Hey, it’s International No Diet Day! Of course, we strive to make EVERY day No Diet Day, but if you’ve been teetering on the edge, today is the day to try it out for 24 hours and see how you function when you make peace with food. Or maybe it’s time to spread the word to some friends, or post a flyer next to the stats for your office “Biggest Loser” competition. Or maybe it’s just a day to eat a big piece of cake.
Or, you know, maybe it’s a day to eat a big piece of tofu. Posting about this initially made me feel a little weird about my breakfast, which I am eating right now and which is cottage cheese and some very gorgeous fruit. But then I thought, hey, isn’t this just another reason to resent the diet industry? Dieting has reinscribed excellent food like fruit and cottage cheese and spinach into Virtuous Diet Food, to the degree where it’s hard for a proud fatty to eat it without feeling a little furtive, like she has to make excuses. To the degree where people who have grown up in diet culture actually assume they don’t like really amazing food, just because its good-for-you reputation must mean it’s officially No Fun. (Of course, it’s entirely kosher to genuinely dislike food that’s also considered diet food, but I know plenty of people who turn their nose up at anything that’s supposed to be “healthy” because it smacks to them of deprivation.) Or they eat it because they think they’ve gotta get some virtue down their gullets, instead of because it tastes amazing and gives them energy. Fuck that — INDD is a day when food has no moral weight. I love cottage cheese (and if you think you don’t, give it another shot without thinking of it as a Diet Food), and I love chocolate chip cookies, and I might very well eat both today. Though not at the same time. And neither will make me bad or good, or a Typical Fat Person, or a Traitor to the Cause, or anything except a hungry person relishing some tasty comestibles. For at least this one day, let yourself off the hook. Count nothing. Judge nobody’s food choices, including your own. Let’s have food mean nothing but “substances that provide energy and are also as delicious as possible.”
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.