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Weight Watcher

March 28, 2012

Did any of you read the article titled, Weight Watcher, in the Up Front section of Vogue’s April issue? For those of you who haven’t, allow me to summarize: Mother and author of the piece, Dara-Lynn Weiss, writes how she put her seven year old daughter, Bea, on a diet after their doctor diagnosed her as “clinically obese”. Bea was 4 ft. 4 in. and 93 pounds. Dara-Lynn’s strategy to slim Bea down included humiliating her daughter in public, restricting and flat out denying her food when she claimed she was hungry. Dara-Lynn writes:

Weight loss is a painfully simple proposition-it comes down to taking in fewer calories than we burn. All I really had to do was give Bea less to eat. Her breakfast switched from full-sized bagels to mini-bagels with low-fat cream cheese. Her snack at school was a single piece of fruit. Lunch was a homemade low-fat chicken fajita and raw veggies and berries…We became connoisseurs of anything in the 100 calorie pack and bought enough diet soda and fat-free whipped topping to horrify any Whole Foods-shopping mom.

Dara-Lynn, I commend you for addressing the issue of your daughter’s weight and proactively finding a solution. With that said, you went about it completely the wrong way.

“Get rid of the processed food in your house,” advised her co-worker.

“You should try to get her to exercise more,” ventured a parent of one of Bea’s classmates.

“Just feed her only organic, unprocessed food and she’ll balance out,” one friend assured her.

You should listen to your friends Weiss, seriously.

I also have to blame Vogue for this article. Which one of you on the masthead is being blackmailed by Weiss? Frankly the only aspects of the article that were pertinent to your magazine were the photographs of mother and daughter; looking effortlessly styled and poised. I kept on reading, thinking that it was a satirical piece, but it wasn’t. I honestly didn’t get it. And what’s worse, apparently Weiss’s Vogue article was just an amuse bouche for her upcoming book titled, The Heavy.

Lastly, Bea, sweetheart, if you need guidance, encouragement and honest advice that works, please call or email me.

P.S. a word on Quality VS. Quantity:

All calories are not alike and are therefore not interchangeable. I don’t agree with diet plans like Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem based on this principle alone. Although they have been successful in helping people achieve and maintain weight loss, they aren’t based on overall nutrition or long-term health. Whereas you may have a protein bar for breakfast, a slice of pizza for lunch and a frozen, microwavable dinner at the end of the day, all while staying within your point boundaries, you haven’t consumed a single living, whole food all day. As a creature of nature you owe it to yourself to eat natural foods; untainted by machines and free from preservation packages. The body easily digests whole foods, nutrients are absorbed and waste is eliminated. This isn’t the case with processed foods that linger in our system.

To give you an example of an eating plan that is marketed to promote healthy weight loss, lets take a look at Nutrisystem. As part of their 28-Day Select Program, you receive 18 days of “ready-to-go” food, plus ten days of “fresh-frozen” items. Think about what type of meal lasts for eighteen days without refrigeration. Are you puzzled? Now envision it in your digestive track. To give you an example let’s take a closer look at one of their menu options: Scrambled Eggs with Vegetables. In the world of real food, this is an excellent meal that you can make for yourself in less than ten minutes. Nutrisystem describes theirs as, “Fluffy scrambled eggs enhanced with savory sausage flavor, perfectly paired with potatoes, onions, red and green peppers, plus the richness of cheddar cheese.” Sound okay to you? Now let’s check out the actual ingredients:

DRIED EGG WHITES, DEHYDRATED VEGETABLES (POTATO, ONION, RED BELL PEPPER, GREEN BELL PEPPER), NONFAT DRY MILK, DRIED WHOLE EGG, CHEDDAR CHEESE (PASTEURIZED MILK, CHEESE CULTURES, SALT, ENZYMES), FRUCTAN, SOY FLOUR, SOYBEAN OIL, NATURAL FLAVOR (CONTAINS TORULA YEAST), SALT, SPICES, CARAMEL COLOR, SUGAR, WHEY, EXTRACTIVES OF CARROT, HYDROLYZED CORN/SOY/WHEAT PROTEIN, MALTODEXTRIN, MAPLE FLAVOR. CONTAINS EGG, MILK, SOY AND WHEAT.

Are you paying attention? Hang in there, it gets worse. Here is their suggested preparation method:

MICROWAVE: 1. Combine contents of one packet and 3 oz of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir thoroughly. Let sit for 5 minutes to hydrate vegetables. 2. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) for 30 seconds and stir well. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) for another 30 seconds and stir well. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) for 15 to 30 seconds. (Microwave ovens vary; adjust time as needed.) 3. Stir and serve. PRODUCT WILL BE HOT, USE CAUTION. STOVE TOP: 1. Combine contents of one packet and 3 oz of water in a bowl. Stir thoroughly. Let sit for 5 minutes to hydrate vegetables. 2. Combine hydrated egg mixture in an 8” nonstick sauté pan. 3. Cook 1 to 2 minutes over medium heat stirring occasionally and serve. PRODUCT WILL BE HOT, USE CAUTION.

In my opinion this meal is not fit for human consumption. I wouldn’t even feed this to my dog, let alone a stray cat. Can you imagine eating this way, every meal for an entire month? If weight loss is your goal, adapting to a whole foods diet will help you achieve this naturally. Limiting calories, while eating garbage isn’t the approach you want to take. Ready-to-go diet foods like this are just as bad if not worse than fast food. These products are pollutants: fiber-less to extend shelf life and fortified with vitamins so that they can be classified as food. Food options, like the scrambled eggs described above, are unacceptable, yet Americans continue to commit their money and time to these gimmicky diet foods. In order to become a thinner, healthier population, we have got to stand up and fight the war against toxic food.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Dian permalink
    March 28, 2012 8:58 pm

    hanna. love this entry. so agree. so impressed with you and proud of you! i hope Bea reads this and others comment as you have about the article and her mother realizes the error and danger of her ways. Talk about leading your kid directly into an eating disorder..and ew to Nutrisystem!

    • Diana permalink
      March 28, 2012 8:59 pm

      i wish i could spell my name 🙂

      • Diana permalink
        March 28, 2012 9:02 pm

        Hanna, I wrote you a longer comment saying how I totally agree, and love your response to this article, but I think I lost it in the worldwideweb. I’m so impressed by your response, and proud of you! (in a non-condescending way!)
        Love you!

  2. April 2, 2012 2:17 pm

    I like the valuable info you supply on your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and test once more right here regularly. I am moderately certain I will learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

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