August 15, 1853
One would scarcely believe that a lady, reduced to despair on account of her obesity, and threatening to commit suicide unless relieved of her embonpoint, could promise that she would obey my instructions to live chiefly upon a meat diet, and to abstain from inordinate quantities of fluid, yet the very next day would resume her customary mode of living;—breakfasting upon eggs, preserves, and two or three cups of sweetened tea; and dine upon rich pastry and sweetmeats, accompanied with a full allowance of champagne. I could not have believed it possible had I not witnessed it myself.
Obesity, or, Excessive corpulence : the various causes and the rational means of cure
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It is said, that in order to be understood and believed, it is necessary to repeat the same thing over and over again. But all things must have an end; and all the cases which I might yet report, would still end in diminution of obesity. It may be said, however, that, like most medical writers, I report only favourable cases, and conceal those which are unfavourable. My answer is, that I have never treated a single case in which a favourable result has not been obtained, provided the patient has observed my directions for even eight days; and I am satisfied that if any one could be found to say that he has not been benefited, that it would be because he has not been willing to carry out the treatment for even eight days. It has no doubt frequently happened that a patient has consulted me, and has then followed my directions for two, three, or even four days, and then, for some cause, has given them up: under these circumstances it might be said that no benefit has been derived.
Many such cases have occurred. In one instance, a wealthy man, a gold-beater by trade, living in Paris, sought my advice. He followed my system for several weeks, without success. One day I said to him, "I can only explain your want of success by attributing it to excessive drinking. You live upon meat principally, it is true; but how much liquid do you imbibe daily?" His answer was,—"I cannot abstain from drinking when thirsty, and my thirst is frequent. I spend the whole day in the factory, among fifteen or twenty workmen, and the heat is necessarily great, as the nature of our manufacture demands it, and I am therefore obliged to drink a great deal." I consequently recommended him to abstain from further trial of a system which, under these circumstances, could not possibly be of any benefit.
We meet with people who make, or seem to make, a resolution to live according to a certain plan, for eight or ten days, and who, like spoiled children, forget the very next day the resolution they had made. I have met with many such cases. One would scarcely believe that a lady, reduced to despair on account of her obesity, and threatening to commit suicide unless relieved of her embonpoint, could promise that she would obey my instructions to live chiefly upon a meat diet, and to abstain from inordinate quantities of fluid, yet the very next day would resume her customary mode of living;—breakfasting upon eggs, preserves, and two or three cups of sweetened tea; and dine upon rich pastry and sweetmeats, accompanied with a full allowance of champagne. I could not have believed it possible had I not witnessed it myself.
Men generally carry out my directions more faithfully than women, being firmer and more persevering in their resolves.
I am almost angry at times with this want of perseverance in persons who boast that they have carried out my treatment without success. It would be an easy matter to shew that the want of success in such cases is entirely their own fault.
A young lady of one of the most illustrious families of France, and married to a wealthy foreign nobleman, consulted me in the month of May, 1853, in reference to her corpulence. She told me that her cousin, the Duchess of X., had derived great benefit from my treatment; and from what she had witnessed in her case, she was induced to place herself under my care. She promised to commence my system on the following day.
A few days afterwards I saw her. She told me she had forgotten to take her medicine the day before. In subsequent visits, she confessed that she had not taken any medicine, either because she had been up very late the previous evening and had laid in bed late that morning, or that she had been spending a day or two in the country; or that, having been out for an early ride, she had forgotten all about it. On the occasion of my last visit, she told me that she was going for some time to her country-seat, and from thence intended to visit a watering-place. The Baroness did not follow my treatment for three days consecutively, and consequently lost nothing of her embonpoint. Under such circumstances, want of success ought surely not to be attributed to inefficacy of the treatment.
A very corpulent professor adopted my system for eight days, and lost three pounds and a half in weight. Being relieved at the same time from a sense of oppression which had continually troubled him, he was delighted, and spoke of the happy results to many of his acquaintances. Unfortunately at this time he received from the country a present of a large basket of grapes, and being very partial to them, neglected my instructions, and partook of them inordinately as long as they lasted. The consequence is, that the professor is as fat as ever, although he had followed my plan of treatment for eight days. Now whose fault is this? Nevertheless, his acquaintances, to whom he had spoken of being under my care, will attribute the failure to me. I shall see him again, no doubt, some of these days, when in danger of suffocation.
The reader who has perused the preceding cases of cure, may say that I have omitted to speak of obesity accompanied with skin disease, and in my introduction mention has been made of its frequency. In truth, many such cases have been met with; but skin disease, in my opinion, is of such a nature that it is better not to give a hint even of the parties in whom it has been met with and cured at the same time with co-existing corpulence.
My method of reducing obesity being thus frankly explained, is perhaps likely to lose its value in the eyes of many, owing to its extreme simplicity. M. Desbouillons, of Brest, a patient whom I successfully treated, wrote to me on the 15th August, 1853:—"On reading your treatise a second time, I cannot but express my astonishment that the medical faculty should so long have failed to discover the means which you now so successfully employ for the cure of obesity."
Having accomplished the object I had in view, it matters not whether it be the result of little study or of long and deep enquiry into the secrets of animated nature; my satisfaction consists in having destroyed those false and prejudicial doctrines which had existed for ages in the writings and teachings of philosophers, and in having demonstrated a truth destined to render important services to our common humanity.