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Volume 1, Number 2 - June 1994
International No-Diet Day—The Diet Museum
International No-Diet Day was started by Mary Evans Young, the director of Diet Breakers in England in 1992. It was first observed in the U.S. in 1993 and more extensively this year as a result of the efforts of Miriam Berg (Council on Size and Weight Discrimination) and the May 5th Coalition, a network of groups and individuals from the anti-size discrimination and anti-dieting movements.
The goals of the May 5th Coalition are to increase public awareness of the anti-diet/size acceptance/fat liberation movement; to further publicize the high failure rate of dieting; to teach people how to maximize their health, no matter what their size; to expose the unacceptable risks of weight-loss surgery and to insist that the federal government act to reduce those risks.
To honor the occasion, The National Center for Overcoming Overeating, with endorsements from the May 5th Coalition and the Women's Therapy Centre Institute, sponsored a Diet Museum in New York City in the lobby of a building at 84th and Broadway.
A Message from Carol H. Munter and Jane R. Hirschmann
Many of you report that after your initial excitement about using the Overcoming Overeating approach you notice yourself feeling resentful about having to pay so much attention to your eating. You don't want to pack a food bag, you are annoyed at having to ask yourself whether your desire to eat is mouth hunger or stomach hunger, you are tired of having to monitor your bad body thoughts and you just can't be bothered figuring out exactly what your stomach wants to eat. In fact, the whole project begins to seem like another diet with yet another set of rules.
We'd like to share some thoughts we have about this ubiquitous problem. Let's call it the conflict between the freedom fighter—the rebel who binges out of diets—and the rule maker—the one who turns a non-diet into a diet.
In our Chicago groups we have encouraged women, as they feel ready, to sort through old photographs and bring some of them into group to share. Passing around the photographs and talking about their stories clarifies important memories and feelings. The experience also highlights where a woman is on the road to size acceptance, living in the present and learning to respond to herself in a loving and nurturing way.
To elicit memories and feelings we may ask "What do you remember thinking or feeling at that point in your life?" "How does the picture compare with how you remember yourself?" or "What was going on in your life at that time?" Many women automatically report what diet they were on or off at the time the picture was taken. Some women remember the exact amount they weighed at the time and comment "How sad that what I remember about that time in my life is the number of pounds I weighed."