May 6 is International No Diet Day! In honor of INDD I took some time today to reflect on the many, many years I wasted dieting and came up with 10 reasons that I’ll never diet again – and let me clarify that my definition of dieting is any attempt to use eating and exercise to manipulate my body size. Let me also clarify that I am only speaking for myself here – your mileage may vary.
1. I refuse to manipulate my body size to try to conform to a social stereotype of beauty.
2. I refuse to attempt to manipulate my body size to try to solve social stigma, bullying or oppression. The cure for bullying, social stigma and oppression is not weight loss, it’s ending bullying, social stigma, and oppression. The problem is not my body, it’s people who bully, stigmatize and oppress me because of my body size.
3. Of course health is not a guarantee, an obligation or a barometer of worthiness – we each get to choose how highly we prioritize our health and the path that we want to take to get there. For me it’s important to know that research suggests that habits are a much better indicator of future health than body size.
4. There is not a single study of any method of intentional weight loss (whether you call it dieting, lifestyle change or something else) has shown it to be successful for more than a tiny fraction of people. Even the diet companies’ own studies show that they don’t work.
5. Even if I managed to be part of the tiny percentage of people who succeed at long term weight loss, there is not a single study that shows that it would make me healthier, in fact, the little research that exists suggests that it wouldn’t
6. During the time that I was attempting intentional weight loss my body size would decrease in the short term, then increase over time no matter how strict I kept to my habits (which, it turned out, is exactly what the research said would happen.) I wasn’t able to stabilize my body size until I started practicing Health at Every Size.
7. During the time that I was attempting intentional weight loss I had unhealthy relationships with food, exercise and my body. A focus on appreciating my body and supporting it through healthy habits has lead to my having healthy relationships with food, exercise, and my body.
9. I don’t want my money to be part of the over 60 billion dollars that we spend every year on the diet industry – an industry that has lost so many deceptive trade practice lawsuits that they are actually required to remind us that their product doesn’t actually work every time they advertise it. I think that there are a lot better things we could buy for 60 billion dollars.
10. Diets don’t work – I definitely gave dieting the old college try and it didn’t make me thinner, healthier, happier, or anything other than miserable. I think I’m right, but even if I’m wrong I choose Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size.
Happy No Diet Day!
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