|Just say NO to that extra honey-cake|
(author of The Roman Mysteries)
How to lose weight as the Ancient Romans did. Tips from Celsus and Pliny the Elder.
In ancient Roman times, most people were concerned with how to get more food, not how to lose weight. We currently live in one of the most affluent periods in the history of the world. But our brains are hardwired to think about food obsessively and hence we have become overweight. Diet books are best-sellers today but in ancient Roman times the person who wanted to lose weight would have been a rarity.
Nevertheless, I have found a few tips ancient Romans could have followed to look less like "il bacchino" above, (a 16th century sculpture in Florence), and more like "il placentarius" below, (a bronze statuette of a cake-seller from Pompeii).
Celsus I.3.16 gives 13 steps to slimming:
|Put smaller portions on your plate|
I. by a vomit*
II. by purgation* (enema or laxative)
III. by eating only one meal a day
IV. by heat
V. by a scorching sun
VI. by all kinds of worry
VII. by late nights
VIII. by a hard bed throughout the summer
IX. by sleep unduly short or overlong
X. by running, brisk walking, vigorous exercise
XI. by bathing on an empty stomach
XII. by bathing in hot water and especially if salt has been added
XIII. by eating sour and harsh things
For those who are slimming (minuentibus), avoid drinking wine during meals."
He also remarks that "A civilised life is impossible without salt."
So there you go: Brisk walks, hard beds, sour food, hot baths and no wine with your meals...
|onions, cheese, carrots, eggs, flat bread, olives, spices = the Roman diet|
Bona fortuna with your Ancient Roman Diet! Let me know how you get on, or if you have any other TIPS from Ancient Sources.
P.S. More Ancient Roman Beauty Tips.
*P.P.S. I do NOT recommend vomiting or purging!
[The 17+ books in the Roman Mysteries series are perfect for children aged 9+, especially those studying Romans as a topic in Key Stage 2. The BBC made a TV series in 2007 and you can watch episodes via iTunes.]