The Form Beautiful
( Originally Published 1916 )
At the time when Greece had reached the zenith of her glory, as an architectural embellishment the column was developed to a high degree of beauty. It was a great adornment to any building. It had definite proportions. Its height was so many times its circumference. The beauty attained by the Greek form of column is sufficient to illustrate the importance of correctness in proportion. The same is no less true when applied to the human figure. Beauty of figure is equally, if not more, important than facial beauty.
A figure which once was beautful is often marred by unbecoming loss or undue accumulation of fat. Many a woman could enhance her beauty by filling in the outlines of her form with desirable fatty tissue, or reducing the adipose until correct proportions were attained. When fatty tissue has been deposited in sufficient quantity to properly round out the figure, it has at the same time performed its other functions, such as furnishing a cushion for the muscles, etc. There is no possible service to the body which makes a larger amount desirable. Beyond this it becomes a burden, unsightly, a disease. As Irvin S. Cobb says in his book called Anatomy "—" Of all the ills that flesh is heir to, the worst is flesh."
Each person has an "Ideal Weight." It is perfectly easy to attain, and still easier to prevent any addition thereto. How often have women, whose figures in young adulthood have been well-proportioned and becoming, allowed them in later years to increase unduly — sometimes almost beyond recognition — by the accumulation of adipose tissue. The unfortunate person first passes through the stage in which she succeeds, through the efforts of her skilful modiste, in disguising the fact from her friends. She then reaches the point where nothing will avail, and though embarrassed at all times by her size and lack of symmetry, abandons hope of relief, or tries without success a lot of unscientific methods of weight reduction, which prove to be only an aggravation. Now and then she loses a few pounds; again and again she gains more. She should know that her best friend, " The Maintenance Diet" (which means exact food requirements, no more, no less) could easily have done more than all the dressmakers in the world to preserve her " Form Beautiful."
The motor car, prosperity, idleness, a good appetite, or ignorance of food values have done her more harm in a few years than the ingenuity of modiste and masseuse, the Turkish bath, or half-hearted, unscientific attempts at weight reduction can remedy in a lifetime. The increasing neck, the double chin, the hanging jowls, the unshapely arms are not Providential visitations to strengthen the individual against the inroads of tuberculosis. They are the villainous designs of the insinuating demon " Appetite," in league with his trusty Lieutenants " Inactivity," " Lack of Will Power " and " Dietetic Ignorance."
The intense blackness of the veil of ignorance regarding dietetic requirements which humanity has permitted to obscure its vision for so many centuries, is really appalling. People do not seem to realize that one not working much should eat little. Many have reversed the process and we frequently find that those working least eat the most. Some would eat all they can hold, and go on year after year piling up the excess. What an impossibility it would be for a multi-millionaire to carry all his wealth on his person. It is no less foolish for one to attempt carrying under his skin all he can eat. He should eat no more than he asks in prayer when he says: " Give us this day our daily bread." If you consume regularly three slices of bread more than you require per day, you will spoil your form, perhaps once beautiful, by the addition of twenty pounds in one year. Five years will make you grotesque.
A beautiful figure may be the gift of nature. Nature must suffer some severe shocks when she sees what her products of the soil, in the form of sugars and grains, and her beasts of the field, in the form of milk, cheese, steak, etc., have done to these divine creatures. It is worth much effort to preserve the Form Beautiful, and so easy that its omission is criminal negligence.
When the Form Beautiful becomes the Form Grotesque, the light step and graceful glide of the agile figure becomes the awkward self-balancing act of a waddling equilibrist. The soon flattening feet add their factor to the unbecoming gait, for they have weakened under the increased bur-den of weight. A certain plumpness of the face is becoming. However, when the accumulating fat results in the double chin, the hanging jowls, the half-opened eyes, and the rounded cheek, fat ceases to be a virtue.
There is an Ideal Weight which gives to each her ideal figure. A Weight Reduction or Weight Increase diet will attain this goal. Once attained, this may be preserved through the adoption of a Maintenance Diet.