Dieting and Weight Loss
Back in the 1930s, sociologist Gladys Sellew decided to find out if it was possible to survive spending only 15 cents a day on food. I think, in today's money, that would be about $3/day.
She used herself as a test subject and, five years later, reported that not only was it possible, but she actually only spent an average of 13 cents a day on food.
She said she was going to remain on her frugal diet for the rest of her life.
Austin American Statesman - June 3, 1942
The headline below claimed that she gained weight on her diet, but in the picture above it sure doesn't look like she had any extra weight on her.
Hartford Courant - Feb 24, 1941
A typical day's meal plan:
Austin American Statesman - June 3, 1942
By way of comparison, here's a more recent version of an experiment in frugality: "Spending $5 a day on food. Is it possible?"
Based on the strange clothing and the thing that looks like an asteroid in the top right corner, I think the two people are supposed to be futuristic space travelers of some kind. Why they're in an ad for a weight-gain product, I don't know.
Sports Illustrated - June 5, 1978
Watch your weight increase as you eat.
Popular Science - Dec 1938
Text from The Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine and Self-Help
(1978), edited by Malcolm Hulke:
What the Cleveland Health Clinic says about ear stapling:
If you Google "ear stapling," you'll see testimonials from people claiming it helped them lose weight. You'll also see some devotees assert that it eliminates migraines, nicotine cravings and insomnia.
What you won't see is any scientific proof to back those claims up or doctors extolling the practice's health benefits. There's some evidence supporting the use of auricular acupuncture for weight loss, but — while some acupuncturists offer the service — ear stapling isn't the same thing as auricular acupuncture.
The lack of scientific evidence supporting ear stapling for weight loss is one of the reasons most states don't regulate it — there'd need to be some evidence that the practice is legitimate, and there isn't any.
Ann Wigmore believed that the secret to good health and a long life was eating 1) a lot of wheatgrass and 2) only raw food. If those appeal to you, you'll find lots of recipes in her cookbook below, Recipes for Longer Life
(published in 1978, available at archive.org
Wikipedia says that she lived to be 84
, which is a relatively long life, but not remarkable. She died of smoke inhalation from a fire. So maybe she would have lived much longer if not for that bad luck?
Wikipedia also says, "many of her claims were denounced as quackery, and her qualifications were never confirmed to be genuine."
I guess she wasn't keen on melons: "eat them alone or leave them alone".
Dr. Herman Taller was arguably ahead of his time with his assertion that a high-protein diet was more effective for weight loss than simply restricting calories. However, it was his promotion of "CDC" (Calories Don't Count) capsules that got him into trouble. He claimed that these capsules not only would help with weight loss but would also lower cholesterol, treat heartburn, improve the complexion, increase resistance to colds, and boost the sex drive. The FDA disagreed, noting that the capsules primarily contained safflower oil. Taller was eventually convicted of mail fraud.
More info: Wikipedia
These were mini slippers that supposedly helped one lose weight. How? Something to do with reflexology and magnets. And also, I assume, the extra effort required to balance in them.
They were sold via the website GetSlimSlippers.com, which no longer exists (but is archived at the Wayback Machine
Quackwatch.org has an article
by someone who tried them out to see if they would actually work:
I obeyed all the instructions. I started off gradually. In fact I had to — my arches, bearing almost all of my weight, hurt fiercely the first few days. (If you've ever climbed a round-runged ladder in your bare feet, you know the feeling.) I never went over the 2-1/2-hour limit, and I tried to "respect the slippers" in spite of jeers from my office mates. In a sense, I even "became One with the slippers"—they delivered a terrible foot odor each time I took them off. Apparently, the canvas uppers don't "breathe."
Related post: Slimming Insoles
I wrote this brief article a number of years ago. It used to be posted on another site, which no longer exists. So I'm relocating it here. . .
One of the greatest killers of World War II wasn't bombs or bullets, but hunger. As the conflict raged on, destroying crops and disrupting supply lines, millions starved. During the Siege of Leningrad alone, over a thousand people a day died from lack of food. But starvation also occurred in a more unlikely place: Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was here that, in 1945, thirty-six men participated in a starvation experiment conducted by Dr. Ancel Keys.
Group photo of the participants
The Purpose of the Experiment
Dr. Ancel Keys
Keys ran the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene at the University of Minnesota. He had already achieved some fame as the designer of the army's K-rations — the portable combat food rations carried by American troops. (Rumors persist to this day that the "K" in K-rations stands for Keys, though the army has never confirmed this.)
The starvation experiment developed out of Keys' interest in nutrition. He realized that although millions of people in Europe were suffering from famine, there was little doctors could do to help them once the war was over, because almost no scientific information existed about the physiological effects of starvation. Keys convinced the military that a study of starvation could yield information that would have both humanitarian and practical benefits — because knowing the best rehabilitation methods could ensure the health of the population and thereby help democracy grow in Europe after the war. Having secured his funding, Keys set out on his novel experiment.
More in extended >>
The Select-A-Size mirror, invented by Milton Doolittle, had a knob you could turn to make yourself look slimmer or fatter. As explained in the 1976 Canadian patent:
A mirror has an upper portion which is held in flat condition by being secured in the upper portion of a vertically extending frame. The integral lower portion of the mirror is flexible, and its curvature is variable about a vertical axis, so that by varying the curvature of the lower portion, there is provided an image of the appearance of a person's body after a weight loss, the upper flat portion reflection a true reflection of the person's face, which would change comparatively little, if at all, after a weight loss. The curvature of the mirror lower portion is varied by rotation of a knob threadedly engaging a screw that moves a lever connected to the mirror. The mirror is supported on a stand or a wall support by a vertically movable member in a hollow tube at the back of the mirror, so that it may be vertically adjusted to reflect the face of people of different heights in the flat portion of the mirror.
Palm Beach Post - Mar 20, 1983