It’s that time of year when people start buying books on dieting and reading online articles about the best way to lose weight.
Why? They’re making resolutions to lose weight in 2017, and they will do whatever it takes. And I mean whatever it takes. We are continually looking for an incredible weight-loss program that will make us fit-and-trim in a short time. We have no shortage of “miracle” diets; they come and go like our waist lines. Here’s some of the more … um, memorable fad diets:
1. One of the earliest diet fads was Fletcherizing, named after William Fletcher (1849–1919) who said we should chew our food 32 times. “Nature will castigate those who don’t masticate.” All that chewing increases your strength while decreasing the amount of food you consume. You should even chew liquids. Want to give it a try? Tilt your head forward while you chew 32 times, then tilt your head back. Spit out any food that does not naturally slide down your throat. (I’m picturing what this looked like at the church potluck dinner.)
2. The 1940s gave us the Lemonade Diet. You drink a mixture of lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. Oh, and don’t forget to drink saltwater in the morning and take a laxative in the evening.
3. The Cabbage Soup Diet was big in the 1950s. Knowing what cabbage does to our digestive systems, it may have helped with weight loss, but surely it hindered your social life.
4. It gets worse. The Tapeworm Diet involved ingesting a … well, a live parasite. Opera singer Maria Callas did this and helped popularize this extremely risky approach. (Suddenly that brother-in-law doesn’t seem like such a bad parasite, does he?)
5. “If I could just suppress my appetite, I wouldn’t need a tapeworm.” Then get your ear stapled. Apparently placing acupuncture needles in the inner ear for three months is just the trick. Unfortunately, Ear Stapling will not keep me from hearing a friend invite me to the buffet at Golden Corral.
6. Another way to suppress your diet is just to feel full. So swallow a cotton ball. Never mind the harmful effects on your digestive tract; the Cotton Ball Diet encourages you to eat cotton balls.
We can laugh at these, but these fads have been taken seriously. Thankfully, they fade away—but another fad is ready and waiting to take its place.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what is reliable. I want something that is true for all people in all times and in all places. When it comes to dieting, I contend two things work:
- Eat healthy portions
And when it comes to living life, I have found only one thing to be reliable: God’s Word. Throughout my life, I have found it to be fully reliable, trustworthy, and relevant to whatever I’m facing. I can say with the psalmist:
“Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 119:89-90).
For 2017, I’ll stick with exercise and healthy portions. And I will feast on God’s Word.