If you ever get hold of a history book, flip through and take special note of the body sizes that seemed to be the norm of each time period. Body weight and ideal have changed over the years, just as they continue to do now. What is in fashion can be dictated by the type of clothing that is in vogue — some styles just require a thinner frame to lay right. Some cultures will worship the larger members because it is a sign of prosperity- only the rich can be fat after all. Americans have that one backwards — here only the rich are the super thin.
Why is that? Is it because the wealthy are being fed some “magic” food that allows them to stay ultra-thin? In all reality, the rich are staying that way because they are being fed teeny-tiny, designer meals produced by personal chefs and they have trainers, nutritionists and others working around the clock to keep them that way. There is no magic involved.
Thin and fat have knocked each other off the top of the popularity charts for hundreds of years. Look at the creation of some of the worlds most renowned artists; look at the models that they chose to work with. Ruben would be laughed out of the art community if he were alive to day and still choosing the same models. His plump and juicy lasses were definitely not the waif-thin and underfed gals that pass as models these days, were they?
Now, have a look at another era. Look at the Flappers for instance. Knock-kneed, flat-chested and very thin, the Flappers were the ideal for that time. Of course, there were probably the Rubenesque women who longed to shimmy into a sheath dress as well, but history certainly isn’t showing them. Even then, it was the body type that typifies the standard of the day that gets the notice while the others are ignored, or worse, ridiculed.
When thin was in fashion, dieting became the norm. The most extreme diet then is the most extreme dieting now — fasting. Religious leaders and their devoted followers would fast for days on end and would experience weight loss (of course) as well as the potential for visions. If the fast lasted too long, the weight loss would be followed up with death so the fasters started putting two and two together. Not eating equaled weight loss, but could equal death as well. The aha moment is followed quickly by the adaptation of the fast: A modified fast.
Sometime during the fasting and the modified fasting and the starving and the dying, science discovered the calorie and the dieting industry was born. Now, doctors and snake oil salesman alike had a word to shout at you as well as a number to recommend. Nobody fully understood the diet nor had daily requirements been discovered yet, so no one knew how many calories a person needed or from what foods those calories should …