No diets in my house

No diets in my house

My little Myne Cottage will be ‘bursting at the seams’ tonight when my family comes to dinner. There will be seventeen of us – my four children and their families; their dad, George, and his partner; the lovely Sri Lankan parents of one of my daughters-in-law, and – me. I am pretending my dining-living area is a restaurant for the night – I have moved the furniture around, and brought my outside table inside, to create a long table, big enough to seat the 12 adults. I have a smaller table for the five grand children. Everyone will have a chair to sit on (amazing accomplishment as I have ‘downsized’ my material possessions big time!). Oh what fun! I have cream tablecloths and bright yellow serviettes, for this is my eldest grandson Lachlan’s favourite colour. He will be pleased.
It just so happens that today is also International No Diet Day. Definitely no dieting happening in Myne Cottage! For dinner we are having a barbecue – marinated chicken wings, beef and chicken kebabs, Scotch fillet steaks, sausages, rissoles, roast potatoes (with rosemary), big bowls of steamed vegetables and salad, followed by fruit salad with whipped cream, baked cheesecake and chocolate mud cake. Believe me, it’s a small miracle that I have managed to fit all this food into the tiny alcove that is the kitchen in my one bedroom unit, let alone all the people who are coming. We will be cosy (and the weather being wintry in Melbourne, this is a good thing), we will be together, we will be family, sharing loving conversations over a scrumptious dinner. I love barbecues and I particularly am looking forward to this one because my second son Rohan has given me a gift of a new gas ‘barbie’. He and George delivered and assembled it yesterday and Rohan has already dropped by today to check it is all set for switching on in three hours from now. Rohan, bless him, will be the chef. Lucky me!
I give thanks for having a family. I lost my family of origin due to my eating disorder but am blessed to have gained/created another. I correspond with young women who, like me, have become alienated from their families of origin – to these brave women, I encourage you to create a family of choice (friends make excellent ‘family’, too), because we all need family. We all need to connect with others and to share food with others is truly special. During my 20s, 30s and 40s, I would not have dreamed that I could host an event like today – that my family would come, that I could look forward to such an event without having a giant panic attack. If you feel in a dark place right now, and are doubting you will find a way out, I want you to know that yes, you CAN find a way out. I did, and you can, too!

No Diet Day does not mean much to me personally because, for me, EVERY day is No Diet Day.  However, I support every effort to raise awareness of eating disorders – and the utter uselessness of dieting – so if we can encourage diet-lovers to ‘eat normally’ for one day in the year, I guess we can always hope that they will like it so much, they will discard their diets, scales and everything else that is making them unhappy.

It is sad to think that thousands of women and girls, and some men and boys, have a good day or a bad day, depending on the number they see on the bathroom scales each morning. I mean, it is a number. A number has no feelings. All it does is make us unhappy (I know, because I let scales rule my life for several decades).

These days I much prefer focusing on feeding my soul than trying to please a set of scales. Which is why I really like Eating Disorder Victoria’s latest fundraising campaign. I also like Lydia Jade’s post.Lydia Jade and BodyMatters Australasia recently launched ‘Endangered Bodies Australia’ – the Australian branch of a global non-profit grassroots movement that challenges visual culture and the multi-billion dollar diet industry.

We know that the media and dieting companies don’t cause eating disorders, but they can be very triggering when trying to recover from an eating disorder. We don’t need diet advertisements in our face in our homes – on TV and in magazines- and wherever we go in our communities (supermarkets, train station billboards). How much more supportive it would be, if all those advertisements instead would focus on feeding our soul.



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