The picture to the right shows a sweet mother and daughter, fashionably dressed, snuggling up close to each other. You would think the article it features is going to be on strengthening your relationship with your daughter or something else positive and heart-touching. What might come as a surprise is that the article, entitled “Weight Watchers,” written in this month’s Vogue magazine is being called the “Worst Article Ever.”
The author, Dara-Lynn Weiss, documents her attempts to put her “obese” 7-year-old daughter, Bea, on a year-long Weight Watchers-type diet in order to lose weight. Weiss’ approach to her daughter’s weight loss is raising quite a lot of backlash, especially at a time when overweight children are a growing problem in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 17 percent of American children are considered obese.
Weiss, the mother of 7-year-old Bea, admits she received a wake-up call after her daughter came home crying after being called “fat” at school and the family’s pediatrician said that Bea, standing at 4’4? and weighing 93 pounds, was clinically obese and could be at risk for weight-related problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. After these incidents, Weiss began to put her daughter on a restricted diet.
“I once reproachfully deprived Bea of her dinner after learning that her observation of French Heritage Day at school involved nearly 800 calories of Brie, filet mignon, baguette, and chocolate,” Weiss writes.
Weiss also openly shares about the trials and tribulations she encountered during her attempt to get Bea to trim up.
“I cringe when I recall the many times I had it out with Bea over a snack given to her by a friend’s parent or caregiver … rather than direct my irritation at the grown-up, I often derided Bea for not refusing the inappropriate snack. And there have been many awkward moments at parties, when Bea has wanted to eat, say, both cookies and cake, and I’ve engaged in a heated public discussion about why she can’t,” Weiss writes in the article.
Weiss knows that “no one seems to approve of my methods” and even admits to her own struggles with body issues.
“I have not ingested any food, looked at a restaurant menu, or been sick to the point of vomiting without silently launching a complicated mental algorithm about how it will affect my weight,” Weiss writes, noting she’s tried Atkins, juice fasts, laxatives, Weight Watchers and more to stay thin. “Who was I to teach a little girl how to maintain a healthy weight and body image?”
“When she was given access to cupcakes at a party, I alternated between saying, ‘Let’s not eat that, it’s not good for you’; ‘Okay, fine, go ahead, but just one’; and ‘Bea, you have to stop eating crap like that, you’re getting too heavy,’ depending on my mood. Then I’d secretly eat two when she wasn’t looking,” wrote Weiss.
The woman behind the program that Weiss used to help Bea lose weight, the “Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right,” program told Jezebel writer Katie Baker that she “wasn’t thrilled by the article.”
“The program has to be run by the child,” Dr. Joanna Dolgoff told Baker. “And the truth is that making a child feel bad only causes problems. It’s not going to help with weight loss, and it’s definitely not going to help the child emotionally.”
Are you, like Dr. Dolgoff, not thrilled with the article? Do you think Weiss’ approach is going to cause problems for Bea?
Daughters learn about body-image, eating habits, and healthy lifestyles from their mothers so what do you think Weiss is teaching her daughter? What would you do differently if you had a daughter that was “overweight?”