Celebrating No Diet Day
I know the official No Diet Day was May 6, but the beauty of days like that is you can celebrate them any time. And hopefully, you will!
If you’re not familiar with No Diet Day, I’m not surprised. It’s hard to learn about things like this with all the noise about diets. But here’s some background.
Not Diet Day was started in 1992 by Mary Evans Young. She knew first-hand about the damage caused by diets and focus on body image since she had her own experience with anorexia. And although the needle has shifted slightly, our culture is still very focused on diets, making this day still very relevant.
Why celebrate No Diet Day?
Even though Weight Watchers has rebranded and programs like Noom don’t use a diet, per se, the focus of those programs is still on your weight, and that almost inevitably leads people to diets.
But the reason we need a No Diet Day is that diets cause so many problems, including:
Dieting all too often leads to disordered eating, which can be deadly
Diets simply don’t work – in fact, due to weight cycling, many people end up weighing more and/or becoming less healthy after dieting
Focusing on weight contributes to poor body image and low self-esteem
Low weight and good health are not the same things, a fact that gets lost when going on diets
You can also check out this video from Ryan Sheldon, NEDA Ambassador (NEDA = National Eating Disorder Association), which talks about his experience with binge eating disorder.
How you can celebrate
You can celebrate and participate in No Diet Day in many ways – here are a few ideas:
Share information about the damages caused by diets, on social media or in person
Resist the urge to try diets by remembering that diets will fail you (despite how it feels, you are not failing the diet)
Practice body acceptance for yourself and others
Eat foods that you love
Become mindful about what your body is telling you about hunger and fullness
Recognize sizeism and weight stigma and speak out against them
Self-care isn’t about weight
And finally, remember that taking care of yourself isn’t about diets or hitting a certain number on a scale. Focusing on those will do more harm than good.
Instead, do things that will truly nurture you. Have your favorite meal or treat. Go for a walk. Sing along to music. Read a good book. Get creative.
And to help you think about what self-care looks like when it’s not about weight, consider this question from Dana Sturtevant, MS, RD: “If you woke up tomorrow and lived in a weight-inclusive, body affirming world, where you never had to worry about being judged for how your body presents to the world, where all bodies were welcome, what would you want to do to take care of yourself?”
Make every day No Diet Day
I love the idea of No Diet Day, but I don’t think it should be just one day. Why not have a whole year of No Diet Days? Or declare that from now on, every day is No Diet Day?
I know it’s hard to resist the pressure of our diet culture, and it’s very easy to slip back into that mindset. But if you can take the No Diet approach for one day, think about how you feel during that day. If you’re a lot happier and more relaxed, isn’t that worth doing more often?
Whatever you choose to do, remember that diets aren’t required, and they won’t help you the way you might want them to.
And you deserve to be able to eat without guilt or shame and to enjoy what you eat.
On that note, happy eating!