Courtesy Library of Congress
  • Fat-Fighting Fads Through the Ages

    Fat-Fighting Fads Through the Ages
    The Library of Congress and Weight Watchers convened an expert panel to discuss dieting and weight loss fads spanning more than 150 years. The goal of the event, "Weight Loss Through the Ages: Where We've Been, What We've Learned and Where We're Going," was to find lessons in past efforts to address the ongoing obesity epidemic. The Library of Congress dug up historic advertisements for weight-loss and bulge-hiding products, such as Warner's LeGant Sta-Up-Top girdle -- a 1940s version of the popular Spanx.
    Courtesy Library of Congress
  • Weight Loss Through the Ages

    Weight Loss Through the Ages
    The full-faced cover girl for the June 1906 issue of The Woman Beautiful magazine suggests perceptions of beauty have changed significantly.
    Courtesy Library of Congress
  • Weight Loss Through the Ages

    Weight Loss Through the Ages
    "No dieting. No drugs." Dissolvene Rubber Garments were advertised in The Woman Beautiful magazine as "the only harmless and effectual method to reduce superfluous flesh."
    Courtesy Library of Congress
  • Weight Loss Through the Ages

    Weight Loss Through the Ages
    In 1943 -- a year of "priorities, shortages, scarcities," the makers of Practical Front Corsets and Comfolettes pledged to do everything in their power to keep women supplied with adequate stocks of bulge-battling undergarments -- "through thick and thin."
    Courtesy Library of Congress
  • Weight Loss Through the Ages

    Weight Loss Through the Ages
    The Graybar Stimulator -- "a bargain in health" at only $59.50 -- offered varying degrees of massage to make its user feel fit and slender.
    Courtesy The Advertising Archives
  • Weight Loss Through the Ages

    Weight Loss Through the Ages
    In the '50s, women were urged to listen themselves thin with a "self improvement" record that promoted a dislike for fattening foods.
    Courtesy The Advertising Archives
  • Weight Loss Through the Ages

    Weight Loss Through the Ages
    Bile Beans -- vegetable pills that help "disperse unwanted fat" and "tone up the entire system" -- must have been a must-have for New Year's resolutions 70 years ago.
    Courtesy The Advertising Archives
  • Weight Loss Through the Ages

    Weight Loss Through the Ages
    An ad for Louisenbad Reduction Salt from 100 years ago suggested a good soak in a treated bath could transform fat into "strength-giving blood and muscle."
    Courtesy The Advertising Archives
  • Weight Loss Through the Ages

    Weight Loss Through the Ages
    In the early 1900s, La Parle claimed its Obesity Soap could reduce fat without dieting or gymnastics.
    Courtesy The Advertising Archives