In essence, I decided to write a blog because of what “International No-Diet Day” symbolizes. May 6th is “International No-Diet Day”. Wait, don’t head out the door to the nearest donut shop after reading the words “no diet.” Instead, take this time to rethink what you have been doing and depriving yourself of.
How helpful are behaviors if you ditch them once you see some results? This is what happens when you go on a d-i-e-t and just focus on the weight loss. Sure, they helped to shed the pounds, but if you really want to shed the weight for good, you need your habits to become part of a lifestyle, they need to become natural. Habits are habits because not engaging in them is uncomfortable. Feeling restricted or bounded by a behavior is a light bulb moment that it may not become a behavior that sticks around long leading to rebounding of old behaviors and pounds.
Are You Dreaming of Freedom? Or obsessing About Food?
Another indication that your behavior will not become a habit is the thought of freeing yourself from the strong grasp or chains of the behavior is something you wish for and look forward to. Eating habits needn’t be something to extricate yourself from.
What does “International No-Diet Day” signify? Today is a day where we take a step back, appreciate our body for what it is and all that it does. Today is a day that we celebrate “who” we are and not “what” our body looks like. We are people, we are not a number on the scale.
Live Up Your Life!
This is a day where we reflect on the eating path we have chosen and evaluate if it rationally makes sense to continue on the journey of life in its grasp. Does it allow you to enjoy your life to the fullest? Can you go to a restaurant and order from the menu? Are you paralyzed by the idea of going to a new restaurant? Do you need to order a meal that isn’t even offered when you go to a restaurant? Do you feel like going on vacation or coming home from it may be more stressful because you haven’t had “control” over the food?
If so, then your “dieting” and to be happy, to lose weight and to keep it off it is important to retrain your brain to think more clearly about your goals and how you go about reaching and maintaining them.
Normal Eating Is…
I understand that this may be hard for some people to understand. We have lost sight of what “normal” eating looks like. Normal isn’t obsessing, eliminating, avoiding or shunning food. And that includes carbohydrates. No, it isn’t normal to eliminate carbs from your diet…or bananas, carrots or grapes for that matter. Come on people, I don’t need to tell you that no one has ever walked through the doors of my office having gained weight because they ate a banana, grapes or carrots. In case you were wondering, those foods never kept anyone from losing weight either. Despite what you have read on those ridiculous ads all over the internet.
No one has said it better than the international authority on eating and feeding, Ellyn Satter, who, by the way, is also a registered dietitian and family therapist. She said:
“Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it -not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good.
Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more.
Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life. In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.”
No-Diet Day is About Honoring Yourself
Is this something we need to think about for one day? Is “National Ice Cream Day” the only day of the year we eat ice cream? No, but it is a day that companies like Ben & Jerry’s give out free ice cream cones to celebrate ice cream. But as a nutritionist and your partner in helping you achieve your personal best, what can I give to you to celebrate this important day?
I can’t give you anything but you can take something back. Start honoring yourself by taking back your self-worth and your self-esteem from the diet industry, the scale, the food and diets that prey on you by stripping you of your confidence.
Let today serve as a reminder of what we forget the other 364 days of the year. We are more than a number on the scale, the calories we eat, the size and shape of our body and the hatred we have for it and its individual parts. Today is the day where we celebrate ourselves, for who we are and what we do and with that remember who we are and what we do for others is way more important than what we look like.
We aren’t a body type or the diet we choose to eat. Our value isn’t determined by pounds lost or gained or the number on the scale. We are people, with hearts, feelings, accomplishments, and challenges. Love, be compassionate, and respect yourself. You deserve it. Not just today, every day.
This is the very reason behind this blog.