How to Celebrate International No Diet Day
May 6th is No Diet Day - a celebratory day that is near and dear to my heart as a dietitian who specializes in eating disorders and disordered eating.
This day was started in 1992 by activist Mary Evans Young in order to reject diet culture. Diet culture can refer to the idea that weight loss is an essential part of being healthy. It can also encompass the 270.9 billion dollar diet and wellness industry that is built on convincing consumers that they must lose weight and it's all their fault if they're not successful. Young also wanted to bring attention to the correlation between the presence of the diet industry and increased risk for eating disorders and body dissatisfaction.
So how can you celebrate this holiday?
Eat what you want - Terms like "healthy" and "unhealthy" dichotomize foods and assign them a morality. Unless they're robbing a bank cupcakes are not evil - promise. Same with fast food, butter, and bread. They ALL serve a purpose and your body can utilize them to provide you energy! (If you're new in eating disorder recovery this may be challenging, but consider adding something you enjoy into your daily intake.)
Smash your scale - Weight does not determine health. It is one thread in the tapestry of your health picture. Keeping a scale around doesn't promote an environment where you can feel neutral in your body. If you're a client of RDN Jen we offer scale smashing in sessions, safety glasses included.
Focus on things that you like about yourself that have nothing to do with your appearance - honor your intelligence, compassion, quirkiness, etc. Or focus on all the things your body does for you. For example "I appreciate that my body is strong and I can lift my kids." "My body supports my mental and emotional health.
Help end weight discrimination, fat phobia, and sizeism. Learn more about the Health At Every Size movement and identify ways you can support this. Can you call your legal representative and ask for protection against size discrimination in hiring? Could you donate to the Association for Size Diversity and Health or become a member? Is it possible to find local organizations that support all bodies and either support them financially or offer to volunteer. Two of my favorite in the Rochester, NY area are KMB For Answers and Positive Force Movement.
Explore what language you are using and invite kinder phrasing. The phrase "I feel fat" is a phrase that uses "fat" to suggest physical discomfort, frustration about one's body, or emotional distress about the perceived size of one's body. Consider how those around you who live life in larger bodies feel on a daily basis; they can hear you.