Offbeat: Slice of life

Woman, who has eaten only cheese and tomato pizza for 31 years, could die unless she quits her bizarre eating habit.

February 18, 2012

When bigger isn’t better

The fattest woman in Britain talks about how she has not been out for four years because of her weight.

Brenda Flanagan-Davies, who is nearly 40 stone or 254kg, spends all day in a reinforced bed listening to the radio and buying groceries online.

She eats 6,000 calories a day — three times what an average woman needs.

She has not been out for four years and her only exercise is to walk 20 feet to the bathroom — a fete that leaves her exhausted.

Doctors have given Brenda, 43, a stark choice — diet or die.

She said: “It terrifies me, but I just can’t stop. Doctors warned my weight will kill me because I’m putting so much stress on my organs. But food is an addiction that I can’t fight.”

Brenda, who gets about £300 (Rs42,684) a week in benefits, added: “I hate this life. I feel ashamed of myself that I’m even in this position. I want to help myself but don’t know where to start.”

She has been told her body is not strong enough to cope with surgery, such as fitting a stomach-shrinking gastric band.

She has already tried weight-loss drugs and spells at slimming clubs but admitted: “I can never stick to a strict diet.”

Brenda — who five years ago weighed 48 stone — shares a bungalow with husband Ronnie Davies in Gateshead. A care team devotes 25½ hours a week to her — costing Gateshead Council around £400 (Rs56,912).

Brenda spends around £250 (Rs35,570) a week on food. About £100 (Rs14,228) a month goes on takeaways.

She met retired labourer Ronnie, 65, six years ago at a community centre day out. But she was effectively bed-bound when he proposed in 2010, so a registrar had to marry them in a special ceremony at her home.

Brenda’s last trip out was to see her general practitioner four years ago. She said: “I struggled to get in and out of the car.”

On one outing in Ronnie’s Ford Mondeo, Brenda’s weight broke the front suspension.

She recalled: “Eventually he wasn’t able to turn the steering wheel or change gear because my flab was in the way.”

Brenda piled on weight after being sent to a children’s home when her mum had depression. It got worse when she was bullied at school and began comfort eating. At 18 she was a size 18. She said: “The heavier I got, the sadder I got, so I continued to eat more.”

Her condition means she has barely worked — although she once had a job in a Chinese takeaway for a few months.

Brenda inherited the title of Britain’s fattest woman in 2010 when 45 stone Sharon Mevsimler died aged 41.


Gender bending rooster

Chinese scientists are investigating a bizarre case in which a cockerel started laying eggs after all the hens were eaten.

The bird’s owner Huang Li, 47, kept the rooster together with seven hens on his small farm at Chumiao village, Mengcheng city, in China’s Anhui province.

According to Li, his family had been gradually eating the chickens over winter until only the rooster was left and he was amazed when he went into the cage the next day to discover an egg.

He said: “I thought it was a joke and that one of my neighbours had put the egg in there for fun. But the next day there was another egg and so on the third day I waited — and was amazed when I saw that the rooster laid an egg.”

Word quickly spread to the local TV station which did a story on the egg-laying rooster and after that scientists from the local agricultural ministry office came to take the rooster to carry out some tests.

He said: “They want to find out if it was a hen all the time that simply looked like a rooster or whether it actually changed to become a hen as a result of the fact that all the females had vanished.

“All I can say is that it did a good job waking us up every morning like every other rooster and it certainly treated the hens as if it was a rooster.”


I spy with my little eye

Eagle-eyed researchers have discovered what is believed to be the world’s smallest chameleon in Madagascar.

The miniature chameleon, Brookesia micra, reaches a maximum length of just 29mm. It was one of the four new species found by German scientists in the north of the island, off Africa, reports the BBC. Researchers led by Dr Frank Glaw in Munich, conducted fieldwork at night to find the easily overlooked animals.

“They mostly live in the leaf litter in the day... But at night they climb up and then you can spot them,” said Dr Glaw.

The scientists carefully scanned the most likely habitats with torches and headlamps to find roosting sites.

They found the smallest species on a remote limestone islet and believe it may represent an extreme case of island dwarfism.

This phenomenon occurs when a species becomes smaller over evolutionary time in order to adapt to a restricted habitat such as an island.

“It is possible that the big island of Madagascar has produced the general group of dwarf chameleons and the very small island has produced the tiny species,” added Dr Glaw.


Long and strong

A slender Chinese woman managed to pull two jeeps with a combined weight of 4.5 tonnes with just her hair.

Xu Huijun, 43, who is just 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs less than eight stone or approximately 51kg, performed the stunt in Dalian, Liaoning Province.

She said she had always been stronger than she looked, adding: “I used to carry two buckets of 100kg water home.”

Xu explained how she became a performer after moving to Dalian city three years ago and finding work as an accountant for an acrobatic troupe.

“Each day I saw troupe members doing various numbers, and I also wanted to have a try,” she said.

Yu Shunye, the troupe leader, encouraged her to try to pull vehicles with her hair and she started off with a 1.5 tonne car.

She has since built up her strength until she could pull the two jeeps — and plans to try to pull three for her next challenge.

“I’m worried that I might lose some hair,” she joked. “But it’s a great feeling to move something so big when I am so small.”


Slice of life

A woman who has eaten only cheese and tomato pizza for 31 years has been told she could die unless she quits her bizarre eating habit.

The Notting Hill native, Claire Simmons, 33, gags if she puts anything other than cheese and tomato pizza in her mouth and begins to shake if she is given any other type of food.

Although Claire tries to keep herself healthy with exercise and drinks a lot of water, doctors have now warned that her bizarre condition — known as Selective Eating Disorder — is increasing her risk of a stroke or heart attack in later life.

To stay healthy, experts recommend a varied diet, including some five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. But Claire said: “I’m actually scared of fruits and vegetables. I get so angry when people think I am being faddy — this is a real medical condition.”


Dungeon master

A Canadian man was formally charged with breaking into an abandoned farmhouse near Toronto and installing a dungeon there.

Robert Edwin White, 44, of Oshawa, Ontario, was being held pending a bail hearing, The Globe and Mail of Toronto reported. He was charged with breaking and entering with intent to commit a crime.

Contractors discovered the dungeon, or confinement room, in the basement of the old farmhouse, about a year after the building was last inspected.

Officials in Pickering, a suburb north of Toronto, had been trying to find someplace to move the farmhouse, which was considered historic. The house burned down in January in a fire that is considered suspicious.

Police have not released specific details of what White may have been planning for the dungeon.

“The intent is that, perhaps, there was a plan to bring someone there,” Sgt Nancy van Rooy said.


Bank gives money to burn

Hungary’s central bank is burning old monetary notes to help the needy in Europe cope with the severe cold weather.

The bank is pulping wads out of circulation currency notes into briquettes to help heat humanitarian organisations.

Barnabas Ferenczi, head of the bank’s cash logistics centre, said: “We destroy approximately 40 or 50 tonnes of currency every year. This thing can be useful for charities that have a problem finding fuel for burning.”

“Our examination showed that the heating properties of these shredded currency briquettes are similar to brown coal so they are pretty useful for heating and resolve the problem to find fuel.”

It takes the equivalent of £14,000 (Rs1.9 million) in notes to make a single one-kilogram briquette.

The process of turning old cash into briquettes is held under tight security. Workers have to wear pocketless clothes.


Now that’s a heavy meal!

Fitness fanatics who want every minute to count will now be able to tone up as they eat, thanks to the launch of a bizarre new cutlery set.

The Eat Fit Cutlery set has dumbbells attached to a knife, fork and spoon so every time an eater slices and lifts food into his mouth, he’ll be lifting weights with both hands.

The hefty chrome knife and fork weigh 1kg each — the equivalent of a bag of sugar while the spoon weighs twice as much at 2kg — heavier than a complete 32-piece set of stainless steel cutlery.

Eat Fit Cutlery, which costs £89.99 (Rs12,804) for a three piece set, is said to be aimed at “gluttons in need of a work out”.

A spokeswoman for Firebox, which developed the products, said: “This cutlery and dumbbell mix is designed for fitness fans with a sense of humour.”


Flushed away!

A California woman has her gold necklace back months after she accidentally flushed it down her toilet in October.

The sanitation district employees were performing routine cleaning work on a pipeline when they came across Ann Aulakh’s necklace.

Aulakh’s friend had left a message with the district after the chain was lost.

Sewer Maintenance Supervisor Kris Ozaki said workers remembered the message and used it to trace the necklace back to Aulakh.

Aulakh had worn the chain every day, except when getting X-rays since her husband, Jeet, gave it to her during their first Christmas together in 1993.

The necklace is a bit damaged after surviving months in the sewerage system. The clasp is broken and will need to be professionally cleaned. But Aulah is excited to have it back in time for her 19th wedding anniversary. Source:

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2012.


Ali Wali | 9 years ago | Reply Bulging eyes obese gobblers are so sweet, not.
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