The memoir ‘The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet’ by Dara-lynn Weiss examines the controversial issue around kids and dieting. At age 7, Bea, Weiss’s daughter, is four-feet, four-inches tall and weighs 93 pounds. Weiss acknowledges her daughter’s weight issue and notices that Bea doesn’t self regulate her eating habits and that she is constantly eating more than other kids her age. Although she takes the whole family to see a nutritionist in order to make a “family lifestyle change” her sole focus is the progress of Bea’s weight loss and calorie intake.
Here’s what our experts had to say about the controversial book:
“I was slightly enraged over the book because I really don’t believe a child should diet. It can do a lot more harm than good and there were a lot of decisions along the way that I don’t really agree with. In terms of nutrition, she would give her these 100 calorie snack packs that are full of chemicals, she even used whipped cream that was non-fat and I know there are so many artificial ingredients in there that actually can create more hunger for kids… She made her daughter weigh in every week and I think that attachment to the scale that is unhealthy.” Miranda Malisani, Nutritionist
“She never makes it about health; she never makes it about learning how to eat properly and nutritionally, how to make good choices. Never, ever, does she really deal with the fact that one of the biggest concerns we have with obesity is the risk for eating disorders down the line and self-esteem and this kid must have low self-esteem. She humiliates her publicly; she wants her to treat it as a peanut allergy. But there is never really a discussion about how to empower your child to feel good about yourself, to feel good about your body and how to make choices to empower yourself for the rest of your life. She doesn’t believe that exercise is about weight loss. It’s all about calories, calories, calories… part of what we teach our children is the number on the scale is what is going to make you happy. It's not the number on the scale that is going to make you happy, there is a lot more that goes into being happy and for so many people they will get to that number and they aren’t any happier .” Dr. Marla Shapiro
“It’s called ‘The Heavy’ it should be called ‘Don’t Do This.’ However, I think its good for us because it silicates conversations and discussion and I think that is very important…My fear is that people will think that this is an advice book.” Joe Rich, Family Therapist