SHINING LIGHT ON DIET DANGER
International No Diet Day weighs in against body image issues
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 nounzilicious.blogspot.ae