joye the obscured (dustthouart) wrote in little_details,
joye the obscured

possible methods of extremely rapid weight loss in 1950

This icon has never been so appropriate, since it's a fanfic in this fandom that's keeping me awake and staring at the ceiling.

Setting: 1950, New York City
Search Terms: rapid weight loss dangers, history of liposuction, history of weight loss surgery, Wikipedia articles on same

Ok, here's the canon facts.
1. Character starts out at about 285 pounds (129kg) and 5'11" (180cm), middle-aged, extremely sedentary, and eats a lot.
2. Character disappears April 9.
3. Character comes back August 22, and the main character doesn't initially recognize him because of his weird beard, nasal voice, and extreme weight loss. Character claims the weight loss is exactly 117 pounds.
4. Character says that when he left, he spent "the most painful month of my life", and spent the rest of the time before coming back getting into the criminal underworld of Los Angeles).

So I assume that at least the majority of his weight loss was in that first month. I'm trying to figure out how that would be humanly possible, since I'd like to write a fanfic about those months.

Liposuction dates to the late sixties. Gastric banding wouldn't work even if it were around, because when the story is over the character returns to his sedentary gourmet lifestyle and by the next novel is back to his old weight.

Part of my problem with researching this is that a lot of my search results assume that I want to quickly lose weight and either wish to dissuade me from this, or sell me something. Neither of which is helpful for my fanfic.

From what I understand, reducing caloric intake per day by 500 calories results in a two pound-ish loss per week; likewise, increasing calories burned per day by 500.

Even stretching "a month" to 5 weeks, and reducing 117 to a majority of that like 75, he would still have to be losing 15 pounds a week. So assuming he was eating 3000 calories per day before, he'd have to cut his intake to 1000 calories, and burn 2000 calories a day. This seems like it would kill him.

Should I just retcon the author here? Am I off-base in my ideas of what calorie restriction and exercise are capable of? Or is there some kind of surgical intervention that could have happened in 1950?
Tags: 1950-1959, ~body size/shape, ~food and drink (misc)

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