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  • Writer's pictureCindy Engelstad B.A. ICF

International No Diet Day and CHMA Mental Health Week 2024

Author: Cindy Engelstad B.A. ICF

A call to be kind

International No Diet Day is an annual celebration that takes place on May 6th, and is dedicated to the importance of body acceptance, diversity, and respect for all body shapes and sizes. This year International No Diet Day overlaps with the beginning of CHMA Mental Health Week (Canadian Mental Health Association). This years mental health week theme focuses on the healing power of compassion and emphasizes that kindness is a vital part of our humanity.

As we consider compassion and kindness, we must also think about turning inwards and offering ourself these vital tools. One way in which to practice self-compassion and kindness is to nourish and move our bodies in ways that serve both our physical and mental health. The intention of International No Diet Day is to encourage stepping away from diet culture and focusing on nurturing and accepting yourself as you are.

Diet culture tries to tell us that by pursuing intentional weight loss our lives will be better, but the opposite is actually true. Diet culture tries to sell us on the ideas that thinness equals health and that food has moral value. In reality, dieting is harmful to both our mental and physical health. In addition, diets are not effective. Research has shown that the majority of dieters who lose weight gain the weight back within five years and often their weight increases. Diet culture tries to tell us that we have failed, when the truth is that diets fail us.

It has been proven time and time again, that the more we focus on trying to change our bodies, the worse we tend to feel about ourselves. As long as we are at war with our bodies, we will not be able to be at peace with ourselves and our relationship with food. So, on May 6th, let’s take a day to practice being kind to ourselves and our bodies. Being kind to your body does not mean you have to immediately accept every part of your body. However, it does mean treating your body with respect by listening to it and providing it with what it needs – nourishment, joyful movement, rest, love and gratitude.

Your body is a small part of who you are, and you are so much more than your body shape or size. We encourage you to continue toward self-acceptance – yes, the good and not so good parts – and lean in to being authentically yourself. You can make impactful changes today by taking a neutral approach to weight, saying no to diets and by recognizing diet culture for what it is. We hope that you can spend time on May 6th and beyond gently connecting with your body, engaging in meaningful and joyful activities, fostering an authentic identity and building a supportive social network.

What will you do today to help you be kinder and more compassionate toward yourself and your body?


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