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This 1960s exercise book illustrates everything wrong with our pursuit of fitness

The "cheek reducer" one of the insane exercises featured in Debbie Drake's Easy Way to Perfect Figure and Glowing Health.
The "cheek reducer" one of the insane exercises featured in Debbie Drake's Easy Way to Perfect Figure and Glowing Health.
Debbie Drake via Awful Library Books

The secret to the perfect body has been hiding in plain sight since 1961.

That's the year Debbie Drake's Easy Way to Perfect Figure and Glowing Health was published. In this glorious tome — which documents a fitness era that seems both antiquated and eerily familiar — "leggy, busty, 30-year-old Debbie Drake (38½-22½-36)" gives readers advice on how to do everything from slimming your thighs, to "reducing" your cheeks, and even exercising your hair.

Suck the fat out of those cheeks!

In one easy step, Debbie's amazing "cheek reducer" can give you a slimmer face without losing a pound. You just need to, er, suck really hard.

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Flirt your way to slim legs!

Debbie shows readers that if you daintily kick your legs about in a sexy pose, while munching on carrots, you can slim your calves and thighs — all while flirting on the phone.

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Don't forget to exercise your hair!

According to Debbie, "Massaging and brushing are forms of exercising the hair." Why would you do this? She claims this can stimulate hair growth, "improving the lustre and texture."

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If you haven't had enough of Debbie's tips and tricks, check out The Debbie Drake Show. Launched in 1960, she'd take viewers through "the wonderful world of exercise to the land of slim, trim beauty."

According to Debbie — who also recorded an album called "Look Good! Feel Great! and How to Keep Your Husband Happy" — you can erase your double chin by simply stretching your neck, and her gentle contortions and deep breathing will take inches off your waist and thighs. Of course, weight loss doesn't work like that. Readers of this site should know by now, you can't target fat loss in a particular part of the body.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Much has changed since Debbie's heyday, but much has stayed the same. Gwyneth Paltrow recently promised readers of her website that they could lengthen their legs and grow inches taller by rolling around on foam. Too-many-webpages-to-count are dedicated to tips on how to achieve Kim Kardashian's ass.

Dr. Oz — arguably one of the most famous people in America — regularly features bunk concepts such as belly-fat busting and metabolism-boosting on his daily talk-show.

People keep selling this stuff because we keep buying it. It's good for business. If Debbie taught us anything, it's that we need to stop wasting our time and money on fake fixes.

h/t The Curious Brain