It is the time of year that so many of us begin to think about the coming summer months of bared bodies — shorts, swimsuits, sleeveless tops. For the weight-worried among us, that also means thoughts of weight loss. And the dieting that goes along with that.
May we all breathe a breath of fresh relief on this day and give thanks that today is meant to help us cut loose the diet chains that bind us, shake it all off and completely let go. Today’s the day to hide your scale, forget about calorie counting and love your body just the way it is.
Diets don’t always help us achieve the desired result—sustained weight loss. Nutritionists say that on average, people who complete weight loss programs lose 10% of their body weight, only to gain two-thirds of it back within a year, and almost all of it back within five years.
International No Diet Day (INDD) was created by Mary Evans Young in 1992. Young is the director of the British group "Diet Breakers". After personally experiencing anorexia nervosa, she worked to help people appreciate themselves for what they are, and to appreciate the body they have. Young, a British feminist, developed her understanding both through her own experiences of being bullied at school for being fat and by speaking with women who attended the management courses she ran. She relates in her book, Diet Breaking: Having It All Without Having to Diet, how during one of these courses in 1991 she became irritated with the coffee break conversation about whether or not the women were going to eat a biscuit - "Oh, I’ll just have one", "I shouldn’t really", "Oh, all right then". Young asked the group "What do you think would happen if you spent as much time and energy on your careers as you do on diets?"
In May 1992, Young introduced the first No Diet Day. Originally intended to be a UK-based National No Diet Day, a week before the event, International Clear Your Desk Day was declared and Young was inspired to make her holiday also an international one. It was a small affair to be celebrated by a dozen women with a picnic in Hyde Park, London. Ages ranged from twenty-one to seventy-six and they all wore stickers saying: Ditch That Diet. It rained, and so Mary Evans Young held the picnic in her home.
By 1993, feminists in many more countries were planning on celebrating International No Diet Day. Americans, particularly those in California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, were concerned that the date clashed with the Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the southern states. For Young there was no particular significance to 5 May so she agreed to change the date to May 6, coincidentally her birthday.
Feminist groups in other countries around the globe have started to celebrate International No Diet Day, especially in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Israel, Denmark, Sweden and Brazil.
Since 1998 INDD both the International Size Acceptance Association (ISAA) and the National Organisation for Women (NOW) have sponsored similar days.
INDD has evolved into No Diet Day, still on May 6, recommended as a marketing technique for restaurant owners via indulgent treats for their customers. In a similar approach, in a discussion on social marketing techniques for Australian public health educators it was suggested that local campaigns could be tagged onto a national social marketing strategy and the example given was to attach a local Healthy Eating campaign onto ’National No-Diet Day’.
INDD symbol is a light blue ribbon.