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May 5, 2008 | by  | in Opinion |
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Student Health Service

May 6th-International No Diet Day (INDD)

6 May is recognized as International No Diet Day (INDD). It is not just a day to break one’s diet – but to break free from dieting and weight preoccupations altogether.

It’s a day devoted to bringing education and greater awareness of the dangers of dieting and obsessions with thinness. Originally it was focused at (and still is, to some extent) women and girls who were considered to be the greatest victims of dieting.

No Diet Day was started in 1992 and has been sponsored by an international coalition of health professionals and consumer advocacy organizations. INDD was established to challenge the cultural attitudes and values that contribute to chronic dieting, weight preoccupation, eating disorders and size discrimination. INDD has been celebrated in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Norway, South Africa, Russia and the United States.

INDD is an annual celebration of the human body and all the shapes and sizes that it comes in. It is about loving the skin you are in, and abandoning the idea that weight loss creates success and happiness. No Diet Day is about feeling happy with your size and shape, and appreciating the diversity of body types around you. One size does NOT fit all.

The Anti-Dieting and Size Acceptance movement promotes International No Diet Day as a way to educate the media, the medical community and society in general, which they consider to frequently send out the message that fat is ugly, fat is unhealthy, and fat is something to lose at all costs. They promote that societal focus on dieting and weight loss has contributed to an obsession with dieting in the western world, and that dieting obsession contributes to eating disorders, unhealthy use of diet pills, weight loss surgeries with serious long-term health issues and a myriad of health problems due to poor eating habits.

INDD is a day to:

-Take a day off from whatever crazy diet plan that you are following and instead honour, respect and respond to your body’s unique hunger needs;

-Celebrate the beauty and diversity of ALL our natural sizes and shapes;

-Affirm everybody’s right to health, fitness and emotional well-being;

-Declare a personal one-day moratorium on diet/ weight obsession;

-Learn the facts about weight-loss dieting, health and body size;

-Honour the victims of eating disorders and weightloss surgery; and

-Help end weight discrimination and fat-phobia.

NND is a day to learn about the truths of dieting:

-Between 90% and 99% of reducing diets fail to produce permanent weight loss.

-Two-thirds of dieters regain the weight within one year. Virtually all regain it within five years.

-The diet industry (diet foods, diet programmes, diet drugs etc.) takes in over $40 billion each year, and is still growing.

-Quick-weight-loss schemes are among the most common consumer frauds, and diet programmes have the highest customer dissatisfaction of any service industry.

-Young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer or losing their parents. 50% of 9-year-old girls and 80% of 10- year-old girls have dieted.

-90% of high school girls diet regularly, even though only between 10% and 15% are over the weight recommended by the standard heightweight charts.

-Anorexia has the highest mortality rate (up to 20%) of any psychiatric diagnosis.

-Girls develop eating and self-image problems before drug or alcohol problems. There are drug and alcohol programmes in almost every school, but no eating disorder programmes.

A suggested PLEDGE for individuals on INDD

I will not diet for one day, on 6 May, International No Diet Day.
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.
I will try to do at least one thing that I have been putting off “until I lose weight”.

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