Apr. 30, 2008 - Issue #654: SNFU
No Diet Day
Drop the diet for (at least) one great day
But before you run out to the nearest fast food joint and celebrate by gorging yourself into a coma (can’t you do better than fast food anyways?), stop and think for a second: the idea behind this day is not to eat mindlessly, continuously and excessively. Based on the numerous studies and statistics that are constantly emerging, we already appear to be doing just that. Instead, try to simply enjoy life, a life that includes eating without all the pent-up guilt we inflict upon ourselves.
INDD has a long list of goals, but they basically come down to body acceptance and body diversity. People of all shapes and sizes should be accepted for who they are, not how much they weigh or don’t weigh. In our weight-obsessed society, being on a diet is sometimes more the norm than not being on one. In certain circles it can even be cool and downright trendy. But how cool is this? According to Largesse, the Network for Size Esteem, 50 per cent of 9-year-old girls and 80 per cent of 10-year-old girls have dieted.
When I was that age, the whole multi-million dollar diet industry wasn’t quite as all-consuming as it is today. Or maybe I was just fortunate and blissfully unaware. Whatever the case, I can remember engaging in a battle of spoons with my numerous siblings over the drippings in the fried chicken pan. My mom made the best fried chicken, cooked in the oven, not a deep-fryer. Once the chicken was done and carefully lifted out of the pan to a waiting platter, there was this pan, just sitting there, filled with all the delicious chicken drippings and stuck-on coating from the chicken.
After it had cooled slightly, we were allowed to grab spoons and the race was on to see who could scoop up the most of this highly coveted delicacy. The thought of doing this today is definitely less than appealing, but why can’t kids today experience this level of innocence, this simple pleasure, without society’s pressure and guilt?
What can you do? Become aware of what you are putting into your mouth. Turn off the TV; try sitting at a table to eat, not in a car; try using plates and forks and spoons and knives. Taste and enjoy your food, don’t just inhale it. Don’t obsess about calories, fat grams and carbs. Don’t classify food as “good” and “bad.” Finally, try eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full.
That’s a lot of do’s and don’ts. But it’s simple, really: stop dieting. They don’t work anyway: it’s been widely reported that between 90 and 95 per cent of diets fail. Besides, diets themselves are not necessarily healthy. Their main focus is simply to lose weight, to strive to attain society’s unattainable acceptable body size by whatever means or method possible. The Subway Diet is much more a marketing tool than a healthy, balanced weight-loss plan. And the grapefruit diet—well, don’t get me started.
With so many people dieting every year, you would think that we would be getting lighter, not heavier. Well, according to Stats Canada, between 1981 and 1996, the number of overweight/obese men rose from 48 per cent to 57 per cent, while among women it rose from 30 per cent to 35 per cent. Success? I don’t think so.
So celebrate No Diet Day by forgetting about “dieting” for that one day. Focus on eating healthy, real food (junk food doesn’t count) and actually nourishing your body. Accept and celebrate your body. A body is so much more than simply fat or thin or somewhere in-between. A body is a person—a son or daughter, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a husband or wife, a grandson or granddaughter, a friend. That person you are about to judge or who is about to judge you is a person, someone with feelings and talents and values.
Me, I think I’ll have that hot chocolate that I always seem to be craving, whether there are icicles hanging off my roof or flowers drooping in my garden. (With chocolate whipped cream of course.) And maybe I’ll have it at the Highlevel Diner with one of their gooey, decadent, amazing, and utterly delicious cinnamon buns. Or maybe I’ll stop by Da Capo and have that extra scoop of gelato that I so often consider but rarely succumb to—the rich, vibrant chocolate mint if they have it. And the day wouldn’t be complete without a big bowl of salty (and maybe buttery) popcorn. Whatever I do, I’m just going to enjoy the day and not worry about every little thing I put in my mouth.
It’s not an easy task, but it’s definitely a worthwhile one. When you’re 80 years young, relaxing in your rocking chair and reflecting on life, are you going to remember life in terms of how fat/thin you were or by what you have accomplished, who you have nurtured, and the places you have seen?
So celebrate by being you and taking May 6 to eat what you want to eat, not what you think you should. Eating should be pleasurable, not guilt-ridden. Leave all society’s baggage and unreal expectations behind for the day and enjoy life with the same vigor as you did when you were a kid. Maybe don’t go as far as scooping up spoonfuls of chicken fat, but do live a little, if not a lot. V
Tue, May 6
No Diet Day
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