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If you’ve been starving yourself on one of those crazy diets where you can only eat one grapefruit a day, or you’ve just been thinking about starting a diet so you can slim down, it’s time to start loving your body and participate in International No Diet Day on May 6.
An eating disorders treatment center for women and girls in Arizona called Remuda Ranch is specifically celebrating this day. The ranch has been around for 21 years and has treated more than 10,000 patients since its opening. The ranch also has treatment programs for binge-eating disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Dena Cabrera, the director of educational outreach at the ranch and a licensed psychologist, said International No Diet Day started in 1992 with the help of a British woman, and the ranch has been celebrating this day since 1994.
“The main goal and purpose is to … bring awareness to people about the … ramifications and the impact of dieting,” Cabrera said. “Given … the fact that we have a $50 billion diet industry is indicative of the fact that diets don’t work and they lead to significant psychological and possibly medical complications.”
She said diets could trigger eating disorders in some people. Although someone might start a diet just to lose 5 or 10 pounds, the person could be genetically predispositioned to an eating disorder and she could lose control.
Unfortunately society has an extreme focus on beauty, youth, health and thinness.
“I think health is equated with thinness,” Cabrera said, and society glamorizes it.
She said during this day, people can celebrate this day by bringing awareness to the issues of dieting.
“Basically just take a step back and evaluate how dieting hinders the relationship with food, people and self,” Cabrera said. “People feel really bad about themselves [when] they go on a diet and then they cheat or they fall off the wagon … they feel bad so it causes psychological issues with low self-esteem. It could even cause depression [and] anxiety.”
Diets can both promote negative body image, and negative body image can promote dieting.