For Weight Loss Success, Remember This

If your goal is to achieve weight loss success, or to change your life in any meaningful way, here's an important reminder to help you get there.

Today I was pouring myself a glass of water, and this memory of me in high school came whooshing back–a flash of me on one of my health kicks, and not the one where I had two shakes and a sensible dinner or even the one where I attempted to run a mile and promptly threw up upon its finish — no, this was going to be gradual, manageable. Like every other living being, I had been told all about the health benefits of drinking eight glasses of water a day. It seemed easy enough to tackle, so I got to it — guzzling bottles of water in and between classes and asking for hall passes to use the bathroom in five-minute intervals. I was obsessed immediately, and yet, I was also well over 200 pounds, eating a diet rich in Burger King and high in Double Stuf Oreos…and now somehow panicking over the state of my hydration. 

Shaking up our habits–adding new ones, amending old ones–is always hard, but if you want to make meaningful change, you should consider working big to small.

Identify the biggest problems negatively affecting you. For instance, are you addicted to something (food, smoking, alcohol, drugs, shopping, sex, the list goes on…)? Are you in a toxic relationship? Do you have mountains of debt and you’re falling behind on bills? Are you bingeing or restricting (with food) almost everyday? These issues are major energy-sucks, they can hurt us physically and mentally, and we can lose years of life to them. Focusing on removing, or at least dealing with, these obstacles should be the priority, and then from there, you can work your way down to the minutiae — like finally creating a capsule wardrobe (can someone come over?) or organizing the mess under the bathroom sink (and do this, too?).

It isn’t always necessary to take drastic action — and it’s not for all of us. But even if you favor slower, more methodical change, your starting place should always be the big stuff, even if you break it down into smaller, more manageable goals. Why? Let’s say you have crippling credit card debt. Cutting out your daily Starbucks habit is absolutely a good step to take, but it’s not going to make much of a difference if you go home to an online shopping habit that’s going unaddressed. See what I mean? Similarly, staying hydrated is a fantastic health goal, but water isn’t able to wash away 3 Whoppers a week.

Sometimes when we feel stuck, any movement feels good. And while it’s true that doing something is better than nothing, we can trick ourselves into thinking we’re making progress when we aren’t doing anything meaningful. When we’re just doing the minimum and checking the small projects off of our To Do lists every day, at a certain point we have to stop and ask ourselves, Am I growing? Am I moving toward my goals…or am I just getting by?

Let’s never just get by. Complacency is the couch that you think you’d love to sit on forever…until you find yourself three days into a Netflix and nacho binge with bed sores and a sinking feeling that you won’t take action ever again. How many times can one person relearn this? So let’s tackle our big stuff. Let’s be those successful people who aren’t simply good at the work they do, but are good at doing the work. And we can do that, can’t we?

Of course we can.

Success Is Doing the Work - If your goal is to achieve weight loss success, or to change your life in any meaningful way, here's an important reminder to help you get there.



My memoir, It Was Me All Along, has been nominated for a 2015 Goodreads Choice Award in the Food & Cookbooks category! If you loved the book, please vote! I love sharing my life with you, and writing like I do in this post — talking about weight loss, finding balance, and the struggles we all have — and I hope to keep doing that in book form :) 
Click here to vote!



44 thoughts on “For Weight Loss Success, Remember This

  1. Christina

    Andie–I can’t thank you enough for this post today! It said so many things I’ve needed to hear, and confirmed so much of what I already knew deep down. I’ve been “just getting by” for awhile, and it’s time to start growing and moving towards my goals. There’s no time like today.

  2. Gina

    Thank you. This post is beautiful and it’s true – the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting different results. I can attest that I am slightly insane bc like you in HS I was well over 200 lbs. but worried that I was not hydrating enough or not eating clean enough – so I’d go on these quick fix plans and end up worse than when I started – this continued for 8 years.

    Now at 28 I am finally addressing the biggest problems head on – am I a food addict (yes), do I have other addictions (yes) but I am taking active daily steps to quell these. Someone once told me – nothing changes if nothing changes. I have turned my life upside down in hopes of large change, and little by slowly it is working.

    Thank you for your posts, your blog and your book – I finished it last night and it has helped ignite a flame inside of me.

    1. Andie Mitchell Post author

      Gina, thank you so much!
      It sounds like you’re ready this time — and so much of me changing my life when I was 20 was about being fully ready to commit to change. Maybe you’ve tried a million times before and it hasn’t worked out, but we’ve all done it (it’s excruciating) — maybe that just teaches us what works and what doesn’t, or helps us to appreciate the real transformation that much more. Who knows.

      Hearing that you’re motivation is ignited was exactly how I felt 10 years ago–and that’s just the best feeling. I’m so excited for you :) Wishing you so well on this amazing journey!

  3. Laura ~ Raise Your Garden

    I think the spice of life is challenging yourself, stretching yourself and actually accomplishing your goals! When I see the pounds on the scale go down and my mortgage getting huge dents in it, it’s enthralling! And when you see progress, it only motivates me even more to NOT eat that Twix candy bar and go work out and put more money down on my house. A win win! Lovely post.

    1. Andie Mitchell Post author

      Thank you, Laura! You’re so right–constantly challenging ourselves (in all ways) is how we continue to grow, to prove our own internal and external strength, and reach our goals. Not easy, but necessary :)

  4. Paig - Healthy Hits the Spot

    Such a great post Andie! Thank you for sharing. As a coach, I can totally stand behind this post. Anyone can do anything when the steps are broken down into small enough chunk sizes – something I’m learning. And, at the same time, you’re so right about needing to pinpoint what those big blocks are. Great post! You’ve got me feeling inspired :)

  5. Jen @ The Happy Healthy Balance

    What an inspiring post, Andie! This is something that I work on with my clients, so I will definitely be sharing it with them, too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I especially loved the words near the end, “Let’s be those successful people who aren’t simply good at the work they do, but are good at doing the work.” So powerful!

  6. Shelbye

    I am at the beginning of this journey, trying to push myself to go to the gym and eat healthier, and its wonderful when youve gotten off of the couch, its wonderful to get to the gym, but how with a crazy busy college life and trying to rebuild a completely new healthy lifestyle while doing so. but its hard for me because i’m super duper anal,…i get nervous…i forget to eat…or skip meals…and i don’t know how to be in that okay middle part that actually helps people to lose weight. advice on goal setting for the neurotic, busy college kid?

    1. Andie Mitchell Post author

      Ah Shelbye, I understand feeling overwhelmed, but try to focus on one part of weight loss at a time–meaning, you’ll burn out (and hate your life) if you try to tackle adding a crazy new exercise schedule and a brand new eating plan all at once. You’re in college and life should be a little more fun and a whole lot more moderate. Try to remember that. I would never want you to miss out on the fun of college, because you won’t get those precious years back.

      So, I’d say this: focus on your eating first. Try to create a rough meal schedule and plan. First, what times of day can you plan to go to the dining hall (if that’s where you go for meals) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Write those down. Next, try to plan out 3 or so healthy options for breakfasts (eggs, omelets, yogurt, fruit), lunches (salad, soup…), and dinners (grilled chicken, fish, veggies, salad, baked potato, whole grains…) that you can rotate between. Try to eat whole, real foods because they’ll fill you up and keep you full. Fruits and vegetables are always wonderful, and any food that has no ingredient list (a whole food like an egg, a sweet potato, almonds), too.

      If you feel like you have time, for exercise, try to set aside 45 minutes a day when you can take a long walk. Then just maintain your daily life, walking to classes if you can, taking the stairs if they’re available… You don’t have to go crazy; if you miss a day of walking, don’t worry. While it’s important to move and be active, so much of weight loss is done through our diet changes.

      I hope this helps!

  7. [email protected]

    Man, this hit me right at my core! I’m just coming off of a “weight loss break”, so to speak, because I realized I was just working against myself and I’d lost focus of what was actually important and how actually make meaningful change. Congrats on the GoodReads nomination!

    1. Andie Mitchell Post author

      Thank you, Christina! I’ve been there–coming off a break and feeling a little unsure of how I’ll ever get back on track. “What happened to all of my motivation?” The thing is, it always comes back eventually. You just need 3 strong days–where you kind of have to put in the hard work, and then you get your groove back, or at least, start to build a sense of strength and confidence that you’ll be alright again. Does that feel true for you? It seems to be the pattern for me :)


  8. Coco

    Wow, this is exactly what I needed to read. I’m the same way. For years I’ve been great at staying hydrated, always eating breakfast – all the little things that are supposed to help with weight loss. But I ignored the fact that I was eating unhealthy food on a regular basis or would try to convince myself that having a side salad would somehow counteract the calories of a bacon cheeseburger. For some people, doing something like cutting out soda is a huge deal but for someone like me who has maybe a can or two per week, it’s not enough. I’m just starting over for what feels like the hundredth time (started on Tuesday, actually) and for the first time I feel committed to making big changes and not lying to myself about what needs to be done.

    1. Andie Mitchell Post author

      You’re on your way, friend. Just know we’ve all been there (and maybe we’ll be there again!)–it’s normal. I know I say it all the time, but the only way to make it through without going insane is to take it one day at a time. Just do your best today. Handle tomorrow when it comes. You won’t feel so overwhelmed by the changes, and you’ll feel a little more in control day by day. It’s not always perfect–but the good thing about living this way is that tomorrow is a completely new opportunity to live entirely in the moment.

      Wishing you all the strength and support <3


  9. Valeria

    Hi, Andi,

    I often find myself thinking about the things you write. Please, never stop opening your heart. You are very wise for such a young person.

    Lots of regards from Chile,

  10. Anne F.

    Just wanted to send an anonymous quote I read the other day. I wrote it out and hung above my sink. “A year from now you’ll wish you had started today.” ‘Nuf said.

    1. Andie Mitchell Post author

      I LOVE that quote. So many times in my life I’ve found myself in a position where I wished I had started six months earlier…a year earlier…two years earlier…and it just lets me know that the truth is: the time is going to pass anyway, so let’s start now.

      Thanks Anne :) xo

  11. Jen

    Thank you for this post. Eloquent and true!! Love what you say about doing the work. Voted for your book, I read it last week and couldn’t put it down.

  12. Alma

    When I was in TFA, one of the things they taught us was backwards planning. It’s basically the idea of setting really big goals and then breaking them down into small manageable ones so you’re always working toward that bigger goal. Now, whenever I’m working on something, I use this concept to organize myself. A lot of times, you accomplish so much more because you’re focused on the little things. If you’re like me, big things feel so overwhelming and scary. I highly recommend this method for goal planning and executing.

  13. Michelle

    Hi Andie,

    I was just wondering if had any advice on making huge mental changes? It is the negative thinking where I fall down and I really, really want to change it but I can never make it stick. I always seem to fall back into those same destructive thought patterns that cause so much trouble. Is there anything that’s really worked for you?

  14. Lacey

    I’ve been reading your blog for years, but I just read your book: in about 12 hours.Seriously, I stayed up until 5 am with the lamp on while my boyfriend was sleeping. At one point, I got up and got a glass of wine, so I could justify not turning the light off. You are an INCREDIBLE writer. Being able to tell the truth is the hardest thing a writer has to do: you did it with grace, elegance and humor. I am truly amazed by your courage and by your talent. More, more, more!

  15. Amy

    Hi Andie,

    I really enjoyed your book and read your Blog regularly. I saw on a recent post that you had taped an episode of the Dr. Oz show and I’ve been watching and waiting for you to be on. Did I miss it? Would you please let us fans know when that taping will air?

    Thank you!

  16. Pingback: Happy New Year! | My Bizzy Kitchen

  17. fiona

    Great post and point… I think we always have to really dig deep to have meaningful and lasting change. To really figure out why we are doing these negative things to ourselves. It is amazing the amount of weight you have lost and I’m sure your journey along the way. Great job!
    Fiona @

  18. Sarah

    Hi Andie!

    Facing some challenges just like you and felt beyond overwhelmed. I’ve been slowly reading your book and had put it down for a bit just because work got busy and at a point when I really needed encouragement and direction, something told me to stop by your blog. I can’t tell you how much I needed to hear this. As overwhelming as it all is, I’m good at choosing and getting through tasks at work so why not manage “projects” in the same way for myself? What a concept! Thank you for your openness and honesty and thank you for challenging me to “do the work” and making it okay not to do it all at once.

    You’re a gem!

  19. Sophie

    Thank you for the inspiration. I just ordered your book and can’t wait to read more. I find myself asking “when did change become so difficult” way too often. You are an inspiration.


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