International No Diet Day is May 6th! This is a day to bring awareness to nutrition and weight loss myths and encourage healthy living regardless of body size.
Let’s start with defining diet and dieting as most people like to use these terms interchangeably. We all have a so called “diet” but a healthy diet is one where you are relaxed and flexible with your eating. You don't think about it too much. You eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. You’re not actively controlling, changing or trying to restrict your intake. “Dieting” is when there are specific changes or restrictions made. Restricting your intake means that you are limiting or controlling the amount of food you are consuming. This is not healthy because it can lead to strict food rules and creates an unhealthy relationship with food.
Here are some ways you can participate in International No Diet Day and live a healthier lifestyle:
- Bring neutrality to your foods. In a society that is quick to label foods as “good’ or “bad” remember that we eat for many reasons other than the nutrients provided by food; such as cultural, social and spiritual aspects. A healthy diet can include all food with consuming nutritious foods regularly and less nutritious foods occasionally too!
- Trust your body’s hunger cues and listen to them. It’s okay to eat what you are craving. As humans we are naturally intuitive eaters from childhood. Some ways to increase mindfulness while eating include putting your phone down, turning the tv off, choosing a dedicated area to eat and eating with others when possible.
- Emphasize the positive effects of physical activity. Move your body in ways you enjoy. Take the focus off your physical appearance and onto the many other benefits physical activity provides such as improving mental health!
- Ditch the “dieting” and the scale. Long term dieting has been shown to be unsustainable and can cause harm to your body. Focus on your overall health instead of weight. Health comes in many shapes and sizes.
- Don’t comment on someone’s body even if it’s meant to be a compliment. Instead, focus on qualities other than physical appearance when giving compliments.
- Model a healthy relationship with food and body image to children. This could mean providing children with healthy choices, involving them in the preparation of meals, allowing children to decide if and how much they are going to eat and avoiding comments on your body and theirs.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. All our bodies are different and have different needs. Therefore, our food choices will vary in types of food, the timing of eating and the amount of food consumed.
For more information visit the National Eating Disorder Information Centre.