Delilah’s Mirror Episode 2: The Truth About Body Image And Low Fat Diets

At age 15 and weighing 160 pounds, I thought I was the most humongous girl God had put on the face of the planet, but you know what? I ran across a picture of myself recently and realized that I if could had lost 20 or 30 pounds and grown a little taller, I would have been okay. I became the quintessential example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What ye think of yourself, so therefore ye shall be.

I’m 33 now, and weigh 230 pounds, after having lost 150. I feel like I have also lost my youth. I spent so much time agonizing over a body that wasn’t that heavy, and so much time wasting my life eating crap I had no hope of losing weight on, that I didn’t enjoy my youth. And I never learned how to see when a boy liked me, because I never thought one could. My fat was the source of my ultimate shame.

I went hungry for the better part of my childhood and adolescence in an attempt (either mine, my mother’s, or my grandmother’s) to toss the poundage. All the time I kept gaining weight and gaining weight while I was eating a “balanced, healthy diet.” My dietitians thought I was cheating. My mother accused me of sneaking food. I had my allowance taken away because I’d used it to buy food (because I was hungry).

I spent two years at BYU, which was absolute nirvana in the weight department. And looking back, I missed about three chances at relationships that never developed because I had this distorted body image.

I even had a roommate one year who was a model. She was beautiful! She was bored in church one day and said, “Elizabeth, would you be interested in doing some plus-sized modeling?”

I said, “I’m too short.”

She said, “Yes, but you’re beautiful, so that’ll make up for it.” That was the first time I’d ever heard that from a non-family source.

So I learned to model. I learned how to walk, how to work a catwalk, how to pose for pictures, how to wear what. But I couldn’t get over being heavier than the other girls in the pictures, so I didn’t do that anymore. I even turned down a catalog shoot because it was so very painful to see myself on paper.

When I got to BYU I had to walk everywhere I went. I discovered the Gospel of Martial Arts. And I could eat whatever I wanted – and I did! I ate meat, salad, more meat, and more salad because that’s what I liked. Sometimes I had ice cream, most times I did not. I drank orange juice like it was going out of style, and ate all the bread I wanted. And I lost weight like crazy. My second year, I lost even more.

I had found the low carbohydrate plan quite a while before I actually knew about it!

Mom said, “What are you doing?”

I said, “I dunno. I don’t think about it.”

So I went to Weight Watchers to continue to lose, and I promptly began going hungry again, and gaining weight. It was when I was most perfect on Weight Watchers, and gained, that the Weight Watchers leader would tell me I had cheated and/or hadn’t written everything I’d eaten down correctly. It was when I was most “imperfect” that I lost weight.

I never made the connection. Why?

  • I was constantly accused of having no will power.
  • I was lazy, undisciplined, unwilling to suffer the consequences of my out-of-control eating.
  • I heard over and over again, “I don’t understand why you just can’t stop eating.”
  • “But you have such a pretty face!”
  • “Go walk around the block or something.”

The point of the whole thing was: I wasn’t eating. I was starving and gaining weight at the same time. So I gave up. I couldn’t win. I wasn’t interested in dieting anymore, because it always seemed like I dieted my way to another 10 pounds.

It was an exercise in the most exquisite torture possible: that dreaded hunger and the psychological effects of failure and being constantly hounded to have more will power.

Do I think low fat diets work? Sure do. There’s a lady where I work right now who’s lost more weight than I have by following Weight Watchers. But I watch her and I listen to her, and I know: She’s hungry. But she’ll never admit it, because to her hunger means she has will power and discipline.

There is absolutely no reason that a human being should go hungry when there is food available. Hunger is not about will power or discipline or being out of control. Hunger is normal, natural, and healthy.

People forget that part.

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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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