Since I gave my TEDx talk last February, I’ve lost weight…again. And yet, the losing, it didn’t start right away. Not after the eighteen-minute speech, not after I realized precisely how far off-track I’d gotten, not even when my shame was five-alarm. No, it started when I wrote “Losing and Gaining.” A blog post.
But not a blog post, in the ordinary sense. In fairness to that post, it was one of the most important things I’d ever written — not for anyone else, no. Purely for myself. It wasn’t about telling you I’d gained weight, though, sure it was, in the sense that I’d failed to maintain some of that weight loss success story you might have come to know me as; it was that releasing my shame created space. Space for relief, for acceptance. It was one thing for me to ruminate for months on how much I’d gained and how much sanity I’d lost in the process, but saying it all aloud — that forced a reconciliation. I had to tell you, not only that I’d gained weight — and hey, that was almost the least of the troubles — but on a real, serious note that I wasn’t OK, that I was struggling with binge eating again, and that I had a lot of shame built up about it. In the end, I might have heard what I said the loudest.
The post did what can only be done when you stop procrastinating and do exactly the thing that feels undoable, insurmountable, and downright ruinous. You do the scary thing — the thing you’ve tried not to do because you don’t want to face it, and then, something lifts. You might feel worse immediately, but within a day, a week, you’re freer somehow. You air out the tiny particles of fear, of anxiety, all the stuck-on bits of your resistance, and then they’re just floating out there, unattached to you.
Only recently have I begun to wonder if I didn’t need to experience some of that depression. If I didn’t need to regain some weight — and lose it again — just to relearn a major lesson. And that lesson has to do with my favorite pastime: Procrastination. Boiled down, it’s this: The notion that I can run away when I get uncomfortable, that I can procrastinate feeling or dealing with a situation and handle things later — causes me nothing but more discomfort.
For me, other than the five pound gains that come after holidays or big, fun vacations, significant weight gain is often pretty reflective of where I am emotionally. The weight, it means that something’s off for me. It’s a siren, and also and a symptom. It tells me that I’ve lost my balance. Often, I’ve begun binge eating, or I’ve become so overwhelmed with some part or parts of my life (a relationship, work, comparing what I’m supposed to be doing with what I AM doing, others’ perceptions of me, you name it I feel it) that I have to avoid living in the present altogether. I eat.
I procrastinate dealing with the feeling by focusing on food for the time being. I put anxieties, turmoil, and whatever else I may want to avoid away to the back of my mind, and I instead fill my mind, my time, and then my body, with food. It’s a procrastination by way of distraction, and at its heart, an avoidance of the present.
In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes on procrastination, “We don’t tell ourselves, ‘I’m never going to write my symphony.’ Instead we say, ‘I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to do it tomorrow.'” This speaks to me. It speaks to how I feel about dealing with challenging emotions and also how I have, in the past, felt about starting the process of losing weight. It’s not that I can’t, or won’t, handle this situation/emotion, or this big weight loss goal; it’s that I can’t handle it right now. No, right now I just have to take a second to myself and find a little bit of comfort. And the sick trick of it is: tomorrow I only feel worse. I’m only further away. I’m only more lost, with emotions even muddier, and needing — oh you know — one more day to sort it out.
The older I get, and I’m just approaching thirty, the more acutely aware I am of the false sense of security that distraction and procrastination provide. When I think logically about those things — the feelings, the situations — that I tend to avoid, I realize that what I’m essentially telling myself is that I can’t or won’t be able to handle them. That if I let the feelings in, or if I deal with the situation — that they’ll crush me. But will they? Think about this for yourself. There must have been a time when you were sure that you couldn’t make it through something — death, a breakup, divorce, job loss. Did it do what you thought it would? Did it kill you? If you’re reading this, I’m guessing it didn’t.
We choose, often and at times not fully consciously, to believe that we’re not ready or not able to deal with the uncomfortable stuff — but in the end, when we avoid and wait, and wait, and wait, we’re only worse off. We’re only less confident, less believing in ourselves, more afraid, and more comfortable in that waiting room that we’ve created.
When you don’t deal with your stuff (the weight you need to lose, the job you want to leave, that difficult talk you should have, the relationship that should be over by now), you become a hoarder. You pack it in, and it ends up somewhere. For those of us who emotionally eat — those feelings? They’re on us, in the form of pounds of flesh.
It’s time to unpack them. It’s time to make sure we’re not adding to a collection we never meant to start in the first place.
The heart of the message of my TEDx talk, and the real answer I give to anyone who asks me what the most valuable piece of advice I can offer about weight loss is — we can’t keep waiting until the time is right, until we feel better, until everything’s in its right place, to start. We’ve got to get to it. We’ve got to deal with the stuff we might not like, we’ve got to labor, and that means today. Now.
This year — from February forward — I feel a real shift happening. A good shift. I was catching up with an old friend the other day and when he asked me how I was doing, I found myself on the verge of choking up as I told him that for the first time in a long time, I mean it when I say: I’m doing really well. And when I say that, it’s coming from a place of genuine gratitude. I get how kind of yuck talking about gratitude can be. A little too syrupy, at times fake-seeming. But as someone who has felt a deep and gnawing void, has wanted to make a real exit from everywhere, has battled a profound sense of hopelessness, I’m OK with how odd it might sound to say that I’m just so happy to be alive, in this place, feeling good. That goodness is something for which I am so, so unbearably thankful.
I’ve lost a fair bit of weight since May — somewhere around 30 pounds — and I feel a lot more like myself. Physically, more like the person I was for 6 of the past 8 years. Emotionally, mentally — I am clearer, more balanced, less anxious. The weight — of course it doesn’t just fall off when I feel better, but in some ways, it’s easier for me to let it go. Food no longer exists as the the only thing that brings me a rush of good feelings. I can move more; I can eat better.
Depression lifts and suddenly, everything’s possible. I’m able to tend to the less savory parts of my life, and in doing that, I realize more fully that I usually survive if I work through rather than around.
What does any of this mean for you? I guess it means that you, like me, might have things in your life that need tending to. Things you’re avoiding, projects you just can’t bring yourself to tackle, shame that’s so overgrown you can’t even find its roots. Those things — maybe they drive you to distraction. And you, like me, might have begun to procrastinate living.
If you have, maybe now’s the time to get honest. To deal with your stuff, because even if it seems like you’re just waiting and you’re promising you’ll start soon(!) — that time and buildup is showing itself in other ways. It’s making you feel worse; it’s aggressively spreading into other areas of your life; it’s piling on as weight; it’s waking you up in the middle of the night.
The more you deal with the stuff you hate — sift through it, throw it away — the better you get at it all. And soon, you’re not so overwhelmed. You’re not so stuck.
It’s time to feel, and really be, OK. And that’s not something you can put off. Not even for a day. So start. And we’ll both see where we are. We’ll air shames. We’ll compare notes. And maybe we’ll both feel released and relieved enough to get on with the living that’s to be done.
But do start.
YES. Yes, yes, yes! I hear these words loud and clear. They ring through my ears sharply like a horn…as I absolutely, 100% know the feelings you expressed.
Today, coincidentally, I am starting a 30 day challenge with myself. I am committing to smart choices, exercising regularly, and letting go of my excuses.
Since getting married in June, I’ve been lax. LAZY. While my husband and I are very happy together, I’ve made my own health/lifestyle/priorities non-existent, which has created unhappiness for me. I’ve enjoyed countless hours of television with potato chips, cookies, or chocolate keeping me company. I’ve missed the gym for valid reasons and poor excuses alike. And one day last week I decided that was the end of my lazy-ness. So, I prepared my plan and now I’m on the right path again. And damn, it feels good.
Thank you for your honesty. It’s more comforting than a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. (And that’s saying something.)
Andie this was a great read. I understand exactly what you mean. I was frustrated for years with procrastinating. After i had a bad accident the weight just piled on me and i got super lazy. It really used to get me down but i told myself i had to stick to it and do this. I changed my diet and did loose some weight that i was happy with but heres another great way that helped me loose weight http://bit.ly/31qSPFk Hope this helps someone. :) . Keep the posts coming Andie
Every single time I see a new post from you, I feel happy. You write exactly what I think and feel, and it makes me feel less alone. Thank you so, so much for that.
I’ve been in an Intensive Outpatient Program for my binge eating for the past 8 weeks, and the number one thing I’ve learned? The feelings WILL pass! If I don’t binge, the feelings will come and be terrible and then dissipate. I feel like, for the first time in 30 years, I am not avoiding things anymore.
thank you. needed this reminder today.
You capture everything I am thinking & feeling and put it into such eloquent words, with perfect timing. This blogpost was just what I needed to hear today, and I can’t thank you enough for putting yourself out there, for sharing these feelings with us. Your blog speaks to me in a way no other blog does, and I appreciate it so much. I can’t wait for your book in January.
Wow. I definitely needed that today. Thank you!
Good luck to as all in our journeys to find balance and peace with ourselves. It is possible we just have to go for it, like you said.
How is it that you always write exactly what’s in my heart at exactly the right moment? I love this, Andie. Believe me, you aren’t the only “procrastinator” in the world. I’m guilty of it emotionally, professionally, physically…and it’s one of the things I dislike most about myself. Thank you for writing such an insightful post at the very moment I needed to hear it. <3
What an excellently written and candid post. Props to you for facing your demons with such grace and drawing from your challenges to inspire others. Your post made me look inward, big time. I have some things that I need to face and deal with (must quit my wretched job), and I keep procrastinating out of the fear and uncertainty of what will follow such an action.
You gave me a lot to think about this morning, thank you! Best of luck to you, Andie. You are a very inspiring person.
Make sure you have a new job, before letting go of the present job.lol.
Seems like I’ve found a community of like minded friends. Ditto from me on EVERY POST I’ve read. Thank you One and All-I have decided to join you ladies and not get up and pig out. I restarted my diet as of this very second and will continue to whittle down the last 80 pounds following YOU MY FRIENDS. Thank you for SHARING :), Luzena
Andi, your words are answers to my prayers. Heartfelt, fervent, searching prayers. I’ll read this post over and over again until it really sinks in. I wish i could sit and talk with you & to get your advice and perspective. Your posts do feel like that though. Thank you for everything you write; your life is truly a message to the world. It’s not a message of Fitsporation or of pictures of polar watches with hundreds of calories burned. It’s about living an enjoyable life, feeling emotions that are difficult and being who you are. You are beautiful, heart and soul.
So happy to hear you are doing well – I’ve loved your blog since it found its way into my life back in law school. Just like always, your posts hit me like a 2X4 of reality right where I need it. Happy Un-Procrastinating! :)
Love love love. You are such an amazing writer and an inspiration!
I just started my journey to a healthy lifestyle on Sept 15th. Only a month in, I already feel better. You’re totally right – don’t wait! Start TODAY.
i can pretty much judge exactly where i’m at in life by how tight my pants fit.
love you, mean it. <3
I hear you!! :-)
You are such an inspiration and I am SO proud of you!! xoxo
WOW. You did it again. Put words down that I think but cannot formulate. I’ve felt every single emotion you have put out there. I love the “ALARM SIGNAL” metaphor–so true that bodies are just showing what may be going on within. THANK YOU. So happy for you that you mean it when you say you’re doing well!
Thanks so much for this post. I’ve been off track for months, daughter issues, husband has cancer…always something going on that sucks the energy out of life so I have nothing left for me. Now my daughter has moved out (just this past weekend) and instead of feeling sad, I’m actually feeling lighter. She’s made tremendous strides towards straightening out her life and subsequently, I hadn’t realized how much HER issues were MINE. My husband will be starting chemo again shortly and while it is incurable, at least I know by doing the treatment, he will be with me for a bit more. It’s now time to start reorganizing my home, my life, my mind and get back to taking care of myself. Again, thank you for sharing and giving me the boost. I’ve been procrastinating for way too long :) Christine
I’ve struggled for 10 years with an eating disorder and over exercise. I finally got burnt out, and for the last two years have been in no man’s land. My therapist had been telling me to take the workouts down a notch, but it didn’t make sense. How can you lose weight and not run 30 miles a week, take multiple spin classes, and throw in some insanity.
I read your blog entry about your own experience with burn out and how you turned to just walking, and your story is always in the back of my mind when I tell myself that it’s okay to just go for a walk. I don’t need to run a million miles, because at the end of the day this is about my health and well being and not about being the thinnest.
I really like the the idea of this blog post, however I think you get it wrong when you frame all of these wonderful observations with procrastination over losing weight. You gained weight because you were in a bad place, you began to binge, your health took a side step, and boom. There’s the weight. You lost the weight because you checked back in to your health. I just wish we’d quit framing these conversations around weight loss and more toward health and well being, otherwise the message you’re trying to convey gets lost in translation. What did it really mean to get your sh*t together the second time around? Was it to take command of your health again, or was it to lose weight? If we keep focusing on the latter, it’s only a matter of time before we fall again.
I’m so glad you said hello here. I really see what you mean, and I have to agree. You’re right; I do think it’s healthier to frame the discussion on health and not weight loss, and I guess I struggle in a.) untangling the two, and b.) really being able to convey that the mental/emotional health piece becomes the weight — in every way. But regardless, you said it — it’s the head and the heart — the wellbeing — that’s the conversation piece here, not the weight itself.
Since my entire life has been a battle with the scale, I do tend to get mired in the pounds out of habit. And as destructive as that can be (and I do think it is unhealthy overall), the numbers become a signifier of my overall health, and so I instinctively frame my progress in that way. The numbers don’t mean everything to me — not even close to the way they once did — but still, I can’t say they don’t matter. Losing weight and taking command of my health are still linked in my mind.
Your comment struck a chord with me. It’s a great one. I do strive to change the way I think about my overall health with less importance placed on the weight, and as with all of me, I’m working on it. Thanks for your thoughts; they help.
Thanks for responding, and thanks for being so open and honest publicly. :)
This is a wonderful back-and-forth. I’m with you, AG, in dealing with trying to reconcile that health and weight loss are not always synonymous, and that it’s OK to do things that make us feel just plain nice, even if they don’t mean we leave a puddle of sweat behind us.
This journey never ends – I firmly believe this. As someone who has lost 100lbs, regained it + some, and lost it again, I think that those of us who struggle with our bodies and our relationships with food are offered a real opportunity to get to know ourselves in a way that most people never do. The key, I think, is to adopt a mindset of curiosity and fascination and drop the arbitrary (and often meaningless) deadlines…but boy, is it hard to do.
We’re all in this together.
You are human and we love you for that! You realized what was going on and worked through it. I admire your honesty! I am thankful that you write so beautifully and that we can relate to the struggles in life.
Thank you for this. It’s exactly what I’ve been feeling lately as I watch myself get more and more off track as the days, weeks, and months go on. I have the same issue of procrastination. And at 31, it only means my body is less willing to comply with my laziness. May I ask, what did you do this time around in order to make such great progress this year? Knowing that I’m not alone makes me feel loads better.
I really needed this today. Thank you. xx
I wish I could explain the sanity-vanity connection to people who haven’t experienced it. Because I’ve been in that procrastinating place too, and I feel like it comes off as as “I feel fat and need to hide” (pretty lame and selfish, by anyone’s standards) when really the emotions informing both the weight AND the withdrawal are much more complicated. I guess I can’t expect everyone to empathize, but fighting the urge to judge myself for my dark days — which I’m harder on than the weight, really — is what allows me to do the work and get to a better place.
It’s crazy how really does “lift,” too. Super black-and-white — yes, I am fine and dealing with my shit, even if it’s a work in progress…or no, I am not fine and terrified and blind to what will change that. So, so mental, and why these conversations are so important. Thank you for sharing, as always!
Always so inspiring, just to love you to pieces!
“You might feel worse immediately, but within a day, a week, you’re freer somehow. You air out the tiny particles of fear, of anxiety, all the stuck-on bits of your resistance, and then they’re just floating out there, unattached to you.”
This is honestly one of the best things I’ve ever read regarding moving past your anxiety with facing pain. You’re a great writer. Please keep it up. You add a great deal to the world with what your have to say.
Once again to speak to my soul. You have an amazing ability to teach people how to find the shape of their hearts. Just knowing you have felt all of these negative feelings as I have – and how admired you are by so many, It makes me believe that I am worth it as well. And that it is Ok to feel these things, there is no need to shame spiral- because Yes you can get out of it.
Thanks for being a rock to so many even when you though you were a pebble.
Wow. Just wow…I started reading this after sticking a second doughnut in my mouth, the third was sitting on my desk. It’s in the garbage now. Instead of thinking about doing, I have to do. Thank you, it’s uplifting to know I am not the only one who goes through these peaks and valleys!
Procrastination, in a macro sense, is a very interesting topic and one that strikes particularly close to home right now. Having just gone through a breakup on Sunday, my ex said something that made a real impact one me: “You are truly scared to take ownership of your life.” He isn’t wrong. I’ve been procrastinating figuring-myself-out because the idea of it terrifies me and I’m worried I won’t be able to handle it. In his words, “Not having a strong handle on yourself or an understanding of your own self-worth will only lead to more profound heartache as time goes on.”
So I’m trying to find a way to get a handle on who I am and not be scared of it.
Thanks for the post. Brilliant as always.
“But as someone who has felt a deep and gnawing void, has wanted to make a real exit from everywhere, has battled a profound sense of hopelessness, I’m OK with how odd it might sound to say that I’m just so happy to be alive, in this place, feeling good.”
This really resonates with me. As someone who struggles consistently with finding joy in life, those times when I can genuinely look around at my life and FEEL HAPPY are precious. I’m currently working on some healthy living and body image standards for myself too that are just adding to the battle. Thanks for writing honestly about the blurry lines between weight, health, and happiness.
I can’t even put into words how spot on this is for me, I am a major procrastinator as well. I have also been dealing more and more with the feeling side of weight loss, it’s been sabotaging me a long time now. Thank you so much for this post as it comes at a time when I needed exactly this. I had a large weight loss and have been gaining it back and there is a lot of shame that comes with that, from me, from others. None of it helps. Thank you thank you thank you!
Thank you for once again another amazing post. Your honesty and journey really helps.
I am in a place where I have just had my ex move out after a long time of fighting whether or not I can handle it. The part on being free regardless of the immediate pain really struck a cord with me.
Also I have a trip in a couple months and I also suffer binge eating. I have 84 days and I am still sitting at the same 30 lbs goal I had a year ago. I know I no longer can achieve that in a healthy way and I am coming to terms with it. Instead of just giving up this post as inspired me to keep trying. Hey if I can even lose 10 of those lbs and feel a little better and work towards my success thats less emotional and literal weight I have to carry. As this is also my second time trying to lose weight after gaining 25 lbs backs it helped.
so so much for being you.
I loved this post. I NEEDED to read this post more than I even knew. Excuse me now while I go and figure out where all that shame is coming from!
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I just CAN’T get over your writing. It’s always beautiful, always honest and speaks to me on different levels of life. Thank you for continuing to share your journey!
Thank you for this – I really needed it today. And I’m so glad you are able to say you’re doing well, and mean it. :)
Depression causes me to lose excessive amounts of weight. I struggle with being a perfect-looking petite woman who is all effed up in the head and seriously unhappy. Sounds awful, right? When I weigh 125 lbs, people love to praise me, but I feel like such a fraud. When I’m not depressed I weight 25 lbs more and probably toe the BMI line of overweight, but feel joy and live in the moment. Which one is healthy? I really wrestle with this.
Your timing is perfect. Just today, I had the “nah…I can start with all this tomorrow” regarding McDonald’s (and my SERIOUS need to stop eating there). Your journey – all of it – is so inspirational. I’m so glad you’re doing well! Big hugs to you :)
This, and you, are amazing. I needed this. Thanks!
All I can say is that you’re an amazing person and thank you.
I have been reading your blog for a few years, and it has resonated with me over and over again. I haven’t commented until now When I first started reading, I had just gained 40 lbs and was feeling so overwhelmed with the idea of tackling that kind of weight loss. When I came across your blog, I felt hope and encouragement. Fast forward to early this year; I started to gain back some of the weight and still haven’t been able to stop that trajectory. Reading your post today helped me remember that change is not linear, and that we are all human. We will all have stressful, difficult times in our lives. Sometimes we struggle hard with dealing with the stress and revert back to our old ways of coping. But making the decision to face our fears and our shame is so empowering, and that empowerment and confidence is priceless. As soon as we accept ourselves, flaws and all, we can begin to move forward. Thank you SO much for sharing your journey with such candor and insight.
Been reading your blog since 2010. You’re vulnerability and authenticity inspires me everyday. I have never been overweight, but on occasion struggle with emotional eating. Everyday I remind myself to be truth to my inner self, listen to my intuition, live in the moment and always accept my emotions. Let myself feel my emotions- to ensure I dont eat them. Give myself time out during the day to collect my thoughts and rebalance.
You are amazing Andy! I can’t wait to read your book. Keep on being authentic and vulnerable. You are inspiring many people!
Been reading your blog since 2010. Your vulnerability and authenticity inspires me everyday. I have never been overweight, but on occasion struggle with emotional eating. Everyday I remind myself to be truth to my inner self, listen to my intuition, live in the moment and always accept my emotions. Let myself feel my emotions- to ensure I dont eat them. Give myself time out during the day to collect my thoughts and rebalance.
You are amazing Andy! I can’t wait to read your book. Keep on being authentic and vulnerable. You are inspiring many people!
I did the same thing myself last April. I sat up late, practically weeping over my keyboard as I typed out a blog post putting my crazy relationship with food and emotions and eating out for the world (or at least my handful of readers) to see. It was like a boulder had rolled off my shoulders and I could stand up straight at last. The path from there has not been smooth or straight, but I have definitely been traveling with a lighter heart. Congratulations to you, and thanks for sharing.
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I just ran across your blog today and read this post. I have been struggling with this same notion. Someone once told me there was a difference between knowledge and wisdom. While all around me I had access to more information than I knew what to do with about my weight things did not change. There is a prayer were it talks about accepting the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Your post made me that about the wisdom to know the difference, Thank you for some insight I needed.
Thank you. I was meant to read these words today. I am struggling. I am 20 bs in on a 100 weight loss goal and I feel myself sliding. overwhelmed. overloaded. scared. but I DO need to start today. restart. unload and face it.
What I wouldn’t give to meet you in person and laugh and cry while enjoying a delicious meal (complete with dessert! ;) ). I have been following your blog for a few years now, and you always have a way of speaking so honestly, so openly, and it gives me hope. I have struggled most of my life with overeating, stress eating, anxiety, depression, and feeling like I’m never good enough, just me. I let it manifest itself into taking control of my life, making me into a scared shell of a person that hides behind layers of fat and shame. All of my life I’ve just wanted people to like me, to accept me, when in reality, I don’t even accept myself.
I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing your story even as it grows and changes, because you have given me courage. I started seeing a therapist this week, and I know I’ve got a long road ahead of me, but I know that you’re right there, going through it all too. So are your readers, and the fact that you’ve brought together so many similar stories also gives me hope, and lets me know that I am never alone. We are all struggling with the same things, and I don’t have to be afraid here.
So thank you, and your readers. And if you’re ever in Grand Rapids, MI, dinner’s on me. :)
“I have struggled most of my life with overeating, stress eating, anxiety, depression, and feeling like I’m never good enough, just me. I let it manifest itself into taking control of my life, making me into a scared shell of a person that hides behind layers of fat and shame. All of my life I’ve just wanted people to like me, to accept me, when in reality, I don’t even accept myself.”
I could have written this. Thankful to read I’m not the only one.
You have such a beautiful way with words. I just love your writing.This piece really struck a chord with me, not because of the weight loss, but because of what you said about procrastination. I’m so so guilty of putting things off til later, whenever that may be, even though deep down I know that I’ll feel so much better if I just get that uncomfortable thing out of the way right now. I think it really shuts all come down to fear and anxiety, at least for me. I try to remind myself of all of the other times I’ve just gone for it and felt better afterwards but it’s still a big struggle for me. Thanks for the inspiration to do what I need to do right now!
Andie, I’m so happy that you’re feeling better and in a good place. Thank you for your words. They give me comfort :)
So much of this is familiar…I am glad you talked about gratitude :) xoxo
It’s so good to hear you’re in a better place. You’re an amazing and inspirational girl, with or without the 30 pounds.
yes, this. all of this. i’ve been thinking the same thing, but related to procrastination with reading my bible and praying .. i am so glad to hear you’re in a better place! take care of yourself, okay?
This is the challenge of your life – and mine, too – to expand the definition of fitness beyond weight to a lifestyle and way of being. I’ve been working hard to put routines and behaviors into place to help ensure my success in keeping the weight off – and sometimes I still falter. Your story, in your own voice, gives a voice to us all. We are ultimately working toward maturity – and that involves facing our pain – sooner rather than later. Thank you for sharing your journey with kindness, compassion, and honesty.
Amazing post. Every word is what I needed to hear. I’ve been in a slump and gained weight. I totally love how you phrased it in terms of an “alarm”. Thank you as always for an awesome post. I can’t wait to read your book!!
love love love this.
I’ve finally have just figured out this piece to the puzzle, the emotional connection to my weight. I always knew there was one but could never quite get my head around it.now that I see the direct connection of my emotional state on what is going on in my life to my food choices. it is so very clear to me now. since figure this out I’ve dropped 50 lbs. as a previous poster mentioned this all comes down to taking care of myself. I find it easier to take care of myself (which includes eating well) when my emotions are “in check”. even though in 50lbs down I still have weeks where I have amnesia and resort to old dieting ways. hopefully that fades over time. I do live in fear of gaining the weight back in still learning on how to let that go. thank you for this!
Dear Andie – Thank you for crawling inside my head and pulling apart my thoughts and laying them out in a way I can understand. Looking forward to continuing this journey with you.
this is such an amazing post, and exactly what i needed. i get stuck in a procrastinating rut so often, held back by my own fears. thank you for sharing your stories.
Your posts always seem to come at the right time for me. I absolutely loved this and I can think of a few friends who could benefit from it too. Thank you for this :)
“shame that’s so overgrown you can’t even find its roots”
You hit the nail on the head. I need to start finding the roots.
As always, I see the email pop into my box that says “Can You Stay for Dinner?”, and I instantly know something is about to touch me. It’s not because you lost weight, or because you make me laugh, or because you share yummy recipes and food pics. Here’s the thing…
You are real.
…it’s because you do all of those things, and so much more, by being so present and so real in those posts that I feel you are speaking directly to me. The procrastination of dealing with “it”, whatever “it” may be, is another great example of this. I get frustrated with myself over those days when I realize in just kept grabbing for more candy, or pudding, or whatever it may be. The reality is the self-comfort is usually about procrastinating something else.
Thank you again for being so real with us! It means so much!
Your post couldn’t have been more timely for me. I have been a little stuck in many areas of my life, and have just begun to link it with procrastination ( and fear, and being overwhelmed by all the ambitious projects I create for myself). But it was your post which made me connect all that with the pounds which have slowly accumulated as well. I think a course correction is in order, and I know I am ready to confront this now. Thank you! You have a great deal of wisdom and insight for a young woman ( I am somewhat older!). I love your blog, and so does my daughter in law.
Best regards, Dale Fink
Wonderful post as usual! I too struggle with losing/gaining/losing and am on the procrastinators walk right now. I know I need to lose 75 lbs. (and that I can do it as I did it before) but feel the task is too insurmountable. Reading your post makes me think that maybe, just maybe I can do it again. Thank you for sharing so much! Love you!
Great Ted Talk! I love you blog and I can’t wait for your book.
Thank you. Beautifully written and just exactly what I needed to hear.
You always seem to express, so eloquently, exactly what I’m struggling with. Thank you!
Thank you. You and I have a similar story of losing weight and regaining it back. I have yet to reach the final leg of losing the weight again, but I feel as if this post is a send-off. When I first lost weight, I was never one to procrastinate. I was a go-getter who got things done. But then somewhere along the way, after entering college I lost my confidence. I started comparing myself to others who seemed more successful, attractive, popular, and happy than me. And that’s when I started avoiding myself. Avoiding the things that made me uncomfortable. I started to eat again. I started to binge and purge and entered a horrendous cycle that began to consume me and to make me feel smaller than ever. Knowing that I’m not alone in this makes me realize there is hope. If I face my fears and begin today, I can end up feeling as good as you feel. Thank you for holding up the mirror and allowing me to see myself again.
This is exactly what I needed to hear. And I even got a little teary-eyed at the end.
Thank you. :)
Lawdy be mercy!! This post came at the exact right time for me. I so needed to hear this. Thanks for your honesty. I know it resonates with most of us.
You are my hero! I just watched your Tedx and it was beyond inspiring. This Spetember marked a year since my Mom passed away. Before her cancer diagnosis in February of 2012 I had lost 50lbs. As the gravity and uncertainty of her cancer hit me, I turned back to my old friend overeating. I knew I was steadily putting the weight back on, but I wasn’t interested in “dealing” with it. Sure enough, a regular check up at the doctor and the number on the scale was terrifying. The 50 I had lost plus almost 10 more were staring me in the face. So, I decided it was time. Time to put me first. I’m down 20lbs, and most days it’s hard to stay motivated. But now, I know it’s ok to just focus on NOW! Each day is a gift. I’ve got 2 young girls and a husband that need me. So, thank you!!!!!!!
Thanks to the help of your recipes, I have lost 35 much needed lbs since the beginning of the year. Do I feel better — yes! However, once I noticed the results and summer came around I haven’t been eating clean and have gained a few back, only around 3 or 4 but I needed a kick in the pants to get me back going. Thanks for that kick in this blog. I really enjoy reading your posts.
PS: 30 is right around the corner for me. BLAH! ;)
Thank you so much for your post, you write everything that I am feeling but don’t want to admit! Keep up your fabulous work, and I cannot wait for your book :)
Just found your website, your year has somewhat mirrored mine. I was overweight my entire life, then got into running 11 years ago when I was 20, and I lost 130 pounds (I’m 5’10 and was 272 at my last weigh in, got down to 145-ish). I’ve run 22 marathons, a handful of 50k, 2 50 milers, and I started training for triathlon this year and completed 2 ironman. In between the two 140.6 triathlons, I had a genetic condition present itself and pretty much almost kill me, out of the blue. I spent a week in the ICU and got out, started training again, finished my 2nd Ironman, but in the process lost the love of my life, and have managed to gain 30 pounds in the span of about 4 months. I’m just now at the point that you were at in February, I can’t keep wallowing in pain over losing him, almost losing my life, etc. Thanks for writing this, I will carry it with me when times get tough.
I needed this post. I’ve regressed lately into my binge eating as well. Feeling overwhelmed with life, just as you said, I found comfort in food. I procrastinated. “I’ll just start my diet after Vegas…after California…after fall break.” It never happened. I had to remind myself it’s OK to have a candy bar, just not five of them. It’s OK to have mashed potatoes, but maybe your (amazing, holy cow) cauliflower mashed taters.
Thank you for always being an inspiration and a role model. This post couldn’t have come at a better time <3
I love this post. Every year I vow to stick with the whole weight loss “thang” in January (not because it is a new year, but because my birthday is Jan 2), and this year I also entered a new decade; hello thirty! I lost 20lbs, started to run, and felt wonderful. Sure, I’ve lost 20lbs before (and 30, and gained it back, and lost…), but this time something felt different. Then I started my own side business in addition to my full-time office job, tried to grow my blog, and we bought our first home…Guess what? I ate my stress, feelings, and procrastinated the heck out of it all. I don’t even think I was aware of it until a month ago. I always enjoy your insightful posts on weight and the mental struggles (for real, the struggle is!), and I am so glad to shared this. I am also glad you’re feeling like you again. Thanks as always :)
I want to print this, make wallpaper out of it, and plaster it on every wall.
Your gift for not only speaking to but for so many people is such a tremendous blessing. Thank you for always finding the courage to share.
Great blog post! I find it hard to lose weight and I’ve tried over and over again!
Andie, this is incredible. Thank you. Spoke to me deeply today.
Dear Andi. Thanks to you for you writing. I am so very proud and happy for you, that you are “in the flow” again.
There is so much human truth in this post. You have such tremendous insight for one so relatively young.
I have just turned 60. My weight was pretty normal for the first 30 years, other than the odd 10 pounds; the second 30 years brought a tremendous amount of excess weight, which I still carrry, despite having had two cancer diagnoses that are likely linked, risk-wise, to obesity. Fortunately all is well now, I hope, and you’d think that sheer gratitude would be enough to fuel the major weight loss effort I need to embark on. But I’m still procrastinating, even as I’m still hoping that somehow tomorrow it won’t feel like swimming upstream.
As much as I want to lose the weight (and we’re talking 170 excess pounds), I want even more to lose the disconnect.
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This so perfectly captures exactly where I am right now. I feel like I’ve been procrastinating for years and its time to start. Glad you’re in a good place!
I think I need to print this and read it everyday as a reminder I am not alone. Thank you for your heartfelt honesty! Also thanks to howsweeteats for sending me here :)
Thank you for a great post and your honesty.
Oh Andie, you put into words what so many women feel. I’m so proud of you (and we’re not even related!) for being so open about your life and for offering such inspiration. Now, if I could just find a way to introduce you to my 30 year old son…
Andie, this is amazing. And spot on. Its like you jumped into my head and began to speak. You are such an inspiration… thank you.
Perfect timing for me. Thank you. And thank you for all of your posts over the years. Really looking forward to your book.
Dear Andie, thanks for the post. You write exactly what I need to hear. Right now I just don’t know how to start. How did you do that? I know i myself did it before, but this time I feel like I just can’t. I can’t. I don’t know how to get up and face the things waiting for me.
I just stay here, feeling constantly on the verge of falling.
Especially weird cause I made huge steps in the last months. My position is much better than before. So, why do I feel like that?
But, anyways, thank you for reminding me that it’s possible. My comment might not sound like it, but it helps.
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I just found your blog last night and I am so inspired by your story and your honesty. I’d love to say I have had the same journey as you, but must admit I am only just beginning my getting healthy journey. Your posts have helped me to identify the excuses that I am using to avoid possible failure, and the denial I am living in regarding just where I’m at right now. It’s hard but I’m grateful. Weight loss may be common sense but first you have to get your head in the game.
love this post, love your words, and love how you inspire me to move forward in a gentle, self accepting way. it is freeing to let go of guilt,shame, feelings of failure and to keep going to a healthy weight and healthy life style. for me , they, too, go hand in hand. I will use this post to encourage me to keep going this very moment towards being healthy and feeling great!
I just read your post and it was one of the most inspirational messages I have ever read. I am a college student that had struggled for years and years now with this same issue and I now have the courage to truly face it. Below is a reflection I was inspired to write after reading your post, so thank you. Thank you for giving me the power to start. I hope to one day be as successful as you.
“Shame. Shame is an emotion that I have dealt with all my life, and yet continually manage to shove it down deep enough to ignore. Everyone tells me I have a big beautiful smile and that I seem to always be smiling. And yes, I do smile a lot. But behind that big smile, there is pain. There is lots of sadness. And most of all, there is shame. Shame of my insecurities. Shame of never being able to attract a boyfriend. Shame about not having enough friends. Shame of my abusive relationship with food. Shame of not feeling worthy enough for my parents’ pride. Shame of my imperfect body. Shame of my insecure past. Shame of feeling like I am never enough. The reason my smile is so big is that I am desperately trying to hide all the shame that lies just beyond it. And I succeed. People don’t see my shame. That burden is left for me alone to deal with like closet continually being stuffed with junk, but never being dealt with. And so, I choose not to deal with it. My way of procrastination: food. When I am stressed and feeling insecure about my abilities, I eat. When someone is disappointed in me and I feel ashamed of myself, I eat some more. When I feel upset about my body and I am ashamed of my appearance, I eat more. And yet, I try to stop eating without ever dealing with the junk in the closet. The thought of even opening the door is overwhelming, so I continue to smile and ignore it. But I have to look in there one day, and that day is today. I don’t have to clean the whole thing at one. But one thing at a time, I will clean my closet of shame until none remains. That day may be weeks, months, or years from today, but I vow that one day, it will be clean and I can smile to show true happiness instead of to cover up my seemingly endless shame.”
You’re not alone! It’s hard to start, or start again. It’s truly the hardest part of the weight loss journey. One HUGE tip I can give you and your readers is to get support from your loved ones. You don’t feel so alone, and someone will be there to help you along even if you give up on yourself. That’s what I did with my mom – she needed to desperately lose weight. With my tough love and support, she’s already lost 50 pounds! I’m currently writing our story on my blog, Recipe For A Better Me. Please feel free to check it out! http://www.recipeforabetterme.com . Xoxoxo
Wow. Add “fortune teller” to your list of talents, Andie. You’ve truly hit the nail on the head as far as what I needed to hear. And by reading the comments you’ve really nailed it for a lot of other women reading your blog too. Your message is hopeful and inspiring without being falsely peppy and self-helpy. Tough thing to do! Thanks for this, again, and keep on rocking the universe.
As with just about all of your writing, I just love this, and the beauty you distill with your words. A virtual hug your way, little lady.
Hi Andie! Your blog posts are always extremely relatable. Whenever I read your blog I find myself nodding and agreeing with everything you say. Thanks for your insights because they put into words how I, and I’m sure many others, feel.
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This post is simply incredible. I can’t begin to even describe how much this hits home for me. This is truly golden….thank you, thank you, thank you!
This meant so much to me. Thank you for sharing.
Reading this very late, but glad to have read it. I’ve gotten so much heavier that I feel disgusted with myself. And each day I say “Aw, I’ll do better, I’ll start next week.” And I don’t. I’ve been exercising more (but now I have a foot injury that needs to rest, so just yoga for me this week) but I know I can stop putting crap food in my body and eat well. Thanks for the reminder. I also keep putting off cleaning my house. Maybe I’ll get to that tonight after yoga and make dinner and get something healthy for lunch! Thanks, Andie!
What an inspiring and challenging post. Andie, you are beautiful and I would love to have your smile. Losing weight is like getting rid of clutter in my house, it brings so much emotional energy. I hope your book is wildly successful and wish you even more success on your health journey.
Thank you for sharing from your heart in this post.
Just finished reading your memoir. I am so NOT a reader. I often lose interest after a few pages. RARELY read cover to cover. Consider this a huge compliment. I read every word in a couple of days! Thank you. The “can you do it just today?” idea will help in its own way. The reality of getting to the end – that it doesn’t make life automatically perfect and the skin issue have me scared. Surgery freaks me out and the changes in my relationships because of change are scary too. Your writing helps me realize it’s all just life and it’s better than the life I don’t have while being obese. Thanks again.
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I have read this post more than once and I’ve read your book. You speak to so many people it’s amazing. I feel like I’m reading all my own feelings when I read your posts. I had lost 35 lbs and due to life changes I’ve gained back 28 of them. I feel like I can’t let myself get back to the 35 lb mark. Must….keep….trying. Thanks again for such awesome writing!
Andie, thanks for sharing your story. I just finished reading your book and I feel inspired. I have started counting calories since Monday and I don’t believe that so far I have been good. I keep in my mind the “I can do it today”, and it’s helping me. I look forward to losing 60.
Thanks for this inspiring post. And I totally agree with you, we need people like you in the pro-health campaign.
By the way, I’m Laura and my experience on was that after I had my second daughter I was frustrated and depressed about the way my body looked and felt.
I couldn’t get back to where I was. I started to look for a way to get in shape and shed those unwanted pounds from pregnancy but going to the gym was not in the budget at the time.
I began my fitness journey just 3 years ago. On July 4, 2010 I began a P90X Challenge which changed my life. I felt great.
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I am reading this and am amazed by how much it is resonating with me. I had lost 93lbs a few years ago. I had never really made it to my goal weight, but I was feeling very good about where I was. Then slowly over the last two years I feel like I lost myself. I gained back 62 lbs. I have realized I need to change careers and let go of something I have worked so hard to achieve. When it’s not right, it’s just not right. I have also gotten out of a relationship with an emotionally manipulative man. I am slowly getting back to myself. I have restarted my love affair with running and have shed 15 lbs again.
I just wanted to thank you for sharing. It means so much.
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Seriously, I feel like you spoke directly to me. My heart skipped a beat and said, “Marcy, this is you.” Thank you for this gift and awakening. I am going to print what you wrote and keep it close. Time for living, not being numb.
Marcy, thank YOU! xo
You are so right about things being off. I still turn to food for comfort. It’s so easy. Something I have to work. Thank you for being you! I’m here always to read and support you :-)
How is it that you manage to always write the perfect post for me at the right time. This has been something I have been procrastinating on for the whole year, and even though I know right after I post this comment things won’t magically change, but your words are very encouraging. You are awesome. Thank you again for speaking my language.
Wow! I needed this article. This article screams how I’ve been feeling every day. I always feel that feeling of I’m not ready to face what’s been bothering me (my weight) today. I felt that way with searching for a job. The procrastination sets in and takes over your thought. It’s the lies that you tell yourself that you believe. Thank you so much for writing this and putting it into such perspective! Tomorrow I will not hide from what I NEED to do for myself.
It’s good to see a fresh perspective on regain and re-loss. I think you really picked up on something from the experience. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much for writing this, I’ve been a huge fan of yours for years now and right now I’m in a horrible place mentally/emotionally and trying to lose 120lbs. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I probably need help, and this just put so many of my feelings into words. I’m pinning this so I can print it later and then I’m going to take it to my first therapy session later this month. Thank you so much and keep it up!!
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Thank you for sharing this. Have been STRUGGLING with this very subject. You are awesome and I enjoy reading your blog!
I dont know how you do it. Maintain, balance, cope and be so honest with all of it. This last year (and I just hit the big 3-0 myself) I have run more, ridden not enough, and been harsher, more critical, and more horrible on myself. It’s like every day it gets a little worse, and so do I. I watch everything and immediately feel guilt, then even on my most self-controlled days, the scale climbs slowly upward. It’s terrifying and horrible and I don’t know what to do to change it, but I know I need to. I see the way I look down on myself and know it’s wrong, and yet, can’t seem to stop. Where does the inner peace with all of it come from, and then the strength to really refocus and get better?
Truth, just really wanted to thank you for another thoughtful and honest read.
Ah Kita, thank you for your heart <3 The truth of acceptance, the truth of balance...all of it--is that it's just not always easy. This is why I only believe in mindfulness and trying to stay present, because it's a practice, and no two days are alike, which is not to say it's always ACTIVE, but it does become so fluid at times that it feels like I'm not "practicing" (And sometimes it's active as hell :) Love you.
How I love reading your words. Reading this one though hit home in a way I never expected. “Shame that’s so overgrown you can’t even find its roots.” Reading that one little bit of your blog brought rushing forth a little girl who carried so much shame that was given to her and truly didn’t belong to her. I have carried her shame my entire life! It came over me like a wave. It is NOT her shame and it is not mine. Funny how something so minor can have such a big impact. Thank you Andie!!!! Your story has inspired me since the day I read it, but your little line in this blog I think may have lead me to a break through. I will dig deep in my mind and forgive that little girl who has carried so much guilt and shame and tell her it is not and never was her fault. Hopefully then l can forgive her grown up counterpart and move on with a healthier life.
Again, Thank You Andie. For coming through what you have and sharing your story!!
I just read this post. Amazing post. Thank you Andie. Please keep blogging.
I can’t tell you how many times I have read this post! I swear you read my mind! Thank you! Needed this (again:)
Thanks for sharing this information. This is nice blog post
I’m in tears. And I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for you and your amazing blog. I needed this post. Desperately. It’s no coincidence that i found your blog recently. You write what’s in my heart…the struggles, fears, etc. And you give me hope that I CAN be a healthy eater, and i can feel good about myself. And most importantly, your helping me to realize that I can enjoy treats without binging. You are truly a blessing. Thank you, a thousand times over, thank you.
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This post spoke to me in exactly the place I’m in right now. Made me realize I’ve been procrastinating a couple of big things that are distracting me from loving my best life. I’m ready to tackle them and get rid of the 20 pound weight gain that came from emotional eating this year. Thank you!
I realize this post was written more than five years ago but it’s still just as relevant and inspiring to me now, than it was to many of the commenters above. Thank you for sharing.