And the real tragedy is the fact that blond-haired Matilda Hareuva, 42, wasn’t even fat.
“She was a beautiful woman who always tried to lose weight, but never needed to,” said Matilda’s mother, Lucy Hareuva, 60. “She had a wonderful figure. Men were crazy about her.”
Matilda, who had tried every diet imaginable, was not married, and she blamed her lack of a husband on her imagined weight problem.
Karena Halcourse, 24, who worked in the same office with Matilda, told her about the coffee-doughnut diet.
“All she talked about was diet,” Karena said. “I knew she didn’t need to lose weight, but she couldn’t stop talking about it. I finally joined in the conversation and told her about one I had heard about.”
A person on the coffee-doughnut diet can eat only coffee and doughnuts, and nothing else. However, the dieter can eat as many doughnuts and drink as much coffee as he or she likes.
Because doughnuts contain so much sugar, and coffee so much caffeine, the diet speeds up the body’s system. The dieter then begins to burn calories very quickly and lose weight fast.
Karen Halcourse presented the diet to Matilda as a way to lose twenty pounds in one week.
“The danger in the diet is that the coffee and doughnuts speed-up the system, and at the same time keep the person awake night after night, causing exhaustion to set in,” said Dr. Mel Gremour, of Ultsama Memorial Hospital, in Ultsama, Norway.
“The racing blood, in combination with extreme fatigue and a lack of vitamins, can cause sudden heart failure and death, as it did with Matilda.”
Matilda’s mother, Lucy Hareuva, said that Matilda’s weight problem was purely a part of her imagination.
“She was never overweight. Never, in her entire life,” Mrs. Hareuva said.
“She just had a problem with men. She dated all the time, and many men would have married her, but she was too picky. No one was ever right for her.
“She was really too beautiful,” she said. “And men were a little nervous when they talked to her. That might have been part of the problem.”
Matilda died early one morning, when she was leaving the house to go to work. A neighbor saw her on her back on the front porch, and called an ambulance, which arrived too late to do any good.