I follow a certain INSPIRING account on Twitter. @theniftyfifties
Every morning I have breakfast and browse around my twitter, today they posted this photo of Julie Newmar (the very first Catwoman).
That lady has a perfect figure. In fact, most ladies in the fifties seem to have gorgeous figures! Their waists are tiny, they have lovely curves in all the right places...
I remembered my grandmother and were going through old clothes and finding a garter belt (yeah, tights weren't always around), it was for a ridiculously tiny waist. Now, my grandma wasn't an actress, she was a soviet factory working gal, still she had the amazing body advertised by actresses. Looking back, nobody on her old photos was ever as much as chubby!
In the soviet union this diet kept on for a long while, so even my mother (circa University years, around early 80s) kept up the lifestyle while living with parents.
According to a Daily Mail article (which reviews a study by Prima magazine, since I can't find the actual Prima article, I don't know how reliable that is, is anything reliable on the internet?) people consumed a nice large amount of carbohydrates from breads and vegetables, but a significantly smaller amount of fat. Which is hilarious because every grandmother I know drowns things in sunflower oil or butter. Perhaps, food was of better standarts?
Let's see, the average salary in the 50s was $2,992, and the cost of a loaf of bread was $0.14... And:
I think one can safely assume that having a nice balanced meal was more realistic then, as opposed to the random crap we eat as fillers throughout the day.
However, recently we were striving for a nearly skeletal figure (thank you Kate Moss for introducing Heroine Chic, you ass.), but thankfully that seems to be fading out now and the demands are more... sporty? Yeah, well, back in the day the demands were HOURGLASS FIGURE. Which is curvy as fuck and the rarest bodytype nowadays and neither is it really something one can achieve with exercise, only a very pick flab-fighting diet and waist crinching corsets! Diet plans and appetite suppressing pills were sold over the counter, a healthy body was slender and girly curves so the American Nutritional Guidelines "for good eating in the 1950s relied on seven basic foods. Two or more servings of milk per day were suggested, as well as two servings each of fruits and vegetables. At least one serving of meat or cheese was required per day, as well as a minimum of three to five eggs per week. Two or more tablespoons of butter per day were considered essential, along with at least two servings of bread or cereal. These are the minimum food amounts suggested by the nutrition guidelines of the 1950s."
So a minimum of:
2 servings of milk a day
2 of fruit and veg a day
1 serving of meat and/or cheese a day
2 tablespoons of butter a day
2 servings of bread and/or cereal a day
3-5 eggs a week
Haha, butter, what is this butter you speak of?
Meanwhile in UK, things were rationed due to post-war shenanigans. Hell, the Soviet Union continued to ration thing simply because they liked rationing! People grew their food and bought it in marketplaces, fresh and pesticide free! UK and USSR would not have access to too many ingredients at a time which would require creative approaches.
"Servings" are an interesting point here too because 50s ladies were obsessed with portion control, something we tend to forget about and go full on and change everything about our diets! I also found a lovely little interview with Julie Newmar where she briefly mentions her diet today-ish.
"What's your diet like?
I eat whatever I want, whenever I want. I eat a lot of fish, vegetables and salads. Liver powder for energy and I have Chai tea with cream. For dessert I have a glass of whole milk and a few nibbles of dark chocolate."
Makes quite a lot of sense (fish, cream, catwoman) to me knowing that she gardens a LOT in addition to the fun part of this post... EXERCISE!
Housewives would have maintained an active lifestyle no matter how you look at it.
Wake up, make breakfast for the whole family, wash up after the whole family, walk the kids to school, walk to town get groceries, walk back, make lunch for hubby who comes home for lunch before going back to work again, feed, clean, clean the rest of the house, play with kids (TV is not for children and neither is it good for them). The whole cleaning ordeal was more difficult back in the day! No washing machines, powerful vacuum cleaners or dishwashers yet!
Catwoman loves streching!
Meanwhile I can't stop staring at young Julie Newmar's ass. In Newmar's case she was a dancer, a dance choreographer and professional Gotham villain for a large part of her life.
In addition to the earlier dancing and gardening, in the interview (that interview has GOT to be more than 10 years old, she's 79 and has had 7 or 8 operations for skin cancer for crying our loud...) she mentions exercising to get in "the zone". "Ten minutes of stretching on the floor, ten minutes at the barre (a gate post in my garden) and ten minutes on the bike in my office, listening to George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America." Sounds pretty realistic for a lifestyle choice, don't you think? Shuffle some things and you have a daily meal plan and a simple exercise idea.
So depending on your particular lifestyle and endless bothers about STUFF there's no actual excuse to keep yourself in unhealthy shape. Ladies back in the day didn't really starve, in fact the food is pretty heavy and bland as opposed to today's meals. Neither did they over-work themselves at the gym, they just ate organic food in moderation and stayed active in the house.
I'm off to have my glass of milk.
- The Nifty Fifties