100 Years of Dieting and We Still Haven't Lost Weight
Americans spend an inordinate amount of money on weight-loss systems and fad diets and yet we are heavier than ever. And if there was a perfect "diet", wouldn't it have been found by now. After all, our obsession with dieting is not new. According to Susan Yager, author of The Hundred Year Diet, it actually began in the 19th Century.
Many of the earlier diets had more to do with religion, wealth, prohibition, etc. than looks and health. However, similar to today, each diet was unlike every other diet. The first organized diet, from Reverend Graham in 1832, allowed no meat, alcohol, coffee, tea, flavor enhancers, white flour or yeast, but you could eat as much as you wanted of everything else. He was the creator of the Graham cracker.
In the early 1900s it became popular to chew each piece of meat at least 100 times to lose weight. That lasted about a decade until eating became extremely boring and then Americans were introduced to calories. The BMI index was created in the 1920s and soon very early versions of products we have today were being produced and sold (i.e. Slimfast type drinks).
The Hundred Year Diet book is a fascinating read. Even though it is a well researched, almost scholarly book, it is a real page turner. And it completely confirmed to me (even though the author doesn't say as much) that it is crazy to keep throwing money at a diet industry that keeps changing.
After all these years of diets, wouldn't we know by now if one diet really worked? Sure, some work better than others in the short run. But none of them last. If you need group counseling, then it is worth it to join something like Weight Watchers. If you don't know anything about the calories or health attributes of different foods, you might want to see a nutritionist.
But the only way to lose weight and keep it off is a lifestyle of eating less and exercising. There are no quick fixes.