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6th May - International ‘No Diet’ Day

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01 May 2014

Mary Evans Young, a recovered anorexic and director of the British anti-diet campaign, Diet Breakers, established  International No Diet Day (INDD) in 1992 to raise awareness of eating disorders and combat the diet industry. She made this decision for a couple of reasons; one was seeing a programme on TV where women were having their stomachs stapled - one woman had split her staples twice and was onto her 3rd operation! - and the other was an article about a 15 year old girl who had committed suicide because 'she couldn't cope being fat.' She was size 14.

Mary, like many other women, is passionate about trying to embrace who we are, empowering women whatever they look like and whatever size the are. However, we've all been there, even men I imagine; feeling overweight and frumpy, overeating and then feeling guilty afterwards.

But I agree, there's a line and diets aren't always the way forward.

For those of you who know me, I'm a big one for hitting the gym and trying to eat as healthy as possible but I definitely don't deny myself what I want and, because I work so hard in the gym, I'm not particularly strict on myself when we have treats in the office or when I fancy a takeaway.

However, when I went travelling I was overweight; none of my clothes fit me properly, I felt awful, I felt like I looked awful and I just wasn't very happy. When I got home I did the 'Weight To Go' diet which consisted of savoury and sweet shakes - it sounds disgusting, but it was actually really nice!

I lost a bit of weight and got back into the gym - but did I really lose weight because of the diet? Probably not. And how did it affect those round me? People started asking me what I was doing, how much it cost, etc etc. People always seem to be interested in ways to lose weight, even when they don't really need to.

What Mary says, and I'm in agreement with, is that dieting isn't often leads to unhealthy and dangerous attitudes towards food.

Restriction, being the nature of dieting, places negative values on certain foods such as too many calories, too much fat, etc. The tension and stress of struggling over our food choices puts food in the position of enemy. A child/teen exposed to these attitudes in a dieting parent, sibling, or friend has an increased risk of developing an eating disorder.

Anorexia and Orthorexia are two eating disorders to commonly result from dieting. And let's be honest, 9 times out of 10, diets don't work, if they did we'd all be skinny or 100% happy with the way we look...which we know is never going to happen!

I believe that people should do what is right for them and what makes them happy, but they have to be realistic with what is going to work and what won't. To keep the weight off often means going to the gym or taking part in something active in order to keeping healthy, and this needs not to turn into something obsessive and excessive which ends up damaging your health. Plus, weight isn't the only thing that makes people unhappy but seems to be the most talked about. The media and general public opinion massively assist in making 'body image' an issue!

A well known saying is "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" but, whether you believe that or not, for one day, let's forget this, embrace who we are and eat and do what makes you happy.

Happy No Diet Day!

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