Thursday, April 23, 2015

Weight Loss Then and Now

What You Should Know Before You Eat Your Way To a Slimmer Body.

These are the words from Gloria Marshall, one of the first nationally recognized weight loss programs in the country. The company, called Gloria Marshall Figure Salons, was based out of California and was one of the first companies to create computer generated customized programs for their clients.  The management team consisted of an authority on diet and nutrition, a medical doctor, and a computer programmer.  With 10 years of combined experience in the field of "ladies figure control", Gloria Marshall set out to create "reducing plans" for tens of thousands (millions?) of women.  Their individualized program was called the Personal Slim Plan.

I recently came across one such Personal Slim Plan (PSP) designed for one woman in the late 1970's.  Let's take a look at the good and bad, shall we?  This could be interesting.

Image 1
In Image 1, I'm not happy with the reference to "slim figure" in line 3, although "slim figures" were definitely the goal 40 years ago.  I think everyone was focusing on the images of Twiggy and Janice Dickenson on the covers of Vogue.  I feel better about their recommendation to this woman to continue her activities, in addition to what is recommended by her PSP.  Finally, I support Gloria Marshall's guidance to review the PSP with a personal physician; all good advice today (except for the reference to "slim figure".

Image 2
 When reading paragraph two on Image 2, I'm happy that they addressed the issue of habits, although it does sound a bit like a "disclaimer".  Being overweight for a long period of time does make it harder to change habits, and yes, it does take persistence.  By the way, the process of re-educating the body and mind is exactly what is addressed in my book, Living 365fitt.  When you've been sedentary for a period of time, the recommendation is still the same today as it was 40 years ago - gradually increase your time and effort.
Image 3

The first paragraph of Image 3 begins to address the fact that with increasing age (and, not addressed, possible yo-yo dieting), it does become harder for a woman to lose weight.  The PSP also addresses that as you lose weight, your caloric requirements will also decrease (i.e. it takes less energy to move a smaller mass).  In the second paragraph, the plan gives the woman a "don't give up…you may not have succeeded in the past, but you're going to succeed this time, once and for all".  That's right, a positive attitude and perseverance are key!

Image 4

Woah:  get ready for this doozy!!!  "The diet we have prepared for you is low in calories (duh, no surprise here!), and is also low in fats and carbohydrates."  And, it may also be vitamin deficient.  You know, I can read the writing on the wall.  My guess is that this woman, who was on a calorie restricted diet, was left unsatisfied and hungry, which most likely, led to binge eating, low self-esteem, and likely quitting the program.  Nothing has really changed.  What has ensued in the following decades and continues today are the "trendy" diets:  low fat, low carb, Paleo, Atkins, South Beach, all missing vital nutrients in one or more aspects.

Image 5

Image 5 lays down the law:  no alcohol.  Why?  Because alcohol has calories (empty calories) and in order to stay within the "low calorie" program, you'd have to give up something of nutritive value.  Many people don't count alcohol when they "diet", and therefore, don't lose weight.  When the scale doesn't move, you get frustrated, and give up on the diet.  And, while I do agree that giving up alcohol is probably the easiest way to lose weight, a program of reducing alcohol, instead of eliminating it, might have better satisfaction and results in the long term.

Image 6

Image 6 attempts to nail it, but misses the most important point.  While it is important to track your weight (for various health reasons), it is not and should not be the biggest focus or barometer of success.  What about the health benefits, like reducing blood pressure, diabetes, or ankle swelling or indigestion?  What about "feeling better" and having more strength and energy to do daily activities?  In Living 365fitt, Chapter One, we talk about the Baseline Assessments, because you have to know where you are today, so you can chart progress.  In my book, Chapter Three, I discuss what's really important to track, and that's your activity, nutrition and emotions.  Once you have a record of your exercise, food and emotions, you can begin to make correlations between what's working for you and what's not.  If you don't see any change, you can go back and look at your logbook, and see why.  Contrary, you can go back and see what made the difference in your success.

Stay tuned to next week's blog, "Getting Diet Ready", where I look into this vintage Personal Slim Plan's diet plan and advice.  This should be really interesting.

In the meantime, I'd like to offer you a free podcast, introduction to my book, Living 365fitt, A 12-Week Program to Lifestyle Wellness available on my website at:

For more information on the Living 365fitt Program, visit my website. 

Living 365fitt, A 12-Week Program to Lifestyle Wellness is available on Amazon.

Kathy Kent is author of Living 365fitt, A 12-Week Program to Lifestyle Wellness and the 365fitt 10-Minute Workouts.  365fitt is about training for the event called LIFE, focusing on physical, nutritional and emotional wellness through lifestyle adaptations.  Kathy is available for personal training and wellness consultations and corporate wellness.  365fitt invites you to participate in a Healthy Active Living trip to incredible destinations.  Please visit 365fitt for more information.  Live 365fitt!


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