I promise my blog is not going to go all ‘diet preacher’ on you but my interest was sparked recently when I became aware that this coming Sunday (May 6) is International No Diet Day, and I was compelled to put some words together to raise awareness of the occasion.
International No Diet day has been in existence since 1992 and was originally created by UK-based Mary Evans Young, a recovering anorexic and author of the book Diet Breaking: Having It All Without Having to Diet. The occasion is not just about raising awareness of eating disorders however, it’s also a celebration of body acceptance and body shape diversity.
International No Diet Day has several goals, which include:
- Raising awareness of and helping to end weight discrimination
- Dispelling the myth that there is one ‘right’ body shape
- Honouring the victims of eating disorders
- Presenting the facts about the diet industry and discouraging fad diets
- Declaring a day free from diets and obsessions about body weight
Healthy eating is important and something which should be encouraged. As you may know if you have read any of my previous posts, I am currently following the Slimming World plan – a diet which I believe is healthy, sustainable and enjoyable (three very important factors for a successful diet). It doesn’t involve having to deny myself of anything, it really is just all about eating sensibly and not going crazy on fatty foods, which you are still allowed to treat yourself to every once in a while if you really fancy them, you just have to ‘syn’ them up.
Diet plans such as Slimming World (and Weight Watchers, although I have never followed that plan personally) promote healthy eating and living, and make a lot of sense to me. What doesn’t make sense to me, however, is following some extreme, faddy diet that demands you deprive yourself of any major food groups, and leaves you hungry, tired and miserable when you haven’t dropped a dress size in the first week, as the diet promised you would.
These kinds of diets are not only unhealthy but they leave you unhappy and out of touch with your body and yourself. Extreme dieting comes with a wide variety of risks, ranging from losing touch with your body’s hunger and satiety signals to heart failure, at the extreme end of the spectrum. Not to mention the range of eating disorders that, sadly, extreme dieting can lead to.
I’ve never successfully stuck to a fad diet and I wonder how many people out there can honestly say some ridiculous diet that means starving themselves has brought them positive results – I mean, really?
So this coming Sunday, ditch that diet and celebrate yourself! Choose to celebrate the person you are (inside and out), listen to your body and stand up to society’s warped view that life is only going to be fantastic if and when you are stick thin. Some ways in which you could celebrate International No Diet Day involve:
- Listening to when your body tells you it is hungry and full
- Thinking of the reasons why you have dieted in the past and considering how successful those yo-yo diets have been for you
- Doing a physical activity that you enjoy
- Refusing to allow yourself to think those ‘fat’ thoughts that may sneak in every now and then
- Cooking a delicious and nutritious meal
… and if you want that bar of chocolate (although I’d prefer a pork pie, personally) then allow yourself to have it every once in a while!