Delilah’s Mirror Episode 1: Welcome To My World

Welcome to Delilah’s Mirror! I’ve used the low carb life to shed nearly 150 pounds, and while I’m not at goal, I’d like to share my story. I have discovered in my online low carb travels and in talking to people who are overweight, that my story is quite the norm and not even close to an exception.

I am convinced that it must be easier to be a plain-faced woman on a heavy body than a not-plain-faced woman on a heavy body. “But you have such a *beautiful* face…” say the old women with the sad voices. I know you know what I’m talking about.

I am on a quest to be a beautiful woman, and most of that involves losing weight. My goal: To stand in front of a mirror nekkid and turn myself on.

Welcome to my saga.


I was 5 when my grandmother told me I was fat. Because my mother was embarrassed that her mother had found fault with me (and, by implication, her, since she was also overweight), she tried to regulate my diet with the best information she had at the time – which wasn’t good.

Therein lies the root of my life-long problems with food: Constant hunger. Deep, irrational rage. An abiding fear of not getting enough to eat. An apparent lack of discipline. And a grandmother who never failed to point out how much better a person I would be were I slender, like my aunt.

I tried and failed at every low fat, high carb diet in the world, a few fad diets, and a couple of drugs. The Cult of Weight Watchers had my mind held captive with its brainwashing. The only thing that had ever cut my weight was constant exercise, but unless I had an overriding motivation to exercise (like, a grade or transportation), I would not do it. Though exercise would cut my weight, it did nothing to assuage the other problems I had with food.

I weighed 253 pounds when I went to college. My weight dropped to 217 pounds by the end of my sophomore year, but that was because I was forced to walk everywhere I went and I had immersed myself in martial arts. Over the next ten years I ballooned up to 360 pounds, then 380.

What I needed, but lacked at the time, was the right tool for the job.

In April of 1998 (The Year From Hell), someone suggested I try the Atkins diet. I got the book, read it, and, being a natural meat eater, threw it at the wall and said, “That’s just too good to be true. And besides, I can’t live without bread.”

By September of that year, I was in an emotional tailspin. The least of my worries was my weight, yet that was the only thing I could actually wrap my mind around because it was so simple and uncomplicated when compared to my other problems.

A different person (a nurse friend) said, in response to my whining, “Try the Atkins diet.”

“Why not?” I wondered. I already had the book.

The first three days were pure hell. I ate and ate and ate all the things I was allowed to eat and never felt full or satisfied. I continued to eat meat and cheese and sausage until I was sick, and still I ate because I wasn’t getting that feeling of satiety. Day Four rolled around and I was okay. By the end of the two week Induction period, I finally weighed, believing that I couldn’t possibly have lost any weight eating all that high fat stuff. It flew in the face of everything I’d ever learned about proper dieting in my life.

I’d lost 8 pounds. And I was a believer. For the first time in my life, I had tried to lose weight and had succeeded. In the next four months my weight dropped from approximately 353 pounds to 315. It was the lowest point I’d been at in years, and I was thrilled.

But I was also a little bit afraid. Being fat was the only thing I’d ever known, and I was dropping weight – fast. And I felt good. And I was able to stay sane through my crazy life solely because of a second job and my diet. I gained 3 pounds, and maintained a weight of 318 pounds for several months.

Then I moved, and I watched my weight go up and up and up, because I was too lazy to work the diet like I should have worked it. By December of 1999, I was at 380 pounds – the highest weight I’d ever been. And I kicked myself, because I had finally found something that cured all my problems with food – and I wasn’t doing it.

In January of 2000, I went back to low carbing. It was slow going, because I was working a weekend graveyard job at a grocery store. I wasn’t getting enough sleep, or enough of the right kind of sleep, and I was awake when I should have been sleeping. At 3:00 am, when I was cold, and when it was dark outside, the croissant fumes would go wafting through the store and suddenly I became a zombie in search of a quick seratonin fix.

I realized much later that this wasn’t a discipline problem or a carb addiction. This was a biological need to make up for the fact that I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing at that moment – sleeping.

I only lost 30 or so pounds in the first eight months of 2000, because of this job. Once I quit, I lost another 35 in the last four months of the year. I lost a total of 65 pounds in 2000. Now, that may seem like a lot, but really—it was just a drop in the bucket compared to what I had then, and have yet, to lose.

Sometimes when I look in the mirror I can see the changes in my body, and I’m just thrilled. Invariably, however, I begin to see how far I have to go and I become a little melancholy.

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Delilah’s Mirror Episode 18: Carbohydrate Addiction is Like Hotel California

What is that they say in AA? Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic? An alcoholic who doesn't drink is a "dry" alcoholic, but an alcoholic nevertheless. Elizabeth Senzee discusses her carbohydrate cravings & struggles with weight loss & food addiction - specifically Carbohydrate Addiction.

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