In­ter­na­tional No Diet Day weighs in against body im­age is­sues

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

From avoid­ing foods that cause acid­ity, to eat­ing ac­cord­ing to your blood type, we’ve heard all kinds of bizarre di­ets promis­ing a ‘mir­a­cle weight loss’. But as any ex­pert would tell you, there is no quick fix to bet­ter health - only a life­style change can do this.

It’s In­ter­na­tional No Diet Day to­mor­row, an an­nual event that en­cour­ages a change of per­spec­tive about “body ac­cep­tance” and raises aware­ness about the dan­gers of ex­treme di­et­ing.

Dubai-based graphic de­signer Hanane Fathal­lah, 32, is a plus-size fash­ion blog­ger, who tried weird di­ets too when she was younger. Her ex­pe­ri­ences in­spired her to start Noun­zi­li­cious in 2003: “I’ve al­ways strug­gled with fash­ion in re­la­tion to my size and weight from a young age. I was al­ways the big girl, the tall shy girl. I won’t deny I was part of the bro­ken sys­tem, a dis­ap­point­ing one that leads you some­times to­wards be­liev­ing you are not wor­thy if you are not a size eight or 10 or less.” Hanane found bal­ance by tak­ing care of her body in­stead of rush­ing it. She went to nu­tri­tion cen­tres and opted for health­ier food choices. Blog­ging gave her con­fi­dence and the plat­form to ex­press her­self. “Most im­por­tantly, I want to be known as the Mid­dle East­ern plus-size blog­ger who is try­ing to shed some light on these is­sues. I, in no way, pro­mote obe­sity or be­ing un­healthy. On the con­trary, health is a pri­or­ity. But a body shape, size or weight does not trans­late into ‘un­health­i­ness’. I might not be as ac­tive as I want to be, but for the past two years I have been part of an on­line community called The French Curves. Ev­ery month, a theme is as­signed, and 50 French/Fran­co­phone plus-size blog­gers post their out­fits. This is to en­cour­age di­ver­sity in style and per­son­al­ity. This keeps me mo­ti­vated.” Clin­i­cal di­eti­cian Dr Dana Al Hamwi at Dr Dana Diet Cen­ter Dubai agrees body mass in­dex, size and shape is not the ab­so­lute gauge of health.

“The ideal or right body is a healthy body. Maybe you’re thin, but suf­fer­ing from many dis­eases like high choles­terol, high blood sugar. Of course, if you gain ex­tra kilo­grams, you’re at risk of get­ting dis­eases as well.”

“To­day, peo­ple are do­ing ex­treme steps like li­po­suc­tion and med­i­ca­tion to lose weight. The pres­sure could also lead to psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems like eat­ing dis­or­ders. I think fad di­ets are just com­mer­cial ways of get­ting money. These are not the way. In­stead, eat health­ier, do more phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and con­sult a doc­tor. If we can’t lose weight the healthy way, we won’t main­tain it.”

Hanane says it’s a timely topic es­pe­cially for younger gen­er­a­tion: “My blog aims to raise more aware­ness on plus-size fash­ion, to un­der­line the mis­con­cep­tions peo­ple have about plus-size women. Weight dis­crim­i­na­tion and body sham­ing all come from the same source, which is ig­no­rance. There should be more com­mu­ni­ties and groups that tackle is­sues like body im­age, how to style for your size, health ad­vice and more.”

LOVE YOUR BODY: No Diet Day to­mor­row aims to pro­mote body pos­i­tiv­ity and teach the right steps to bet­ter health

WISE WORDS: Fol­low Hanane’s blog noun­zi­li­

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