Cass Elliot’s Weight Loss: How Did The Mama & the Papas Singer Lose 110 Pounds in Less Than a Year?

Derick Scholz

Cass Elliot's Weight Loss: How Did The Mama & the Papas Singer Lose 110 Pounds in Less Than a Year?

Cass Elliot had one of the most destructive weight loss attempts where he lost 110 pounds, slimming down to 195 pounds from 285. The Mama & the Papas singer starved herself and went on a restrictive diet. While Cass Elliot was successful in his weight loss attempts, she ended up in the hospital as a result.

Cass Elliot, also known as Mama Cass (real name: Ellen Naomi Cohen) was an American singer and voice actress. She was one of the most memorable and talented members of the singing group The Mamas & the Papas. She had a music career outside of the band as well. After the folk-rock group broke up, she released five solo albums which performed well. But unfortunately, her music career didn’t last long because she died very young. In 1998, she was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her work with the Mamas & the Papas.

Even though she was a very talented vocalist who had a great career, it was never enough to overshadow her size. She was fat and society fatphobic so, she was not treated very well, which is why she went to extreme measures for weight loss to feel better about herself. Though such measures compromised her health, she was desperate to lose weight. Let’s learn more about Cass Elliot’s weight loss!

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Cass Elliot’s Weight Loss: The Singer’s Restrictive Dieting Helped Him Shed 110 Pounds and Also Put Her in the Hospital!

Cass Elliot was a big woman, and her size and weight was the root of all the problems in her life. She struggled a lot to come to terms with her body in the fatphobic society she lived in. And much of her lifetime of pain seemed to have centered on her body and society’s opinion of and response to it. She hated living like that so, she went to extreme measures for weight loss, compromising her health in the process. It was very destructive (she lost 110 pounds in less than a year) but in hindsight, people should have seen it coming.

Talking about how she felt about her body throughout the years about her fatness, in an interview, Cass Elliot said that she always felt different and in the worst way because she was always desperate to not look like herself and change her appearance because of how it was perceived in the society. As she rose to prominence in her career, her urgency of transforming herself and having weight loss increased because she knew being fat set her apart.

Cass Elliot was troubled by her weight throughout her life. So, deciding to change herself and get rid of the weight that was troubling society (for no reason), and thus, herself, she embarked on a weight loss journey. She went on an incredibly restrictive diet and ended up destroying her health and body. It was around 1967 when she felt the pressure of appealing to people’s eyes as she was about to begin her solo career.

As Cass Elliot wrote in an article titled What a Way to Lose 110 Pounds in the 1969 issue of Good Housekeeping, she started a crash diet and managed to lose more than 100 pounds, which was 1/3rd of her weight but she was left very ill and unhealthy from that attempt.

I’ve invented a fabulous new diet. It costs only $2,000 for each pound you lose. It also weakens your natural resistance to disease. I can’t guarantee it, but the Mama Cass Diet can give you acute tonsillitis, hemorrhaging vocal cords, mononucleosis and a dangerous case of hepatitis. At least that’s what it did for me. I lost my health–and more than a quarter of a million dollars in earnings as a singer.

Mama Cass revealed in the article that she lost 110 pounds and slimmed down to 175 from a high of 285 pounds, with her crash diet which she wouldn’t recommend to anyone because she had not consulted her doctor about it as she knew it was wrong and would not be approved by any medical professional because her weight loss diet was just starvation. In a hurry to weigh 110 pounds, she starved herself.

Just so she could be accepted in society, Cass Elliot followed a restrictive diet which would turn out to be a very expensive weight loss for her. For five months, from Monday to Thursday, the singer ate nothing and drank only water plus an occasional glass of orange juice. She allowed herself an evening meal of steak and a green vegetable only on the remaining days. She sometimes also had a half cup of cottage cheese in the morning and that way, she starved off 70 pounds from May to October 1967.

In early 1968, Cass Elliot tried the same diet again for six weeks and had a weight loss of another 40 pounds as a result. She did lose 110 pounds in less than a year but it put her in the hospital. But she didn’t care that she ended up in the hospital because she knew it was no fun to be heavy and she had to try even if it meant that she had to compromise her health.

Nobody stopped her from attempting that damaging weight loss which was sad in itself. She was willing to try just about anything to be thin and respected and glamorized. She even experimented with chewing food and spitting it out but that didn’t work so, she had to overhaul her diet. About her crash diets, Cass Elliot said,

Members of The Mamas and The Papas noticed I was on a starvation diet, but they never said anything. My best friends, Gary and Annette Burden, encouraged me to stay with my diet. So did my husband, before we broke up. Another man came into my life after my husband and I separated, and he was the first person who taught me that if you really love a man and want to give him the best, you make yourself as presentable as possible.

Cass Elliot eventually went to regain the weight she lost and her efforts at weight loss became futile. However, because of how destructive it was and how honest and candid the singer was about it, it is still talked about.

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