Fat has been an issue from the beginning of time. In the olden days of yore, a fat belly was considered a good thing, as it displayed wealth and prosperity. In the eighteenth century, royalty and well to do citizens were quite plump by means of their status in life. Fat represented wealth and the ability to buy and eat food, rising above the lower class of people who could not afford to do so. Large people were looked upon as successful. They could easily feed themselves and their family hearty meals and delicious pastries. The side effects of being overweight were not viewed as health issues at that time.
As fat cats continued to gain prominence in society, their health began to deteriorate. Instances of cancer and digestive problems began to appear with more frequency, while restaurants and fast food chains were growing in numbers. Along the way, doctors wised up and new inventions were formulated. Fat could be dealt with easily and artificially. Looking good and getting rid of fat, started to mean shapelier figures and lower numbers on the scale. It also became big business for fitness clubs and products.
In the 50s, Jack LaLanne became the man in most women’s life, as they learned to exercise in the comfort of their own home. His TV shows were accepted and popular, motivating stay at home mothers to get into shape. He went on to sell weight reducing products and opened health spas. By the early 1960s, another huge corporation was formed all in the name of getting rid of fat and pounds. Weight Watchers became a household name as women signed over their donuts and cupcakes. They became partners with their scales and spent their days counting calories.
Numbers on the scale meant more than dollars in the bank when it came to fat count and dress size. Models and celebrities were getting in on the act of looking good, whatever it took. Twiggy was one of the first skeletons to walk down the runway and styles were developed for skinny people. Doctors were doing their research on effects of overeating and excess weight as much as business people were raking in the sales. Junk food, prepackaged goodies, cheeseburgers and home-delivered pizzas were standing strong against the forces of health and fitness.
In became a war between fat cells and the battle of the bulge. Having your cake and eating it too, was not working. New options and products were constantly on the drawing board producing a win-win situation for all involved. Diet pills, girdles, spandex, Shapewear, liposuction, lap-band and gastric bypass surgeries could all make a fat person skinny again. The answers were found, but at a hefty price-tag.
The hazardous health effects of wearing tight fitting garments such as girdles, corsets, leotards and form fitted onesies are quite alarming. Squeezing and squishing into a contraption just to look skinny can disrupt normal vital organ functions such as breathing and digestion. The woman with the cute little waist can well be in pain and uncomfortable throughout the special event she wants to be skinny for. Even worst, she will shock the love of her life when she removes the garment in relief to let it all hang out. Permanent nerve damage and numbness can also occur with prolonged use of form fitting garments. Restrictive underwear and such can lead to poor circulation and even urinary tract infections, skin rashes and back pain.
Liposuction is another option to get rid of the fat without the trouble of dieting. As an elective surgery, is can be costly and risky. Weighing in at about $3000, sucking out fat with a vacuum can result in blood loss, irregular contours and infection. Other surgeries can also be expensive and risky.
Fat is the question. Not all fat is bad and some fat is needed in normal body functioning. Going to the extreme in losing the extra, unwanted fat can result in serious side effects one would never imagine. Good old fashioned exercise and eating right seem to still be the skinny in losing fat.
Editorial by Roanne H. FitzGibbon