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Monday, January 23, 2012

Everything Old Becomes New Again

We often make the mistake of thinking that current fads are some brand new phenomenon.  Take our culture's obsession dieting and thin-ness for example.  While it's true that it is relatively recent when you consider the history of...the earth...extreme dieting is not actually as modern as many of us think.

Last week one of my colleagues came across this Wellness Timeline from the Hartman Group, and I couldn't resist sharing a few of the more entertaining nuggets.  Did you know that calorie counting goes back as far as 1917?  And that low-carb diets first appeared in 1825??? 

If you know me, you know I think fad diets are a) dangerous and b) useless and I feel like this pretty much proves my point.  If it didn't work in 1825, or again in 1863, it probably won't work now.  Wait until you see some of the crazy shit people have done in the name of 'dieting'... insanity.

1820 - Vinegar and Water diet made popular by Lord Byron
1825 - Low Carb diets first appear
1850 - Establishment of the Vegetarian Society
1853 - Potato chips are invented
1863- Banting's Low Carb diet
1887 - Ephiram Cutter publishes a book on cancer and the diet
1917 - "Calorie Counting Diet" by Lulu Hunt Peters is published
1925 - The Cigarette Diet (!!!) "Reach for a Lucky Instead!"
           ...because everyone knows that lung cancer is preferable to not losing weight...
1941 - First diet pills are marketed
1954 - The TAPE WORM diet (yes that is exactly what it sounds like)
1955 - The first McDonalds opens its doors
1961 - Weight Watchers holds its first meeting
1982 - Ketchup is declared a vegetable
1984 - 7-11 Introduces the 44-oz Super Big Gulp (ew)
2002 - Dr. Atkins "New Diet Revolution" is published
2005 - Atkins files for bankruptcy

So...that happened...

So, long story short, taking extreme measures to achieve ridiculous standards of beauty is not a new thing.  In China, women used to bind their own feet - literally breaking the bones - in order to have dainty feet.  In many countries in asia, people use creams to lighten their skin...or in more extreme cases, bleaching treatments that can permanently ruin their skin.  

You might copy Shah Rukh's skin, but he will never tell you the secrets of his hair.

I'm not sure I have a larger point here, other than that it makes me sad to realize just how far back our obsession with attaining physical perfection dates.  There's a big difference between wanting to be the best version of yourself, and wanting to be someone else.  So...yeah...really nothing other than that.  

If you remember nothing else from this blog, remember the tapeworm diet.
That is all.
Happy Monday.


  1. I have to say, I'm actually a little bit comforted to know that I don't just happen to live at the ONLY time in history when people are nutbags crazy. The tapeworm diet? But yes, its sad and out of control

  2. I know, it's kind of terrifying.


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