I’m a bit late to the party to discuss this but two weeks ago, Tues 6th May was International No Diet Day – something I didn’t know existed until now, and as much I would happily march down the street with a home made sign in support of such a day, it’s actually given me a lot to think about.
At first I wasn’t exactly sure what the true meaning behind No Diet Day is. What were you suppose to do, put down the carrot sticks and pick up a snickers? Eat everything you feel is ‘forbidden’ or ‘bad’ because this is your one day golden ticket pass to guilt free indulgence?
Obviously not, a bit of reading and research told me that it is a day about challenging body acceptance, bringing awareness to unhealthy eating – in particular dangerous, fad diets and encouraging better relationships with food which is a great thing, but it’s also made me realise that I also have to make my peace with diets as well.
The irony is I have only been on a diet once or twice in my memory – the one which I mentioned in my earlier post about the diet I went on to lose weight for my friends wedding. Generally my food antics have been far too extreme to be called dieting – after a binge I entered the severe food restriction zone until the next binge came along. Eating disorders only taught me how to starve, binge and obsessively calorie count.
However after I began recovering from binge eating disorder I entered a phase of having absolute no tolerance of anyone being on a diet. I wasn’t exactly on a crusade but I just could not stand anyone been driven to think they need to go on a diet. Everyone was perfect the way they were and should be happy regardless of their shape and size – which is true to a certain extent as long as no ones health is in jeopardy. I felt I had to fight their corner (because I obviously knew deep down that they didn’t want to do it) to say that to losing weight or their diet wasn’t necessary; like some kind of guardian angel saviour because I was now enlightened.
These feelings were most prominent after Future Husband proposed to me, it was quite startling and depressing how almost every single female’s reaction was ‘Congratulations!’ followed by ‘I’ll need to go on a diet for the wedding’. It found it – and still find it – aggravating because I associate diets with nothing but negative feelings: guilt, frustration, dissatisfaction and being all round miserable and why would I want anyone feeling that way. The last thing I wanted to make anyone feel is pressurised or that they had to punish themselves for months just to enjoy one day.
My reaction was (and still is) to bat off people’s worries or insecurities because to me they don’t need to do a thing. I love them for exactly who they are, not how they look and all I want is for them to be happy – not be concerned about how they look. Wow. Sometimes I look back on what I write and wonder why I don’t take my own advice more often!
However I have to realise that some of this is transference of my feelings onto others. I felt miserable and guilty and inferior and all those negative feelings when I was on post binge starvation mode – it doesn’t exactly mean everyone else is going to feel that way if they go on a normal, sensible diet. I mean who doesn’t feel good when they know they’ve eaten healthily? I certainly do when I know I’m eating well, drinking less alcohol and doing regular exercise. Doing those 3 things always improves my mood, my focus and energy.
Oh the irony! As I was just typing Dominos text me!!
However maybe that’s another point to address, having a good diet to me is also not about restricting anything – trust me I know, if you ban something from yourself you’ll only end up craving it more and increasing the onset of guilty feelings if you ‘break’ your vow of abstinence. I still work hard at guilt banning (a new term I’ve just made up now, please feel free to start trending it). If I want to eat fast food or a take away I will and I try not to beat myself up about it. All foods need to be normalised and allowed – not demonised. Indulgences are a fun part of existence and luckily I know the difference between an indulgence and a binge.
I guess what I’m having to accept now is that if someone is unhappy with how they look it isn’t a crime to do something about it. Diets are bad things when they are treated as a fast track solution to losing weight. What I’ve discovered is that, even though it may be harder in the long term, if you want to change – permanent changes have to be put in place to your lifestyle.
I’m afraid I’m going to have to end my post here folks – half the keys on my laptop are no longer working which is proving extremely difficult! But thanks for reading and hopefully I’ll have everything sorted for next week!