Vintage Weight Loss and Diet Ads

If you think there are some crazy diet and weight loss products on today’s market, you won’t believe these vintage ads marketed to our grandmothers. Tape worms to lose weight, yeast pills to gain weight, electric shock devices to zap fat, fat jiggling machines, and more.

The Tape Worm Diet

weight loss

This ad is unbelievably disgusting. Fortunately, many historians emphasize the unbelievable part. While some desperate dieters have resorted to consuming the illness inducing worms, most doctors doubt the possibility of the oral administration of tape worm eggs.

Flesh Reducing Rubber Garments

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This fat loss ad is circa 1920’s and appeared in popular magazines such as Life, Cosmopolitan, and Harper’s Bazaar. Taking rubber to the blubber proved ineffectual. It would take nearly a century before the invention of non-invasive technologies like Liposonix or CoolSculpting before men and women could actually spot reduce stubborn fat deposits.

Slimming Slims

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No one is surprised by vintage cigarette ads that blatantly deny the health hazards of smoking, but this ad goes as far as to market the cigarette as an effective diet supplement for losing weight.

A Spoon Full of Sugar Helps the Scale Needle Go Down?

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Right up there with the slimming cigarettes ad is this ad marketing sugar as a stimulating dietary supplement.

Anti-Skinny Ad

vintage ads

This ad reveals how cultural and evolving our society’s concept of ideal body shape and size is. Ionized Yeast was marketed to help skinny girls gain more voluptuous figures.

Beauty Ad Marketed at Men

vintage ad

Although the beauty and weight loss industry primarily marketed to a female demographic, this ad reveals that men were not immune to the promise of miraculous body transformations.  Now a days, men make up a large portion of the people who get laser hair removal, botox, and non-invasive body contouring.

Vintage Double Chin Reducer

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This early 20th century ad marketed this contraception for the reduction of the double chin. The beauty industry would be inundated with numerous contraptions that claimed to get rid of the double chin. None of them worked. Fortunately, in 2015, the FDA cleared a non-invasive treatment to reduce a double chin, with clinical studies establishing the revolutionary device to be effective and safe.

Hey Mom, Maintain Your Slim Figure with Meth

old weightloss ads

Following WWII amphetamine was commonly prescribed for weight loss. And while taking the drug did help stay at home moms stay slim, saying they stayed fit and healthy would definitely be pushing it.

Sweat Your Fat Away


When a fitness expert tells you that the only way to get rid of fat is through work and sweat, they are probably not referring to the full body sauna suit. While this suit probably tipped the scale from pounds of lost water weight. The instant dehydrator proved to be an ineffectual way to melt away fat.

Zap Your Fat…Literally.

vintage weightloss ad skinney medspa

Nowadays, advanced technology has produced safe and effective non-invasive fat reduction treatments where you really can lay back, and have your fat frozen or melted.

But this was not the case for the unfortunate users of the Relax-a-Cizor. This fat reduction device claimed to “reduce girth” via electric shock. The Relax-a-Cizor was introduced to the market in the late 1940’s with a price tag of $200, which would be about $2,000 today. The FDA banned the sale of Relax-a-Cizor for being unsafe in the 1970’s.

The Fat Jiggler

fat loss

You really can freeze your fat, you can melt your fat, and even zap it, but this vintage weight loss ad marketing the Belt Massager claimed to jiggle fat away.

Your Grandma’s Version of Skinny Jeans

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These thinning jeans were not a fashion statement. Rather these inflatable pants were to be worn around the house for a miraculous reduction in thigh fat.

If you are looking for a way to reduce thigh fat using a safe, effective, non-invasive method, check out this article: Thigh Gap: How to Lose Thigh Fat With CoolSculpting

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