Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Thin Line of Fat: Happy No Diet Day (I'm So Down With This)

Today, May 6, is No Diet Day.

You're probably thinking why someone with a health blog is promoting a diet-free day. I will tell you: diets do not work and only serve to make people feel inadequate. Body acceptance and fat acceptance should be part of life--not everyone is what some people deem "Average".

Maybe it's time for a quick break to discuss what I mean when I use the term "diet" in this post. When I say "diet" I don't mean a lifestyle choice, I mean a decision to embark on a plan of starvation or self-deprivation for a period of time either definite or indefinite for the sole purpose of dropping pounds. Diets are usually disgused as lifestyle changes, so it's hard to know where people stand.

These things are lifestyle changes:
1. Eating low carb or low sugar because of a medical reason (insulin resistance, gluten intolerance, etc.)
2. Becoming a vegetarian or vegan because of moral or personal reasons.
3. Cutting out highly-processed foods for basic health and ecological reasons.

These things are diets:
1. Setting a maximum number of calories, fat grams, carbohydrate grams or any other measurement for a certain time period (i.e., 1600 calorie a day diet).
2. Measuring health by weight alone
3. Weighing food on a meal-by-meal basis to avoid going over set limits
4. Setting goals in terms of pounds lost without regard to basic overall health

So why shouldn't you diet? Here are ten good reasons why from the Counsel on Size & Weight Discrimination:

10. DIETS DON'T WORK. Even if you lose weight, you will probably gain it all back, and you might gain back more than you lost.

9. DIETS ARE EXPENSIVE. If you didn't buy special diet products, you could save enough to get new clothes, which would improve your outlook right now.

8. DIETS ARE BORING. People on diets talk and think about food and practically nothing else. There's a lot more to life.

7. DIETS DON'T NECESSARILY IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH. Like the weight loss, health improvement is temporary. Dieting can actually cause health problems.

6. DIETS DON'T MAKE YOU BEAUTIFUL. Very few people will ever look like models. Glamour is a look, not a size. You don't have to be thin to be attractive.

5. DIETS ARE NOT SEXY. If you want to be more attractive, take care of your body and your appearance. Feeling healthy makes you look your best.

4. DIETS CAN TURN INTO EATING DISORDERS. The obsession to be thin can lead to anorexia, bulimia, bingeing, and compulsive exercising.

3. DIETS CAN MAKE YOU AFRAID OF FOOD. Food nourishes and comforts us, and gives us pleasure. Dieting can make food seem like your enemy, and can deprive you of all the positive things about food.

2. DIETS CAN ROB YOU OF ENERGY. If you want to lead a full and active life, you need good nutrition, and enough food to meet your body's needs.

And the number one reason to give up dieting:

1. Learning to love and accept yourself just as you are will give you self-confidence, better health, and a sense of wellbeing that will last a lifetime.

So give yourself a break and break free of dieting once and for all. If you need a lifestyle change or desire one, make it, but don't rope yourself into this multi-billion dollar scheme perpetuated at the cost of self-respect and hope.