It’s no secret that Americans are much heavier now than we were in the past. People like to blame it on a host of things, from fast food to plain laziness. But it goes much deeper than that. And there are many differences in modern society that we don’t have a lot of control over, such as office jobs and hectic schedules. Fortunately, there are some habits women had in the past that we can learn from in order to be leaner and healthier.
1.) Instead of high-intensity cardio, they walked everywhere
It seems they were ahead of their time in knowing that steady-state cardio could be more effective. I know what you’re thinking. It’s not always practical to walk everywhere, especially if you lived in a spread-out area. But there are still many practical ways to incorporate more walking into your daily routines. Bring your own lunch to work and use your break for a stroll instead. Take the stairs. Take a walk around the block whenever you’re early or stuck waiting (appointments shouldn’t be a waste).
2.) They exercised for fun instead of out of obligation
Instead of pushing themselves through that workout class, activities like tennis, biking, and ballet were more common. And since they were done for fun instead of out of obligation they were probably easier to stick too!
3.) Going out to eat was an event
It wasn’t an everyday thing. And take-out/delivery was nearly nonexistent. Plus, the focus on celebration and social gathering ensured that people focused more on their company rather than overeating. And appetizers/desserts were a rarity.
4.) They didn’t diet!
Dieting doesn’t work. It ultimately leads to gaining more weight than before. In decades past, people didn’t always eat the healthiest foods, but everything was more in moderation and more natural than “diet” foods. In fact, many researchers attribute the obesity epidemic to the low-fat diet craze which started around the same time. This makes sense and we now know that fat doesn’t make you fat. Still many people avoid full-fat foods. Unfortunately, diet foods are more likely to be high in sugar, which is much more likely to cause weight gain than fat.
5.) They consumed fewer processed foods
In the past, regular consumption of processed food was mostly limited to dairy and deli meats. Everything else was cooked or prepared. That’s not to say that they didn’t occasionally eat cereal, but shelf-stable foods made up a much smaller portion of their grocery lists.
6.) They got more sleep
Sure, you could always argue that your life is too hectic and you don’t have time to get enough shut-eye. But if you make it a priority I think you can fit it in somewhere. In almost every other time and culture, napping was a regular habit. Study after study has found that adequate sleep is necessary for weight loss.