What would happen if I stood on a milk crate in downtown Guelph, ON, shouting, "HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE" or "CELEBRATE YOUR BODY"? What about if I shouted, "DIETS DON'T WORK"? How would people respond? I imagine some would think, "aw, that's a nice message. Yeah yeah yeah, what we need is self-love...self-acceptance... heard it all before." Perhaps some would think, "Sure, easy for you to say... but I still need to lose a few pounds." I do know, however, there would be a population of people that would completely agree and who work hard at having a healthy relationship with their body's shape, weight and size. Unfortunately, I think this population is the minority, but get excited when I see change... even if it is ever so slight.
I've often commented in my blog, that what I say is counter-cultural. That it is possible to be healthy at any size as well as unhealthy at any size. Size isn't the issue as it is lifestyle and balance. We spend so much time, energy and emotion trying to measure our worth (and health!) according to our pant size or number on the scale. We look for quick fixes, immediate gratification and measurements of progress that are mostly external. The message needs to change... and... slowly it is!
Today is International No Diet Day! Different cities and organizations will be delivering the same counter cultural message my clients often hear in the four walls of my office. In downtown Guelph, ON, storefronts are supporting the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Eating Disorder Coalition (WDGEDC) by putting up signs with positive body affirmations on them and anti-dieting messages.
Also, at 6:30pm tonight, there is a screening of 'America the Beautiful II" at the Princess Theatre in Waterloo, which examines the obsessiveness of dieting in our culture as well as weight and size. This event is put on by the WDGEDC and Canadian Mental Health Association. Check for events in your area that speak up against dieting... and if none exist, don't let that stop you! Think about ways to get involved in spreading this message.
Slowly, but consistently there is a force and movement that is challenging mainstream society. One that chooses to not listen to or play by the rules that confine people in self-hate, dissatisfaction and shame. It is a message that promotes self-acceptance, health and a sense of freedom. We don't have to wait until the rules change to live and think differently. And I challenge you to start today and continue to follow through tomorrow and the next day and the next. How will you celebrate International No Diet Day this year?