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Lord Byron: The celebrity diet icon(it's all his fault)

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by lapinrose, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16351761








    [​IMG]



    Continue reading the main story














    <h2>In today's Magazine</h2>











    Another
    new year and another host of celebrity dieters, but it's not a modern
    phenomenon. Lord Byron was one of first diet icons and helped kick off
    the public's obsession with how celebrities lose weight, says historian
    Louise Foxcroft.

    There has never been any shortage of celebrities who have
    followed diets, endorsed them or tried to sell us one of their own
    devising, even back as far as the 1800s.

    The "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" Lord Byron was thought
    of as the embodiment of the ethereal poet, but he actually had a "morbid
    propensity to fatten". Like today's celebrities, he worked hard to
    maintain his figure.

    At Cambridge University, his horror of being fat led to a
    shockingly strict diet, partly to get thin and partly to keep his mind
    sharp. Existing on biscuits and soda water or potatoes drenched in
    vinegar, he wore woolly layers to sweat off the pounds and measured
    himself obsessively. Then he binged on huge meals, finishing off with a
    necessarily large dose of magnesia.


    Continue reading the main story <h2>The life of Byron</h2>


    [​IMG]




    • George Gordon Byron was born in London in 1788
    • His famous works include Don Juan
    • His affair with married Lady Caroline Lamb shocked the public
    • She later called him "mad, bad and dangerous to know"
    • Died in 1824, aged 36, from fever in Missolonghi in Greece

    <ul class="links-list">[*]Find out more about Lord Byron[*]Find out more about Byron's poetry[/LIST]
    In 1806 Byron weighed 13st 12lbs
    (88kg), but he was under 9st by 1811 (57kg) - a huge weight loss of
    nearly 5st (32kg). We know all this from records at Berry Bros &
    Rudd, a wine merchants of St James's, London.

    Here, stylish men-about-town weighed themselves on hanging
    scales, as personal bathroom scales were an early 20th Century
    phenomenon. The Regency dandy, Beau Brummell, weighed himself there over
    40 times between 1815 and 1822. He went down from 12st 10lbs (81kg) to
    10st 13lbs (69kg).

    At the infamous Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva, in 1816, Byron
    was living on just a thin slice of bread and a cup of tea for breakfast
    and a light vegetable dinner with a bottle or two of seltzer water
    tinged with Vin de Grave. In the evening he stretched to a cup of green
    tea, but certainly took no milk or sugar.

    To suppress the inevitable hunger pangs, he smoked cigars. By
    1822, he had starved himself into a very poor state of health, even
    though he knew that obsessive dieting was "the cause of more than half
    our maladies".

    Because of Byron's huge cultural influence, there was a great
    deal of worry about the effect his dieting was having on the youth of
    the day. Dr George Beard attacked the popular Victorian association
    between scanty eating and delicacy of mind because impressionable
    Romantics were restricting themselves to vinegar and rice to get the
    fashionably thin and pale look.

    Personal cow

    "Our young ladies," he wrote, "live all their growing
    girlhood in semi-starvation." This was for fear of "incurring the horror
    of disciples of Lord Byron", he added. It didn't help that Byron
    himself had suggested that "a woman should never be seen eating or
    drinking, unless it be lobster salad and champagne, the only truly
    feminine and becoming viands".


    [​IMG]

    Celebrities' weight and diets are often in the news

    But his cruel double standards were exposed when, on ending his
    scandalous affair with the married Lady Caroline Lamb, who had become
    gaunt with grief, he quipped that he was "haunted by a skeleton".

    Another excessively slim 19th Century celebrity was the
    beautiful and narcissistic Elisabeth von Wittelsbach - known as Sissi.
    She was empress consort of the Emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph I.

    She developed an extraordinarily strict diet and exercise
    regime to help her cope with an intensely critical public gaze, evoking
    parallels with Princess Diana. Newspapers in the 1860s pored over her
    life and printed exaggerated stories about her.

    Fat fears

    Taller than her husband by several centimetres, she weighed a
    mere 7st 7lbs (48kg) and her waist, checked daily by her hairdresser,
    had to measure 19.5in (49.5cm) or she would not eat.

    She exercised vigorously, resembling an outlandish bird as
    she hung from gymnastic rings in a black ostrich feather-trimmed gown.
    She also swallowed only emetics, laxatives, oranges, and thin broth or
    one glass of milk from her own personal cow.


    Continue reading the main story <h2>Diets through the years</h2>


    [​IMG]




    • One of the first low-carbohydrate diet books was written by Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in 1825
    • In the 18th Century, diet powders included everything from strychnine to lard and washing powder
    • In the 19th Century, a more scientific approach to dieting emerged as doctors diversified into specialisms
    • In Western Europe, sales of weight-loss products, excluding prescription medications, topped &pound;900m ($1.4bn) in 2009
    • The weight-loss industry in North America is worth over $50bn
      (&pound;32.4bn) and Americans spend over $1.6bn (&pound;1bn) a year on weight-loss
      supplements.
    Source: Calories & Corsets and Universities of Exeter and Plymouth



    <ul class="links-list">[*]Find put more about healthy dieting[*]Find out more about losing weight[/LIST]
    Everyone was getting in on the
    diet act during the 19th Century, either slimming down or fattening up
    on the profits of their diets, apparatus, potions and powders. Even
    Nietzsche and Henry James dieted. Nietzsche tried a traditional
    restricted calorie diet and James went in for Fletcherism, an elaborate
    system of chewing each morsel of food several hundred times.

    In the 1920s, Hollywood mass dieting really took off.
    Gayelord Hauser, an LA diet guru and Greta Garbo's lover, exploited the
    power of the movies. He released that "most of our high-priced movie
    stars are living in constant fear of losing their attractiveness and
    thereby their popularity... they simply can't afford to become fat and
    unattractive".

    No diet was too expensive or drastic for them, or for the
    movie-going public who desperately wanted to be like them. The same can
    be said today with the global industry worth billions.

    The downside of looking up to someone is being looked down
    upon. The distorted, even obsessive, thinking that characterises our
    relationship with celebrity can, it is said, be traced to the limbic
    system of our brains.

    Food, sex and memory are all bedfellows in this, one of the
    oldest, most deeply buried structures in the cerebrum. It is not hard to
    see how these three fundamental elements become meshed in our
    perceptions of the celebrity bodies constantly on parade before us. The
    glimpse of a fat thigh or a double chin before it is air-brushed away
    can, after all, mean mass denunciation for those trying to elbow their
    way into the limelight.

    There is always a new diet book in the best-seller lists
    nowadays. Most of them are recycled, re-hashes of previous fads, each
    one endorsed by a shiny celebrity or two whose "ideal" bodies betray
    hours of work and a lot of cash investment.

    It is the same old line that we have always been sold - we
    too could be thinner, younger, more loved, if we would only buy whatever
    new, improved diet food or regime is on offer. And we still fall for
    it.
     
  2. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16351761








    [​IMG]



    Continue reading the main story














    <h2>In today's Magazine</h2>











    Another
    new year and another host of celebrity dieters, but it's not a modern
    phenomenon. Lord Byron was one of first diet icons and helped kick off
    the public's obsession with how celebrities lose weight, says historian
    Louise Foxcroft.

    There has never been any shortage of celebrities who have
    followed diets, endorsed them or tried to sell us one of their own
    devising, even back as far as the 1800s.

    The "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" Lord Byron was thought
    of as the embodiment of the ethereal poet, but he actually had a "morbid
    propensity to fatten". Like today's celebrities, he worked hard to
    maintain his figure.

    At Cambridge University, his horror of being fat led to a
    shockingly strict diet, partly to get thin and partly to keep his mind
    sharp. Existing on biscuits and soda water or potatoes drenched in
    vinegar, he wore woolly layers to sweat off the pounds and measured
    himself obsessively. Then he binged on huge meals, finishing off with a
    necessarily large dose of magnesia.


    Continue reading the main story <h2>The life of Byron</h2>


    [​IMG]




    • George Gordon Byron was born in London in 1788
    • His famous works include Don Juan
    • His affair with married Lady Caroline Lamb shocked the public
    • She later called him "mad, bad and dangerous to know"
    • Died in 1824, aged 36, from fever in Missolonghi in Greece

    <ul class="links-list">[*]Find out more about Lord Byron[*]Find out more about Byron's poetry[/LIST]
    In 1806 Byron weighed 13st 12lbs
    (88kg), but he was under 9st by 1811 (57kg) - a huge weight loss of
    nearly 5st (32kg). We know all this from records at Berry Bros &
    Rudd, a wine merchants of St James's, London.

    Here, stylish men-about-town weighed themselves on hanging
    scales, as personal bathroom scales were an early 20th Century
    phenomenon. The Regency dandy, Beau Brummell, weighed himself there over
    40 times between 1815 and 1822. He went down from 12st 10lbs (81kg) to
    10st 13lbs (69kg).

    At the infamous Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva, in 1816, Byron
    was living on just a thin slice of bread and a cup of tea for breakfast
    and a light vegetable dinner with a bottle or two of seltzer water
    tinged with Vin de Grave. In the evening he stretched to a cup of green
    tea, but certainly took no milk or sugar.

    To suppress the inevitable hunger pangs, he smoked cigars. By
    1822, he had starved himself into a very poor state of health, even
    though he knew that obsessive dieting was "the cause of more than half
    our maladies".

    Because of Byron's huge cultural influence, there was a great
    deal of worry about the effect his dieting was having on the youth of
    the day. Dr George Beard attacked the popular Victorian association
    between scanty eating and delicacy of mind because impressionable
    Romantics were restricting themselves to vinegar and rice to get the
    fashionably thin and pale look.

    Personal cow

    "Our young ladies," he wrote, "live all their growing
    girlhood in semi-starvation." This was for fear of "incurring the horror
    of disciples of Lord Byron", he added. It didn't help that Byron
    himself had suggested that "a woman should never be seen eating or
    drinking, unless it be lobster salad and champagne, the only truly
    feminine and becoming viands".


    [​IMG]

    Celebrities' weight and diets are often in the news

    But his cruel double standards were exposed when, on ending his
    scandalous affair with the married Lady Caroline Lamb, who had become
    gaunt with grief, he quipped that he was "haunted by a skeleton".

    Another excessively slim 19th Century celebrity was the
    beautiful and narcissistic Elisabeth von Wittelsbach - known as Sissi.
    She was empress consort of the Emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph I.

    She developed an extraordinarily strict diet and exercise
    regime to help her cope with an intensely critical public gaze, evoking
    parallels with Princess Diana. Newspapers in the 1860s pored over her
    life and printed exaggerated stories about her.

    Fat fears

    Taller than her husband by several centimetres, she weighed a
    mere 7st 7lbs (48kg) and her waist, checked daily by her hairdresser,
    had to measure 19.5in (49.5cm) or she would not eat.

    She exercised vigorously, resembling an outlandish bird as
    she hung from gymnastic rings in a black ostrich feather-trimmed gown.
    She also swallowed only emetics, laxatives, oranges, and thin broth or
    one glass of milk from her own personal cow.


    Continue reading the main story <h2>Diets through the years</h2>


    [​IMG]




    • One of the first low-carbohydrate diet books was written by Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in 1825
    • In the 18th Century, diet powders included everything from strychnine to lard and washing powder
    • In the 19th Century, a more scientific approach to dieting emerged as doctors diversified into specialisms
    • In Western Europe, sales of weight-loss products, excluding prescription medications, topped &pound;900m ($1.4bn) in 2009
    • The weight-loss industry in North America is worth over $50bn
      (&pound;32.4bn) and Americans spend over $1.6bn (&pound;1bn) a year on weight-loss
      supplements.
    Source: Calories & Corsets and Universities of Exeter and Plymouth



    <ul class="links-list">[*]Find put more about healthy dieting[*]Find out more about losing weight[/LIST]
    Everyone was getting in on the
    diet act during the 19th Century, either slimming down or fattening up
    on the profits of their diets, apparatus, potions and powders. Even
    Nietzsche and Henry James dieted. Nietzsche tried a traditional
    restricted calorie diet and James went in for Fletcherism, an elaborate
    system of chewing each morsel of food several hundred times.

    In the 1920s, Hollywood mass dieting really took off.
    Gayelord Hauser, an LA diet guru and Greta Garbo's lover, exploited the
    power of the movies. He released that "most of our high-priced movie
    stars are living in constant fear of losing their attractiveness and
    thereby their popularity... they simply can't afford to become fat and
    unattractive".

    No diet was too expensive or drastic for them, or for the
    movie-going public who desperately wanted to be like them. The same can
    be said today with the global industry worth billions.

    The downside of looking up to someone is being looked down
    upon. The distorted, even obsessive, thinking that characterises our
    relationship with celebrity can, it is said, be traced to the limbic
    system of our brains.

    Food, sex and memory are all bedfellows in this, one of the
    oldest, most deeply buried structures in the cerebrum. It is not hard to
    see how these three fundamental elements become meshed in our
    perceptions of the celebrity bodies constantly on parade before us. The
    glimpse of a fat thigh or a double chin before it is air-brushed away
    can, after all, mean mass denunciation for those trying to elbow their
    way into the limelight.

    There is always a new diet book in the best-seller lists
    nowadays. Most of them are recycled, re-hashes of previous fads, each
    one endorsed by a shiny celebrity or two whose "ideal" bodies betray
    hours of work and a lot of cash investment.

    It is the same old line that we have always been sold - we
    too could be thinner, younger, more loved, if we would only buy whatever
    new, improved diet food or regime is on offer. And we still fall for
    it.
     

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