Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Weight Loss Milk Retreat – See How Women Attempted to Lose Their Weight by Spending Time at a Dairy Farm in the 1930s

In recent years, rich dairy foods haven’t exactly had a reputation as fad-diet favorites. That may be changing, and it wouldn’t be the first time that foods like butter appealed to those hoping to get healthy. In fact, dairy was so central to a women’s weight loss retreat in the 1930s that the camp was situated on a milk farm.

Rose Dor Farm, located up the Hudson River from New York City, was run by siblings Bob, Rosalie and Doris Taplinger. A ten-day stay came with a strict diet—three days of what today would be called juicing, followed by a week of cultured milk and vegetables—as well as gym classes.

Gym class at Rose Dor Farms is conducted by Swedish Physical Director Steve Finan whose ministrations have modified the embonpoint of many a famed operatic star. Rose Dor customers pay $5.50 a day for this sort of thing.

Passive exercise for indolent clients permits them to lie quietly while Steve Finan deftly manipulates their limbs.

Steve Finan directs mat exercises calculated to reduce hips and remove "widow's humps" which form at back of neck.

Steve Finan directs mat exercises calculated to reduce hips and remove "widow's humps" which form at back of neck.

Steve Finan directs mat exercises calculated to reduce hips and remove "widow's humps" which form at back of neck.

A good hard sweat under hot blankets, with only the face exposed, following a herbal massage, may take off as much as three pounds per treatment.

Woman getting a massage at Rose Dor Farms, a weight loss camp.

Treatment at Rose Dor Farms, a weight loss camp, 1938.

Women resting at Rose Dor Farms, a weight loss camp, 1938.

Advertisement for gym classes at Rose Dor Farms.

A woman's waist is measured at Rose Dor Farms.

Exercise takes many forms.

Gym class includes jumping rope.

Exercise and stretching include use of a ship's steering wheel.

Camper at Rose Dor Farms takes a break for a cigarette.

Scene from Rose Dor Farms, a weight loss camp, 1938.

Typical "milk farmer": Mrs. Remer of Kansas City who sneaked fried chicken until caught.

Weigh-in at Rose Dor Farms.

Typical "milk farmer": Jewel Mau Claire of New york who lost 13 lbs. in five days.

Scene from Rose Dor Farms, a weight loss camp, 1938.

(Photos: Alfred Eisenstaedt—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

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