Did you know that May 6 was International No Diet Day? This day, dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle and raising awareness about the mental and emotional destructiveness of diets, marks an annual celebration of body acceptance and body shape diversity. If you didn’t get a chance to celebrate this year, start getting yourself ready for when it rolls around in 2013.
International No Diet Day (INDD) was created by feminist Mary Evans Young, director of the British “Diet Breakers” in 1992. No, it’s not a rock band, but a group formed to combat the craziness of dieting and disregulated eating and encourage a sane approach to food consumption. The goals of INDD are simple: Doubt the idea of one "right" body shape; Raise awareness of weight discrimination, size bias and fat phobia; Declare a day free from diets and obsessions about body weight; Present the facts about the diet industry, emphasizing the inefficacy of commercial diets; Show how diets perpetuate violence against women; Honor the victims of eating disorders and weight-loss surgery. Help end weight discrimination, size-ism and fat phobia.
If you want to be a “normal” eater, you have to start with these tenets. You can’t just pay lip service to them and expect to ditch your eating problems and body hatred. Diets, body image distortions, fat phobia, weight discrimination, and obsession with having a perfect (aka thin) body go hand in hand with disregulated eating. I’m not saying there aren’t biological, psychological, family, and social factors that influence eating but, for most of us, if we hadn’t started dieting and questing after thinness, we wouldn’t be in the pickle we’re in today, relearning “normal” eating and striving to love our bodies as is.
Which brings to mind my own struggles. My parents had to practically force feed me as a toddler, until my tonsils were removed and I found my appetite and then some. A slightly chubby child, when I hit pre-adolescence, I started dieting. It was a triumph to eat only an apple during the day and a personal failure when I binged at night. This pattern of restricting and overeating/bingeing continued into my 30s, until I discovered the book FAT IS A FEMINIST ISSUE and began to turn around my eating.
I spent years agonizing over food and weight, then more years unlearning my stinkin’ thinkin’ and acquiring the skills of “normal” eating. All that time and energy wasted, gone, lost. I blame our culture of diets, I really do. So each year I have a quiet celebration on International No Diet Day and recommit to fighting our diet obsession so that we can reclaim our bodies and begin to value and love them as they are.