lost 120 pounds that I was able to keep off for years but I have found lately that after many huge life changes some of the old habits have started to sneak back in.
    I am thinking it might be time to see a nutriionist instead of just following a weight plan? If anyone has any thoughts on this I would love the feedback.
    I am also reading “Breaking Free from Emotional Eating” by Geneen Roth hoping to get help with that aspect. I really feel my bad habits have to do with emotional eating more than anything.

    Reply
  61. Fun Daisy 17

    I don’t know if you will get this comment. But your words have been an answer to my prayers. Thank you for taking the time to inspire others.

    Reply
  62. Kelli Schnurr

    I cannot express to you how much your words have touched me today. I felt, at times, as if I were reading my own story. I wasn’t aware there was another person out there who has felt those exact same feelings and the reasoning behind it.

    And the line “I promised the little girl, the teenager, and the adult versions of me that I was going to stick around for the hard parts…” gives me a sense of compassion for myself that I have been lacking.

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

    Kelli

    Reply
  63. Kate

    If your book is even half as inspiring as your blog has been, you will be right up there in the ranks of Geneen Roth. Thank you so much for sharing your story, your struggles, your victories. Thank you for helping so many of us realize we’re not alone.

    Reply
  64. Lisa

    That last paragraph touched my heart so deeply, I immediately started crying as I started reading it. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for putting your heart out there and being an inspiration to myself and so many others who eat their anxiety away. Thank you for being so brave.

    Reply
  65. Chelsea Sloat

    Your story is captivating and so many can relate to it. I have always just been average…but I have some severely overweight people in my family…practically all of my family. I started on the same path and realized that while I enjoyed a thinner body in my teen years that my diet was going to catch up with me and it already was. So, although my weight loss has been a different story, I have experienced the same fears, the same consumption, felt trapped, and am trying to discover what I am comfortable with and what makes me feel good-a lifestyle that I can maintain for my whole life without feeling trapped and yet keeping my body healthy. It has been over a year now and I am still defining exactly what that is. Your blog is so resonating and it has helped me with this process! Thanks for sharing…and thanks for doing it so effectively.

    Reply
  66. Marta

    I have fought this battle for my entire 40 plus years. Everything fun and worthwhile seems to revolve around eating for me. S’mores around the fire, popcorn and a movie, a day out with friends must be accompanied by lunch. I don’t ever invite anyone over without simultaneously planning what we’ll eat. And that’s when I’m feeling kindof happy. You don’t want to know what I eat when I’m down. I can’t seem to separate food and feelings and unless I am on a diet and obsessing over every morsel that goes in, then I’m eating with reckless abandon. How do you learn to live a healthy and less food obsessed way?

    Reply
  67. SL

    I’ve always known that the mind is connected to the stomach (for those of us who eat and eat and eat). But I didn’t think of myself as someone in this situation. However, after reading your blog I can see the patterns that hold me back.

    At 5 ft. I weigh 160 pounds. Not as hefty as some but enough for me to be uncomfortable, unhealthy and unhappy. It’s the most I’ve ever weighed and I can only think that it will get worse if I don’t stop and do something about it.

    I worry about health, appearance, confidence. I somehow believe that if I get down to 130 pounds that my life will be fabulous. But I must be afraid of fabulous because I can’t seem to stop hiding on my couch with my food.

    I suppose if being thin would make me fabulous and eating crap keeps me from being thin then the simple equation would be to stop eating the crap and become thin (and presumably fabulous). Clearly there is a disconnect.

    From reading this blog I’ve finally realized that I have to become fabulous first in order to have the energy and drive to live a life of balance and true pleasure. Then the body (and health) shall follow.

    In my heart I know that being fabulous is not eating most of a medium Pizza Hut pan pizza, followed with an almost whole bag of cool ranch doritos, coke and finally (for dessert) a giant hunk of ice cream. I can’t believe I sit and eat this garbage while I watch movies about fabulous fictitious people and wonder when life is going to start getting good for me.

    Yeah, it’s a real head scratcher. If nothing else, tonight I’m motivated to get groceries (and fill the cart up with whole food options) and then cook myself a meal of love. Thanks for putting yourself out there and allowing us to see parts of ourselves in you and feel the motivation to do something about it.

    Reply
  68. Kim F.

    This post hit home with me! You’ve put into words exactly how I feel. Food is an escape for me. I’ve got to quit “escaping” and start living again. I’ve done it before, just need to do it again.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  69. Rohan

    I am so glad I found this blog. I have always been the guy who when I have a bad day at work I dont pick up a 6 pack of beer on the way home, instead I get a half dozen doughnuts abd a super sugary coffee. I also really liked the whole “inclination to bolt” thing since I tend to just check out on myself at times when I just dont want to deal with something and the whole loving yourself part is not easy to do. what advice can you offer on how to deal with the emotional issues that cause the eating and seeking comfort in food.everything you say about enjoying life and not just surviving it sound great and now I just need to work to get there myself.

    I have struggled with my weight since leaving highschool since in highschool I ran track and was young so I never weighed much. my height is 5’11” and I have bounced around from 225 at my heaviest to 160 when I nearly killed myself with running 6 miles a night and doing low carb diets. currently I am at 192 and I am just trying to eat healthy but not diet and run 1 hour a day 6 days a week but I am getting to that hating to run phase and I need to find a solution to just be happy where I am.

    Reply
  70. Wendy

    How did you recognized the problems behind the emtional eating? I know I’m a emotional eater but I don’t know what causes it. I mean I could sit here and theorized but I just want to stop. I take medications, have pcos, and suffer from bipolar disorder.

    Reply
  71. Lindsay

    I just read your website for the first time and I broke down into tears. I am about 6’0, 175 pounds and while many would not classify me as having a weight problem, I am constantly consumed with my weight and the need to loose weight to be a better person. I have a similar mentality, thinking that if I loose that little bit of weight, everything will be better, the thinner me will accomplish all the things I can’t now at my weight.

    Its an obsession, my weight, and I find myself constantly consumed with it. I am an emotional eater as well and while I consider my self a healthy eater, I go through times where I give in to temptation and when I do I become disgusted with myself.

    I just really related to your website and it gives me hope that I can push through the problems I have with food, and finally enjoy life without feeling guilt and regret. Losing weight won’t fix my problems. The most important thing is to be happy and healthy and enjoy life and seeing your success gives me hope that I can do the same

    Reply
  72. Danielle

    Thank You!!!
    I searched “life after weight loss” and found this, exactly what I needed. I have also lost around the same amount and have maintained – ish. Jump by 10 pounds back and forth :S
    @Lindsay::: When I read your post, it sounded just like me. Just knowing now that this exists in other people I feel less crazy.
    How can we get help for this? What is the answer? I am struggling with these horrible views on myself. Its ruining my life.
    I do want to be happy, but I am finding it so hard, even after looseing the weight I am just not content. I am upset, that I’v worked very hard and still do not look like a normal women, becaues of my skin, and scars. Can anyone share how they deal with this please? I would really really appreciate it.

    Reply
  73. Vicki

    Thank you, thank you. You worded you post in just the right way to strike a familiar chord in me. I’ve spent far too many years avoiding mental discomfort, trying to escape my own thoughts and any “boredom, anxiety, sadness, fear, and loneliness” they might conjure up. I was unfamiliar with Geneen Roth until I read your post and will now seek out her work. I want to better understand and, hopefully, dismantle my avoidant habits. At age 54, it is high time I stopped seeking every type of detour around my feelings. I need to face and feel whatever is sent my way.
    Thank you again.

    Reply
  74. Kate

    Thank you so much for this post. I read it and I started tearing up. Maybe it’s because you were describing exactly how I feel about food, or maybe it was because (as a writer myself) it was just so well written, but it really spoke to me. Thank you, truly.

    Reply
  75. Melissa

    Just found you this morning and have been reading about you and your journey ever since. I just wanted to chime in with a massive fist bump to everything you said above.

    I am an ex-drunk, an ex-smoker and have lost 55 pounds – all in the last two years – and I can absolutely validate the idea that all of those burdens, all of that physical suffering, stemmed from deep-seated INTERNAL problems. Sitting with myself and being willing to face that was and continues to be the only real answer… which of course, of course turns out to be the most joyful and wonderful thing.

    Kudos to you for writing about this in a way I (unfortunately) rarely see. *Adding you to my subscriptions*

    Reply
  76. Trista

    Thank you so much for sharing! I had been thinking on this subject for a little while. I’ve been trying to lose weight, and yeah, I’ve lost some. But then I have a particularly stressful week and I lose the motivation. I will literally reason with myself “I can have two slices of pizza and some wine and then some ice cream later because I have had a crappy day.” But it’s like you say here, until I address the emotional eating, there is not going to be any lasting change. Which is why I’ve started reading Made To Crave which sounds a bit like Women, Food and God. So anyway, again, thanks for sharing your story.

    Reply
  77. cindy landham

    Andie, i LOVE to read your blog and look forward to your book! I’m so thankful your voice is out there. Those who comment here are very insightful as well. I am a 55 year old wellness coach and spend my days working especially with folks who struggle with food. It is my story too. I lost the same weight over and over again for thirty years or more – but it was never about weight. It was about coping. You explain the inner journey well. Thank you for your wisdom and honesty!

    Reply
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  79. Donna

    Thank you for sharing. I will check out the books you mentioned. I know I am an emotional eater…just never seem to get a handle on what to do about it. I’ve been to the exercise classes and over eaters anonymous and gym classes, etc. and I just fade away from them. Never seem to find anything to hold me more than food holds me. I shall look around this corner and see what Geneen Roth has to say. I already know I love what you have to say.

    Reply
  80. Clara

    THANK YOU for this! I finally understand why I was unable to keep the weight off that I worked so hard to lose. I knew I had an issue with emotional eating, but I didn’t really understand what that meant beyond the fact that I like to eat when I’m stressed/sad/bored. Now I understand WHY. Armed with this understanding, you have inspired me to give it another go. Truly, thank you.

    Also, you are an incredible writer!! I read tons of blogs, and while I appreciate the content, it’s often obvious that the authors are not writers. You, however, are a writer! Keep doin’ what you’re doin’!

    Reply
  81. Lindsay

    I just stumbled upon your blog, thanks to Pinterest… and I have to say that in the short time I’ve been reading it, your words have affected me profoundly. I have never had my thoughts and feelings so eloquently put into words as you did here. It literally made me cry as I read it, and I am truly inspired to try and love myself again.

    Reply
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