Junkfood Science: Happy International No Diet Day!

May 06, 2008

Happy International No Diet Day!

Can you go an entire day without: making a disparaging comment about your thighs or stomach, counting calories, weighing yourself or feeling guilty about what you eat? Today is International No Diet Day — a day devoted to learning to break free from diet and weight preoccupations altogether... a day to appreciate that bodies come in all shapes and sizes... a day to challenge the cultural attitudes and values that encourage dieting, negative body images, eating disorders and fat discrimination.

Since 1992, every May 6th has been recognized as International No Diet Day. Sponsored by an international coalition of health professionals and consumer advocacy organizationss, today is also devoted to bringing education and greater awareness of the dangers of dieting, bariatric surgery and obsessions with thinness, said Karen Stimson of Largesse.

It’s an annual day to celebrate body diversity and appreciate all natural sizes and shapes; a day to bring understanding that “one size does NOT fit all;” a day to affirm everyBODY’s right to health and well-being; a day to end weight discrimination and sizism; and a day to remember the victims of eating disorders and bariatric surgery. More than 8,000 people, mostly healthy young women, are estimated to have died from bariatric surgery just in 2005.

No Diet Day was founded by Mary Evans Young, a recovered anorectic. Here is her story in her own words:

I started INDD in the spring of '92 following two things. The first was seeing a television programme where women were having their stomachs stapled. One woman had split the staples and was in for her third op[eration]. And then a young girl of 15 committed suicide because 'she couldn't cope being fat.' She was size 14 (12 in US). I decided somebody had to stand up and try to stop this bloody madness and in the absence of anybody else, I decided it would be me. So I sent out a press release titled 'Fat Woman Bites Back'...and got some media attention. I was desperate to keep the anti-diet/size acceptance concept in the public eye. So, without really thinking about it, at the end of a live TV interview I said, 'Don't forget to celebrate No Diet Day.' ...Having declared it on prime time national TV I then set about organising a picnic in Hyde Park. Alas it rained, so we adjourned to my living room instead."

It has since spread and is celebrated around the world. The official INDD website is hosted at Largesse at: http://www.largesse.net/INDD/ There, you’ll find more information, books and references. The INDD pledge, reprinted with permission of Karen Stimson, is:

I Pledge —

· That I will not diet for one day, on May 6, International No Diet Day.

· Instead of trying to change my body to fit someone else's standards, I will accept myself just as I am.

· I will feed myself if I'm hungry.

· I will feel no shame or guilt about my size or about eating.

· I will think about whether dieting has improved my health and well-being or not.

· And I will try to do at least one thing I have been putting off "until I lose weight."

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