A Woman to Know: Lulu Hunt Peters
|Julia Carpenter||Mar 3, 2017|
Thin is in. — Lulu Hunt Peters
(image via The Huffington Post)
Lulu Hunt Peters wrote "Key to the Calories," the first diet book in America to make the bestsellers' list -- the first of very, very many, as we can see today at any bookstore.
Lulu herself struggled with body image from a very young age. As a young woman in the Belle Epoque era, when women sported fuller figures, her weight yoyo'd up and down. And in the 1920s, when the wasp waist flapper look hit the scene, she developed her own regimen to fit in, losing 50 pounds in the process. At this time, writing the preliminary chapters of her future bestseller, she told her friends about the "moral evil" of weight gain, describing her own self-disgust at what she saw as a lack of control in "lesser" diet plans.
In the midst of World War II, as women back home planted Victory Gardens and entered the workforce, Lulu's book became a hit. She talked about war rations as diet aids, like they were easy ways to cut calories for patriotic effort. She wrote that "for every pang of hunger we feel we can have a double joy, that of knowing we are saving worse pangs in some little children, and that of knowing that for every pang we lose a pound."
Add to your library list:
Diet & Health: With Key to the Calories (Lulu Hunt Peters)
Never Satisfied: A Cultural History of Diets, Fantasies and Fat (Hillel Schwartz)
The history of health food and the birth of dieting (Smithsonian)
The queen of calories (Doctor's Review)
The birth of the modern diet book (Calorie Lab)
Counting calories (Chemical Heritage Foundation)
A brief history of dubious dieting (The Wall Street Journal)
Counting calories makes a comeback (The New York Times)
Dieting: a pot-bellied history (The Guardian)
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