Fat Farms

Fat farms are weight  loss retreats/spas that  put  participants through rigorous fitness  regimens in  order  to  lose  weight  rapidly.  They  work  by combining boot camp-style fitness with starvation-level nutrition and use controversial treatments such  as colonics. These farms originally  catered to wealthy women, often  celebrities, who  wanted to lose weight  quickly  for a movie  role or for an event  such  as a wedding. Over time, the trend filtered  down  to the upper and  middle  classes  of women who could  both afford the high-priced retreats and had the time to devote to them. Fat farms  provided short-term weight  loss, but  upon returning to one’s regular lifestyle, weight  was often  regained. By the  1970s,  fat farms  were no longer as popular due  to an increasing focus  on healthy diets and  long-term weight management rather than rapid  weight loss.

Similarly,  in the ’60s and  ’70s, children’s fat camps  began  to be popular. Since the  1920s,  society  began  to  focus  more  on  beauty  than on  health. Young  girls wanted to become fashionably thin  and were frequent fat campers. Like fat farms for adults, these  camps  had  very restrictive diets. With  the emergence of second wave feminism, fat camps  became less popular. Mothers and  other women who were influential in children’s lives began  encouraging girls to focus  on what  they could  do  with  their  lives rather than on  how  they  looked. Additionally, like fat farms,  most  campers quickly  regained the  weight  when  they  returned to  their everyday lives.

Today’s  fat camps  and  the  more  appropriately named weight  loss  spas  focus more on teaching young  people  and adults healthy life habits that promote weight loss  and  healthy weight  management. These healthy life habits include a more scientific  approach to eating  in which  one focuses  on the body’s needs  and combines  healthy eating  with a more  active lifestyle.

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