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6 Weird Dieting Trends from the Past

6 Weird Dieting Trends from the Past

Nutrition has always fascinated mankind for various reasons: because it is something that accompanies us throughout our lives, because it has important cultural overtones, and because it influences our health and wellbeing.

With the amount of attention paid to the topic, it is only natural that over the course of human history, nutrition has seen some pretty unusual, surprising, and weird ideas that would look strange or outright insane to modern dieticians. Here are some of them.

1. The Vinegar and Water Diet

1024px-Lord_Byron_on_his_Death-bed_c._1826

    This diet is primarily famous today for having been introduced and popularized by Lord Byron in the 1820s. He had never been known for having excessive weight, yet the famous poet apparently believed there was plenty of room for improvement.

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    The diet was based on replacing most of the food you’d normally eat with vinegar, with one cup of tea and one raw egg daily to keep body and soul together. It wasn’t the only approach Byron attempted at weight loss; obsessed with his physical appearance, he was vegetarian for most of his life and sometimes spent weeks eating nothing but dry biscuits and white wine.

    2. The Cigarette Diet

    Nicotine is believed to possess some appetite-suppressing qualities (people often rapidly gain weight after quitting smoking). This was further popularized in the 1920s, particularly in the Lucky Strike ad campaign “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.” The idea was popular enough to be prescribed by doctors as a weight loss method.

    Lucky Strike

      3. The Tapeworm Diet

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        Ingesting tapeworms to lose weight sounds like a bit of an overkill — an astonishingly disgusting and insane overkill. However, in the beginning of the 20th century, it was a rather popular dieting fad — to the point that tapeworms were widely sold in pills exactly for these purposes until outlawed for their considerable health risks.

        Yes, they can actually help one lose weight, but they have a number of side effects ranging from the relatively innocuous, like nausea and weakness, to more drastic conditions like dementia and meningitis.

        Mad as it sounds, some people seriously consider it even today. There are organizations running “tapeworm farms” in Mexico and Africa, where tourists can get infected “scientifically.”

        4. The Chewing Diet

        Horace Fletcher introduced this tremendously popular diet in 1903 and it still has its proponents. According to the chewing diet (or Fletcherizing, as it is sometimes called), you have to chew each mouthful of food exactly 32 times and keep your head inclined forward. After that, you incline your head back and let the contents of your mouth slid down your throat, spitting out everything that doesn’t go down your throat naturally.

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        With a nice slogan “Nature will castigate those who do not masticate,” this diet turned Fletcher into a millionaire and allowed him to live in luxury to the age of 69 — apparently remaining a stalwart practitioner of his method until his dying day.

        5. The Arsenic Diet

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          The latter half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th saw an incredible rise in peculiar and sometimes outright horrible wonder drugs to treat everything from excess weight to old age. Needless to say, the majority of them were created by charlatans with little to no medical knowledge. At the very best, they were harmless; but many preparations included dangerous, sometimes lethally dangerous, ingredients — like arsenic.

          Advertising accompanying such medicines stated that arsenic speeds up metabolism and, in the long run, eliminates body fat. Doses were small, but arsenic has a tendency to accumulate in the body, leading to ever-worsening symptoms and eventually death. To make matters worse, advertisers often failed to mention at all that the pills contained such an ingredient.

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          6. The Sleeping Beauty Diet

          This approach to nutrition was fairly popular in the 60s and 70s — Elvis Presley is reported to have been one of its proponents. The main idea is that you don’t eat when you are not awake. So, the secret to staying fit is sleeping as much as possible. To achieve this, its practitioners sedated themselves for days at a time.

          1959, SLEEPING BEAUTY

            While some of these approaches are certainly a thing of the past, a surprising amount of people are ready to try out anything to control their weight — as long as they don’t have to exercise. But, of course, such experiments can lead to bad health. It seems much more logical to listen to modern dieticians and their up-to-date advice.

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            Melissa Burns

            Entrepreneur

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            Last Updated on February 15, 2019

            Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

            Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

            In Personal Development-speak, we are always talking about goals, outcomes, success, desires and dreams. In other words, all the stuff we want to do, achieve and create in our world.

            And while it’s important for us to know what we want to achieve (our goal), it’s also important for us to understand why we want to achieve it; the reason behind the goal or some would say, our real goal.

            Why is goal setting important?

            1. Your needs and desire will be fulfilled.

            Sometimes when we explore our “why”, (why we want to achieve a certain thing) we realize that our “what” (our goal) might not actually deliver us the thing (feeling, emotion, internal state) we’re really seeking.

            For example, the person who has a goal to lose weight in the belief that weight loss will bring them happiness, security, fulfillment, attention, popularity and the partner of their dreams. In this instance, their “what” is weight-loss and their “why” is happiness (etc.) and a partner.

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            Six months later, they have lost the weight (achieved their goal) but as is often the case, they’re not happier, not more secure, not more confident, not more fulfilled and in keeping with their miserable state, they have failed to attract their dream partner.

            After all, who wants to be with someone who’s miserable? They achieved their practical goal but still failed to have their needs met.

            So they set a goal to lose another ten pounds. And then another. And maybe just ten more. With the destructive and erroneous belief that if they can get thin enough, they’ll find their own personal nirvana. And we all know how that story ends.

            2. You’ll find out what truly motivates you

            The important thing in the process of constructing our best life is not necessarily what goals we set (what we think we want) but what motivates us towards those goals (what we really want).

            The sooner we begin to explore, identify and understand what motivates us towards certain achievements, acquisitions or outcomes (that is, we begin moving towards greater consciousness and self awareness), the sooner we will make better decisions for our life, set more intelligent (and dare I say, enlightened) goals and experience more fulfilment and less frustration.

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            We all know people who have achieved what they set out to, only to end up in the same place or worse (emotionally, psychologically, sociologically) because what they were chasing wasn’t really what they were needing.

            What we think we want will rarely provide us with what we actually need.

            3. Your state of mind will be a lot healthier

            We all set specific goals to achieve/acquire certain things (a job, a car, a partner, a better body, a bank balance, a title, a victory) because at some level, most of us believe (consciously or not) that the achievement of those goals will bring us what we really seek; joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

            Of course, setting practical, material and financial goals is an intelligent thing to do considering the world we live in and how that world works.

            But setting goals with an expectation that the achievement of certain things in our external, physical world will automatically create an internal state of peace, contentment, joy and total happiness is an unhealthy and unrealistic mindset to inhabit.

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            What you truly want and need

            Sometimes we need to look beyond the obvious (superficial) goals to discover and secure what we really want.

            Sadly, we live in a collective mindset which teaches that the prettiest and the wealthiest are the most successful.

            Some self-help frauds even teach this message. If you’re rich or pretty, you’re happy. If you’re both, you’re very happy. Pretty isn’t what we really want; it’s what we believe pretty will bring us. Same goes with money.

            When we cut through the hype, the jargon and the self-help mumbo jumbo, we all have the same basic goals, desires and needs:

            Joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

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            Nobody needs a mansion or a sport’s car but we all need love.

            Nobody needs massive pecs, six percent body-fat, a face lift or bigger breasts but we all need connection, acceptance and understanding.

            Nobody needs to be famous but we all need peace, calm, balance and happiness.

            The problem is, we live in a culture which teaches that one equals the other. If only we lived in a culture which taught that real success is far more about what’s happening in our internal environment, than our external one.

            It’s a commonly-held belief that we’re all very different and we all have different goals — whether short term or long term goals. But in many ways we’re not, and we don’t; we all want essentially the same things.

            Now all you have to do is see past the fraud and deception and find the right path.

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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