the HAES® files: International No Diet Day

by Health At Every Size® Blog

Supporter INDD

May 6, 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the first worldwide celebration of International No Diet Day (INDD) – an annual celebration of body acceptance, size diversity and awareness-raising about the harms and misleading promises from the diet industry. Including this year, there have been a total of 22 INDD celebrations, ever since Mary Evans Young started INDD in London in the spring of 1992 following two things: seeing a television program where women were having their stomachs stapled; and a young girl of 15 who committed suicide because ‘she couldn’t cope with being fat’ at a size 14 UK (size 12 US). Mary Evans Young decided that somebody had to stand up and do something — and in the absence of anybody else — she decided it would be her. So she sent out a press release entitled, “Fat Woman Bites Back” and received some media attention. She was desperate to keep the anti-diet/size acceptance concept in the public eye, so without really thinking about it, at the end of a live TV interview, she added: “Don’t forget to celebrate No Diet Day!”

Having declared it on prime time national TV, she set about organizing a small group of women to have a picnic in Hyde Park. When it rained that day of the picnic, she moved the event to her living room. By 1993, INDD became truly international and the pale blue ribbon was adopted as its symbol. It is now celebrated in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Israel, Denmark and Brazil.

Mary Evans Young used her frustration and outrage to fuel her activism. To honor International No Diet Day, we want to interact with our blog readers and hear your ideas for commemorating INDD, celebrating size diversity, and/or being adventurous in activism. Tell us what you’d say if you had 30 seconds of airtime on prime time national TV!

12 Responses to “the HAES® files: International No Diet Day”

  1. Mary Evans Young was a real pioneer. Pioneers are those who go into uncharted territory where no other like-minded people can be seen. When size acceptance activists in the US and Canada heard about Ms. Young and her INDD, it was like a shot in the arm from across the sea. Today, millions realize that dieting is counterproductive and harmful, but there are still powerful moneymaking interests in keeping people unhappy about their weight and their appearance, and powerful emotions are at play when most larger people blame all their troubles on their weight, and the “perfect” diet and a slimmer body (they hope) are still in their future.

    So it can still be a lonely struggle to speak out against the diet interests. Perhaps the best purpose of INDD is to give us a day to be grateful for those among our friends and colleagues who “get it” and are supportive of our non-mainstream belief that weight-loss dieting doesn’t work in the long run for most people, and that we should just get used to the fact that people come in a diversity of shapes and sizes. We should celebrate that diversity, not fight it!

  2. I am so grateful for all the brave pioneers who blazed the firtlst non-dieting trail and for all of the amazing HAES ® peacemakers now in the world. It is wonderful to have INDD to mark a paradigm shift that was so revolutionary in my own life and self-care.

  3. INDD provides an opportunity to try on a new mindset. ONE DAY to mind less about my size and mind more about my life. It gives me ONE DAY to rest my brain from the judgments, comparisons and promises about what my body should look like.

    Restrictive dieting is designed to be failure oriented, and it shifts our attention away from pleasurable, mindful eating; joyful movement; and acceptance of who we are now. But when you are being served the same pro diet, self-hate messages day in and day out, we forget that there may be other alternatives. The diet mentality and its associated self-hatred are difficult habits to break.

    Difficult, but not impossible.

    So relax… it’s just ONE DAY. Enjoy it!*

    And maybe tomorrow, you will come back for a second helping.
    *And if it really feels too threatening to put your program aside, perhaps devote the day to exploring the research behind the two points of view and really explore whether you are making the right choice for feeling happy and healthy about yourself.
    Warmly, Dr. Deah

  4. I would invite everyone to take a day to try and imagine what their lives would be like without being worried about their size. Without fretting about the number on the scale. Without the frustration experienced when your body doesn’t look like the one in the magazine. To paraphrase Carol Munter and Jane Hirschmann, what would life be like if we stopped hating our bodies?

  5. 1992… 2013… 22nd anniversary!

  6. Technically, the first happening of any event is not an anniversary. So from the actual internationally recognized blue-ribbon first INDD which happened in 1993, 1994 would have been the 1st anniversary and this year, 2013, the 20th anniversary. But really, it is just a wonderful day to celebrate nurturing our bodies without submitting them to dieting no matter how many years it is been since the first announcement or the first anniversary of whatever date you want to start counting from!

    • OK, so we realize this is getting confusing – we’re just trying to get it right. Looks like Dana and Elsebeth are both right in a certain way, and we have tried to have the text above reflect that. If more changes are needed, please let us know… And happy INDD to all – keep those posts coming!

  7. Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a great article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot
    and don’t seem to get nearly anything done.


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