11/29/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Fat In America: "Hey, FATSO!"

"You talkin' to me?"

Believe it or not ... there was a time when no one 'dieted' and nasty fat words didn't exist. Cavemen did NOT call each other "fatso." Those types of words weren't created until the late 1800's!

In fact, the first corpulent words were "porky" in the 1860's; " jumbo" in the 1880's; and "butterball" in the 1890s. By the time World War I rolled around, being fat was deemed unpatriotic.

There are some documented cases of dieting that go back more than 1,000 years, but in the United States, our obsession with dieting took root at the end of the 19th century. By the time World War I rolled around, being fat was seen as unpatriotic!

Food was plentiful and Americans gorged with a vengeance. Health reformers declared that the endless supply of meats, cakes and pies immoral.

They preached that gluttony was a gateway to sinful sexual practices (woo hoo!). In addition, they proclaimed that gluttony caused constipation and indigestion.

As Americans entered the 20th century, interest in weight loss grew. 'Experts' offered a number of surefire solutions. Somewhere between the magic bullet and the vibrating weight loss belt, dieting became a national preoccupation. A multi-billion dollar industry was born!

It's not quite clear why dieting took hold (and hasn't let go since), but theories point to the abundance of food, the increase of sedentary jobs, public transportation, as well as corsets being out of vogue. In addition, the life insurance industry alleged that thin people, on average, lived longer lives than their fat counterparts.

Funny, isn't it! Things haven't changed much in the 120 or so years that we've been battling the bulge.


Join us as we LOSE WEIGHT ... gently, sweetly, no nasty words!
The Christmas Diet (wake up THINNER on New Year's Day.

Janice Taylor is a Life & Wellness Coach, Certified Hypnotist, Author, Columnist, Seminar Leader and 50-Pound Big-Time-Loser! Write Janice for a Free Life Consult.