Tomorrow is a great day – International No Diet Day! A day to rethink our approach toward food as well as a day to pause and reflect on whether diets lead us to the results we want (spoiler: they don’t!).
International No Diet Day serves as a perfect opportunity to try something different – to look at food not as a tool for weight loss, but instead a necessary component of our livelihood. You see, we need food and the nourishment it brings. It’s not something we need to fear, restrict, or control to live – it’s something we can embrace to enjoy life to it’s fullest.
This year, as we celebrate No Diet Day, I want to encourage you to take action. To start imagining a life where your body and the foods you want to eat aren’t your enemies. Not quite sure where to start? Here are a few actionable steps you can take as we celebrate International No Diet Day together:
Spring clean your social media follow list. International No Diet Day might be a great day to clean up your social media list. Take a close look at who you are following and what they are sharing. If you find messages or content that use shame or fear to get you to change the way you eat, it’s time to unfollow. Additionally, any page or person that shares content that makes you feel less than amazing or promises you quick weight loss fixes should probably be something or someone you let go of.
Ditch the scale. If you haven’t already removed your scale from the bathroom, International No Diet Day is a great day to do just that. Although weighing yourself daily has been associated with weight loss, it emphasizes the wrong thing – weight loss. Don’t let the number on the scale dictate your life. For that matter, don’t let the pursuit of weight loss dictate how you live!
Instead, focus on making positive health changes daily – like getting enough sleep, reducing stress levels through joyful movement, meditation or prayer, and eating a variety of nourishing foods so your body functions properly. All of these actions will impact not only physical health, but mental and emotional health too.
Create a list of all the ways you think your life might improve if you ditch the diet. Can you imagine what your life would be like if your body wasn’t a problem that needed to be solved? Most diets are designed to “solve the problem” of your imperfect body, but guess what? Your body ISN’T the problem! Your body is AMAZING and so are you. So instead of making decisions based on our “problem body,” instead consider the ways in which your life might improve if you focus on SUPPORTING your body instead of working AGAINST it.
If you aren’t quite sure where to start, here are few examples from my own list:
- I can eat well no matter the situation
- I feel more comfortable in my own skin, and thus get to be more present in activities – like swimming – that would have made me feel more vulnerable before
- Food is fun! I know there are a variety of foods available to me and I get to explore how these foods go together
- I get to decide which foods get to be a part of my life and eating plan based on my own unique preferences
- I don’t feel bad for eating foods that may not offer much nutritionally – like a donut – nor do I feel like I need to eat these foods every time they are around because they aren’t ever off limits to me.
Check out some non-diet resources. As you clear out your social media list, you may be wondering whether more body-positive, health-focused, non-diet resources are available too. And guess what? They totally are. Consider checking out Rebecca Scritchfield’s podcast, Body Kindness, or look into The Mindful Dietitian’s list of guests who’ve appeared on her show for a bunch of health professionals you can follow that support the Health at Every Size(R) movement.
Plan an enjoyable activity for yourself or with someone you care about. Perhaps International No Diet Day is a good day to put your food rules aside and simply go and enjoy life. Whether it’s a walk in the park, a trip to the zoo, or reading a good book, take time to do something that sounds fun to you.
Don’t deprive yourself. Practice actually enjoying foods you enjoy on this day. When is the last time you truly, fully enjoyed something you’ve eaten? Set some time aside on No Diet Day to practice eating mindfully and with joy. Eat any food you desire, enjoy the moment, and then let it go. Remember, although the nutrients foods provide us with are important, finding enjoyment in the act of eating matters too.
Make Today the Day You Ditch the Diet for Good. I love helping people discover how they can leave the diet, the guilt, and the shame behind and instead embrace a more positive way of eating. If you’re ready to make the switch but aren’t quite sure where to start, I’d love to work with you. Take the leap this No Diet Day and schedule your first appointment with me!
I’m a firm believer that eating well takes into account more than just the nutrients your foods provide. Eating well means enjoying the foods you eat too.
Often when people are looking to eat well, pizza is often one of the first foods to go OR one of the foods people feel bad about enjoying. Often it’s because we’ve heard these foods are too high in fat or calories or we feel like we can’t eat them in proper portions.
Believe it or not, pizza on its own won’t wreck your health. In fact, it may actually do the opposite – supporting better health by making it easier to eat well. After all, if you already enjoy it, odds are good you can discover ways to add value to it, benefiting both your taste buds and your wellness overall.
Instead of eliminating these foods from your meal plan, why not consider the amazing possibilities each provides? By focusing on increased food variety at each meal, you’ll naturally find yourself eating well and setting yourself up for success.
Creative ways to add value to your favorite pizza:
Heavy on the veggies please. It’s no secret that vegetables are often the most challenging food group to incorporate at meals and snacks, but with pizza, it couldn’t be easier! Consider your favorite pizza the perfect canvas for veggies you love or veggies you want to try. From the more traditional – onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, and olives – to the more unique – spinach, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, artichoke or even Brussels sprouts – pizza toppings can be a great way to experiment with a variety of veggies you may enjoy.
Zesty herbs and spices. If you are making your pizza at home, you could add herbs and spices to your sauce; but even if you’re ordering take out, you can add value to your slice by sprinkling various herbs and spices on top of your pizza too. Garlic, basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme are some more traditional herbs you can try; however, you may have fun experimenting with cilantro or dill too!
A side that packs a punch. Another great way to help maximize your pizza-themed experience is by incorporating sides that can help balance out your overall intake. Again, the lightness of vegetables can help balance out the heaviness of the pizza, so filling half your plate with a crunchy green salad might be the way to go. At my house, chopped raw veggies and extra marinara sauce for dipping are a kid-crowd favorite. And although not a vegetable, cottage cheese has also become a classic side dish for many of our quick and easy meals.
Tomato and basil. Let’s be real – you may not like the fact that I’m messing with your pizza. That’s okay too. Remember, the nutritional quality of food is just one aspect of eating well and it’s up to you to figure out how you’ll balance your eating between nutrition and enjoyment. For my more resistant-to-change eaters, consider starting with a super simple addition – fresh tomato slices and basil on the top of your next pizza pie. This won’t change the flavor of your pizza too much, but will allow you to take advantage of yet another opportunity to provide your body with nourishing foods it needs.