OVERWEIGHTAND ITS REDUCTION
Fat or lean, we today scarcely can avoid the question of overweight. The fashions, the drugstore counters, the negazines and newspapers, the doctors, the billboards and fat and lean people themselves emphasize and impress this subject upon us.
Now while scientists are fiddling with retort and test tubes and lecturing before clinics, and psychologists try to explain the modern trend of women to conduct regular orgies of reduction, as “psychic contagion,” and “mass phenomenon,” let us try to get to a practical working basis.
Obesity is not an indication of health, but of ill health-of general poisoning, of reduced functions of every organ of the body except those associated with assimilation. Fat is peculiar in that some people cannot pick up any of it, while others have trouble in dropping it after picking it up all too easily. Each individual has his own average normal weight based upon his skeletal frame and his muscles, upon his type as a whole-temperament and all. There is an optimum size of man for greatest convenience, efficiency and health; but except for the pig there is no animal that gets so far above and beyond its most convenient size as the animal called man.
The poundage above normal may be slight, moderate or excessive. A The degrees is classified as: the enviable stage, presenting a pleasing rotundity; the comical or ludicrous stage, the jovial Flagstaff type; and the pitiable stage, that of unwieldy deformity. The first stage adds to the beauty and attractiveness of the human form, especially the female form, covering angles and sharp corners, and it is a distinct health asset especially in early years, It requires careful watching and moderate efforts to prevent the encroachment upon it of the second stage. And the two latter stages are tragic and harmful so far as health and life expectancy and concerned, and require definite efforts, without compromise, toward reduction.
Many fat persons, especially those who have fought obesity unsuccessfully, try to shoulder responsibility for the condition upon somebody or something else than that of which they have direct control heredity it blamed or an unusually vigorous digestion and assimilation; or a reduced rate of combustion, which no one is able to account for; or abnormal functioning of some of the glands of internal secretion (thyroid, pituitary, sexual).
The principal cause of obesity, however, is the intake of food in excess of the body requirements, in excess if energy output - too much food and too little exercise. Unless one takes into his body more food than it requires in any of the above-mentioned conditions and leads an indolent life or at most secures insufficient open-air activity, there can be no gradual gain in oleaginous excess. This puts the production and the reduction of one’s corpulence directly up to the individual himself where it belongs, except in those early cases which show some developmental defect and do not come under the subject of simple obesity. They are not common.
It is not natural to gain weight as one grows older. At fifty-one should weigh no more than one did at twenty-five, if one had reached normal weight at twenty-five. One grows heavier as one grows older merely because one takes life easier and indulges his appetites.
But whether older or younger, if one puts on weight eon becomes progressively less inclined to physical activity. This helps one to put on more weight which makes one still lazier. Thus a circle is established that leads sometimes to mammoth proportions and that cuts one’s physical and mental efficiency and willpower in half. Because there are no symptoms associated with the early gain, little or no thoughts is given to it. Frequently it is only after great abnormalities have been created in girth and functional or organic disturbances, that the fat is taken seriously and efforts made to cut some of it from the frame. For obesity is more perilous than even airplane travel.
In the swinging of the pendulum, however, we find large numbers who are now much below their individual weight, from misapplied reducing methods. This is not so much the result of reducing measures employed to take off fat after its development. The modern girl has employed effective means of keeping the weight from accumulating so that it does not have to be taken off. From being merely supple she has become actually anemicand malnourished. The extreme thinness of the modern girl does not indicate health, by any means. The modest is chiefly responsible for the recent Trent toward unattractive, unhealthy thinners. The ideal stage is a normally rounded figure, instead of the angular one we have seen so frequently in recent years.
In the treatment of obesity there is not short cut. There are some agencies designed to rub fat off, some to squeeze it out some to sweat it out, others to wash it away, and so on. The reason these have become popular is that they may permit the person to satisfy his palate as much as he desires and to avoid physical exertion. But they do not reduce fat - unless they so disrupt the digestive mechanism that one cannot digest and assimilate the food consume. The only curatives of any value in obesity are certain gland preparations which are indicated inmate or lessdefinite gland obesities. These should be prescribed by a qualified physician under careful supervision or serious harm may result.
The aim to be sought in bringing about reduction should be not merely to take on several or many pounds and to increase oxidation, bet to build the body chemistry and restore tone of nerves and muscles. It is necessary to bring about depletion, but this must not be done at the expense of nutrition. A more pleasing figure is not he sole aim; greater energy and vitality should be secured at the same time. Even a child knows that if one does not take food into the body theremust be a loss of weight. One must balance his diet, then-somewhere between no food and too much food, though total abstinence from food for short periods of time will have a very favorable effect.
The absolute fast is not to be advised for pronounced obesity without proper supervision. It is not necessary however to fast long enough to endanger one’s health to quite favorably effect the elimination, metabolism and other functions involved. A plan that deteriorates vitality in any degree or one that brings the weight down but does not help to keep it there is of no practical value and had better be left alone. Hence, even though the fast is taken there must be suitable diet following if the good results secured are to be maintained.
The best method of pursuing a fast is for three or four days at intervals of two weeks or so, and then to eat only such small quantities of all classes of foods between fasting periods that there will be a still further gradual reduction.
Another excellent fasting plan is to fast on alternate days, or fast one day out of three. If there is sufficient energy, red blood cells and hemoglobin, and high or normal blood pressure one easily may fast for a week or ten days-provided he has the will power. In most cases a fast of this duration can be continued without medical supervision.
Of course, if one consumes large quantities of food after the fast one will regain weight, and perhaps suffer still worse effects. But if all classes of foods are consumed in small quantities, with fats cut to a minimum or probably entirely eliminated, the body will be amply nourished and there need be no further gain-if there be the exercise that there should be for best general health. Many people do better by taking one half dozen oranges a day or two or three grapefruits with no other food. They may able to keep on this diet for a much longer period of time, and with safety, than they can on the water fast. The reduction is not quite so raped, when a limited amount of food is taken, but one can be assured that he is “playing safe”.
Another good plan is to reduce the number of meals taken daily. The one-meal plan is excellent, though this one meal must be not larger than any one of the meals formerly taken. Reduction of fattening elements should be observed in this one meal if best results are to be secured. Two meals may be taken, in which case the amount chosen for the two meals should be little more than that for the one meal, unless there is less overweight or less vitality. After the weight has been reduced appreciably by any of the above diets the two-meal plan may be followed with continued good results.
Perhaps the majority will prefer to continue on their three-meal plan. So far as general health preservation is concerned this is a safe method, and they’re a not likely to be any tendency toward “starvation” if proper foods are use. I mention this because there are many who still believe that one cannot fast or take a greatly reduced diet without endangering the health. But the three-meal plan is not so effective as a reducing measure, for the average person cannot or will not control his appetite sufficiently to eat three meals a day and still eat little enough to lose weight.
It is best for these to eat alone and to have set out just what is to be eaten-this amount being well selected from meal to meal to give variety and all needed elements for a protracted course of dieting. This plan will require several months, if one is thirty or more percent above normal, to bring the weigh to normal.
Many conjure up visions of starvation diets, untasty dishes, and monotony when “dieting” is mentioned. When a person becomes emaciated by the ingestion of non-nourishing foods and then adopts a diet of vital food so that his body regains its weight and quota of red blood cells and hemoglobin, he is dieting, but certainly he is not being starved, and most likely is enjoying his diet thoroughly. Thus it is weigh the obese. The foods to be permitted may be more tasty, more nourishing than the foods previously consumed, it is merely that certain foods are omitted from the diet and the quantity somewhat reduced. For a time one may possible notice a disturbing hunger, but this is the result of habit. This will quickly give way to perfect satisfaction on the reduced rations.
Since fat has nine times the fattening effects of starches, fat must be especially reduced; but sugars and starches likewise should be reduced appreciably, and other foods to some extent. If the diet is low in general an occasional starch food, especially potato, may allowed. It is impossible to select a wide range of foods in which fat and
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