​​​​​​​​Merryl Bear, Director of the National Eating Disorder Information Centre
Merryl Bear, Director of the National Eating Disorder Information Centre, UHN, says we need to break the dieting cycle and teach our children to respect and appreciate the diversity of body shapes and sizes, without focusing on weight. (Photo: NEDIC)

Have you ever tried dieting?

Thirty per cent of girls and 24 per cent of boys between 10-14 years old have been on a diet, despite being within a healthy weight range.

"Dieting has become a rite of passage for girls as young as 8-years-old," said Merryl Bear, Director of the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NED​IC) at the University Health Network (UHN). "This is concerning, because dieting can be a precursor to developing an eating disorder. We need to break this cycle and teach our children to respect and appreciate the diversity of body shapes and sizes, including their own."


Health at every size

NEDIC promotes Health At Every Size (HAES). HAES emphasizes size and self-acceptance, as well as healthy day-to-day behaviours, without focusing on weight.

May 6 is International No Diet Day and NEDIC encourages Canadians to follow these four tips for leading a healthy lifestyle and building positive relationships with food.


Follow these four tips for eating healthy:

  1. Tap into your own intuition: As babies, we cried when we were hungry and stopped eating when we felt full. Listen to your internal cues of hunger and fullness and allow your body to guide your food choices.

  2. Be mindful when eating: Be present when eating. Chew thoroughly and enjoy the taste of your food.

  3. Recognize and respect your set point: Your body has its own natural set point – the weight it naturally wants to be in order to be healthy. Gaining and losing weight can wreak havoc on your natural set point. This cycle of yo-yo dieting confuses the body and the brain between binging and starving.

  4. Measures of health and happiness: The number on the scale does not determine how healthy you are. Wellbeing can be measured in other ways. Laughter, learning, rest, play, reflection, socializing, volunteerism, these are just some of the other ways that people can begin to feel good about themselves and their bodies.

To learn more about International No Diet Day and eating healthy, click here​

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