In war time it is a crime to hoard food, and fines and imprisonment have followed the exposé of such practices. Yet there are hundreds of thousands of individuals all over America who are hoarding food, and that one of the most precious of all foods! They have vast amounts of this valuable commodity stored away in their own anatomy.
Now fat individuals have always been considered a joke, but you are a joke no longer. Instead of being looked upon with friendly tolerance and amusement, you are now viewed with distrust, suspicion, and even aversion! How dare you hoard fat when our nation needs it? You don't dare to any longer. You never wanted to be fat anyway, but you did not know how to reduce, and it is proverbial how little you eat. Why, there is Mrs. Natty B. Slymm, who is beautifully thin, and she eats twice as much as you do, and does not gain an ounce. You know positively that eating has nothing to do with it, for one time you dieted, didn't eat anything but what the doctor ordered, besides your regular meals, and you actually gained.
You are in despair about being anything but fat, and—! how you hate it. But cheer up. I will save you; yea, even as I have saved myself and many, many others, so will I save you. It is not in vain that all my life I have had to fight the too, too solid. Why, I can remember when I was a child I was always being consoled by being told that I would outgrow it, and that when I matured I would have some shape. Never can I tell pathetically "when I was married I weighed only one hundred eighteen, and look at me now." No, I was a delicate slip of one hundred and sixty-five when I was taken.
I never will tell you how much I have weighed, I am so thoroughly ashamed of it, but my normal weight is one hundred and fifty pounds, and at one time there was seventy pounds more of me than there is now, or has been since I knew how to control it. I was not so shameless as that very long, and as I look back upon that short period I feel like refunding the comfortable salary received as superintendent of an hospital; for I know I was only sixty-five per cent efficient, for efficiency decreases in direct proportion as excess weight increases. Everybody knows it. The Meeting Is Now Open for Discussion
Jolly Mrs. Sheesasite has the floor and wants some questions answered. You know Mrs. Sheesasite; her husband recently bought her a pair of freight scales.
"Why is it, Doctor, that thin people can eat so much more than fat people and still not gain?"
"First: Thin people are usually more active than fat people and use up their food. "Second: Thin people have been proved to radiate fifty per cent more heat per pound than fat people; in other words, fat people are regular fireless cookers! They hold the heat in, it cannot get out through the packing, and the food which is also contained therein goes merrily on with fiendish regularity, depositing itself as fat.
"And there are baby fireless cookers and children fireless cookers. The same dietetic rules apply to them as to the adult."
"I recognize Mrs. Tiny Weyaton; then you, Mrs. Knott Little."
"We have heard you say that fat people eat too much, and still we eat so little?"
Yes, you eat too much, no matter how little it is, even if it be only one bird-seed daily, if you store it away as fat. For, hearken; food, and food only (sometimes plus alcohol) maketh fat. Not water—not air—verily, nothing but food maketh fat. (And between you and me, Mrs. Weyaton, just confidential like—don't tell it—we know that the small appetite story is a myth.)
Mrs. Knott Little
"But, Doctor, is it not true that some individuals inherit the tendency to be fat, and can not help it, no matter what they do?"
"Answer to first part—Yes.
"Answer to second part—No! It is not true that they cannot help it; they have to work a little harder, that is all. It is true that being fat is a disease with some, due to imperfect working of the internal secretory glands, such as the thyroid, generative glands, etc.; but that is not true fat such as you have. Yours, and that of the other members who are interested, is due to overeating and under exercising.
"Those diseased individuals should be under the care of a physician. Probably the secretory glands are somewhat inactive or sluggish in the healthy fat individual. I use the word healthy here in contradistinction to the other type. In reality, individuals very much overweight are not really healthy, and they should also visit their physician.
"Yes, Mrs. Ima Gobbler?"
Mrs. Ima Gobbler
"But, Doctor dear, what's the use of dieting? I only get fatter after I stop."
(Answering delicate like, for I'm fond of her and she is sensitive):
"You fat—! You make me fatigued! You never diet long enough to get out of the fireless cooker class. If you did, you wouldn`t
"Is there anyone else who would like to be recognized? No?"
Nothing That I Don't Know
It is well. I will probably answer more as I go along, for there is nothing that I don't know or haven't studied or tried in the reducing line. I know everything you have to contend with—how you no sooner congratulate yourself on your will power, after you have dragged yourself by the window with an exposure of luscious fat chocolates with curlicues on their tummies, than another comes into view, and you have it all to go through with again, and how you finally succumb.
I hope sometime it will be a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment, to display candy as shamelessly as it is done.
Many fond parents think that candy causes worms. It doesn't, of course, unless it is contaminated with worm eggs, but, personally, I wish every time I ate a chocolate I would get a worm, then I would escape them. The chocolates, I mean. I will tell you more about worms when I discuss meat.
Malicious Animal Magnetism?
I know how you go down to destruction for peanuts, with their awful fat content. It is terrible, the lure a peanut has for me. Do you suppose Mr. Darwin could explain that?
Perhaps I was a little too delicate like in my answer to Mrs. Gobbler's question,—What's the use of dieting, she only gets fatter after she stops?
So many ask me that question, with the further pathetic addition,—Will they always have to keep it up? And it ever irritates me.
The answer is,—Yes! You will always have to keep up dieting, just as you always have to keep up other things in life that make it worth living—being neat, being kind, being tender; reading, studying, loving.
You will not have to be nearly so strenuous after you get to normal; but you might as well recognize now, and accept it as a fact, that neither you nor anybody else will be able to eat beyond your needs without accumulating fat or disease, or both.
I love Billy Sunday's classical answer to the objection that his conversions were not permanent. He responded: "Neither is a bath!"