To lose weight – a challenge through history!
Many of our ancestors also had possibilities to indulge in food as almost everybody has today. As can be seen from a painting (Europe, about 400 years ago), enjoying good food is not something entirely new!
And we can go longer back in history, and Losing weight was not always desirable or necessary:
The Venus of Willendorf is a limestone statue found near Willendorf, Austria. It is estimated that she was made between 24000 BCE and 22000 BCE.
She is thought by some to be a fertility symbol, probably because some naive scholars thought she was pregnant. But this Venus is clearly fat. The person who did the carving knew what a fat woman looked like. Obesity is now thought to be an illness. In paleolithic times, it was the key to survival. Our unique ability to get fat allowed us to survive during times of extreme hardship. It now works against us in times of prosperity. We weren’t made for these times.
Some hilarious examples of the strive to lose weight:
The lengths that some people go to in order to lose weight has long since drifted into the absurd. Gimmicks and quick fixes for slimming down quickly are actually not brand-new; devices, supplements and crazy eating plans have been around for decades.
Healthy eating and exercise just don’t bring the instant gratification that many people desire, and the following chronicles some of the craziest extreme measures for weight loss documented over the decades.
Lose weight products that today call for a smile:
Around the turn of the last century, a New York-based company called Norwood Chemical Co. rolled out a soap that reportedly melted away fat without the need to diet or exercise. The fact a chemical company manufactured it did not seem to raise alarms among buyers. Ads for the “obesity soap” read “Fat is folly, when it can be reduced easily, conveniently, and best of all safely, by the use of La Parle Obesity Soap.”
Another cranky product: The Graybar Stimulator was one of the first exercise machines that would supposedly require nomovement on the user’s part. He or she would simply stand on a platform while a moving belt would massage the lower back. Results on how to shed pounds with this machine were scant at best.
Fad Diets Throughout the Decades:
Despite scientific information to the contrary, people have tried numerous fad diets that involve plenty of foods and beverages best left to moderation. One version of a low-carbohydrate diet involves daily vodka martinis, which may initially be fun but is still hard on the liver. Other diet methods are downright gross, such as the “Great Masticator” plan invented by an art dealer named Horace Fletcher. Exactly what Mr. Fletcher’s nutritionist credentials were remains a mystery. He advocated chewing every bite exactly 32 times before spitting it out, which logically leads to weight loss through malnourishment.
An even less appetizing quick weight loss plan is to infect oneself with a potentially very harmful tapeworm parasite. The worm in question carries the name “taenia saginata cysticercus,” and it is now thankfully illegal to import into the U.S. and many other countries. Compared to the gross side effects, sensible healthy eating over the long term does not seem bad at all.
As much fun as a diet of beer and ice cream sounds, it unfortunately does not work according to thermogenesis principles as its proponents claim. The diet’s based on the idea the body burns more calories by only ingesting these cold foods, but of course the calorie totals are quite high from following this fad.
The “Lose Weight Permanently” Sales Pitches:
Another big source of humor to the rational person is the plethora of sales pitches out there from proclaimed diet “gurus.” Some of the gems available are:
-“Drop Weight While Sitting and Relaxing”
-“Eat All Your Favorite Foods and Still Lose Weight”
-“Shed Pounds in Only Days!”
Countless variations exist on these snake-oil, unrealistic claims, and the products they accompany are ineffective at best and downright dangerous at worst. Most of the ads also include images of “results” that testify only to someone’s skills at image-editing rather than at anything else.
Scapegoats like “Nutrient XYZ” is the Enemy of Weight Loss!
As if the fad diets and dubious quick-weight-loss products were not enough, every so often the diet industry cooks up a scapegoat to point fingers at, such as fats, carbohydrates, sugars, meats, fruits and any other possible type of food or nutrient. One of the most famous examples comes from the 1990s “Fat Makes You Fat!”pitches made famous by Susan Powder. The campaign worked as millions of “low-fat” or “non-fat” products hit the grocery store shelves. The dirty secret: food manufacturers added more sugar to replace the fat, so no one’s waistlines got any smaller.
The diet business has since found more “bad” nutrients to use for selling their products, namely carbs with the Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet. Other diet plans push for cutting out fiber or red meat as a method for how to lose weight. A steady balance of all food types is still the most recommended means of weight reduction.
“Magic bullet” exercise fads to drop weight permanently?
Some exercise fads definitely belongs to eyebrow-raising gimmicks. Some examples include “Sculpt your abs in only six minutes a day,” “Take this supplement and build muscle while sitting on your couch!” or “Shake this weight and sculpt your arms.” The Internet is full of claims that these products are ridiculous in their design and will only cause people to part with their money rather than with excess weight.
So What is the Best Way to Lose Weight?
In short: a healthy dose of common sense and logical thinking. People need to keep repeating to themselves the old adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it is.” Possibly nowhere else does this statement apply more than to the multi-billion dollar industry. In a slightly longer version: some reputable information about individual nutrient and activity level needs, since everyone is different. No one can drop pounds through sweating in a sauna, through questionable supplements or through totally cutting out one certain food. Science is against it, and nature is against it. The gimmicks and the diet gurus will always be out there as long as they are able to make a buck, and the key is to recognize them as sources of funny, if not incredulous-sounding, anecdotes.
For the best chances of success with the long-term weight loss process, it’s best to approach the gurus’ outrageous claims as a source of laughs rather than of real, valid information or solutions.
To drop pounds successfully, one of the best possible weapons is a good attitude and a realization that results will not happen overnight. With dedicated focus on healthy, balanced eating and sensible exercise, possibly with the support of family, friends and/or some of the newer, more scientifically based methods and programs, results will come with time.