Think Yourself Thin (1951)
Title: “Think Yourself Thin – The New Mental Outlook to Help You Lose Weight”
Author: Thyra Samter Winslow
Publisher: ABELARD PRESS, NEW YORK
Year of Publication: 1951
LOC Catalog Entry: http://lccn.loc.gov/51014535
Copyright Status: Public Domain in the United States and countries following the rule of the shorter term
“It’s later than you think…
WE WOULD ALL LIKE TO BE SLIM and young and good-looking. I wish I could wave a magic wand and transform all of you into glamorous, radiant creatures of twenty-one. But like the witch in John van Druten’s Bell, Book and Candle, my wand is useless, and my broom, good only for prosaic, utilitarian tasks, stands idly in the closet. However, if you are overweight, I believe I can show you how to become comfortably thin, look and feel younger and healthier—and have a good chance to live longer, too, if you’ll put your mind to it.
There are nearly one hundred and ten million adults in America, and it has been estimated that, of that number, over twenty-two million weigh too much—and would be better off if they didn’t. When twenty per cent of a population suffers from a serious defect, something should be done about it. I’m not optimistic enough to believe that I can influence the weight and health of that great a portion of the population—but if I help even a few, I’ll be mighty happy about it.
I’m taking it for granted that you weigh too much, or that someone you’re interested in weighs too much.
Otherwise you’d be pretty foolish to waste your time over this book. Of course, you could gloat over the over-weights and what they have to put up with! But this book is not for gloaters. It is for those who are too fat and who want to do something about it.
I could make definite promises that you’ll lose weight— and look and feel better if you follow the rules you’ll read here; I could guarantee that you’d weigh less and improve in health—but I don’t dare. Not because you won’t lose weight if you follow the rules, but because too many readers can’t or won’t read.
A few months ago, I wrote an article for the monthly magazine, Your Life. It contained rules for a simple self-analysis, based on the writing of a news story. I did not tell the readers to send me their analyses—but a lot of them must have thought I did, because they sent them in. And in practically every case they disregarded every rule I’d given, and seemingly forgot why they were writing or what they were writing about. And the other day a man I’d thought most intelligent said to me, “Weight reduction is all nonsense! I’m trying to reduce and I’m gaining, instead.”
“What are you doing about it?” I asked.
“I’m following the Hauser rules and I’ve gained five pounds.”
I asked for details.
”I just follow my regular meals,” he said. ”I haven’t got time to diet. But each morning I have a glass of milk with blackstrap molasses mixed in it—and I tell you, I gained instead of lost weight.”
Now, Gayelord Hauser’s books are good. He’s written three: The Gayelord Hauser Cook Book, Diet Does It, and Look Younger, Live Longer. I shall have more to say about them, and about other excellent books on diet. I believe that anyone who wants to lose weight should read a number of books about it—and get something out of each book. Of course, I think I’ve got something here that the others haven’t got—or I wouldn’t be writing this! Mr. Hauser recommends black molasses, but nowhere does he say that milk and black molasses, consumed in addition to a too-generous diet will take off weight. An eight-ounce glass of milk with several table-spoonfuls of black molasses will add about 250 calories to the daily intake—or almost a third of what is usually recommended in a strict diet for a whole day’s rationing. So you see what I mean?
Of course, you aren’t that kind of a reader! You understand what you read. And in order to get thin, you’re going to follow, to the letter, exactly what I recommend. If you do, you’ll find you’ll lose weight easily and satisfactorily. Otherwise I don’t want to hear from you, because it will mean you haven’t followed the rules.
Why should you get thin ? You may know the answers as well as I do. Or you may not know all of them.
First of all, but far from the most important, is vanity. The average overweight person is awkward. Of course! Who wouldn’t be awkward, with ten or twenty or fifty superfluous pounds strapped around his body! The average fat person does not look well in his—or her— clothes. You have to wear large sizes, so that, to begin with, the cut is not too youthful, and the result is a shapeless bag, more than likely. Three years ago, I found myself going from size 18 to size 20. The size 20 dresses had no style. They required a lot of alteration. And after they were altered I still looked like what I was—a short, squat woman with a bad figure. I lost twenty-five pounds. Now I wear a size 12 dress. Because I’m short (I couldn’t do anything about that) I have to have hems turned up two inches—but that’s the only alteration necessary. And for the first time in years I get compliments on my figure. I weigh no, but my bones are small, so I’m not thin. But I’m no longer a tub, thank you!
But it isn’t just vanity that makes weight important. It’s health, most of all.
Your weight has a definite bearing on how long you are likely to live. Persons who weigh too much have a far greater mortality, physicians have proved, than people of normal weight. Dr. Louis I. Dublin, Statistician of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, in an article in Human Biology, entitled “The Influence of Weight on Certain Causes of Death,” shows, through a study of 200,000 cases, how dangerous overweight can be. The death rate for men and women of normal weight is 844 per 100,000. In the overweight group, the rate jumps to 1,111 per 100,000. In other words, the fat person has an excess mortality of from 14%, if you’re very young, to as high as 86%, as you grow older.
You don’t want to die! Of course not! Being alive can be a lot of fun. Well, the overweight person shows up pretty badly in all of Dr. Dublin’s findings. Overweight folks constantly jeopardize their chances for a long life. Fat people practically commit suicide! They die by their own fat. An exaggeration? Just look at the statistics. Deaths from cardiovascular diseases are 62% above average for the too-fat population. Diabetes claims 167% above normal—yes, 167%—that’s not a typographical error. In cancer, only 10% above average is the rate of death of the overweight—but even that is something to think about. 12% above average is the fat person’s rate for accidental deaths. Fat people move and think a bit more slowly in emergencies, you see.
Have I frightened you? Well, that’s what I’ve tried to do. In fact, I mention the very worst first of all, to jolt you into seeing the seriousness of too much fat. But, of course, you are not going to die because you’re overweight! You’re sure of that! Even so, it is just possible that you may become ill because you weigh too much. I don’t mean that diseases are always brought about because of overweight. I do mean that you have a better chance of living longer if you are slim, and your health— the health of everyone—can be improved by the correc¬tion and prevention of obesity.
Some of the diseases on which obesity has an adverse influence are hypertension—high blood pressure to you— pulmonary emphysema, diabetes, various forms of heart disease, cancer, acute and chronic nephritis, venous thrombosis and embolism and arteriosclerosis. In pregnancy, the obese woman is susceptible to various types of illness. Many other diseases may be ameliorated to a great (degree by treating overweight—diseases for which, up until now, no actually successful treatment has been found.
Operations are far more dangerous if the patient is overweight. Doesn’t it stand to reason that it is dangerous to cut through fat—which does not heal as quickly nor as well as healthy, non-fat tissue? In their excellent book, Obesity, Dr. Edward H. Rynearson and Dr. Clifford F. Gastineau, of the Mayo Clinic, both obesity experts, show the dangers of overweight and give many rules for getting back to normal.
Dr. John Joseph Lalli, whose specialty is arthritis, wrote me about overweight:
“In the city of New York alone, there are approximately 12,000 people in whom chronic arthritis has reached maturity in complete or partial ankylosis. Of greatest importance is the prevention of those particular manifestations which result in deformities. The unhealthy soil in which the seed of disease readily grows argues for early use of systematic methods of treatment before the joint segments or adjacent muscles and tendons are af¬fected. The onset, manifested by painful soft-tissue swelling, as in atrophic-rheumatoid arthritis, can be successfully combated. In this disease, prevention is better than cure.
Hypertrophic osteoarthritis, due mainly to the wear and tear of life, is also a problem of prevention. Overweight, when present, may be likened to a wagon-load of stones being drawn up a hill by a horse. The load is too heavy for the horse to pull. Either the horse must be whipped or the load lightened. Often overweight breaks down the metatarsal arches, causing them to become flat and painful, with accompanying backache and other forerunners of chronic arthritis.
In both types, systematic manifestations such as abnormal weight, nervousness, restlessness and excitability, loss of mental vigor, neuritic sensations, varying pulse rate, constipation, muscle atrophy, flat feet, nervous twitchings at night and general weakness are present.”
Drs. Rynearson and Gastineau feel that other illnesses may be caused by, or exaggerated by, obesity, increased incidence of gallbladder disease, earlier appearance of varicose veins, more frequent fractures, increased fetal mortality and greater difficulty in obstetrical delivery are further reasons for the correction of obesity. It is probable that obesity increases the chances of development of both hypertension and diabetes. It has been suggested that since one action of insulin is to convert carbohydrates to fat, a process of considerable magnitude in the development of obesity, the demand for insulin is cor-respondingly great and may exceed the capacity of the pancreas to produce it; thus diabetes may result.”
Drs. H. L. Smith and F. A. Willius, writing on ”Adoposity of the Heart,” show that cardiac enlargement in obesity is proportional to the increase in surface area, and that some of these otherwise normal enlarged hearts may fail. So—if you’re fat, the fat around your heart may cause serious trouble. Or fatty infiltration—droplets of fat—may appear within the cardiac muscle cells.
But even that isn’t all. Obesity may cause a diminished capacity for breathing because of restricted respiratory movements caused by deposits in the abdominal and thoracic walls. You should be able to breathe deeply, for health.
I could quote dozens of other authorities. But their findings all boil down to the same essential facts. Obesity can actually cause serious diseases. It can cause other diseases to become more serious. It is, in itself, a disease. And the longer a person is too fat, the harder it is to overcome the damage that the fat has done.
You wouldn’t knowingly eat poison if you knew that the poison would hurt your system—and perhaps kill you. You wouldn’t carry around a huge lead weight, if the weight were unbecoming, tiresome and dangerous— and kept your lungs from functioning properly, your heart from beating the way it should. You wouldn’t want to have high blood pressure, arthritis, gout, a dozen other ills that obesity can cause or encourage. You surely would go out of your way to avoid, rather than bring about, diabetes.
This is the unpleasant part of what I have to tell you. I wanted to tell it to you first, not so you can forget it— because I don’t want you to do that—but so you can realize how serious obesity really is. It isn’t just something that keeps you from being attractive—though it may do that, too. It’s a very serious disease—and you have it in your power to get rid of it.
Why not avoid serious illness, if you can avoid it—get rid of a burden that can only be an annoyance?
Are you satisfied that being slender is the only course for you ? Good! Then you’re really on the road to think-ing yourself thin.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Foreword by DR. SIDNEY M. SCHNITTKE IX
1 It’s later than you think I
2 Live long and like it 9
3 The weigh of all flesh 24
4 Eat to live 35
5 “It’s my glands!” 46
6 Salt of the earth 53
7 This may be the answer 58
8 Face it—you’re fat 68
9 Body and soul 80
10 You eat your cake and have it 92
11 Portrait of you 103
12 Food for thought 111
13 Those vitamins! 124
14 Choose your weapons 136
15 Good bye to yesterday 161
16 Start to think yourself thin 169
17 Drink yourself fat 182
18 The battle of the bulge 195
19 Try this for size 212
20 Mind over platter 225
21 You eat at home 236
22 You eat out 249
23 Exercise and how to avoid it 267
24 Sweets to the sweet 289
25 Keep on eating 310
26 Hold that line! 330
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