The 1953 Vintage Diet: Days Five and Six

I had to skip a day of the diet on Sunday, as it was my nan’s birthday and we had a lovely roast to celebrate! However, I did follow the diet on Saturday, and I have again today – but I’ll be stopping tomorrow as I have a Hello Fresh delivery coming, and I don’t think they got the memo on what was hip to slim with in 1953!1953diet2

So, on Saturday, I was following Wednesday’s plan, but with my own, cunning changes. As this was the day after deadline, I had an amazing lie-in – I don’t do anything by halves, and I woke up at about 11am. This meant I wasn’t really hungry until lunch, so I had cheese, biscuits and an apple, and saved the mushroom omelette for dinner – where it transformed into a fried egg and some mushrooms on the side, to go with my gammon, pineapple and tomatoes. Very satisfying and delicious – although I must say, I really miss my carbs. This is purely psychological, as it seems weird to me to have gammon without chips. Sigh…

Today, I did Sunday’s plan. THAT’S RIGHT! It was a liquid fast! I have never done one of these before in my life, and I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy I’ve been finding it. Yes, I could eat something right now – but I’m not actually hungry, even at half ten. I never thought I’d be able to make it a day without food, because there are times when I get weak and faint if I skip breakfast. Somehow, a combination of the fruit and veggie juices and my usual teas and coffees have seen me through.

At lunch time, I had a bottle of amber juice from Sainsbury’s, which contains white grape, orange, carrot, lemon and lime. Dinner consisted of a glass of tomato juice, and a bottle of purple juice, which contains apple, red grape, beetroot and cherry juice. With my teas and coffees, it’s been a scarily low calorie day for me today – but, I certainly haven’t done anything strenuous, and more importantly, I’ll not be continuing this tomorrow, or making a regular thing of it.

(I really feel like adding this in here – if you find yourself skipping meals, bingeing, fasting, detoxing etc, regularly, you may have an eating disorder. Please seek help if you feel like you even begin to go down this road – do not think for one minute I am advocating regular fasts or liquid diets as a way to boost your health or lose weight. Always talk to your doctor before you follow any dieting plan.)

Thus ends my 1953 vintage diet. Despite what many people think, I don’t believe for one minute that ‘the olden times’ were a golden era for a positive body images, nor a haven from the diet-obsessed culture we live in today. Hollywood stars were famously thin (even Marilyn Monroe, heralded as a ‘size 16’ would be a size 6 or 8 in modern times – you’d have to be blind, or conveniently overlooking her incredibly tiny waist to consider her a patron for fuller figured women, quite honestly). Take a look at movie costumes of the period, and you’ll see that women were under just as much pressure then as now to be skinny – and even Photoshopping had its origins in this era, as airbrushing was just as ruthlessly efficient at removing excess fat and smoothing over blemished skin. Yes, the body shape may have changed, and curvier women certainly had their heyday in these golden decades, before the androgynous looks of the ’90s kicked in, but these shapes were often created with a combination of hefty support garments and strict dieting regimes (read about Marilyn Monroe’s really rather odd diet here, for example).

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the trailer for the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 1953 diet dispenses with carbs in the evening, just like many modern diets suggest, and have you load up on protein where possible, to keep you feeling full. The concentration on milk, fruit juices and processed bread are probably the area where the diet looks the most dated – fruit juices really are empty calories, and most nutritionists would rather you ate the fruit than drank the juice. Also, having a pat of butter on your toast every morning is hilariously quaint – but again, considering how unhealthy many tout margarine as being, I can almost see this coming full circle in time.

One thing conspicuous by its absence here is advice about exercising. There is one small note prompting readers to write to Diana Day for some exercises to accompany the diet, but there’s really no other advice on the subject. Was this written for housewives doing physical labour all day long, and therefore diet wasn’t needed? You could certainly argue the case. I’ve heard many a fitness guru state that diet is far more important than exercise, though – as Jillian Michaels often says, you can wipe out an hour in the gym with just one slice of pizza.

In short, there’s nothing new under the sun, and there’s certainly nothing new when it comes to dieting. While I think I’m probably far more educated about nutrition than the average 1953 housewife following this diet, we can still learn a lot by looking backwards – as long as we’re not wearing rose tinted spectacles when we do it! Now, you’ll have to excuse me, because all this talk of food is starting to make me hungry…

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