'Vogue' Controversy: Dara-Lynn Weiss and her daughter's strict diet

'Vogue' Controversy: Dara-Lynn Weiss and her daughter's strict diet

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of You Can't Eat That. I don't usually pick up Vogue magazine, I'm more of a thrift store shopper as opposed to high fashion, but something on the cover of the April 2012 caught my attention. The caption reads, "Kitchen Controversy, A Mom fights Childhood Obesity at Home," which is certainly not a new topic in our age of over-processed and fried everything. The essay by Dara-Lynn Weiss is titled, "Weight Watcher" and she discusses the methods she used to  curb her daughter, Bea's, obesity caused by overeating.

Not having children myself, I can't exactly relate to what Weiss was going through as she kept constant tabs on Bea's health and obsessed over her being a normal child. I think what I was struck by was how Weiss herself really struggled with food. In the essay, Weiss says, "[she] hated how [her] body looked and devoted an inordinate amount of time to trying to change it," and goes on to discuss her various crash diets, bingeing on sweets only to deprive herself the following three days to make up for it and then trying to teach her daughter about a healthy body image.

Weiss would deprive Bea of meals if she ate too much at a class party at school, she attempted to add more exercise to Bea's life (without much success) and her idea of cutting down on junk food was 100 calorie packs of treats and diet soda. Personally, I agreed with the overall goal of Weiss' project, but I felt she was going about it the wrong way.

This diet, essentially a weight watchers program for children, attempted to teach Bea what were good and bad foods and did eventually help bring her back to a normal weight. But there has been a lot of controversy on the issue (for some of the backlash, click here, here and here) of putting children on diets and the negative psychological effects this can lead to later on in life. Could these diets be why Weiss herself struggles so heavily with her weight? Maybe.

One section I found to be a little insensitive was Weiss' description of Bea's school policy on nuts. Weiss writes, "should [Bea] attempt to walk through the door with an almond in her pocket, she'd practically be swarmed by a SWAT team," but then goes on to question who is protecting obese children from all the treats on birthdays, Halloween, bake sales etc. While she makes a valid point, I come from the opposite side of her argument, where Weiss seems to be neglect that children with allergies could be seriously hurt, even killed, if Bea brought "an almond in her pocket" to school.

Trying to add more whole grains, less sugar, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and water is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy system and a healthy weight. It's not a huge secret to success, it just takes a little practice.

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