Thursday, 8 March 2012

Could you? Would you?

Diet in the style of Charles Atlas? Never heard of him? Me neither until my husband said he aspired to look like him in the 1970's when he was a chubby billy bunter type at age 15.  This was the one and only time he was overweight.

Charles Atlas in one of the magazines my husband read
You see the story goes that my husband's dad was having an affair, so the hubster was packed off to an Aunt after school. Not a real Aunt just one of those friends of the family that get called Auntie. I'm not quite sure why this was necessary (my husband has 4 other siblings in this very dysfunctional family) but in any event, whilst Auntie and her husband were very lovely, they fed him up on sweets, cakes and other such fattening yummy treats.  Now by today's standards he would have been called large or on the chubby side but back then he was fat. 

So one day he decided he didn't want to be fat anymore.  His fat days were over. He just wanted to "shit it out" but realised that this would be impossible.  Whilst flicking through his boys magazine he had subscribed to (no not the adult ones - not just yet) such as Commando (!) there, behold, was Mr Atlas calling out to him. The hubster decided he wanted to look like him so he duly collected the tokens to get the workout and diet booklet - Charles Atlas style.

Basically he ate very, very little and exercised everyday.  He cut out everything remotely tasty - cakes, biscuits, bread and potatoes. He had some weetabix for breakfast, 2 x dried ryvita for his lunch and meat and veg for dinner. He would do sit ups every night and go running. He even took cold showers because Charles Atlas told him to. He bought a contraption that had a stretchy rope type thing (you know the one I mean). This was used for exercising various parts of his body and he did this in his bedroom every night. His dedication to the fat busting cause knew no bounds.

My husband lost loads of weight and continued running throughout his teens.  Even when he started his first job he would turn up with his little ryvita and all the big manual labourer types would poke fun at him. He says it took a long, long time to re-introduce certain food groups back into this diet.

So could you lose weight Charles Atlas style? I don't think I could - maybe back in the day when you had no other distractions and you could just focus purely on yourself. Or maybe that's a cop out - maybe everyone could do it we just chose not to. I remember me and my friend used to go running, cycling and work out by dancing when we were 14. Can you imagine 14 year olds going out running together now?  Its unheard of isn't it? Maybe they might go to some street dance class or something for 30 mins an hour but I don't reckon many work out together.

I admire my husband's determination and maybe he did take it a bit too far (he was really skinny in his late teens/twenties) but I like a man's attitude to dieting (see my previous post diet like a man). I need to get me some of that going on and maybe, just maybe, a touch of Charles Atlas!


  1. great story. I did a tough diet at 15 to lose 1/2 stone and again at 18, again 1/2 stone.
    Then in 2001 lost 3 stone for my wedding.
    Wish I could regain some of that self-discipline.
    I am starting the lemonade diet tomorrow.......

  2. yes I think its easier when you're younger and don't forget there was less temptaion around and take-aways and such like. Mmmm the lemonade diet that sounds rankton!! I used to drink a lot of diet lemondae when I did slimming world as it was 'syn free' only thing is it strips the enamel off your teeth making them prone to fillings - I have totally given it up only as an occasional treat whilst out etc. Also its been proven to make you crave more sugary stuff - here'a post I did on it a while back

    Good luck though!! How much you got to lose? x

  3. The times when I've lost loads of weight I got rid of any forbidden foods from my flat and would go to bed with a good book straight after supper if necessary. Now I have a 3yo - nuff said.

  4. Indeed! Yes don't think Charles is for post children! x