Losing The Superfluous Weight
( Originally Published 1916 )
It is probable that our insurance companies have been more thorough in their efforts to ascertain the evil effects of superfluous weight than any other organization from which one can seek information on this important subject. Since about the year 1800, when insurance companies began gathering statistics, they have been accumulating data on various phases of health and sickness. They have a collection of facts far more complete than any other in existence. Their chief interest in this connection has been centered about the risk involved in the insurance of stout persons; the comparative length of life enjoyed on the one hand by the individual with the Ideal Weight, and, on the other hand, by the one with superfluous flesh.
Suppose your ideal weight is one hundred and fifty pounds, but you accumulate additional adipose tissue until you tip the scales at one hundred and eighty. I advise you not to apply for life insurance until you have lost more than ten pounds. They would at least investigate more fully your family history and make a more extended examination, if they did not actually reject you on account of weight alone. I have often met the " doubting Thomas " who thinks that some can reduce while others are not so fortunate. Many of those whom I know to have reduced and actually maintained the reduction, are of the most difficult class. This is positive proof that success is always possible. Success in weight increase is not so universally attainable as in weight reduction, because there is a class which is unable to eat all that is desirable for the purpose. In reality, it will be found that these patients are suffering from some disease — either of the stomach or of some other organ — and when this is relieved, weight can be increased. On the other hand, none need fail to lose at least a part of his or her superfluous weight. Sometimes it is a mountain of fat to be moved, but it is none the less sure to disappear because of the quantity. It is only slower and more difficult — that is all.
Another very interesting point which I have failed to develop, though purposely discussing various phases of weight reduction in preceding chapters, is the possibility of reducing the particular part of the body which has grown stout out of proportion to the remainder. This is a very simple matter. Deposit of excessive amounts of fat is nearly always at the expense of correctness of proportion. The abdomen may carry the major part, or it may be found over the bust or the hips. Sometimes the head rests on the neck as in a cushion. It may be unsightly, or only unbecoming, but it is always undesirable. Aside from any hereditary influences which may enter into the case, the following explanation is most reasonable. When weight is increasing, fat is deposited over the least used muscles. One reason why the abdomen is so frequently the point of least resistance and carries so large a proportion of the excess is that the muscles here are little used. It is possible to walk to and fro, or to sit on an office chair, using the abdominal muscles very slightly.
It is necessary to employ the muscles of the legs and thighs,— however inactive one may be, the muscles of the back in maintaining an erect position, the hands and arms for writing, etc., consequently the abdominal muscles are least used. After a small amount of excess is deposited here, in order to keep the body in balance there will be a backward bending of the spine, and as the weight increases the stomach is more and more favored, there is less and less forward bending, and the deformity increases.
It is unnecessary to further explain this process of localization of fatty deposits. The reverse is likewise true; when weight is being lost, that fat is drawn upon which is over the muscles most used during the process. Taking cognizance of this fact, one is able to use considerable ingenuity in devising exercises which will employ such muscles as are necessary for the removal of fat wherever desired. The exercises must therefore be adapted to the individual case.
Health is not lost, but gained, as superfluous flesh dissolves. In fact, it is never so perfect as when the Ideal Weight is attained. The insurance companies have set twenty per cent. over weight as the point beyond which no one should venture on the path toward obesity. It should be remembered, however, that they are not interested in the comfort or the appearance of the applicant. They are only interested in what kind of a risk they are taking. The applicant can be as uncomfortable as he likes, and he can lose his shapely form or his freedom of motion, so long as he does not increase too greatly his chances of an early death. Take note that they consider twenty per cent. over-weight as a cause of the increased probability of an early demise. How much less probable one's chances of reaching three-score and ten, if forty per cent over-weight !
So it seems that one not only becomes awkward, uncomfortable, unsymmetrical, and unsightly, but also shortens his stay amid the very pleasures of the festive board whose importance he is wont to place so much above many more desirable things in life. He is forced to choose between much food for a few years, or a moderate supply over many years. The insurance companies often warn one that he is travelling a dangerous road. It is a sad reflection on the care which man takes of himself that so often the first intimation that he is not a perfect specimen of health is his rejection as an applicant by some insurance company.
The remedy is truly at hand. Let no one say that weight cannot be reduced, and let no one say that it cannot be taken from any part of the body where it has been deposited in greater than average proportion. These things have been accomplished too many times to be doubted. They are always possible.
With the chapter on Maintaining the Ideal to remind us of what is needed in the way of food, it will be an easy matter to develop the method of Weight Reduction or losing the Superfluous.
Be it remembered that the fat is reserve, and is laid on the shelf for use when emergency arises. My adipose friend, create an emergency ! Drawing upon this supply entails no detriment to health. The appetite may feel the insult when its demands are ignored, but the fuel requirements of the body are as well met when fat is supplied from its own reserve shelves as when outside sources are called upon. Appetite is fooled by the taking of fresh fruits and green vegetables for the purpose of utilizing the gastric juices.
The framework of the body is largely composed of proteins. Unless it has been customary to take more than desirable, these should not be reduced. I do not believe, as held by some authors, that they should be increased. This only serves to make weight-reduction more tedious and to destroy the dietetic balance.
In the Maintenance Diet of one who is not very active, proteins form one eighth of the food supply. If the individual is active, there will be an increase in the amount of fats and starches needed. Consequently, the proportion of proteins will be less, although the quantity does not change. The protein needed will be at most seventy-five grams for one weighing normally one hundred and fifty pounds. One-third of a pound of meat daily gives thirty eight grams of proteins, which is within twelve grams of the minimum and is half of the maximum required. Two eggs will increase this to minimum requirements for a man of average weight. In every helping of food (aside from cheese, milk, eggs, and meats, which contain such high percentages) there is a little protein, ranging from one to three grams — and consequently there will surely be enough in the diet to cover requirements, so that it is unnecessary to calculate the remainder.
Now, what is to be done with regard to the fats and carbohydrates? Fats will be reduced to a low point, because we wish to burn the fat in the body tissue. Carbohydrates should be much reduced in order to force upon the body the utilization of its own fat. In a Maintenance Diet, the fats comprise about two- or three-eighths of the total. They will be reduced slightly by lowering the amount of butter and cream, and substituting lean meat for all other forms. Even then, we will have between three hundred and five hundred calories supplied by fat, and this will be one-fourth to one-third of the reduction diet. If but-ter and cream are entirely dispensed with, the fats will be reduced to a minimum — about one-fifth the weight-reduction diet.
Now it makes a great deal of difference whether we are dealing with a short or a tall person. We do not calculate from the actual weight but from the Ideal Weight for one's height. One whose normal weight should be one hundred and twenty pounds would require four-fifths of the food needed by one weighing normally one hundred and fifty pounds.
I think the above explanation will help in under-standing the table which is prepared for the Ideal Weight of one hundred and fifty pounds. It is very low, but I believe in quick results. In many cases I allow more, if I think advisable, and after three or four weeks add enough food to maintain a loss of one pound per week till the course is complete.
There is no reason for feeling much hunger while this diet is being followed. If the appetite should assert itself, eating a little more of the bulky foods is permissible. Now there is always the possibility that some individuals desirous of weight reduction may be sufferers from gastric diseases. One difficulty which many have experienced in following diets consisting largely of salads is that the vinegar and seasonings which are used with them cause heart-burn and indigestion, principally due to high acid (hydrochloric). The olive oil should not be employed, because it is fattening; vinegar, pepper, paprika, mustard, etc.,— because they irritate the stomach. This is one of the intricacies of dietetics which requires the advice of a physician. This is one reason that in the preceding table I have reduced the quantity of all the foods proportionately and endeavored to present a diet which does not differ in composition any more than is necessary from the average daily diet in this country.
If a person is fifteen pounds overweight, all of this amount can be removed before discontinuing the diet. If fifty pounds overweight, twenty-five or thirty may be removed during the first course of dieting, and the remainder, or at least the greater part of it, six months or a year later. Weight reduction is very easy. It is, as I have previously stated, a simple matter of decreasing the supply of carbohydrates and fats in the diet to such an extent that the body will be forced to call upon its own reserve supply until the latter is diminished to a desirable degree.
It is comparable to the case of a merchant who finds that he has too many yards of silk on the shelves in his store. It is in the way. It occupies space which he wishes to utilize for some better purpose. He must dispose of a portion. What does he do? He buys very sparingly of silks, selling each month more than he purchases, until the supply is reduced. He does not continue buying one thousand yards and selling eight hundred.
Rather, he buys five hundred, selling eight hundred, until eventually the stock of silks is reduced to what his business demands.
Now reduction of weight is a similar process. The body must each day be supplied with three hundred to five hundred calories from fats, in-stead of six hundred to eight hundred. It must be daily supplied with six hundred to one thousand calories of carbohydrates instead of twelve hundred or more, forcing the consumption of fat from its own tissues at the rate of nine hundred to eighteen hundred calories per day.
When the reserve supply of fat has been sufficiently reduced, it will not be allowed to accumulate in the same way again. It is not profitable business to lay up unnecessarily large stocks of adipose tissue. The more familiar one becomes with foods, the more readily he can manage his own dietary shifting from one article to an-other, eating neither too much nor too little ; supplying what he needs — no more, no less.
The stout person should learn that he has both friends and enemies on every table. His enemies are sugar, bread, cereals, rich desserts, butter, cream, olive oil, bacon, cocoa, and rich sauces. His friends are lean meat, unsweetened fruit, green foods and coarse foods, as salads, etc.
However, he should learn more than this, or he will make the fatal mistake of adopting a one sided diet. Perhaps, when through with reduction, he will not know what is to be done. He will probably grow stout again.
Exercises should always be combined with diet when weight reduction is undertaken. It adds to the strength of the patient and makes the process much more rapid. It helps in the preservation of an unwrinkled skin. Though I cannot enter into the details of this subject, since I am treating of its dietetic phase, still I will refer to its value. When the diet is low, exercise of a vigorous nature, such as tennis or handball, if frequent and long-continued, will aid materially. Room exercises are also of great benefit. These must be rather difficult, and adapted to the individual case. Some persons are not well enough to undertake any heavy exercise.
Walking will be just so much gain if one adheres closely to the diet. A walk of six miles daily, providing there were no increase in the eating after the walk, would, of itself, in three months' time wear away between five and seven pounds. This is not very satisfactory. As a mat-ter of fact, a short walk generally increases the appetite. Since it uses up so little fat, the total result will nearly always be a gain rather than a loss. Of course, this does not apply when a per-son follows a very definite diet, for there would then be no change made in eating as a result of this added activity.
A VERY SIMPLE TABLE FOR WEIGHT REDUCTION:
None of these can be taken baked or with cream sauce, butter, or nourishing dressings.
One salad in addition to the above (nuts,1 cheese, potatoes, and oil excluded). Average 100
By reference to this diet table, one can choose a variety of food and at the same time keep within the limits desired for weight reduction. Watching his weight and using a few room exercises, he can lose two pounds a week for one month. If at the same time he is able to play tennis or take some strenuous exercise, he can make the loss of weight more rapid. When ten or fifteen pounds are lost, he can add a certain amount to his dinner, or di-vide the same between two of the meals. This continues the reduction at the rate of one pound a week until sufficient decrease has taken place to satisfy the requirements of his case. Finally, he should adopt a Maintenance Diet.