Can you remember a time where eating was pleasurable, and you didn’t have to feel guilty about indulging in an occasional candy bar? No?
Today is the day where you can say no to dieting, and give your body the freedom it deserves.
May 6 is International No Diet Day, according to the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC). It was created to “express frustration with societal standards of appearance that pressure us to be thin, often with devastating results.”
NEDIC added that health care professionals can also use this day to encourage people to engage in healthy lifestyles, and to expose incorrect beliefs about food and weight.
Additional goals of this day are to “declare a moratorium on diet/weight obsession,” “increase public awareness of the dangers and futility of dieting,” and “celebrate the beauty and diversity of our natural sizes and shapes,” according to NEDIC.
Dr. Kim Dennis, a psychiatrist and CEO and medical director of Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, said in an email that she believes it’s important for everyone to celebrate No Diet Day.
“Diets don’t work, and end up causing more problems than achieving any sort of sustainable health,” Dennis said.
She cannot think of any positive aspects of dieting, only negative. One of the biggest drawbacks is that dieting could in some cases lead to a “clinically significant” eating disorder.
“Many people find that they can’t starve themselves consistently, and take that to mean that they are lazy, stupid, fat or just plain bad people,” Dennis said.
“People who do diet and lose weight may feel good/in control/powerful/beautiful while they are dieting, and then terrible/depressed/even suicidal when they fall off the wagon and gain more weight than where they started from.”
So if you’re trying to eat healthy to support your body and also lose weight in the process, is that considered dieting? Basically, it depends.
“There is a difference between dieting (usually rife with strict rules, restrictive amounts and types of foods, short lived, associated with rebound bingeing/weight gain) and mindful eating,” Dennis said.