A to Z Challenge

K for Kummerspeck


Language: German

Meaning: Excess weight gained from emotional overeating.

Overeating, that too of comfort foods, is a common phenomenon. Everyone has done that, we have all had our emotional moments, maybe due to a bad day or a humiliation or a break up, or whatever that made us think that food is our only solace. It appeals to us like no other medicine or human contact ever would.

Binge eating happens most often when the mind is emotionally imbalanced. There is a need to eat to compensate for all the energy drained by crying and feeling self pity. And that eating often leads to excess weight gain. Comfort foods are high in fat content, with dairy products and refined oil being used to make most of the foods we consider as comfort foods, or those that give us satisfaction. German has an apt word for such excess weight gain.


Flash Fiction #11

Katherine stared in the mirror. Her face was blotchy, cheeks pale, eyes red and swollen. She looked bad. Touching her cheeks, she winced. She stepped back a little and looked at her overall appearance. The extra flab was showing in her chin and especially her upper arms. She tickled her chin for a moment, wincing again as she noticed the flesh quivering.

Her phone rang, and she let the answering machine take it. Swaying back and forth with her hands on her hips for a few more minutes, she decided that just looking at her figure was not going to help. Sighing sadly, she went back to the fridge for water when she heard the voice she knew so well.

“Hi, Kat… Umm, it’s me. Listen, okay? Pick up my calls. How do you expect me to explain when you totally cut off contact from me? I am not allowed to call you, your friends won’t tell me anything about me, you ignore my messages and mails, and you don’t even come to your usual haunts… I have to tell you my side of the problem, to which you won’t listen. How the heck am I supposed to clear the air? Please, I beseech you. Pick my calls, allow me to explain. At least let me know if you are sad or upset…”

The message ended with a beep. Katherine kept staring at the phone as if staring at it would make the voice replay again. Looking down at her hands, she saw that she was eating a huge piece of cake, and she had no memory of ever having taken it out of the fridge or eating it. She hated herself yet again for being an emotional fool, to have been taken in so easily by his charming demeanour and sweet tongue.

She replayed the message until it was imprinted in her brain. The clock struck twelve before she was even aware of the passing of hours and she cried herself to a fitful sleep somewhere in the wee hours of the night. The next morning she woke up squinting at the sunlight hitting her face. Twisting her neck to look at the clock, she realised with a start that it was the 14th of april, the anniversary of their first ever meeting. Trying not to let her mind wander towards those painful and turbulent waters, she got out of bed.

The past year had been one of ups and downs. She had found her zenith and subsequently the nadir. How much could an year change a life? Katherine grumbled as she got out of bed, did her ablutions and tried to go down for her fix of morning coffee at the café across the street. As she got out, the first thing that greeted her was the ‘out of order’ sign on the lift. Groaning heavily, she tried climbing down the fourteen flights of stairs, thinking it would be much less painful to have the coffee delivered to her doorstep. She shook her head at the foolish thought.

Just two months back, climbing down those stairs wasn’t such a taxing task. She wheezed and panted her way to the café when the reflection on the glass doors caught her off guard. With the jerkin and protective winter clothing, she looked like a rolling ball, as wide as she was tall. The waiter at the café greeted her with a lazy wave, knowing that his first customer always ordered big and left large tips that had been gradually increasing in the last couple of months.

A flash of realisation hit Katherine. She stood, looking at her reflection as if she was seeing someone else. As her panting subsided, the waiter looked at her curiously, wondering why she had not entered as usual.

“Morning, Kat? Shall I fix the usual for you? With the double cream?”

As if shaken out of her reverie, Katherine looked up at him, shaking her head to indicate that she wasn’t coming in. “No, Joe. Not today. I am not supposed to have processed food hereafter. Undergoing treatment from today!”

He looked bemused. “Treatment? For what?”

“For Kummerspeck,” she said and grinned at his bewildered face, jogging away with her head held high.



2 thoughts on “K for Kummerspeck”

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