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Monday, December 27, 2010

2:48 PM Posted by Cindy Nemser 1 comment
Fat: The Insidious Killer
By
Cindy Nemser
My friend’s 36-year old daughter just died of a massive heart attack! She weighed 250 lbs. The obesity that probably caused her sudden death filled me with a profusion of excruciatingly painful memories.
Fat filled my life with misery from the moment I was born. While pregnant, my mother, a heretofore 5’2” slender, attractive woman reached 230 lbs. Her size created the need for a cesarean birth causing peritonitis, and an extended hospital stay where enforced bed rest resulted in phlebitis. It was a stay during which my father accrued 40 lbs as well as, on the side, a voluptuous Puerto Rican bottle blond who gave him good times and a son. He gave her a house, a car, fine clothes, and luxurious vacations.
My mother’s compensation for life as a wife and mother was a small railroad style apartment, rented from her demanding immigrant mother, and all the food she wanted. She also had me, a picky eater of a child, whom she induced to wipe her plate clean by reading her romantic fairy tales as her reward. Perhaps mom hoped that the romance that had passed her by would flower for me.
My mother was probably consciously unaware that stuffing us both would never produce the enchanting princesses she longed for. Instead she remained a corpulent food addict and I became a hefty kid-- an object to be tormented.
So my early days were filled with tension and disenchantment. I had to go to stores that sold clothes for chubbies. I used to pray that one of these pretty but large outfits would hide my rolls of unwanted flesh and get me a first kiss when we played Spin the Bottle at a party; but it never happened.
I was melancholy and lonely just like my mother. She was always complaining, “Your father comes home too late, has to work on Saturdays and never takes me anywhere." Mostly that was true. But when he wanted to give her a good time, even taking her to splashy nightclubs like the Copacabana, she refused to go. She was ashamed of her appearance.
Since we both were deprived of the positive attention we craved, we turned to food as our substitute for Prince Charming. We had a huge refrigerator and an enormous freezer that was so stuffed with all types of meats and other kinds of foods that something always fell out if I opened the door. There was also a pantry loaded with bread, crackers, supermarket cake and cookies, as well as canned vegetables and fruits.
For real occasions mom went to the fabled Ebingers. They were still all over Brooklyn in the 50’s. There she bought fabulous blue berry crumb pies, lemon and chocolate hard icing cakes, éclairs, and much more. For candy she turned to Baricini chocolates as well as Lofts Butter Crunch squares.
However, though we had all these goodies in the house, my mother told my mr and my father, also a food devotee, not to touch them.
“These things are fattening and we all need to lose weight! They are for company; we should eat only low calorie food. I don‘t want to see you eating them.” But despite her own commands, she continued to buy all these forbidden items. None of us said anything about her hypocrisy. I suppose she had to imbibe no matter the consequences. We just turned into sneaks who gobbled the fattening food on the sly at different times of the day and made sure to eat them out of sight.
I wolfed down brownies and other sweets in the bathroom or in my bedroom. My mother had huge pockets in the apron she always wore and she stealthily popped crackers and chips into her mouth all day when no one was looking. I remember how hard it was to get her to sit down and talk over my life problems with her when I was a pre-teen. She was always “busy” trying to keep out of sight so she could eat. Late at night, when my mother and I were in bed, my stealthy father would be in the kitchen, tearing off large chunks of Vanilla pound cake or 7- layer Chocolate cake.
We never dined together, but that was no surprise as everyone was swallowing on the sly at different times of the day.
Then when I was eighteen and had managed to become what was called “pleasingly plump” (I was never pleased with the term), fat among other things began to exact tragic payments from my parents. First my overweight father’s body and lifestyle gave him hypertension and high blood pressure. They resulted in two heart attacks: one serious; at 48; one fatal; at 57.
But his early death wasn’t enough. After he perished, my mother learned about his deceitful behavior. It was a horrible blow. Even food did not provide comfort. She lost a tremendous amount of weight too rapidly, suffered from diabetes and angina that led to two massive heart attacks and death at 6.2. Before she died, she became seriously manic-depressive. She even tried to blame me for my father’s transgressions and once spit at me and said, “I wish you were never born!”
I am more fortunate than my parents. At 73, with a history of diet pills, Weight Watchers and Overeaters Anonymous, I am still overweight due to a chronic pain problem, but I am not obese and I have a lovely daughter, who has always stayed slender. I also have a treasured skinny 10- year old moving machine of a grandson. True he does adore sweets. And bad as I know it is, I am always tempted to ply him with the goodies I mainly forbid myself.
I am torn. Much as I bask in his pleasure while stuffing down a Mallomar or a Milky Way, I never want him or his loved ones to suffer the wretchedness inflicted by killer fat.


My friend’s 36-year old daughter just died of a massive heart attack! She weighed 250 lbs. The obesity that probably caused her sudden death filled me with a profusion of excruciatingly painful memories.
Fat filled my life with misery from the moment I was born. While pregnant, my mother, a heretofore 5’2” slender, attractive woman reached 230 lbs. Her size created the need for a cesarean birth causing peritonitis, and an extended hospital stay where enforced bed rest resulted in phlebitis. It was a stay during which my father accrued 40 lbs as well as, on the side, a voluptuous Puerto Rican bottle blond who gave him good times and a son. He gave her a house, a car, fine clothes, and luxurious vacations.
My mother’s compensation for life as a wife and mother was a small railroad style apartment, rented from her demanding immigrant mother, and all the food she wanted. She also had me, a picky eater of a child, whom she induced to wipe her plate clean by reading her romantic fairy tales as her reward. Perhaps mom hoped that the romance that had passed her by would flower for me.
My mother was probably consciously unaware that stuffing us both would never produce the enchanting princesses she longed for. Instead she remained a corpulent food addict and I became a hefty kid-- an object to be tormented.
So my early days were filled with tension and disenchantment. I had to go to stores that sold clothes for chubbies. I used to pray that one of these pretty but large outfits would hide my rolls of unwanted flesh and get me a first kiss when we played Spin the Bottle at a party; but it never happened.
I was melancholy and lonely just like my mother. She was always complaining, “Your father comes home too late, has to work on Saturdays and never takes me anywhere." Mostly that was true. But when he wanted to give her a good time, even taking her to splashy nightclubs like the Copacabana, she refused to go. She was ashamed of her appearance.
Since we both were deprived of the positive attention we craved, we turned to food as our substitute for Prince Charming. We had a huge refrigerator and an enormous freezer that was so stuffed with all types of meats and other kinds of foods that something always fell out if I opened the door. There was also a pantry loaded with bread, crackers, supermarket cake and cookies, as well as canned vegetables and fruits.
For real occasions mom went to the fabled Ebingers. They were still all over Brooklyn in the 50’s. There she bought fabulous blue berry crumb pies, lemon and chocolate hard icing cakes, éclairs, and much more. For candy she turned to Baricini chocolates as well as Lofts Butter Crunch squares.
However, though we had all these goodies in the house, my mother told me and my father, also a food devotee, not to touch them.
“These things are fattening and we all need to lose weight! They are for company; we should eat only low calorie food. I don‘t want to see you eating them.” But despite her own commands, she continued to buy all these forbidden items. None of us said anything about her hypocrisy. I suppose she had to imbibe no matter the consequences. We just turned into sneaks who gobbled the fattening food on the sly at different times of the day and made sure to eat them out of sight.
I wolfed down brownies and other sweets in the bathroom or in my bedroom. My mother had huge pockets in the apron she always wore and she stealthily popped crackers and chips into her mouth all day when no one was looking. I remember how hard it was to get her to sit down and talk over my life problems with her when I was a pre-teen. She was always “busy” trying to keep out of sight so she could eat. Late at night, when my mother and I were in bed, my stealthy father would be in the kitchen, tearing off large chunks of Vanilla pound cake or 7- layer Chocolate cake.
We never dined together, but that was no surprise as everyone was swallowing on the sly at different times of the day.
Then when I was eighteen and had managed to become what was called “pleasingly plump” (I was never pleased with the term), fat among other things began to exact tragic payments from my parents. First my overweight father’s body and lifestyle gave him hypertension and high blood pressure. They resulted in two heart attacks: one serious; at 48; one fatal; at 57.
But his early death wasn’t enough. After he perished, my mother learned about his deceitful behavior. It was a horrible blow. Even food did not provide comfort. She lost a tremendous amount of weight too rapidly, suffered from diabetes and angina that led to two massive heart attacks and death at 62. Before she died, she became seriously manic-depressive. She even tried to blame me for my father’s transgressions and once spit at me and said, “I wish you were never born!”
I am more fortunate than my parents. At 73, with a history of diet pills, Weight Watchers and Overeaters Anonymous, I am still overweight due to a chronic pain problem, but I am not obese and I have a lovely daughter, who has always stayed slender. I also have a treasured skinny 10- year old moving machine of a grandson. True he does adore sweets. And bad as I know it is, I am always tempted to ply him with the goodies I mainly forbid myself.
I am torn. Much as I bask in his pleasure while stuffing down a Mallomar or a Milky Way, I never want him or his loved ones to suffer the wretchedness inflicted by killer fat.

1 comment:

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