Public Backlash on Mom’s Diet Plan for 7-year-old Daughter
In the latest issue of Vogue, Dana-Lynn Weiss talks about fighting her daughter’s childhood obesity at home.
Weiss spoke about how her 7-year-old daughter Bea was first diagnosed by her pediatrician as clinically obese at 4’4″ and 93 pounds. For an issue that most parents would handle with care, Weiss instead took a no-holds-barred approach.
The article started with a sample interaction over dinnertime with a friend:
I stepped between my daughter and a bowl of salad nicoise my friend was handing her, raising my palm like a traffic cop. “Thanks,” I said, “but she already ate dinner.”
“But she said she’s still hungry,” my friend replied, bewildered.
I forced a smile. “Yeah, but it’s got a lot of dressing on it and we’re trying–”
“Just olive oil!” my friend interrupted. “It’s superhealthy!”
My smile faded and my voice grew tense. “I know. She can’t.”
My friend’s eyes moved to my daughter, whose gaze held the dish in the crosshairs: a Frisbee-size bowl bursting with oil, tuna, eggs, potatoes, olives.
Instead of picking the right food items for her daughter, Weiss seems to be focused on an obsessive calorie count. When she found out that Bea’s school hosted a French Heritage Day, she angrily counted the number of calories Bea ate and then sent her to bed without dinner.
Adding nothing to her cause, Weiss proudly recounts an incident in Starbucks. “I dressed down a Starbucks barista when he professed ignorance of the nutrition content of the kids’ hot chocolate whose calories are listed as “120-210″ on the menu board.” She angrily reproached, “Well, which is it? When he couldn’t provide an answer, I dramatically grabbed the drink out of my daughter’s hands, poured it into the garbage, and stormed out.”
When Bea finally lost 16 pounds, satisfying her mom’s weight-loss goal, Weiss talks about her daughter’s reaction.
“That’s still me,” she says of her former self. “I’m not a different person just because I lost sixteen pounds.” I protest that indeed she is different. At this moment, that fat girl is a thing of the past. A tear rolls down her beautiful cheek, past the glued-in feather. “Just because it’s in the past,” she says, “doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”
Instead of supporting her daughter’s self-image and picking healthier food items for her daughter, Weiss has instead shattered this girl’s self-image. Is she looking into the mirror? In fact, Weiss admits to having food issues herself, including obsessive dieting, fasting, etc. “Who was I to teach a little girl how to maintain a healthy weight and body image?” she acknowledges.
Critics have not gone easy on the calorie-counting mom. “The socialites who write personal essays for Vogue aren’t known for their kindness and humility,” Katie Baker wrote on Jezebel.com. But Weiss “has to go down in history as the one of the most f—ed up, selfish women to ever grace the magazine’s pages.”
An anonymous blogger for New York magazine also wrote, “I’m pretty sure Weiss just handed her daughter the road map to all her future eating disorders.”