This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
Corpulence, when it gets beyond a certain point, becomes an absolute disease, and must be very uncomfortable to the unfortunate incumbent.
The general exciting causes of this state, independent of a natural habit of body, are good living and insufficient exercise, since it is generally only amongst those who enjoy the means of obtaining the good things of life without hard labour that we find such a state. "The citizen in easy circumstances, the indolent rector, the opulent farmer (and especially their wives, who enjoy their feeding without anxiety or much exercise), (he is speaking of England), the masters and mistresses of well-frequented inns, and the sergeants of regiments in peaceable quarters, or of the militia, etc., are those whose rotundity of belly marks the superabundance of their ingesta, and who upon the least exertion, perspire and wheeze under a load with which they have voluntarily encumbered themselves." Two memorable examples of this kind, are the celebrated Daniel Lambert, and the no less celebrated "Claimant."
The cure of this disease (for it is a disease) rests with the patient himself. He must restrict both his eating and his drinking, sleep less, and take more exercise, for medicine can do but little for him. It is best to reform gradually, and not to attempt to get rid of a large amount of fat suddenly, which might only bring on a fit of illness of another kind.
"Newmarket affords abundant proofs of how much may be done by active exercise and a spare diet, as Jockeys have been known to reduce themselves a stone and a half in the space of a week or two. To get rid of the superabundant fat only requires to keep the eyes open, the mouth shut, and the legs in motion; or, in other words, to eat and drink sparingly, sleep little, and take considerable active exercise."