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The Heavy: A Mother, a Daughter, A Diet – A Mother Goes to Extremes

Let me start by saying the word “diet” shouldn’t be used in the same sentence as daughter. EVER. People think I get a little extreme on these subjects, and I admit it-I do.  But we should be extreme when it comes to parenting our children.  We should care and be passionate about those little beings we are raising, and their delicate self esteem that sits in the palm of our weathered hands.

I went on my first diet in 7th grade.  My mom, not knowing any better, encouraged me doing these things with her.  We did the cabbage soup diet together – which was like the gateway drug of diets.  I yearned from then on for the control of seeing the pounds wither away; at a time when I really didn’t need to lose weight anyway.  Long term, this had a reverse effect on me.  My weight yo-yo’d and throughout my high school years it varied by nearly 30 pounds.  That’s insane!  But, it all started with the itty bitty word “diet”.

Dara-Lynn Weiss put her 7-year-old daughter on a diet for being overweight; weighing 93 pounds at a 4′ 4” height.  She would explain at birthday parties why her child couldn’t have cake and cookies, and denied her dinner after she partook in too many calories that day in school.  After a year of diet and exercise, she lost 16 pounds and grew 2 inches, getting to a healthier weight.  Mrs. Weiss went on the Today Show to defend herself against the uproar from other parents, saying that her daughter has maintained a healthy weight.  “She’s healthy now.” She is saying. I say; is she really though?

I read about how her mother also had weight issues and a love-hate relationship with her body.  This tells me, there’s more fuel to this fire than her just being concerned about her health. This woman just unknowingly passed along all her body insecurities to her poor little now 9-year-old girl.

I know I don’t have children that are obese, so it’s hard to ever judge until you are in someone else’s shoes. I will tell you this though-having lived through my own weight issues, I believe she handled it incorrectly. I believe the chances for that poor little girl to struggle with her weight her entire life just shot through the roof rather than decreased.  I would never wish ill of that little girl (it’s not her fault!), but I can see the writing on the wall.  And going public for her own gain at her daughters expense only strengthened my poor opinion of her.

What’s wrong with saying “we are going to eat healthy in this house”, and filling your home with fruits and veggies, and getting rid of the processed crap.  You don’t have to call it a diet, you call it a healthy way of living.  When they go to school, send them with a nutrient packed lunch.  Make family time an active time.  Go on walks, hikes, or buy WII Fit if that’s what you desire. And let’s be honest.  How many birthday parties do children go to in a month? If she wants to have a cake and cookies, don’t make a big deal about it.  By restricting her (and embarrassing the poor child in front of her friends) you are only deeply rooting more food issues and she’s going to be bingeing and hiding ho-ho’s under her bed. Come on now!  Let her have her cake and eat it too, and realize how bad she feels after all that sugar, on her own.  And restricting her from having dinner after eating too many calories at school?  How screwed up can you be? I can’t believe a mother would honestly do that to her child.  Make a homemade, chicken noodle soup that has almost zero fat and don’t say a word about calories.

Bottom line is moms-let’s not pass our own screwed up issues to our children.  It’s sad that because of the controversy, she even got on a T.V. show.  Now more dumb women are going to think they should put their overweight children on diets…and that’s so aggravating!

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1 Comment

  1. Iryna

    January 30, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Excelellent article and I agree 100%. Rigid control does not teach a child to make good choices. It promotes resentment that will backfire bigtime. It will turn into rebellion sooner or later and this little girl will grow up with the same issues as millions of women already have. Her mother is paving a life long road of issues with food and body image, if not eating disorder. I have seen examples of this. Someone I know has been policed by her mother as a child about what she eats, and not allowed anything sugary or unhealthy. And guess what? As soon as that girl was out of her mother’s control ALL she ate was fast food. And she still does. Another example is someone my mother in law knows. Her coworker has always been forbidden to eat chips as a child. Now, a grown woman with kids of her own, she loses control over herself when she is around potato chips. This is only a small example but there are millions os women who spend majority of their time obsessing about what they eat and weigh. And does that help? As the numbers of obsessed go up, do does the rate of obesity. Control and diets are not a solution. If they were, Western World would not have this epidemic. Healthy food choices, and movement are the solution, but it has to come naturally. For children, I agree with the author here, it would be best to provide a good selection of healthy food choices and follow 80/20 principle: 80% of healthy and allow for a little bit of sweets too for it is human nature to rebel against rigid control. And find a way for fun excersize and healthy weight will follow.
    And this mother should, perhaps, read a great book on the topic by Debra Waterhouse “Like Mother, Like Daughter: How Women are influenced by their mothers’ relationship with food and how to break the pattern.”

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