This section is from the book "Fletcherism. What It Is, Or How I Became Young At Sixty", by Horace Fletcher. Also available from Amazon: Fletcherism, What It Is, Or How I Became Young At Sixty.
I have now found out five things; all that there is to my discovery relative to optimum nutrition; and to the fundamental requisite of what is called Fletcherism.
First: Wait for a true, earned appetite.
Second: Select from the food available that which appeals most to appetite, and in the order called for by appetite.
Third: Get all the good taste there is in food out of it in the mouth, and swallow only when it practically "swallows itself."
Fourth: Enjoy the good taste for all it is worth, and do not allow any depressing or diverting thought to intrude upon the ceremony.
Fifth: Wait; take and enjoy as much as possible what appetite approves; Nature will do the rest.
For five months I went on patiently observing, and I found out positively in that time that I had worked out my own salvation. I had lost upwards of sixty pounds of fat: I was feeling better in all ways than I had for twenty years. My head was clear, my body felt springy, I enjoyed walking, I had not had a single cold for five months, "that tired feeling" was gone! But my skin had not yet shrunk back to fit my reduced proportions, and when I told friends whom I met that I felt well and a new man, their retort was that I certainly "did not look it!" *
The more I tried to convince others, the more fully I realised from talking to friends how futile and well-nigh hopeless was the attempt to get credence and sympathy for my beliefs, scientifically well founded as I felt they were. For years it proved so; and I faced the fact that to pursue the campaign for recognition meant spending much money, putting aside opportunities to make profit in other and more agreeable directions, and no end of ridicule. Sometimes, during the daytime, when I was "sizing up" the situation in my mind, treating it with calm business judgment, it seemed nothing less than insane to waste any more time or money in trying to prove my contentions.
* Note: - Some of these same friends, fifteen years later, when I was sixty-four years of age, as positively declared: "You never looked so well: "Fletcherizing has certainly done well for Fletcher!"
Fully three years passed before I received encouragement from any source of recognised authority. I went first to Professor Atwater,* who received me most politely, but when I told him my story he threw cold water on my enthusiasm. In our correspondence afterwards he was most cordial but in no way encouraging.
The frost became more and more repellent and benumbing.
Still I persisted. At last I got hold of my first convert: a medical man, ill and discouraged; a member of a family long distinguished in the medical profession. He was Doctor Van Someren, of Venice, Italy, where I had made my home and where I lived for some years. I induced him to organise an experiment with me. We enlisted a squad of men and induced them to take food according to my ideas. We also were fortunate enough to secure the co-operation of Professor Leonardi, of Venice. In less than three weeks the sick physician found himself relieved of his acute ailments, and it would have taken several teams of horses to hold him back from preaching his discovery.* A little later, we transferred the field of experiment to the Austrian Tyrol, and tested our endurance qualities, only to find a capacity for work that was not before considered possible. Then Doctor Van Someren wrote his paper for the British Medical Association, which excited the interest of Professor Sir Michael Foster, of the University of Cambridge, England, and the first wave of scientific attention was set in motion.
* Professor W. A. Atwater, of Connecticut, U.S.A., was, in his time, a respected authority in the field of human nutrition, and, as such, was selected by the editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica to write the chapters on Nutrition for the Encyclopaedia.
* Dr. Van Someren's testimony is given as an Appendix to this volume; taken from The A.B. - Z. of Our Own Nutrition.