International No Diet Day was started by Mary Evans Young, the director of the British anti-diet campaign Diet Breakers. Since 1992, the day has been celebrated on May 6th in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and in the United States. While the day has its roots in feminism and the fat acceptance movement, today the day is embraced by eating-disorder awareness groups, health organizations and nutritionists.
No Diet Day aims to promote awareness about the dangers of fad diets and obsession with thinness, celebrate the beauty of all shapes and sizes and educate people about healthy lifestyles for all shapes and sizes. According to Canada’s National Eating Disorder Information Centre, supporters of International No Diet Day hope to one day “Declare a moratorium on diet/weight obsession.”
There are many ways to honor No Diet Day, and they do not necessarily involve binging on your favorite high-calorie items. No Diet Day is not about denying the health risks of junk food and obesity. Rather, the day hopes to highlight the difference between healthy eating and dieting purely for weight loss. Some groups encourage people to forget about any sort of regimented diet plan and listen to their body’s natural feelings of hunger and fullness. Panels, discussion groups and lecture series are often held in honor of the day.
Daniel Munday, owner of the Sydney personal training business DPM Performance, is offering “diet amenity.” Anyone living in the Australian city can trade in their diet books, pills, shakes and meal replacement bars in exchange for a free month of personal training and nutrition counseling. “I want to educate people on the real way to get their dream body and to make everyone aware of the long term dangers of what these diets do to their bodies,” Munday said in a press release. I’m not sure getting your dream body is part of Evans Young’s vision–I imagine she wouldn’t want anyone to wish they had a different body–but I applaud Munday’s effort to draw attention to the futility of so many diet programs.
We hope that all our readers will find some way of celebrating International No Diet Day. Perhaps that means throwing out any fat diet products, eating a filling meal without counting calories or attending some sort of organized event. Or maybe it just means taking a moment to appreciate your body, no matter its shape.