In the April issue of Vogue magazine, Dara-Lynn Weiss details her struggles with putting her overweight daughter on a diet. When a pediatrician told Weiss “we needed to do something” about her daughter’s ballooning weight, Weiss wasted no time in working with the medical professional to devise a plan to get the little girl to lose weight.
What happened next might make some people cringe.
While attempting to keep her daughter Bea from falling off the plan, Weiss confesses to chastising Bea for eating an â€œinappropriateâ€ snack at a friendâ€™s house; Weiss even withheld dinner from her daughter after Bea ate hundreds of calories worth of Brie and filet mignon at her schoolâ€™s â€œFrench Heritage Day.”
The weight loss program that Bea was one discourages public admonishment and embarrassment of the child, but Weiss went overboard on occasion and made mistakes.
Undoubtedly Weiss was hard on her daughter at times–too hard, some would say,but the plan worked: Bea was within a normal weight after a year.
For Bea, the achievement is bittersweet. When I ask her if she likes how she looks now, if she’s proud of what she’s accomplished, she says yes…Even so, the person she used to be still weighs on her. Tears of pain fill her eyes as she reflects on her year-long journey. “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.”
There are overweight adults who have been struggling with weight loss, obesity, and/or depression that leads to overeating since they were children; if some of those people had caring parents who had the financial resources and the wherewithal to take their children for professional help there would probably be far few obese adults among the African-American population.
I know a man who was once an overweight child. When his mother realized that he was much bigger than the other children his size she consulted a medical professional–the boy’s pediatrician–and a dietary plan was devised to help the boy lose weight. Today, that once overweight little boy is a svelte and athletic man; he took part in sports in high school, and maintained a healthy weight while growing up.
The point is this: A parent who loves their child will–if able to afford to do so–seek medical attention for their child if the parent sees that child struggling with any sort of health issue. A parent will consult a medical professional about the best course of action to take to nip any problems in the bud before those problems become full-grown monsters that result in years of struggle with weight and body issues.
While some may take issue with a few of the tactics this mother in Vogue used to keep her daughter on track,ultimately I think the mom had the right idea in mind: Keep my child healthy.