Eating Disorders? 'Diet Mom' Is Back

Hey Diet Mom: Starving your 7-year-old = Eating Disorder

Posted Apr 22, 2013

Children on Diets = Eating Disorders: NY socialite Mom writes book, 'Heavy,' says she doesn't regret putting daughter, 7, on strict die

Are Eating Disorders America's Real Hunger Games?

Dara-Lynn Weiss, you may or may not recall, is the New York mom who put her 7-year-old daughter on a strict diet then wrote about it in Vogue and took a well-deserved public shellacking.

Well, she's back, having recently published a book, called, of course "The Heavy." She doesn't regret one bit putting her 7-year-old daughter on a strict diet, keeping her starving, begging for food, snatching food away from her and reprimanding her in public. The 'obese' kid lost 16 pounds. You can read about it here if you can stomach it:

Dara-Lynn Weiss, Author of 'The Heavy,' Does Not Regret Putting Her 7-Year-Old On A Diet

Do we really have to have this conversation again? Apparently we do.

Causes of eating disorders

In my original post about Weiss, Mom Forces Daughter, 7, On Strict Diet,I wrote about the way this mother chose to handle her daughter's eating and the tremendous cost to the child when her mother gets in the way of a girl's relationship with her own hunger and body.

I outlined the potential psychological and physical damage that Bea, the 7-year-old daughter of Tiger-Mom Weiss, and the train wreck of eating disorders and pain that child may suffer as she gets older.

Hunger Games

After writing that I heard from many, many daughters who as children were forced to eat, or forced to diet or in one way or another had their relationship with their hunger and their bodies intruded upon and thus cut off. This causes a lifetime of struggle and disordered eating and body image issues. Here is a heartbreaking example of just such a daughter:

Letter from the Daughter Forced to Diet: 'Thanks, Mom, for a Lifetime of Eating Disorders"

In a related post, Kids and Food: Stop Forcing My Daughter To Eat! (Is the Clean Plate Club a Weapon of Body Mass Destruction?) I share my frustration as a mom who does not want anybody forcing my daughter to eat, thus the invention The Famous Lunch Box Note.

Children on diets?

So there's a lot of my advice on what NOT to do. Here is some of the best advice on what we SHOULD do. Here are 20 Foolproof Do's and Don'ts for you tiger moms and grandma lions out there who are overly involved in what should be a private conversation between a girl and her own body:

 20 Tips to Avoid Forcing Kids to Diet, Causing Eating Disorders and Obesity

Read more on eating disorders, healthy eating and kids:

Aging and Anorexia Part II: Advice on Eating Disorders in Midlife and Beyond

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Anorexia and Aging Part I: Is There a Silent Crisis of Eating Disorders in Older Women?

Expert: "Eating disorders are the deadliest mental illnesses and premature death is very common." It's National …

Parents: Important Advice About Your College Student and Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders Can Be Fatal: Here's What Parents Should Say and Do If They Think Their Child Has an Eating Disorder College …

Parents: 10 Spring Break Warning Signs of Eating Disorders in Your College Students

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About the Author

Pam Cytrynbaum

Pamela Cytrynbaum teaches at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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