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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 March 13, 2019

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

            You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

            Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

            1. Work on the small tasks.

            When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

            Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

            2. Take a break from your work desk.

            Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

            Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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            3. Upgrade yourself

            Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

            The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

            4. Talk to a friend.

            Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

            Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

            5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

            If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

            Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

            Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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            6. Paint a vision to work towards.

            If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

            Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

            Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

            7. Read a book (or blog).

            The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

            Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

            Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

            8. Have a quick nap.

            If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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            9. Remember why you are doing this.

            Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

            What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

            10. Find some competition.

            Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

            Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

            11. Go exercise.

            Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

            Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

            As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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            Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

            12. Take a good break.

            Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

            Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

            Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

            Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

            More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

            Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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