should you put your kid on a diet?
There has been quite a lot of conversation around Dara-Lynn Weiss's article in Vogue this past month and how she put her 7-year old daughter on a diet. Most of what I have read and followed is people (mostly women) are just aghast that she did this to her daughter. Although, my friend Tracey Jackson actually applauds her efforts.
I have been thinking about writing something about this since I first read about the article. I certainly am not that familiar with the realities of what went on inside the Weiss household even though I read the article…nor does anyone but there is something to be said for her Dara-Lynn teaching her daughter healthy eating habits now vs later.
Although my best friend doesn't believe I was a fat kid, I was a fat kid. Maybe my mother was overly obsessed with not being fat so even an extra 10 lbs was considering fat but I was not exactly svelte. My Grandmother used to say, "never too thin" and "a minute on your lips, forever on your hips". Needless to say those mantras made me a little bit of a Jewish neurotic when it comes to weight. I think about what I am putting in my mouth from a calories perspective at all times…when I get up in the morning and when I go to sleep at night, it is always on my mind.
When I was six years old we were living in Ann Arbor, MI. We would come home for lunch every day. I was the oldest. One particular day everyone had a friend with them. I remember sitting around the kitchen table and everyone was given peanut butter and jelly for lunch but me. I got rolled up deli meats with a tooth pick in it. My Mom knew carbs were a no-no before anyone else did. I looked around the table and burst into tears. My Mom pulled me aside and asked what was wrong. Of course I wanted pb&j and she said I could have it but I said in between my gasps that I couldn't because I was fat.
Fast foward. In junior high school I went to weight watchers with my Dad, I did one of those liquid cleanses in High School, I brought my little deli roll-ups in my camp lunch bag and slowly put my hand in the bag and took it out so nobody could see I didn't have a real sandwich and needless to say the diet has been a main even throughout my life. As crazy as the whole thing made me, I never got to a point where I got so out of control because I learned from a young age that I couldn't just eat whatever I wanted to, I am not built like that but I have promised myself that I will come back in my next life very thin.
Unfortunately our children did not get my husbands svelte figure where he can eat whatever he damn well pleases. We also enjoy food in our household not processed products. There are times when I have over stepped my boundaries, as my Mother did constantly ( and my Grandmother ) about their weight but I have tried very hard not give them the look (although I probably do) or say something. What we talk about is moderation is key and healthy eating. God knows I just hope that I did not make my kids as neurotic as my Mom did but who knows.
So, do I think Dara-Lynn did a good thing but teaching her daughter better eating habits now vs later? Yes because I guarantee her daughter feels better about herself even though it was not a fun process to get there. She knows that it is an issue that she will have to live with the rest of her life. We are not talking about being stick thin…that is not ok…we are talking about having a normal body weight and feeling comfortable in your own skin and being happy with that. Sounds simple but for many, like myself, not so simple. Why can't I be 5'9' and be super thin? Because I didn't come out that way.
The long term issues with obesity are already taking a toll on our health system including our mental health system. Trust me, being overweight doesn't make someone feel good about themselves. Maybe the article made the whole situation sound a little insane but if you break it down and read between the lines, she did her daughter a solid.