It’s finally here. A day that truly celebrates a life free of rules and restrictions; a day that celebrates our bodies just as they are. But how much has our body image deteriorated to fuel the need for a No Diet Day? How widespread is the desire to be ‘perfect’ and ‘skinny’ anyways? Although it’s amazing to see that we are beginning to recognize the problem with the diet and fitness industry, our bodies continue to be the subject of our harshest criticisms. We believe that the lighter we are, the happier we will become. Instead of enjoying time spent with family and friends, we are wasting time planning meals, eating separately, and forever thinking about our insecurities. So what’s a girl to do? With 91% of women hating their bodies[i] and 90% of women opting out of important life events because of the way they look, we can’t just change our bodies, we have to change our perspective.
What does dieting actually do to our bodies?
If you’ve seen any commercial for popular dieting companies like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers or Atkins, you would believe that after following a strict food diet (often filled with meal replacements, extreme exercise and lots of rules) you’ll drop 20 pounds in 2 weeks. Maybe you’ll even keep it off for 2 months. But after 6 months, almost all diets fail[ii]. The word diet at its most basic indicates a change in eating habits and food choices[iii]. However, if that change does not fit comfortably into your lifestyle, and if it’s not flexible enough to accommodate busyness, events or anything else you encounter, then its doomed to fail from the beginning. Put simply, you can’t eat meal replacement bars for the rest of your life.
What is your ‘Set Point’?
More than anything, our diets and weight loss regimes can throw off our bodies natural balance, and in the long run can alter our ‘set point’. Your set point identifies your bodies size and weight as a combination of both genetics and eating habits. For adults who do not consciously try to control their body size, these factors regulate the body to maintain a remarkably stable weight[iv]. Ultimately, this is the weight that your body maintains when you don’t have to worry about what you’re eating or how you’re moving. When we do something drastic to change that, like working out excessively, the chemistry in our body changes. Your body begins to require more food to satisfy your hunger or you get tired and lethargic because your body just doesn’t want to move. After every diet and every attempt to change your weight, your body reacts defensively; It adds a few pounds to leave there just in case this drastic change happens again.
Bottom line? Just don’t start. Every time we go on a new diet that restricts us for a prolonged period of time our bodies work to maintain our natural body weight. To celebrate a day that encourages body love and food freedom we need to break the dieting cycle and change the way we look at ourselves (even if it is one day at a time). Together we can stop dieting, stop following food rules, and stop depriving ourselves of cake because we didn’t go for that run. More importantly, we can stop the mental chatter around our weight and our food choices.
Until next time,
Live Life. Love Food. Be Free.