British consultant Mary Evans Young battled anorexia nervosa, body image issues, and bullying for years. After seeing other women suffer the same self-loathing, in May 1992, she decided to put a stop to it. Inviting her friends to wear "Ditch That Diet" stickers and to fully embrace their bodies for a day, Mary had no idea she had just sparked a global movement. On May 6, we put away our bathroom scales and get out our light blue ribbons (the official symbol for this day), because it's International No Diet Day.
Why We Love Not Dieting (and International No Diet Day)
1. Dieting Doesn’t Always Work
Diets don’t always help us achieve the desired result—sustained weight loss. Nutritionists say that on average, people who complete weight loss programs lose 10% of their body weight, only to gain two-thirds of it back within a year, and almost all of it back within five years.
2. Our Bodies Know What We Need More Than Any Diet Plan Does
In a world that dictates a one-size-fits-all ideal for how our bodies should look, we often lose sight of what our bodies actually need. By stepping away from diets for a day, we can allow our bodies to take the wheel and listen closely to what they tell us. Our bodies were made to sustain us—they know best.
3. Diets Can Be Distracting
Mary Evans Young—the founder of International Diet Day—says she was inspired to establish the holiday after overhearing some coworkers debate over whether or not to eat a cookie at the office. She approached them and famously said, “What do you think would happen if you spent as much time and energy on your careers as you do on diets?”
How To Celebrate International No Diet Day
1. Share Your Favorite Food with a Friend
Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and even moreso if consumed in good company. Indulge in your favorite food with a friend or loved one, but don’t snarf it down—eat it slowly and mindfully, enjoying the taste, the nourishment it gives your body, and the fellowship it facilitates with other people.
2. Start the Day in Front of the Mirror
International No Diet Day aims to raise awareness of fat (and skinny) shaming and help end weight discrimination. Contribute to awareness-raising by starting with the “man in the mirror.” Looking yourself square in the eye, declare this day free of diets, weight obsession, and negative body image. Today, you love your body, and you intend to spread that sentiment to everyone else.
3. Have an Impromptu Dance Party to “All About That Bass”
No matter where you are—the office, at school, on the train, out with friends, or at home—blast Meaghan Trainor’s body positive song “All About That Bass” and dance to your heart’s content. Invite others to participate. Bonus points if you manage to get strangers to join in the fun!