Nutrition - Overweight
( Originally Published 1954 )
The brain, even in obese individuals, is spared from excess fat, but it becomes sluggish when the rest of the body is affected.
The most serious devitalization caused by obesity is of the body itself. Sooner or later, in the health history of the obese person, the vital organs become handicapped by fatty infiltration or degeneration, or both.
Adiposity, or surplus and unessential fat, is stored in parts of the body where it is not only unwanted but a menace to the normal functioning of other tissues or organs into which it encroaches mechanically. The fatty cells, when they crowd into other tissues and organs, block the passage of waste excretions from the cells into the lymph and blood streams.
Mechanically, also, fatty tissues interfere, in a number of important ways, with organic activities of the body. When the heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, skin and lungs are surrounded by excessive fatty tissues, this excess fat produces crowding and choking effects on the cells. These vital tissues and organs then become sluggish. Fatty in-filtration directly into the cells may result, and various disease complications may arise. Among these diseases are diabetes, kidney ailments, liver trouble, heart trouble, shortness of breath, poor circulation of limbs, etc.
Diseases of the heart are very common in the overweight as a direct result. Fatty infiltration around the heart soon may cause infiltration of the myocardium (heart muscle) itself. This interferes with the normal mechanism of heart functioning and may therefore cause further organic degeneration of that organ, resulting in poor circulation, thrombosis or clotting of the arteries of the heart, and other types of heart disease.
The lungs of the overweight are similarly affected by fat as is the heart. Labored breathing is one result which can be observed as characteristic of overweight individuals.
The skin also may, and usually does, become infiltrated with surplus fatty globules or cells, thereby crowding the glands of the skin that excrete sweat and oily wastes. When these wastes are not eliminated, they are of course retained and returned into the body stores.
Skin wastes are quite a dangerous source of tissue poisoning.
Some fat people may be observed to be excessively fatigued very easily. They may have cold hands, cold feet. They are unable to perform muscular work. Retained skin excretions within the cells of the skeletal muscles may cause such lowered health states as are pointed out above.
Some obese people undertake drastic short cuts to weight reduction. Some of them allow plastic surgeons to perform operations for the removal of their surplus fatty tissues. Others go on restricted-diet regimes. Some of them take glandular products- Many obese people visit gymnastic institutions at frequent intervals. They have their fat bodies slapped and clapped and rubbed and sweated, and as a rule they remain fat.
Some obese people visit so-called "milk farms" at intervals during the year. They sip small quantities of skimmed or cultured milk, tomato juice, or bouillon broth. They smoke and play cards and engage in other social activities at these milk farms. After they get home from the milk farms and the gymnasiums, they eat and live as haphazardly as they did in the first place. They then pick up the weight and inches of girth that they lost while on a regime of rigorous and strenuous dieting and gymnastics.
The problem of obesity will remain a problem until the schools of the healing arts begin to recognize obesity as a severe problem that demands the same serious consideration as any other organic disease. When physicians recognize obesity as a formidable disease, masseurs and reducing places will not be allowed to handle this problem as indiscriminately as they do today.
At this point we can also justly criticize the conventional medical and surgical methods of handling obesity. For example, a very fat lady, one of my patients, was operated upon for obesity. About twenty pounds of fat were removed from her chest, abdomen and thighs. She regained that weight and some more besides. That same lady was then kept on a high-protein diet for months: she did not lose weight, but she impaired her health in many ways; she began to suffer from symptoms of arthritis, constipation, lowered kidney functioning and general tiredness and weakness.
The lady, now a patient of mine, is doing very well on a diet consisting of salads and raw fruits only. Certain easy physical exercises are administered passively, as well as taken actively by the patient, in order to recondition fatty tissues into a normal state.
I have been treating obesity for twenty-three years. In every case where patients cooperate with treatment, success in reducing weight to normal as well as maintaining it at a normal level, is attained in every case treated.
My methods are based on an applied knowledge of physiology, pathology, the chemistry of the body, and related elementary sciences concerning health and disease. These methods require strong will-power as well as perseverance. During the first couple of weeks it may not be so easy to carry on the process of rebuilding the body from overweight toward normality. Afterwards it becomes quite easy, when the will power and morale of the individual are good.
In general, the treatment consists of a rest cure. During the rest cure, the obese individual is kept in bed for a few days to a few weeks. The period of time varies depending on the individual problem, its severity and the complications that may exist in addition to obesity when patients come to me.
During the rest cure, the eliminative organs, the kidneys, the lungs, the skin and the bowels, are made to function to the most effective degree possible. The body is kept warm, if necessary by an electric pad or hot-water bottle. When the condition is very severe, heat is applied by the short-wave machine. The kidneys are stimulated to function normally by well-chosen fluids, such as fruit juices, broths, raw salads, and raw fruits.
The fast, or complete withholding of food, is used alternately with a suitable diet that consists of freshly made fruit and vegetable juices, salads and fruits. Osteopathic manipulative treatment and exercises, while the patient is at rest in bed, are of great help. The lungs are given a chance to exercise to the maximum, by suitable breathing exercises in a well-aired and well-ventilated bedroom, and outdoors in the sun, when possible. Elimination from the bowels is regulated and normalized by diet as well as by colonic irrigations.
My management of the overweight condition is not easy. In fact, it is laborious for the patient as well as for the physician. I permit the body to restore its own glandular system to a normal functional and organic state.
I do not use meats or eggs or any other protein food during the intensive period of weight reduction. I prefer to balance the metabolism of the body by supplying it with vitamin-mineral rich foods such as salads and fruits, in combination with the fat and excess protein that already exist in the overweight body-in other words, a balanced "diet" by combining the meats and fat of the body itself with fresh raw salads and raw fruits and a small amount of cooked vegetables in suitable form. The obese individual loves the stimulation that obtains from a little well-cooked vegetable soup or stew, and we gladly pro-vide such a meal at intervals, together with fasting and light feeding.
The system of exercises that I teach overweight patients becomes a life-long habit of those who learn to appreciate their full value for good health-building. These exercises require no gymnastic apparatus. They do not even require the surface of a hard floor- These exercises are performed at bedtime and on rising in the morning; as well as whenever it is possible to lie down and rest in bed or on a couch.
These exercises consist of alternately tensing and relaxing every muscle of the body from head to foot, using the joints of the body as levers. They lend themselves to bending, stretching, rotating and flexing. All of these exercises are performed while in the sitting or lying position. In fact, most of the exercises can be done while under blanket covers in a comfortable and warm bed.
The exercises are based on knowledge of the actions of muscles and joints in the structures of the body that the science of anatomy teaches every first-year college student of medicine or naturopathy or chiropractic.
In conclusion, it must be stated by way of caution that reducing should not be undertaken under self-management at first. Every problem of obesity is different in some ways, and therefore one should seek the professional guidance of a physician who knows how to teach the individual to regain normal weight and normal health.