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Friday, 25 October 2013

The Weight of the World: "To diet or not to diet - that is the question"


If the question is "Have you ever tried a ridiculous diet and hoped it might really work on you?" - I'd raise my hand.. and I wouldn't be the only one (would I?).

What should I call it?
Call it "Romeo and Juliet" if you want, but it's the same thing - giving up a part of our lives. Let me tell you: I'm a comfor eater. Not only that; I'm a firm believer that a peace of chocolate cake (along with a cup of tea) is the best way of healing others - and I practice it on all my frieds in need.
Naturaly, this way of lifestyle does not go along well with small waist circumference. On the other hand, vintage clothes requires waist that must be smaller than the "regular" one we see nowadays. Sizing changed (just take a pattern from 1970 and the one from this year and compare them) - our waists "grew bigger" one whole inch. You don't even need a pattern, you can see it online, the stories of our raising risk of heart related issues are all over.
Now, if we ever wondered (I know I did) how come all those vintage beauties did it without all the suffering - rest assured: they, too have struggled. 
My search took me on a strange online jorney, from modern "green smoothie" craze, over some of the girdle-wearing gals.. all the way to a 1929 edition of the "Photoplay" magazine, that adresses the issue of the struggles, worries and problems gals back then faced.

In an article entitled "Diet - The Menace Of Hollywood", writer Katherine Albert explains why eating like Joan Crawford and other period stars could prove problematic.

'Diet!,' Albert writes. 'It has put one world famous star in her grave!'
What's more she adds, the Hollywood diet craze is responsible for increasing numbers of tuberculosis cases and will 'produce a race of anaemic tubercular weaklings' if allowed to continue.

She also blames Hollywood's diet demands for the death of actress Barbara LaMarr, who died aged 29 of tuberculosis in 1926.
Another anecdote concerns Joan Crawford, who, the writer claims, she saw having a lunch composed of just 'a few tablespoonfuls of cold consomme, a dish of rhubarb and half a dozen crackers thickly spread with mustard.'
Albert also alleges that actress Pola Negri 'took 10 pounds off' with a 'spinach and egg' diet, comprised of six ounces of spinach and a hardboiled egg for breakfast, lunch and supper.
Interestingly, another part of the article deals with camera trickery - blamed for promoting an unrealistic image long before Photoshop was invented.
'A skillful cameraman may arrange his lights so this condition is helped,' she complains. 
She even writes of a primitive version of liposuction undergone by actress Molly O' Day, who, says Albert, 'suffered acutely' in the aftermath of the operation.


Cup of hot water (calories - 0)
8 tablespoons of consomme (13Kcal)
Two saltine crackers (100Kcal)
1/4lb tomatoes (25Kcal)
Cottage cheese (50Kcal)
2oz pineapple (50Kcal)
1 glass buttermilk (67Kcal)
Total: 305
This is NOT a diet, this is torture. Well, I could call it "meal" - since it's what a person should eat in a single meal.

I'm 172cm (5 feet and 7 inches) tall and my weight is in the second column above "healthy weight" - 60kg (132 pounds)

Modern Hollywood and its madcap diet crazes might appear to be a chilling modern phenomenon, but as this article shows, celebrity diets have a long and inglorious history.

Barbara LaMarr

I hope this story didn't scare you, but I also hope you've realized my point here: 

With all our pimples, wrinkles, "orange skin", cellulite, bad-hair days, bloated-tummy days and bad outfit choices.
♥♥ Pinky Honey


  1. This was such an interesting read. Considering every single magazine aimed at women is covered with a celebrity that is branded either too fat or too thin and of course includes the latest celebrity diet it is nice to know that even back then some people had sense.

    Until I gave it up at the start of this year, I had been dieting since I was 12 (19 years) and have only ever lost a small amount, no matter how much I restricted my food and how much I exercised...but I have gotten bigger after every single diet. I finally got off the diet bandwagon this year and feel saner, happier and healthier than ever. If your interested "dances with fat" is a really great blog with lots of information on how dieting has never actually been proven to be successful long term and how it can actually damage your body.

    Thanks again!

    1. Thank you for sharing your struggle with me, darling.
      You are right: As soon as we open up a magazine there's a picture, a text, a message telling us we're just not "awsome enough".. but we are. I'm glad you've jumpped out the "mad-diet" train.
      I came across "dances with fat" some time ago - and I dare say: it's an eye-opening blog, and a lot of today's magazine editors should read it.

      Thanks for stopping by, dear!

  2. Yes! Goodness, yes! I've been guilty so very often of being displeased with my appearance, of judging it too harshly, or wishing it looked a million miles away from what it does, from comparing myself too frequently to others, to feeling the pressure of the media's voice on how I should look, and of not feeling beautiful. I've never had much self confidence or esteem about my appearance (and, like most women, have certainly dieted), but as I've grown older, I have made a very conscious effort to, if not silence, at least quell these destructive inner voices.

    So what if I'll never be a size zero (really, should "zero" even be allowed to be assigned to a clothing size), look like a super model, or have the chiseled cheek bones of a Hollywood starlet. That doesn't make me any less beautiful or worthy of feeling good about myself. Beauty isn't one size fits all, not is fashion, and it's a true shame that so many of us (including even some men, too) feel that we need to fit into an incredibly small mold of so-called perfection that few ever will. Perfection is a myth, but we're each real, and it's high time we learned to love and see the beauty in ourselves far more often - and to let others know that we see it in them, too.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. I'm glad you've shared your story. You are, by no means, the only one here who struggled to see we are FAT BETTER the way we are than we would ever be if we kept trying to fit the "zero"
    allow me to write this:
    "Zero" is a symbol mathematicians use to complete their equations, it is not a clothing size. Close marked with that "size" is cut and sewn for a 12 year old girl, who haven't yet started to develop our most precious feature - curves.
    I'd rather be unable to fit the dreadful "zero" then let my heels be the only curve on my body. :)


  4. Thanks for sharing this interesting article! It´s so wrong when people say people back then were so much slimmer...Maybe a few Hollywood role models, but not the average women. Just check the variety of sizes at vintage stores. I think the pressure of being slim was not that tough. Certainly there was not that amount of media around that label healthy women as plus size ( Robyn Lawley )... Also they were more confident and worked with what they had.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, dear Susan.
      You are right: I don't believe gals back then were all slim like Claudette Colbert. Her famous gold-lame “Cleopatra” gown had waist circumferance of 46 cm (18 inches).
      I honestly doubt regular girls looked like that.
      Allow me to faint.


  5. A very interesting article to read Marija! If you don't mind, I have saved the articles for my food blog ( ) but ofcourse I'll credit you!

    1. I don't mind at all, dear.
      As a matter of fact, I'm looking forward to seeing it. :)