NEWMARKET – Are you letting the numbers on the scale rule your life? May 6, 2005 is International No Diet Day and Nutritionists from York Region Health Services say that one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself is to accept and appreciate the body you have right now.
International No Diet Day, acknowledged by The National Eating Disorder Information Centre, was established to challenge society's standards of appearance that encourage thinness as the ideal body shape. Society's obsession with thinness has not come without devastating results, including all degrees of food and weight preoccupation to depression to potentially deadly eating disorders and weight-loss surgery.
Currently, about one in three Canadians is trying to lose weight, and of these, one in three is dieting. Though both men and women can have a poor body image, women are more likely to trying dieting. Many women are unhappy about their weight and their looks; one recent survey showed that 85 to 90 percent of women dislike their bodies.
With these types of statistics, it is not surprising that the diet industry is a multi-billion dollar business. This is true, despite the fact that 75 percent of those that start diets fall off the diet in less than one year. In addition, most people regain all the weight they lost and sometimes more.
"This is a special day that encourages people to stop dieting and to look at their bodies in terms of their health, rather than their appearance," says Nancy Bevilacqua, Public Health Nutritionist at York Region Health Services. "It is a day to realize that restrictive diets can be detrimental to a person's health and that a healthy lifestyle is achievable at any body size, as long as we practice healthy habits such as eating well, being active and having a positive self-esteem."
The message of positive self-esteem is an important one. It is important to realize that the fashion world isn't reality and that less than one percent of people measure up to the unrealistic standard of beauty seen in advertising, fashion magazines, the entertainment industry and other media.
Having a positive self esteem begins with accepting who you are and how you look. A positive self esteem can also be formed by:
• realizing that genetics play an important role in determining the shape and size of your body
• not comparing yourself to others and focussing on the best possible you
• appreciating yourself for your abilities, accomplishments, talents and interests rather than for your appearance
• being physically active. It has been shown that people who are more active have a higher self-esteem, even if they are overweight
• surrounding yourself with positive people that do not focus on dieting and weight issues
• making the effort to eat well by following Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating
York Region Health Services, Healthy Measures program promotes eating well, being active and positive self-esteem. To obtain a Healthy Measures information package or to obtain current nutrition and other related health information, speak to a Registered Dietitian at York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.york.ca
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