May 6th is International No Diet Day. This doesn’t mean that you should go and have a family block of chocolate all to yourself, rather the day focuses on the importance of a balanced and healthy lifestyle; balanced and healthy in terms of what you eat and how you feel. The day was established in 1992 by Mary Evans Young, the director of British anti-diet campaign Diet Breakers. The aims include to raise awareness of dangers of dieting and to promote positive body image and self-esteem. Dieting in this sense is referring to the restriction of food intake (kilojoules or food types) that follows rigid rules to elicit weight loss. The Butterfly Foundation supports International No Diet Day and effectively highlights some of the implications of dieting which can lead to (or exacerbate) negative self-perceptions:
- Diets usually are not sustainable
- Diets do not address emotional eating
- People often are trying to attain a body shape or weight that is unrealistic
- Avoiding a food makes it more desirable e.g. Imagine you are told you can’t have chocolate. Ever. What is the first food you think of? Chocolate.
Dieting also has nutritional and physiological implications such as:
- Risk of inadequacy of nutrients e.g. calcium intake is vital to maximise the density and strength of bones to reduce risk of osteoporosis
- Rapid weight loss can result in loss of muscle mass which reduces an individual’s Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) as muscle tissue of the body that uses energy
- It has been shown that the faster the weight loss, the greater the reduction in RMR, as a result of hormonal changes within the body (Swartz, 2010)
The best approach is a balanced lifestyle of healthy eating and physical activity without rigid rules; and some positive affirmation to top it off. Happy International No Diet Day you fabulous individual!
The Butterfly Foundation
Better Health Channel
Review of change in energy expenditure on weight loss. Schwartz (2010). Obesity reviews