If you are a regular BlogCritics reader then you have read about weight loss and personal stories of weight loss, such as Dan Nied's Fortress of Weight Loss and several of my own diet related articles and reviews. So on the face of it I was not too thrilled about this Confessions of a Carb Queen - The Lies You Tell Others and the Lies You Tell Yourself memoir, figuring "What else could I possibly learn?"
It turns out that I could learn a lot, both about Susan Blech's astonishingly surgery-free and high carb/low fat 250-pound weight loss and about how she gained over 300 pounds in the first place. I learned about emotional eating, about lying and hiding your eating, about losing sense of yourself, about waking up and not even believing that it is your body that you live in. And I learned about taking responsibility and ultimate control over emotions, over spirit, over body, and over food.
When I first opened Confessions and began reading about Blech's attempts at Fat Sex in the shower with her ex-boyfriend Bobby I was morbidly fascinated. "We can't. I can barely stand up. My legs hurt. My calves and ankles are blown into one mass. I call them 'cankles.' I can't see my toes.... My stomach folds onto my lap, almost to my knees. I don't translate sexy. It's another language. Feminine is far away. Human comes across only because I'm breathing."
And then the binge that her anger over the misery of ending this relationship! The Binge to stop her thinking about The Body. First the 24-hour McDonald's for "a fish sandwich with extra extra tartar sauce and extra extra cheese... a burger too, with extra cheese and french fries." Supersized, of course, with Diet soda. "I almost order 18 cookies, but it's so late. So I order nine. I think to myself, See, I can cut back."
The third of four children, raised by a single father (her mother had a severe stroke when Blech was young and spent her life in hospitals and nursing homes), Blech went from a young adulthood of compulsive diet and bodybuilding to completely out of control obesity, typically eating more for one snack than 4 people could eat for dinner. Most of it take-out, and much of it in her car. Luckily (or not) she worked at home.
She began to go out less and less and eat more and more. Going out meant not eating in front of others. Going out meant the possibility of not fitting into a restaurant seat. Once going out meant weighing down an elevator to the point where everyone had to be carried out and she had to be virtually hoisted like a large whale. Then one day, after her physician puts her on blood presure medication and says the magic words, "your blood pressure is high enough for you to have a stroke," Blech decided to take back control of herself and her life. She took her life savings and credit cards and moved from New York to Durham, North Carolina to begin a new life with The Rice Diet. New city, new apartment, new clinic, new friends.