Diets I Have Known and Discounted

I think most of us have tried some odd diets in our time; the Atkins diet, the cabbage soup diet, the grapefruit diet and even Slimfast – basically a milk shake; professed to “fill you up”, to be drunk twice a day, but ultimately leaving you feeling empty, tired and miserable - to name but a few and yes, I’ve been drawn into the trap from time to time too!

Back in the early 1960s when I was growing up I can remember my mum and her friends and family trying desperately to lose weight before they decided to don the swimwear on our frequent weekend trips to the local seaside towns of Cromer and Great Yarmouth during the summer.  The diet mainly consisted of existing on Kellogg’s Special K for breakfast, Granose Rolls (a very light, crisp and airy “ball” which was delicately cut in half and spread with butter!) or Ryvita crispbreads with cheese spread for lunch and a good, healthy salad followed by an apple, orange or pear for supper.  Not particularly inspiring and inevitably due to fail on account of its “B factor” (boredom factor).

Come the late 1960s Mum had progressed to Nimble bread, perhaps a little more inspiring than crunchy crispbreads as at least she could have a proper sandwich but nonetheless, still pretty uninspiring!

By the time I began dieting back in the 1970s I was in the fortunate position of being able to count calories with the use of a calorie-counter book but I didn’t have the willpower to weigh out everything to the milli-ounce to make sure I didn’t go over my calorie intake each day.  It was somewhat of a boon when Heinz eventually came up with the wonderful idea of low calorie soups in a can but it still meant that I had to be up bright and early in the morning to heat up the soup and carry it to work on the bus in a Thermos flask.  I then used to take a quick trip at lunchtime to the local supermarket and buy myself a yoghurt for a dessert.  But still there seemed to be no real alternative to eating loads of salad for an evening meal with a precisely weighed portion of meat, fish or cheese.

And then of course came the “boil in the bag” meals where you bought fish in sauce, curry and rice or such like, shoved it in a pan of boiling water for quarter of an hour and tipped it onto your plate.  This had the number of calories printed on the outer box and was so much better than having to weigh everything out as previously but the main downside was that you had to try and master the art of opening up the bags straight from the boiling water and tipping the contents onto your plate without scolding yourself.  Not an easy feat I found.

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  1. Wow, who knew poison was a diet aid? And chew & spit? Not for me! I agree that exercise is the best weight loss strategy.

  2. very interesting post .thanks for share

  3. thanks for sharing

  4. you have done a thorough research… some parts are so weird like the tapeworm and the chew-spit routine. I am glad I have common sense enough to stick to proper diet, exercise and plenty of water! Superb share! thank you!

  5. Thanks for sharing this information!
    This is helpful for my blog

    GOD Bless

  6. I really enjoyed that! I actually knew about the tapeworm “diet” already, but the other wacky fads were new to me. I think a lot more people would be interested in learning history if they knew that there was so much crazy stuff people used to do. (Of course, I guess people in the future will think that you and I and everyone else living now did a lot of crazy stuff too.)

  7. I’m having a lot of comment problems this morning. I tried to post a comment already here, but it’s not showing up, so if I post this and then both comments show up, I’m very sorry! I don’t intend to be a spammer! (I commented on another one of your articles — the one about eating at the computer — and I kept getting a message saying that the comment failed. I retried it several times before it seemed to work, but then it showed up four times! I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean to spam you. I’m trying to contact someone at Triond to remove the extra comments.)

    Regarding this article, I actually already knew about the tapeworm diet, but all the other wacky fads were new to me. Thank you for a very informative and entertaining read. I think that a lot more kids (and adults too) would be interested in history if they knew how much really entertaining information a person can get his/her hands on.

  8. I am a huge fan of historical facts especially when they are so odd. Thank you so much for this article. It was wonderful.

  9. Chew spit routine is not my cup of tea, but the article is really informative. I am glad to have a good exercising schedule.

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