For many years now, the main New Year’s resolution has been to lose weight. Unfortunately, it is also one of the hardest resolutions to actually stick to. This is because it requires a full lifestyle change, and this can be incredibly overwhelming. Then, there is the fact that there are so many ways to achieve this. You could opt for prepared meals, you could go on low carb, you could calorie count, you could even opt for bariatric surgery in Port Jefferson NY. Whichever option you choose, however, you need to have a plan. And these plans have been developed for thousands of years, with the first diets being traced back to Ancient Egypt, some 5,000 years ago.
Obesity and Dieting Has Been Around Forever
We know that some of the first modern humans that lived some 35,000 years ago in Europe already struggled with obesity. This was because it was essential for them to store energy (get fat) when times were plentiful, so that they were able to survive the next and inevitable period of famine. However, famine doesn’t really exist in the modern world anymore. As a result, while our bodies are still able to store energy to save our lives, this ability is actually something that is killing us. After all, it is now one of the major health concerns. That is something new, because almost no scientific studies into obesity were done historically, as it was never a concern.
Different Cultures See Obesity in Different Ways
The Ancient Egyptians saw obesity as a disease. Images of enemies were always painted as obese people. It was absolutely not a beauty ideal. Rather, the beautiful people were those with golden skin, high breasts, narrow hips and slender legs. They knew that there was a link between diet and health, so they focused very strongly on both quality and quantity of food. In fact, Egyptians purged themselves through vomiting three times a month as standard.
In Ancient China, there was also a great knowledge of the fact that obesity was dangerous to health. There are many ancient texts that discussed how Gobi berries could prevent obesity by strengthening the liver and Qi (life energy).
The Aztecs, by contrast, believed that the Gods afflicted obesity, seeing it as supernatural. They had many different words to describe obesity, relating specifically to where on the body the fat was. What we now know as the beer belly and the double chin, for instance, were also recognized by the Aztecs.
The first to discuss the dangers of obesity were the Ancient Greeks, and particularly Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. He believed that obesity could cause both infertility and death. His writing show that sudden death was less rare in men who were obese compared to men who were lean. He was the first to solve the equation of energy balance:
- Energy cannot be destroyed or created.
- Energy must be stored or used.
- Body weight goes up if calories in are larger than calories out.
- Body weight goes down if calories in are smaller than calories out.
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