Today is International No Diet Day. To celebrate, I’m reposting last year’s piece on everything from the cons of dieting to my experiences with dieting to how you can spend the day. I hope you find it helpful, and celebrate along with me!

Dieting is not only unhealthy, but it makes us deeply distrust ourselves. Which I think is one of the saddest consequences.

That’s why I’m thrilled to highlight International No Diet Day – which is today!  It was started in 1992 by Mary Evans Young in England. And now is celebrated all over the world.

Sharon Haywood, co-editor of Adios Barbie, has a fantastic post on the site about this day. It gives readers more details about the day and what it means – and why dieting is damaging.

She writes:

Since 1992, May 6th has been designated International No Diet Day (INDD). This body-loving campaign is associated with combating eating disorders and honoring the people who have suffered because of one. For this day, we can thank Mary Evans Young, a UK feminist, the founder of the British anti-diet movement, Diet Breakers, and author of the best-selling book, Diet Breaking: Having It All Without Having To Diet (Hodder & Stoughton, 1995).  She started INDD after recovering from anorexia, although the day isn’t just about eating disorders. This movement draws attention to the fact that a great many of us suffer from disordered thinking regarding food and our bodies, not just those afflicted with anorexia and bulimia.

INDD is more about not depriving yourself for a 24-hour period. It beckons you to make peace with your body and your relationship with food. And not only for your mental health. Various studies show that yo-yo dieting has been found to be damaging to one’s physical health in conditions such as congestive heart failure, hypertension, and clogged arteries.[1] What’s more is that investigators have evidence that illustrate a significant correlation between thinness and shorter lives.[2]

Interesting how we rarely hear about this research. How we rarely hear that dieting has a failure rate of about 98 percent. That people tend to gain the weight back and then some.

That dieting is a common cause of overeating. That dieting helps you lose touch with your body’s hunger and satiety signals.

Speaking of important research, for individuals who are already genetically vulnerable, dieting is also a major trigger for eating disorders. Because it’s a slippery slope.

So to me, ditching dieting is a celebration!

It celebrates choosing health. Choosing yourself. Choosing to stand up and listen to yourself. Choosing to go against society’s mandate that weight loss is a must for a magnificent life.

Ditching dieting finally means that I choose to nourish my body, mind and spirit on my own terms. That I truly trust myself.

Ditching dieting isn’t easy, and sometimes the diet mentality still whispers in my mind. (What worth-it thing is?)

But for me, the alternative, dieting, wasn’t working. When I was dieting, I worried that two apples a day would make me gain weight. I allowed “health” magazines to rule my habits. I restricted and binged.

I felt like a failure. A glutton. And I never achieved the control I craved. Instead, I felt terribly out of touch with my body and myself.

What I didn’t know then is that releasing myself from the unhealthy clutches of dieting would seriously be – and I’m not exaggerating here – one of the best decisions of my life.

So in honor of INDD, here are a few ideas for how you might celebrate:

  • Listen and attend to your body’s hunger and satiety cues.
  • List all the ways that ditching dieting has improved your life (or if you haven’t given up dieting, how it might).
  • Do some soul-searching into why you’ve dieted.
  • Check out some great resources.
  • Learn why diets don’t actually work (you’ll find some info in the posts below, particularly in Golda’s “16 Things That Are Wrong with Dieting”).
  • Celebrate your body, and what it’s done for you.
  • Take the time to cook yourself a yummy, nourishing meal.
  • Focus on how foods feel in your mouth, how they taste and smell.
  • Avoid multi-tasking while you’re eating.
  • Avoid fat talk.
  • Do something physical that you absolutely love.
  • Take the INDD pledge!

Here are some of my posts and others’ on dieting and why diets don’t work:

Becoming a Diet Survivor

Body Image & The Diet Mentality: Letting Go of Shame

Are All Diets Unhealthy?

16 Things That Are Wrong with Dieting

Intuitive Eating: Q&A with Dietitian Evelyn Tribole

What does dieting mean to you? What awesome things have you gained since giving up dieting? How will you celebrate today?