In our long-standing series of articles on dieting (aka we’re out of ideas), we try to explore different facets of a staple of American life today. From the almost $100 billion weight lose industry to fads and diets you should/shouldn’t try, it all had to start somewhere.
So welcome to our dive into the history of dieting and weight loss. Oops, sorry I spelled that wrong, it’s hard to eat Pop Tarts and type at the same time. What’s this article about again?
Let us start where all great articles start, at the beginning. In this case, that takes us back to ancient antiquity where the first record of dieting came from the ancient Greeks. Taken from the word diaita, dieting was not focused on food or weight loss but on overall lifestyle. According to experts, famous Greeks such as Hippocrates referred to dieting as light meals, enemas, wrestling, and vomiting after eating.
Yeah…a slightly different version of dieting than most people today refer to. However, if this is your current definition of dieting…maybe read a book.
The next time researchers found evidence of dieting wasn’t till the 11th century when the first weight loss “fad” came about. For you history enthusiasts out there (all 5 of you), William the Conqueror was in the middle of his epic sweep through Great Britain when his excessive eating and drinking started becoming an issue. According to evidence found, the great king was so heavy that he couldn’t even ride his own horse. Despite being a revered military tactician, William started feeling very self-concious of his weight. To the point that after the King of France made jokes about the current King of England possibly being pregnant, William told his subjects he would eat no more. Drinking only wine and water, William would sit in bed and eat nothing. Sadly evidence has never shown if the world’s first liquid diet succeeded as the King would die that same year after falling off his horse.