Dinner With a Side of Tapeworm? No, Thanks. I'll Pass ...
If there's one thing that's certain when it comes to slimming down, we'd all like to take the path of least resistance. The diet and exercise regimens of yore showed that there was both a significant absence of healthy weight loss knowledge and lack of common sense. The pursuit of losing inches should never put one's health or sanity at risk, and it's unfortunate that previous generations were encouraged to opt into weight loss treatments that were either ineffective or damaging.
Puff Away the Pounds With Help From Lucky Strike!
To be fair, Lucky Strike did not say smoking burns fat, but that it suppresses appetite. This was also during a time when everyone and their pregnant mother smoked, so this kind of advertising was not deemed shocking for the time. When your lungs are as toasted as Lucky Strike's famed slogan, you can believe you'll be nice and thin for your funeral at the ripe age of 50.
One Sweet Lie: The Grapefruit Diet
Don't get me wrong, grapefruit is deliciously sweet, but sticking to a minuscule calorie intake and a half a grapefruit with every meal is just plain bad advice. It also doesn't help that grapefruit has a bevy of nasty interactions with drugs like oral contraceptives (sorry, gentlemen), erectile dysfunction prescriptions (sorry, ladies), and certain antihistamines (sorry, everyone).
The Cabbage Soup Diet, Smell Like a Cat Lady Without the Cat!
Not sure who the brainchild was behind this one, but if you want to look and smell like you only eat boiled cabbage, you're all set. Side effects include higher sodium levels, increased flatulence, lightheadedness, and a loss of will to live. While it's claimed to shed pounds, it's only a loss of superficial water weight.
It's a Parasitic Paradise, a.k.a. the Tapeworm Diet
No, I am not making this up. Back in the early 1900s, ingesting tapeworms were seen as a viable option in keeping waistlines trim. Believing that a tapeworm would be content to live inside you and eat up whatever you ate was a solid idea for the time, after all, this was also a time when they gave children cocaine for toothaches. I'm no public health expert, but I do feel like voluntarily hosting a parasite in order to stay thin is high on the list of poor life choices. For the sake of everyone reading this, I'm not going to post a picture. You're welcome.
I-i-i-s-s-s I-i-i-t-t-t W-w-w-w-o-o-r-r-k-k-k-i-i-n-n-n-g-g-g? Meet the Exerciser Belt
Good for loosening up muscle tension? Yes. Effective at shedding pounds? No. But look at how adorable our great-grandmothers were wearing their idea of "athleisure."
The Slendo Massager, Slendo Yourself and Your Wallet!
Just massage those inches away, girls! Sheesh, if they believed this worked they should have just stayed home with a rolling pin.
If history has taught us anything, it's that you can package up any device or food item and sell it as a diet aid. With more honesty in advertising and a heaping pile of lawsuits (I'm looking at you, Fen-Phen), consumers are more aware of devious motives put on by those wanting to make a quick buck at the expense of someone's health. Realistic diets, tailored exercise programs, wellness professionals, and personal trainers are thankfully in abundance in today's society, which means we can all step away from the tapeworms and just go to the gym and the produce aisle to see results we want.