Diet and exercise advocate Susan Powter hit it big in the early 1990s with her motivational speeches and “Stop the Insanity!” catchphrase. From 1993-2002 Powter released seven books, three of which appeared on the New York Times Best Seller’s list. During the height of her popularity (1994) she even hosted her own television program, unimaginatively titled “The Susan Powter Show.”
The picture above is of Powter’s “Stop the Insanity!” deluxe diet package. I ran across it in a thrift store last weekend, and I intentionally left my hand in the lower left hand corner of the picture to give the box a sense of scale. I don’t know how many people lost weight following Susan Powter’s program, but can say the average person should lose 3-5 pounds just lugging it around the store.
Contained in the box was a combination of reading material, audio cassettes, and VHS videotapes, all designed to help you become more healthy by eating right and losing weight. There was also a small plastic “body fat tester” that you could use to determine if you were fat or not. I’m guessing anyone ordering the deluxe Stop the Insaniiy! box set knew the answer to that question before purchasing it.
From this early 70’s magazine ad comes what might possible be the worst named product on the planet, the “Hell Bent for Leather N’Lead Bracelets. (They Turn your Arm Power On! Really! OK, Maybe not….). This Product came from the mind of Fitness Guru Joe Weider, Founder of Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competition, and publisher of most of the well known fitness magazines out there. He is also famous for his advertising in the early 70s featuring a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, like in this ad. Oh, and he was also investigated for some of the false claims he made about his products….like the claims he made about this product.
So let me get this straight…..I can lose weight…..with no exercise…simply by wearing these LEAD bracelets?!!?!? Where do I sign up?? Or maybe that dramatic weight loss is simply due to the lead poisoning…….
Say what you will about Richard Simmons, but he’s helped a lot of people get healthy and stay healthy. That said, he probably isn’t the best choice as the host of an early morning talk show – people generally like to be eased into their day by perky but inoffensive people like Jane Pauley and Diane Sawyer, not madcap fitness enthusiasts in striped shorts. The Richard Simmons Show aired in syndication from 1980-1984, and was comprised mostly of cooking segments and healthy living tips.