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Why did Elvis gain so much weight?

Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:53 am

In the last few years of his life he gained alot of weight. I never have figured out why. Whats your take on this? I know he loved to eat but we all like to eat.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:57 am

A slowing metabolism due to age, combined with a lack of exercise due to depression and other health problems, combined with a distended colon caused or exacerbated by drug use, combined with water retention due to drugs like cortisone. EP had it tough. The question shouldn't really be, "Why did Elvis gain so much weight?" but rather, "How did he not gain MORE?"

P.S. Certain styles of clothing -- i.e. jumpsuits -- didn't do him any favours. His later jumpsuits were nearly always accompanied with enormous belts, exaggerating the true size of his waist. This effect can be seen in Aloha (when he removes the belt, he looks slimmer, and he was indeed extremely slim at that time). Even the "cut" of the jumpsuits themselves made him appear wider than he was. He also had scarves around his neck a lot of the time which further exaggerated the real size of his chest and upper stomach beneath those sequined suits. Then there was his thick, helmet-like hair and long sideburns, which definitely made it seem as if there was more of him there than not. This effect can also be seen in Aloha (with a crafty trim, he looks a little slimmer in the main event, compared to his moptop cut, making him appear slightly bloated, in the rehearsal).

Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:13 am

Cryogenic gives several good reasons for Elvis' weight gain. I would like to add that he did have a slight weight problem during the movie years as well, not all the time obviously, but he did have his moments. Despite his incredible attributes, he was human like the rest of us. I, for one have been battling a weight problem since I was a kid and I'm now 47. As EP got older and problems came up, he became much less active, thus he went through longer periods of being heavy. There were of course tours late 76 and early 77 where he would lose weight as the tour progressed, but again, he always looked better rake thin, especially because he was fairly small up top so the weight either went to his stomach, or face.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:25 am

Was Elvis a Diabetic?

Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:27 am

Elvis was not diabetic. He did have elevated blood sugar levels some of the time, but this was due to ....

I forgot the biggie: a poor diet. You just can't eat the things that Elvis ate forever and not hit trouble. If only life was that easy!

I have a weight problem myself. In reverse. I'm close to being underweight. I have always been a skinny bugger. On the other hand, I have a friend who weighed 18 stone at age 18. That's a stone for every year of his young life. On top of that, he smoked -- the daft bugger. Now, like me, he's 23, and in those five years, he's managed to drop a couple of stone, but he's still medically obese. I would never like to be in that situation.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:55 am

USMale wrote:Was Elvis a Diabetic?


No, but I found out recently that he was asmatic... something I never even knew until very recently.
(not that this has anything to do with his diet... I just thought I'd like to add this bit of info!!!)
Last edited by elvis-fan on Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:56 am

Cryogenic wrote:Elvis was not diabetic. He did have elevated blood sugar levels some of the time, but this was due to ....

I forgot the biggie: a poor diet. You just can't eat the things that Elvis ate forever and not hit trouble. If only life was that easy!

I have a weight problem myself. In reverse. I'm close to being underweight. I have always been a skinny bugger. On the other hand, I have a friend who weighed 18 stone at age 18. That's a stone for every year of his young life. On top of that, he smoked -- the daft bugger. Now, like me, he's 23, and in those five years, he's managed to drop a couple of stone, but he's still medically obese. I would never like to be in that situation.


Being that my wife is from Rochdale, she told me that one stone is equivalent to 14 lbs. as we know it in North America. People tend to forget the era EP abused himself in the seventies, was pretty bad. Athletes would come into training camp 20 to 30 lbs. overweight, which is unheard of today as they train year round. When you dieted, you basically ate salads, not much else, so there again, people would literally starve themselves to keep thin. We have come a long way.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 3:07 am

Still, is very strange how he gained it so rapidly in the last years of his life. Pics from Elvis in July 74 during a karate demonstration in Memphis, or some pics of his free time in the same period of time, reminds of a 70 Elvis. He's thinner than On Tour and I'd even say than Aloha itself


Image

Strangely, in the time of a month he gained quite an amount of weight that it was noticeable during the Vegas gig, leading to the infamous October tour when he had ballooned.

Odd it's also the fact that his face could appear slim and his waist bloated, like in these candid pics of the aforementioned Vegas engagement, making a bizarre picture of himself.

Image


I have also made an appreciation in these past years after watching Elvis' photos. In the summer of 1976 Elvis appeared to be fat, not bloated, like the average overweight guy. Although, in 1977 he looks more bloated than fat to me, I mean, something beyond his dieting or exercise habits.

As someone has mentioned before, a quite number of drugs were coursing his organism in the 3 last years of his life. Some could had a bloating effect, but others just the opposite.

Above all, it puzzles me how a guy who had always been proud and conscious about his physichal appearance let himself go in the end.

Pics courtesy of Paul 8)

Fri Oct 20, 2006 3:16 am

Quote: Some could had a bloating effect,


********************************

Yes......some of the medications can cause the body to retain water which makes for that kind of appearance. I think this is crucial because water wieght can be lost much quicker than, fat tissue type wieght. And the water wieght can be put on much quicker as well. So this can partially explain the quickness he appeared to lose and gain wieght. You can't lose wieght this quickly if you are merely dieting.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 3:21 am

ekenee wrote:Quote: Some could had a bloating effect,


********************************

Yes......some of the medications can cause the body to retain water which makes for that kind of appearance. I think this is crucial because water wieght can be lost much quicker than, fat tissue type wieght. And the water wieght can be put on much quicker as well. So this can partially explain the quickness he appeared to lose and gain wieght. You can't lose wieght this quickly if you are merely dieting.


I know, I have studied that. The bloating effect (moon face and expanded waistiline) appears due to the use of corticoids, used as anti-inflammatory drugs. The opiates Elvis was a heavy abuser difficult or block your bowel movements. Although, he didn't use corticoids that much to produce such a brutal effect.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 3:21 am

Spanish_Eyes wrote:Still, is very strange how he gained it so rapidly in the last years of his life. Pics from Elvis in July 74 during a karate demonstration in Memphis, or some pics of his free time in the same period of time, reminds of a 70 Elvis. He's thinner than On Tour and I'd even say than Aloha itself


Image

Strangely, in the time of a month he gained quite an amount of weight that it was noticeable during the Vegas gig, leading to the infamous October tour when he had ballooned.

Odd it's also the fact that his face could appear slim and his waist bloated, like in these candid pics of the aforementioned Vegas engagement, making a bizarre picture of himself.

Image


I have also made an appreciation in these past years after watching Elvis' photos. In the summer of 1976 Elvis appeared to be fat, not bloated, like the average overweight guy. Although, in 1977 he looks more bloated than fat to me, I mean, something beyond his dieting or exercise habits.

As someone has mentioned before, a quite number of drugs were coursing his organism in the 3 last years of his life. Some could had a bloating effect, but others just the opposite.

Above all, it puzzles me how a guy who had always been proud and conscious about his physichal appearance let himself go in the end.

Pics courtesy of Paul 8)


He suffered from depression aside from other ailments which took away his desire to take care of himself. Keep in mind the times as well, much harder back then as opposed to now, and it's still not easy. In the long run, whether it be EP or anybody else, you have to want to do it and stay disciplined, easy to say, tough to do.

That bottom pic looks like he was retaining water, he doesn't look right.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 3:27 am

Above all, it puzzles me how a guy who had always been proud and conscious about his physichal appearance let himself go in the end.


Depression.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:00 am

The drugs caused a lot of the weight gain. Cortisone,etc . Eating was the least of the causes. It's been blown out of proportion how much he ate. It's common knowledge that as millions of men get older they develop a paunch. You see middle aged men with them all the time. Why is it so hard to believe that Elvis would get one to. He was a human being.

The bloat that was caused by the drugs would make Elvis look fatter than he was.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:12 am

elvis-fan wrote:
USMale wrote:Was Elvis a Diabetic?


No, but I found out recently that he was asmatic... something I never even knew until very recently.
(not that this has anything to do with his diet... I just thought I'd like to add this bit of info!!!)


Where did you "learn" that Elvis was asthmatic?

This is complete bunk. In almost thirty years since his death, no one has said anything about asthma -- not his friends, relatives, associates, doctors, physicians, private investigators or whoever. Yet all kinds of other stuff, some truthful, most nonsense, has been publicly forwarded. That should indicate to you how blatantly false your information is. If people can peddle crap like bone cancer, why has something milder and less outrageous like asthma never made it? Think. I'm not being arrogant. THAT'S THE WAY IT IS. ;)

Me wrote:Eating was the least of the causes. It's been blown out of proportion how much he ate. It's common knowledge that as millions of men get older they develop a paunch. You see middle aged men with them all the time. Why is it so hard to believe that Elvis would get one to. He was a human being.


As the human body ages, muscle density and skin elasticity drop, along with the body's metabolic rate, and these conditions create the perfect climate for "middle age spread". So, yes, Elvis' diet was not entirely at fault, but it played a real and significant part. EP ate crap. It's common knowledge. And crap combined with the effects of age is only going to result in bad things.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:43 am

carolynlm wrote:I think some people may have seen Elvis use some kind of inhaler before one of the concerts for EOT.......we have discussed this in previous threads........and they have automatically assumed that it was used for asthma......


I always thought he was just cleaning and freshing-up his throat :shock:

Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:51 am

The problem with Elvis' weight is simple: He ate too much of the wrong stuff, took too much "medication" that let to a few pounds more (mostly downers and other stuff that was mixed with cortisone) and he lost all his discipline to work out. No secret illness. Just normal fatness. By the way: To be over fourty and overweight seems not too odd for an american.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:32 am

Cryogenic wrote:
elvis-fan wrote:
USMale wrote:Was Elvis a Diabetic?


No, but I found out recently that he was asmatic... something I never even knew until very recently.
(not that this has anything to do with his diet... I just thought I'd like to add this bit of info!!!)


Where did you "learn" that Elvis was asthmatic?

This is complete bunk. In almost thirty years since his death, no one has said anything about asthma -- not his friends, relatives, associates, doctors, physicians, private investigators or whoever. Yet all kinds of other stuff, some truthful, most nonsense, has been publicly forwarded. That should indicate to you how blatantly false your information is. If people can peddle crap like bone cancer, why has something milder and less outrageous like asthma never made it? Think. I'm not being arrogant. THAT'S THE WAY IT IS. ;)

Me wrote:Eating was the least of the causes. It's been blown out of proportion how much he ate. It's common knowledge that as millions of men get older they develop a paunch. You see middle aged men with them all the time. Why is it so hard to believe that Elvis would get one to. He was a human being.


As the human body ages, muscle density and skin elasticity drop, along with the body's metabolic rate, and these conditions create the perfect climate for "middle age spread". So, yes, Elvis' diet was not entirely at fault, but it played a real and significant part. EP ate crap. It's common knowledge. And crap combined with the effects of age is only going to result in bad things.


I think this comes about from the Richmond April 11, 1972 footage and (I think) the April 16, Jacksonsville out-take footage (both backstage, of ourse) showing EP inhaling what looks like a asthma inhaler spray : perhaps he's really just freshening his breathing for some lip smacking during Love Me Tender!

Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:06 pm

Elvis, I always believed, was mildly asthmastic, and had suffered as a child. I also read somewhere that streoid treatment helped with this.

I'll have to have a look at home to see which books I've read it in - Larry Gellers If I Can Dream springs to mind, as does Jerry Hopkins Final Years.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:39 pm

Vester's first book "A Presley Speaks" says Elvis was asthamatic as a child. Vester says they hammered a nail into a tree and told him that he would be better when he was as tall as the height of the nail, and he was. But if you notice you could hear a whistle in Elvis's chest sometimes if he coughed.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:30 pm

Jim Dandy wrote:I think this comes about from the Richmond April 11, 1972 footage and (I think) the April 16, Jacksonsville out-take footage (both backstage, of ourse) showing EP inhaling what looks like a asthma inhaler spray


Also seen backstage at Rapid City june '77.

Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:43 pm

BIGREDG wrote:
Jim Dandy wrote:I think this comes about from the Richmond April 11, 1972 footage and (I think) the April 16, Jacksonsville out-take footage (both backstage, of ourse) showing EP inhaling what looks like a asthma inhaler spray


Also seen backstage at Rapid City june '77.


It you watch TTWII, you see a lot of audience members smoking their brains out. It seems so strange nowadays, looking back. Perhaps that could be a reason for his needing a puffer the odd time as well. This is the first time I've heard about EP being "mildy asthmatic."

Re: Why did Elvis gain so much weight?

Fri Oct 20, 2006 11:21 pm

USMale wrote:In the last few years of his life he gained alot of weight. I never have figured out why. Whats your take on this? I know he loved to eat but we all like to eat.

Please tell us you're being tongue-in-cheek with this post.

Sat Oct 21, 2006 12:04 am

Darryl, please look into that!

chris c wrote:Vester's first book "A Presley Speaks" says Elvis was asthamatic as a child. Vester says they hammered a nail into a tree and told him that he would be better when he was as tall as the height of the nail, and he was. But if you notice you could hear a whistle in Elvis's chest sometimes if he coughed.


This sounds more plausible.

I was tested for asthma as a kid and told I didn't have it. But I do feel a slight wheeziness occasionally when I run or exert myself a lot. Emphasis on slight. Saying Elvis was asthmatic conjures images of him needing an inhaler on stand-by all the while. It sounds like he had it as bad as me, which is to say, not very bad at all.

Sat Oct 21, 2006 4:21 am

Remember when Elvis looked great in 69--he was on a yogurt diet, was riding a stationary cycle and practiced his concert routine with leg weights.

Drugs, poor diet, lack of excercise and depression all contributed to his decline.

But his weight fluctuated even in the 60s. What was the film he made in 65? Paradise Hawaiian Style? Check out the candid pics from that period on this web site and you will see an Elvis looking as bloated as he became circa 1974.

It's one thing to eat an entire bag of potato chips when you are kid, but as an adult there are consequences.

Mon Oct 23, 2006 5:36 pm

DarrylMac wrote:Elvis, I always believed, was mildly asthmastic, and had suffered as a child. I also read somewhere that streoid treatment helped with this.

I'll have to have a look at home to see which books I've read it in - Larry Gellers If I Can Dream springs to mind, as does Jerry Hopkins Final Years.



Hmmm, and strangely, he smoked cigars..... :roll:

//Björn