A Serious Post


I didn’t know that I was sad before I lost 135 lbs. But when I took away that numbing agent, the one that came in a two pack with cream filling, I was alone with myself.

I was exposed. I was left with emotions I’d eaten for twenty years. How I wished I still had a layer of marshmallow and a dark chocolate shell.

When I came back from Italy in 2006, I was the smallest I’d ever been. Not obese for the first time in my entire 21 year life. I had found health and befriended her. I should have been rejoicing an accomplishment. The world was supposed to be my oyster; I wondered if I had eaten that oyster.

I suppose I thought I would wake up on the morning of my first day in a new body and life would exist in day glow. Neons, brights, music booming and boisterous, faces all smiling, doors unlocked and opening, a fan blowing on me like the ones you see in photo shoots, a sense of purpose, a lightness of spirit. Happiness.

Instead, it was rain. Nothing of what I imagined. Life was not quite the California Gurls video I’d hoped for. Unfortunately.

The sadness, the isolation, the loneliness that existed even wrapped in a hug, the dullness in color palette, that heaviness of being.

To say that that period of my life, that year after the weight had left me, was difficult, is a grave understatement. I found myself sitting in a corner of my bedroom once, feeling a kind of hopelessness that I’d never known before. A lump in my throat, eyes like a glass filled to the brim, just teetering on spilling over. I said to my mother that my heart was breaking. Twice. I’d meant it. Because even when my father died seven years earlier, though my heart did shatter, the food was there. A way to not feel.

Like all beings, I have sadness. I use ‘have’ because it is part, but not all of me. Like brown hair. Some days life seems to be painted in gray tones. And on others, the vast majority of my life, I feel a sense of contentment, a deep-seated happiness that can’t be traced nor contained. The swings and dips of each are not extreme, they just occur like anything else. They flow freely.

The point is, life is not better now that I am thin. It’s not easier, more secure. Sadness, happiness, fear, doubt- they are not simply parts of life; they are life. And each is beautiful because it means I’m feeling; it means that I’m alive.

I have always been introspective, always looking at faces and eyes and questioning integrity, wondering intentions, listening keenly to hear someone’s truest voice. I am deeply aware. Of myself and others and experiences. I feel intensely. Love and lose and live passionately.

I have become myself in these years of awakening from a food coma. Had I not lost the weight, I would not have found so much of myself.

Sadness is not dire. Happiness is not always on tap. Yes, life means struggle. I will cry an infinity pool of tears. I will tight rope darkness and light. I will laugh so hard that I stop breathing for an unnerving number of seconds. I will smile so wide that my cheeks spasm.

So when joy’s away I look for her, when she comes I open my arms to her, and when she leaves I know she’ll be back again. And always, humor abounds.




38 thoughts on “A Serious Post

  1. Amy @ Second City Randomness

    I love your honesty in this post. I don’t think people always realize that being happy doesn’t come solely because you’re one thing or the other. Tall short, big, small, young, old. Doesn’t matter- we all have good and bad days. It’s part of the deal.

  2. Kortney

    In roughly two years I have lost 65 pounds. Only to have gotten married 3 months ago and gain about 15 back. Before the weight loss I honestly didnt care all that much about how I looked. Then I got a job at a gym and lost it pound by pound week by week. Good days- Bad days. Now I am obsessed with the way I look. And yet cant find a balance so I dont continue to gain the weight back. I dont remeber ever feeling this way before, and now I just hate everything about it. Your blog inspires me, and yet I just cant seem to get to where you are.

    1. waywardchild

      I so hear what you’re saying. I have the same problem. I recently lost about 30 pounds, just before I left for a vancation. Now that I’m back, I can’t seem to just breathe. It’s a constant battle, and after having two bad weeks, I’m just furious with myself… I blogged about it just yesterday…

  3. Shanna, like Banana

    I hear ya…even when I’m at my smallest the sadness is still there…sometimes even more so. It’s tragic and beautiful because it means you are human and can appreciate the happy times so much more.

  4. sandra

    You are right when you say that happiness is not always on tap. Yes, life means struggle, we all have good and bad days and being thin does not make everything better. You put it that in a very nice way, I like to read your blog because you inspire me and what you say sounds like a poem to me, thank you Andrea!!!! :)

  5. kitkat1126

    Your post brings up an interesting thought. So many people (I’m very guilty of it myself) think “I’ll be happy when” statements. I’ll be happy when I lose weight, I’ll be happy when I have a boyfriend, I’ll be happy when I have a different job, etc. And then they get there and experience exactly what you’re saying. Happiness is never always on tap. And sometimes the real issues can’t be solved by getting “there” (losing weight, having a boyfriend, etc) – if anything once they get there they are confronted with facing the issue since the issue is no longer buried under something else.

    Anyway, what an honest and raw post. *Thank you* for sharing your experience so candidly.

  6. Carbzilla

    Thank you for sharing because soooo many of us have been there. As they say, you have to walk through it. The more you learn that you can survive the sadness, that it won’t swallow up whole, the easier it is to let go of the food crutch. :)

  7. spabettie

    ah, the classic “grass is not always greener”…

    you are so far ahead of many – because you KNOW this. you have learned it and recognize it, and because you do… your grass IS green.


  8. cynthia

    Inspriational not only to those of us who have lost or need to lose weight but to everyone. I will be sharing this with my three adult daughters.
    Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. ~Hans Christian Anderson

  9. janae@hungryrunnergirl.com

    You amaze me and I love your story. So many people expect to be happy when…… but that it will never happen. You have to find it for yourself and get rid of any ‘addictions’ etc that are holding you back! I just love your blog!!

  10. Robbi Cary

    Thanks for sharing. You’re right! There are so many things that we can use to numb our feelings (most especially food) and these things all get in the way of really feeling, and they get in the way of our relationship with others and our relationship God.
    Thanks for your post and blog. I struggle too sometimes.
    Robbi Cary

  11. vamptriana4evr

    You are my inspiration, I hope you know. Before I found your blog I was just drifting along on the river of life, never really trying to chart my own direction or fight the currents that buffeted me from all sides. Now as I read your words I feel the spark inside me growing and I want to LIVE rather than just exist as I have been for so long. Never stop writing. You are amazingly articulate and inspirational to so many, especially me!

    Thank you so much!

  12. ihearteggs

    I really understand this post… I thought that like magic, I’d lose the weight and be happy… it definitly did NOT work out that way but I reailze now it’s aprocess :)

  13. Cindy

    gosh this was so beautiful.
    I might also add (if I may) that what you described can be added to any other thing we use in our lives to comfort. some it’s weight…for some it’s shopping or the like.

    but at the end of the day we have ourselves to deal with and our lives the good, the bad and the not so much.

    when we are stripped down to our naked selves (and I mean that figurtively)… we THAN have to heal those hurts, and find a way to live without the safety net.

    Its so hard.

    it’s comforting to know you are not alone, and that also YES it’s not roses and lolipops EVERY DAY. Some days suck.

    I am learning that happiness does not mean you never have a bad day , or an argument or get hurt or angry.

    you can experience this and STILL Qualify your life as happy and good.

    much love and those pics of you laughing made my day!
    you have such a vibrant smile. THANKS for sharing

  14. Leah @ Why Deprive?

    This post was really touching. I think a lot of people try and lose weight because “then I’ll be happy”, but thats simply not true. I feel like finding true happiness means realizing that life isnt always going to be sunshine and rainbows.

  15. Solveig

    That was….I don’t even have a word for it. Moving, beautiful, honest, eloquent…..all of the above and more. And exactly what I needed to read. Thank you!

  16. Anna

    This was the most enlightening and heartfelt thing I’ve heard all week. I always read your blog. Thanks for keeping it so interesting!!

  17. soniaenespanol

    I always tell myself that when I lose the weight I will feel better about myself and be truly happy. My worst fear is that the sadness isn’t related to my weight at all and that I will still be left with it when I lose the weight. I think this is why I always sabotage my dieting, because not knowing is better than this being true.

    Thank you I needed to know that this wasn’t just me.

    And now even when I’m not by anymeans near my thinest I’ve become much more comfortable with myself and who I really am and I am much more confident and happy. Well, except some days when I go into the dressing room while shopping, but hey who doesn’t have their bad days.

  18. Kristy

    I love you and your “serious” posts ;-) One line you wrote sums up my journey- “Had I not lost the weight, I would not have found so much of myself.”

  19. Megan

    Great post, as always, Andrea. You are one of the most honest writers I know and I hope you know how your words really touch people. I can relate to your story (as I’m sure most who have lost weight can), so thanks for sharing. :)

  20. Kelly

    I love this post. I wish every woman in the world could read this. It is profound and so honest, something I will read to myself over and over again.

  21. Tammy Ortagus

    I just stumbled upon your blog for the first time. This post just kills me. I’m crying. I was afraid of this…that even when I lose the rest of my weight, that it won’t really fix things. That’s why I’ve been trying to do the mental work and figure things out as I go along….what a process that is!! so many layers and intricacies to food addiction. So much crap. My friend Chris at A Deliberate Life refers to it as “cleaning out your chicken coop”….digging through all of the layers until you finally reach bottom….your REAL reasons and motivation for wanting to get the weight off and make SURE if stays off for good. You’ve really got me thinking today. Thank you for this post. The tears were worth it. :)

  22. buttercup600

    I came here from Foodpress and you are the most refreshing, honest, open and wonderful writer ever!! I am on a hiatus from writers block lately, went to foodpress on FB, and saw your post…I am very happy I did. Your post got me all teared up and goosebumpy….I am on a 2 week break from writing (poetry and recipes) but will look on and are subscribing to your. Thanks for being so honest and wonderful…happy to meetcha….Hugs, Mandy oxox

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  25. Sam

    This just brought me to tears. It is so amazing to have someone bring to words a feeling that I have had for a long time. I recently lost 75 lbs and I feel just as you described. While you imagine that everything will be easy, it isn’t always so; it’s just new.
    Amazing, thank you for writing this.


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