Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What to Make of Dara-Lynn Weiss?

This has nothing to do with my -free life, but it is health and food-related, so I'm going to post it here.

You may or may not have heard of Dara-Lynn Weiss. I only just heard about her yesterday. She wrote an article for Vogue about the diet she put her overweight 7-year old daughter on and was subsequently offered a book deal, which she called "The Heavy."

There are parents who have said it's great that someone's finally doing something and not letting their overweight/obese child get worse. Many, after reading just the article, have bashed her, claiming she embarrassed and shamed her child, some calling her neurotic, and so much more.

Which is it?

I have yet to read the book (waiting for it from the library), but just from what I've read and watched so far, I have to say the whole thing is very confusing.Very inconsistent. She wrote in the Vogue article (which I can't actually find online, only quotes and references) about her bad public behaviour on occasions (whether she recognizes it as bad or not) but doesn't seem to think she ever actually embarrassed her daughter, Bea. She says her daughter is a very happy kid now, but has previously written that her daughter was traumatized by it all. Anybody else sharing my confusion?

Her calm demeanour in interviews is contradicted by the examples she provides of her own bad behaviour. Weiss's approach to her daughter's weight loss included her flying off the handle and not letting Bea have supper one night because she had eaten what Weiss decided was 800 calories of food during something at school, and her storming out of a Starbucks, having dumped a child's hot chocolate into the garbage, because the person at the counter didn't know if it was 120 or 210 calories. She admits to getting into "heated discussions" about stopping Bea from eating more than agreed upon at parties, but in one interview I watched, she made it seem like it was not a big deal, just her giving her daughter a reminder about what she could and could not eat. The confusion grows.

One article about her and the book stated that the book was toned-down, which made it "better" to read than the Vogue article. Given the extremes Dara-Lynn Weiss has presented, I have to wonder how authentic the toned-down book is. Did she tone it down after the backlash of the article and omit the extent of her sometimes questionable behaviour?

Weiss has stated that the book is more about the attitude in today's society that it's bad to for a child to be overweight but it's also bad for parents to step in and do something about their overweight child. From what I've seen so far, I think people are objecting more to her methods than her goal. I'm eager to read the book, even though I am now a little wary of just how honest it will be.


  1. I haven't read the book either, nor do I have experience raising a child with weight issues. I'd like to think I wouldn't handle things in that manner (she does seem to be embarrassing her daughter), but I haven't walked in her shoes. I hope her actions truly come from a place of love. I guess I need to read the book and see.

    1. I think what's bothering me the most is her earlier stuff came out very strong and harsh, and then as time goes on, she seems to be changing her story a bit, sometimes outright contradicting what she earlier said!

  2. Maybe she saw how people were reacting and was embarrassed. She probably wishes she could have done things differently. Maybe she's more sensitive now.

    1. Maybe. I'm still waiting for the book; I'm the next in line on the library holds.

      I guess part of my worry is she completely contradicted herself at at least one point and then some other smoothing over of things just reminds me of someone I know and how deceitful I discovered she really was. Kind of the same sort of behaviour: kind of flaunt certain bad things, then people react negatively, so then say things that contradict the original, kind of pretending she'd never said it.