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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 December 2, 2018

            How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

            How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

            Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

            The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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            The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

            Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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            Review Your Past Flow

            Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

            Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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            Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

            Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

            Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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            Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

            Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

            We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

            Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

              Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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