Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy International No Diet Day

So, this past weekend was my birthday. Aside from a great potluck picnic in Prospect Park with a variety of friends, I also indulged with another old friend, David, at The Second Avenue Deli, including scarfing down a "appetizer" plate of gribenes:

Mmmm....heart-stopping deliciousness....

(Photo courtesy of

This was a rare treat now that this place is now no longer just up the street from me (But I guess "33rd and 3rd Deli" doesn't quite have then same ring to it), and heaping, greasy, yummy plates of pastrami, potato kugel and gribenes is not something I now want to eat on a regular basis. But it was great to do it on my birthday weekend and not feel like it was a shameful, guilt-ridden experience. More so because I know it will be a long time before I pull up do it again. I actually hadn't been to that restaurant in about 4 years, even before my Streamlined days.

But you can't worry about one birthday blowout. If I was eating gribenes every week, especially a plate that big, that would be an issue. But I don't do that, even if chicken skin and onions is not forbidden from my "diet."

And ironically today is officially International No Diet Day! Woo-hoo! Time to go crazy!! Chow down! Forget that diet!

...oh wait, I'm not on a diet. I just try to eat better.

I understand the meaning behind this holiday and I certainly support the idea that we need to accept our own body image and not what we are told we must look like, size-wise. Also, that we should not try to do anything on a restrictive meal plan that promises "results." I certainly know that the "donut" around my middle will never be a taut six pack (age and gravity are concepts with which I am all too aware). And I know that  limiting caloric intake and trying to stay away from binge triggers (mmm...frosting tubs) is just a healthier way of eating for me as opposed to a diet.

And once again, I realize that this holiday is not really geared towards me. A simple search shows the hundreds of scholarly publications alone that deal with the issues of women's body image, eating disorders and/or food intake, let alone almost every trade magazine and blog out there. But as I've said before, we men get it bad, too.

So, it's good to see so many taking up International No Diet Day as a cause to promote. My usual idols, the dietitians, have some good ones. For example, Vanessa Perrone RD has a simple list of "5 signs your diet is a fad."

1) Your diet comes witha promise
2) Your diet comes with a product
3) Your diet promotes a miracle food
4) Your diet displays a picture of "perfection"
5) Your diet comes with a prescriptive plan

Interestingly enough, I look at this list and think it can be just as applicable to "new" exercise devices and regimens. We are a nation of quick-fix lemmings, sad to say.

And I think some of the media might be losing that message put out by the founders of this holiday and the dietitians: You shouldn't restrict yourself onto a "special diet", but I have to draw the line about "eating what you want whenever you want." Sadly enough, I know that if I crave dessert, it's a big fight inside to see if I really want it. If I go with that initial "gut feeling", I'd be eating cake every night. A lot of it. And I can't do that.

Being on "a diet" does NOT make you healthy or happy. But being healthy means you do have to be more aware of what you are eating. 

Maybe we should just call it "International No Quick Fixes to Your Health Day."

Time for kale!

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