Julie Green: The Other Side of the Coin


Hey Kids: Food Isn't Your Enemy

(But Your Mom Might Be)

Remember that mom who gained notoriety by not only putting her seven-year-old on a diet but wrote about it in the pages Vogue? Well, Dara-Lynn Weiss is back, defending her decision to publicly shame her daughter, this time in a full-length manuscript.

From where I'm standing, The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet is just more of the same—seconds, if you will—and personally, I have no appetite for what she's dishing up. 

Childhood obesity is no laughing matter. It's an epidemic, granted. Putting a child on a strict diet and effectively demonizing food may make the child lose weight. But at what cost? I'm a great believer in there being no such thing as "good" or "bad" foods. In our house nothing is off limits (if only because human nature dictates that we covet the forbidden). "Bad" foods are simply regulated, moderated. As one of our bloggers cleverly puts it, there are "always" foods like fruits and vegetables and "occasionally" foods like chips and chocolate. Being active is a lifestyle. Exercise is a means to achieving a total wellbeing, not simply an end equated with weight loss. 

Setting up a girl with that kind of relationship with food early on can only foster an unhealthy obsession with the scale in the long run. Like Weiss' daughter, I was also overweight as a kid, at around the same time. Chubby. Fatso. The shame of sitting in the pediatrician's office and being put on a diet—that punitive, damning four-letter word—is still very fresh in my mind. I remember being bullied, badgered and picked on, and not solely by my classmates, either... Needless to say, I slimmed down in time but that battle with food is one that rages on, decades later.

Some kids do need to lose weight. That's a fact. But in order to do so they first need to shed the critical voice and become the guardians of their own nutritional choices.

Image credit: Flickr/puuikibeach