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Finding people who want to lose weight in the 1940s is like finding a 40 year old virgin today...Turns out 40 is the new 60, though...

Feel Peppy Tonic - Over 40 Doesn’t Have to be the end...
"Men, Women Over 40 Don't Be Weak, Old. Feel Peppy, Years Younger. Take
Ostrex. Contains tonic often needed after 40 - by bodies weak, old solely because lacking iron. Get regular $1.00 size now only 89 cents! Try Ostrex Tonic Tablets to feel peppy younger, today. Also contain vitamin B1, calcium. For sale at drug stores everywhere - in Dixon at Ford Hopkins" (1947)

You Women Who Suffer From Hot Flashes - 1943
If you suffer from hot flashes, dizziness, distress of "Irregularities", are weak, nervous - due to the functional "middle-age" period in a woman's life - try Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound. It's helped thousands upon thousands of women to relieve such annoying symptoms. Follow label directions. Pinkham's Compound is worth trying!


Dieting and Weight Loss in the 1940s  

  1. TOPS® (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the oldest international, non-profit, non-commercial weight- loss support group. TOPS was founded in 1948 by Esther Manz in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Dieting in the 1940s was a lot different than what we are used to today. First of all, the standard of beauty for a 1940's American woman was to have a rounder, fuller and curvaceous figure rather than the lean sporty look that is prized today.

America was just coming out of the Great Depression which lasted officially from 1929 to roughly 1941, so to a lot of people, thin meant poor and without food. So it is no surprise that an ample bosom, behind and curves with a little extra padding here and there was what was prized by our mothers and grandmothers in the 1940s.

Probably not overly concerned with "dieting". Photo of "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange March of 1936 in Nipomo, California.
This 32 year old woman and her four children had been living off of frozen vegetables and birds the kids managed to kill.  Photo of "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange March of 1936 in Nipomo, California.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Tell us at the retro housewife hotline!

1941 Holding Onto The Sides Of Her Exercising: Mat, This Young Lady Is Practicing The Alternate Leg Swinging Exercise
Holding onto the sides of her exercising: mat, this young lady is practicing the alternate leg swinging exercise, described in today's column. She desires slim hips for a new tailleur.

Begin This Month, To Get Figure Trim For Summer

JANUARY is the month to begin your figure refashioning program if you want to look svelte in early spring clothes and later, ravishing in a bathing suit! One cannot expect to whittle down inches in a week or two- it requires diligent, daily exercising and a stern will regarding one's food. While heavy thighs can often be disguised with clothes chosen to minimize them, a bathing suit inevitably reveals their true measurements! So begin now to work off that "thigh-bulge" which is so unlovely.

The following three exercises are presented through the courtesy of the American Woman's Association Contour Corner - this is the fourth group of the refashioning routine. These exercises will, if practiced daily without fail, reduce your thighs and will give your body greater flexibility.

On the Mat You Get!

BACK LYING, ALTERNATE LEG CIRCLING: Lie on your back, arms at sides. Raise right leg and circle it out to the right several times, in a wide circle. Bring it back to original position and raise left leg. Circle it out toward the left in a wide circle several times. Alternate legs in this fashion five times each. Rest and repeat, or do another exercise and then repeat this one.

STANDING. ALTERNATE LEG SWINGING: Stand erect grasping the back of a straight chair. Keeping knees straight swing right leg back and forward as a clock pendulum swings. You will find that you twist toward the right at your waist. Swing your leg as high as possible in each direction. Rest for a moment. Then twist toward the left and swing the left leg in the same manner. Five times for each leg, and then lie flat on the floor on your back and rest a moment or two before beginning the next exercise.

THE FAMOUS SCISSORS: Lie on your side on your exercising mat. (If you have no mat use a mattress on the floor or hang on to a heavy bit of furniture as you swing your legs). Your head should be resting on your left arm. Your left hand should grasp the top of the mattress or a piece of heavy furniture. Then raise both legs in the air and scissor them backward and forward as rapidly in rhythm as you can. Keep them in the air until you feel strained, then rest them on the floor, turn over on your other side and repeat exercise. This scissor movement is one of the best for thigh reducing and leg refashioning. It is difficult to do if you are not limber, so take it easy at first. Charleston Daily Mail, January 27, 1941