Monday, January 16, 2012

And She Had a 9 Ft. Waistline!

"703 - How I Lost More Than a Quarter Ton and Gained a Life" by Nancy Makin New American Library 289 pages $15

I've always been curious as to how the super fat ("morbidly obese" for any scientists in the room) can manage to sustain life. Their hearts must be pumping like mad; their lungs overwhelmed and, quite possibly, they would have roaring diabetes. Their knee and ankle joints must be barely hanging in there. I have pestered our friend "Raffish" (an MD about this for years, but all he's ever said is, "They don't live long." "How did they get this far?" I demand. He shrugs.

Thus, I believed this book would set me straight. Makin started life with a mother (dictatorial lunatic who was always right) and an ineffective, withdrawn father and six sisters. At 15 she dated a guy and wound up pregnant at 16. The parents "did the right thing" and forced them to marry. Makin loved keeping house for her baby and husband, but couldn't get rid of the weight she gained carrying the baby. Things went from bad to worse.

Eventually, she was so big that she refused to go out in society. She hated the incredulous stares of strangers and their meant-to-be-overheard acid comments. Eventually, she was unable to walk more than 10 or 12 ft and could only sit on a sofa (all of it) or a hassock (and she hung down over it) and finally her double-wide wheelchair.

At her largest, she weighed 703 pounds. Her waistline was nine feet around.

What saved her? One of her sisters gave her a computer and though it took her awhile to become interested enough to turn it on, when she did a huge new world opened for her. She was able to e-mail with strangers across the US and in foreign countries. She could just be someone else in the crowd because no one could see her. Having found acceptance and nurturing, she more or less forgot to eat.

In total, she lost 530 pounds and has kept it off for the past seven years. She is now an upbeat, traveling lecturer.

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