The dictionary meaning of obesity is "excessive fatness." The word is derived from the Latin, and means "over-eating," and yet many stout people eat far less than the excessively thin. Obesity does depend upon diet to a certain extent, but it depends upon a number of other factors also, the chief of which is the cultivation of will-power. The woman who is fat can be thin if she likes, but not by simply wishing it in a casual fashion for the sake of her appearance. A moderate amount of fat in the body is a good thing, but when present in excess it cramps the energies, and brings about degeneration of physical health and willpower into the bargain. A really fat person is too often indolent, lacking in energy, self-indulgent, unwilling to make any definite, sustained effort to reduce her weight. She will diet for a week or two and over-exercise herself enthusiastically for perhaps ten days. Then, as a natural result, she gets run down because she has over-fatigued fatty muscles unaccustomed to exertion, and thereupon she decides that the treatment does not "agree" with her. She will drug herself into serious ill-health because the swallowing of pills for the fat is so much easier than systematic and sustained treatment. Now, I think that if women understood the condition of the body in obesity and were less ignorant as to its real causes they would exercise more commonsense in the problem of how to get thin. What is obesity? Obesity is due to the increased deposit of fat in the tissues. The fat, or adipose tissue, as it is technically called, is seen under the microscope to be minute cells filled with with the shoulders. Bend alternately to the right
Fig. I. Stand with heels together, and arms horizontal and left sides tiny globules of oil. This fat is fluid during life, but becomes solid after death, and forms what is called suet in butchers' language. A certain amount of fat is necessary to facilitate movements of the organs and to form a sort of padding to protect the body from shocks and jars. Fat also keeps the body warm by acting as a sort of jacket underneath the skin. It is also a source of energy, and that is why energetic, strenuous people are rarely fat. They use up their fat too rapidly. In the same way, strenuous mentality does not favour the deposit of fat in the tissues. The anxious, worrying, concentrated person is invariably thin. It can thus be seen that fat in moderation is a good thing, and a fair allowance in the system lends softness to the human outline. But excess of adipose tissue is a great evil, and the wise woman, whenever she realises that she is too stout, takes measures to prevent herself becoming "fat." The stout woman is ungainly and lacking in grace. She suffers from shortness of breath and palpitation of the heart. She is in a state of " congestion . " The in -creasing adipose tissue presses upon the organs, and there is danger that the heart may become fatty. The muscle tissue is encroached upon by the advancing fat, which also blocks the tiny blood-vessels, ' and prevents the blood flowing freely through the tissues. The circulation is slower, and therefore, in: contradiction to the general idea on the subject, stoutness is not conducive to greater warmth. The too stout woman suffers from many drawbacks. She has to carry a greater weight than her thinner sisters, and thus gets more easily fatigued. Her condition makes her more indolent and less enterprising, and so she does not get so much out of life as she might.
In obesity there is a vicious circle operating.
The stout person is inclined to be lazy, and laziness is one cause of obesity. As a general rule, also, people who are inclined to be stout like sweet foods and rich dishes, which, in their turn, increase any tendency to stoutness.
And now that we have considered the drawbacks associated with obesity, let us deal with ts cause and cure.
It is curable, and it can be cured if the patient wishes. The chief reason for its prevalence is that the majority of stout people are too lazy to cure themselves. They resign themselves in the early stages to being " a little stout," and probably say that it is a family failing, and that, after all, stout people are the good-natured ones of the earth. So they drift into deeper seas of fat, in torpid self-satisfaction, until matters are really serious, and then it is probably too late. Obesity is a handicap in life. It spoils a woman's looks and diminishes her capacity for useful work. It is worth an effort to overcome it, and this article' is written with the' object of helping those who desire to reduce excessive weight. The first thing is to begin 'as early as you can. Do not wait until you are excessively stout, and then waste time wishing that your " too solid flesh " would melt. There is only one way to reduce flesh, and that is to determine to do it, to exercise self-control and self-discipline until your will is accomplished.
And heels together, bend alternately as far
Fig. 3. With arms raised above the head as possible to the right and left sides
The Causes of Obesity
In the first place, consider the causes of over-stoutness and then tackle them. First, is it from over-eating or erroneous feeding? The metabolism of the stout person is out of gear. That means that the balance of nourishment of the body is impaired. The food, instead of forming flesh and providing energy, is being converted into fat. It may be that the -stout -person is eating too much fat-forming foods. The first thing the doctor in charge of a case of obesity would, do would be to. regulate ' the diet. The general method is (1) to reduce the amount of food taken in the twenty-four hours, (2) to cut off starches and sugars, which are the chief fat-forming foods. In the early stages, regulation of diet and increased exercise will probably effect a cure very easily. A very light breakfast and a simple midday meal of two courses and one light meal during the rest of the day must be ordered. White bread should be given up. Toast, bis cuits, or wholemeal bread may be taken in its place. Sugar in any form, sweets, wines, beers, starches in the form of pot a -toes, peas, beans, and milk puddings, as well a s "fat," butter and cream are forbidden.
And bend the body at the waist until the toes
Fig. 4. Hold the hands erect above the head, can be touched
A very varied dietary is left for choice. Lean meat, game, poultry, white fish, green vegetables, fresh fruit; tea or c o ff e e , without milk and sugar, can be taken in moderation. This gentle diet must be combined with exercise, as another great cause of excessive stoutness is insufficient exercise. At the present time we are dealing with a moderate degree of obesity, the over-plumpness that is apt to arise about the age of forty, and which becomes worse if matters are allowed to drift. Any tendency to laziness must be overcome. Outdoor exercise must be obtained daily. A walk of not less than five miles should be the rule every day, whatever the weather may be like. Tennis, cycling, and other games are all admirable for the purpose.
A few exercises which ought to be practised night and morning by anyone who is inclined to be too stout are given here, and in a following article exercises for the more severe forms of obesity, with details concerning the efficacy of baths, massage, and other well-known methods of weight-reduction will be given.
1st Exercise. - Stand with the heels together and the arms horizontal with the shoulders.
The right, swinging downwards and upwards to
Bend to the right side, then to the left tide. Repeat the exercise ten times. (Fig. 1.)
2nd Exercise. - With the hands on the hips and the heels together, bend the body as far back as possible at the waist, bring it to the erect position again and bend well forwards at the waist. Repeat ten times. (Fig. 2.)
3rd Exercise. - Stand with the arms raised high above the head and the heels together. Bend the body as far to the right as possible and then to the left side. Repeat ten times. (Fig. 3.)
4th Exercise. - Stand erect with the hands held straight above the head, and bend the body at the waist until the toes are touched.
5//* Exercise. - With the left hand on the hip and the other hanging, lunge suddenly forwards and outwards to the right, stretching the right hand above the head. Repeat six times to the right and six times to the left.
. 6th Exercise. Hold a stick with both hands stretched up to the. right. Swing downwards and upwards to the left side on the balls of the toes. (Fig. 6.)
'i hese exercises must be done for ten minutes in the morning after a tepid bath and a brisk rub with a rough towel. They must be repeated at bedtime in conjunction with some other exercises which will be described in the next article. Those given may be proceeded with meantime. They are quite sufficient to begin with. Sudden, severe exercise is very bad in cases of obesity, which generally presents some fatty heart condition. Curtailed and regulated diet, with a morning tepid bath, diminishes the congestion of the body, and the exercises given can be safely practised from the beginning, and must, of course, be combined with daily exercises out of doors, beginning with two miles, and in a week increasing the distance to five miles per day.