Proponents of healthy lifestyles urged students to gorge themselves yesterday in honor of International No Diet Day.

The Healthy Eating and Living Interns sponsored the one-day event to inform students about the unsuccessful and potentially dangerous dieting routines many individuals mistakenly start in an attempt to shed pounds. In the spirit of No Diet Day, the group encouraged UCSB students to stuff themselves at Cold Stone Creamery, an ice cream shop in Goleta, where a related fundraising event was being staged.

According to Lena Rakijian, an intern and fourth-year business economics major, surprisingly high numbers of students are not aware of the risks rigorous dieting can pose for one’s health.

“Basically we’re promoting staying active versus dieting,” Rakijian said. “And by dieting, we mean restrictive diets. With restrictive diets, you can’t do it for the rest of your life.”

She instead recommends an 80:20 rule – 80 percent of the time one should follow the food pyramid, while 20 percent of the time one should indulge in whatever foods they please. Moreover, a well balanced diet, she said, is only one contributor to a healthy lifestyle, which should also include regular exercise and strenuous physical activity.

Alex Martinez, a fourth-year theater major, said she feels the strain of social stigmas at UCSB to stay stick thin.

“There’s a lot of pressure in I.V. and stuff,” Martinez said. “Sometimes I go to the Rec Cen because I feel like I’m too fat and lazy.”

Interns also warned against dangerous exercise trends and staged presentations from personal trainers who discussed proper workouts.

“People think you can spot reduce,” Coulter Bright, a personal trainer at the Rec Cen, said. “They think [that if] they can do 1,000 sit-ups … they’ll lose fat in that area, and that’s not true at all.”

According to Joanna Hill, the H.E.A.L. staff advisor, eating disorders at UCSB are on the rise. She said UCSB students face a dual threat of living in a college environment as well as a beach community. In particular, Hill noted, eating disorders among young men have become especially prevalent at UCSB.

“For guys it used to be more about … being fit and being strong,” Hill said. “Now it’s more about what the muscles look like. …[UCSB men are] replacing several meals a day with supplements and powders … nature never intended you to eat powders. Men with eating disorders and exercise issues are definitely rising here at UCSB.”

Throughout the day, interns held large mirrors in the face of passerby, complementing them on their beauty.

Amy Eisenberg, an intern and a first-year biopsychology major, said the mirrors were used to stroke the egos of the student body.

“We don’t think people hear that they’re beautiful enough. This one guy came up to us and told us that nobody had ever said that to him. … Like this gentleman right here, he’s my next target,” she said, before charging armed with her mirror at an older man in a suit.

The interns also prompted students to write down why they loved their bodies on a large presentation board.

“I look sexy naked,” Joey Metzler, a fourth-year communication major wrote in bold letters.

Candy bar in hand, Metzler explained that he does not diet and that No Diet Day was a smart event to hold on campus.

“It’s great,” Metzler said. “I believe among young adults there is … a [big] problem with their image and eating disorders.”