In Jane Austen's day young women were not usually overweight even though it was unfashionable to be too thin. Food (for people in society) was plentiful and served in large quantities. (Just think of all those formal meals and banquets). But habits and customs were different.
What can we learn from those times which will help us today?
1. Real food
All the food available was the real thing. There were no fast foods and fizzy drinks full of hidden fat and chemicals in Elizabeth Bennett's day. The foods eaten were mainly local and seasonal and meat would be organic (from animals which were not pumped full of hormones or fed artificially). The only additives would be herbs and spices. Pizza and chocolate bars had no place in Elizabeth's life!
2. Focus on food
For the middle classes at least, food was served formally. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were eaten at a proper dining table and food and conversation were the only focus. Elizabeth Bennett did not mindlessly shovel forkfuls of food into her mouth while being glued to the latest soap.
3. No snacking
Food was only available at set times and so Elizabeth never got into the habit of munching 500 calories worth of snacks on a boring afternoon (although she certainly had a few of those!)
4. Manners maketh woman
It just wasn't seemly to grab and gobble large quantities of food. Ladies would eat modestly, slowly and daintily making it unlikely that they could shift vast amounts of calories at any meal.
5. No adverts
Elizabeth (lucky girl!) was not exposed to the 10,000 advertising messages a day we are said to get thrown at us these days. So she would not be getting continual bombardment from the media with "Eat me" messages. Turn those commercials off whenever you can!
6. A calmer pace of life
The girls in the Bennett household did not have to hold down a full time job, get the kids to school and dinner on the table. They had servants to take much of the load. If you turn to food when you're stressed, have a look at delegating some of your workload and reducing your commitments. With no TV to keep them up the Bennetts would get plenty of sleep too!
7. Short journeys on foot
Elizabeth would walk miles to wherever she needed to go. Only long distances would call for a horse, carriage or coach. She would burn up lots of calories in this way. What about you? Do you pop in the car to go a mile down the road?
8. Active pursuits
Elizabeth and her sisters would also walk for pleasure - and of course they all loved dancing - fantastic exercise without going to the gym. How about trying salsa dancing, ballet or line-dancing for a fun way to exercise?
9. Nowhere to hide
The fashion of the day was pretty revealing with flimsy material and an Empire line. This is a pretty look if you're slender. But you could expect your dance card to stay unmarked if you looked like a beached whale in a lace curtain.
10. Love helps
Of course a bit of love interest in the shape of tall, dark, proud Mr Darcy helps a girl go off her food a bit too. Now all you need is a dark proud hero of your own!
Copyright 2005, Janice Elizabeth Small
About the author:
Janice Elizabeth is a weight loss coach and author of "The Diet Exit Plan". Request her FREE 15 page report "How to lose weight without dieting - 7 secrets the diet industry doesn't want you to know" at http://www.SimplySlimming.comTODAY!
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