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Maggie Goes on A Diet, eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder

Maggie Goes On A Diet

by Deborah Cruz

Maggie Goes on A Diet ~ Is a new book with a targeted reading level of ages 4-8 years old and coming out in October of this year by author Paul M.Kramer. It is complete with cartoon like pictures and will be readily accessible and easy to read by your preschool-elementary aged child.

Synopsis: This book is about a 14 year old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image.

Maggie Goes on A Diet, eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorderMaggie Goes on A Diet; Don’t do it!

I have not read the book, or seen any excerpts, nor will I. This book will not be allowed in my house. I am the mother of two little girls and a survivor of eating disorder and forever a fighter of body dysmorphic disorder. Never heard of it? Let me help you become educated by defining something that has defined me for most of my life.

According to the Mayo Clinic: Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a type of chronic mental illness in which you can’t stop thinking about a flaw with your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. But to you, your appearance seems so shameful that you don’t want to be seen by anyone. Body dysmorphic disorder has sometimes been called “imagined ugliness.”

When you have body dysmorphic disorder, you intensely obsess over your appearance and body image, often for many hours a day. You may seek out numerous cosmetic procedures to try to “fix” your perceived flaws, but never will be satisfied. 

A leading Cause: Environment. Your environment, life experiences and culture may contribute to body dysmorphic disorder, especially if they involve negative experiences about your body or self-image.

This has consumed me since about the age of puberty and will probably be a battle that I fight every day for the rest of my life. I have been told that I basically can not trust anything I see in the mirror. Do you know how that feels? Can you imagine not being able to trust your own judgement? It may seem inconsequential or vain but when you don’t see the real you in the mirror, that becomes a problem. This goes way beyond being unhappy with gain of 10-15 pounds. This is never being satisfied with my appearance.When you never feel physically good enough, or sub par, it takes a toll on your life in almost every facet. It’s a little easier for me now because I know that the disorder exists within me. With therapy and education, I have been able to begin to not allow the disorder to define me . I know that I will probably never be satisfied with what I see in the mirror and that is not a reflection of some ineptitude on my part but a symptom of the disease, in that I can take some small comfort.

Maggie Goes On a Diet

This book cover alone disturbs me deeply. This may seem innocuous but the message it sends to a child will be profound. This is how my reflection has always been but the opposite. No matter how small I was,  I only saw someone large and ugly in the mirror. Not that the two go hand in hand, they certainly do not but for me (in my disease) I always needed to be just a little bit better. A little bit taller. A little bit smaller. My hair a little bit longer. A little bit curlier. A little bit straighter. My lips a little bit fuller. My eyes a little bigger. My nose, oh the bump on my nose, was monumental..practically a mountain. Boobs perkier. Legs longer. Fingers longer.Do you get the picture? No matter what I may have looked like, it was NEVER enough. For me, this book fosters this behavior. It sets a standard that perfection in appearance equals perfection in all areas of your life. This is simply not true. It never has been . It is an impossible standard. The next step in the progression would be eating disorders. Obviously, if you think that having the perfect body equals having the perfect life you are going to do all tat is necessary to reach that goal.

I do not believe that children should ever be put on a diet per se. I understand restricted diets for medical reasons; diabetes, allergies, etc. but just because a child gains a small amount of weight, I don’t think they should be put on a “diet”. It is our responsibility, as parents, to insure that our children get good quality healthy food and live a active lifestyle. We are the examples. We are the caregivers. I have had my own issues with food that I have had to deal with.They were dealt with long before I had children but it has made me aware that it is my responsibility to make healthy choices in mind, body and soul for the sake of my children. When anyone, a child or adult hears the word diet it instantly has a negative connotation associated with it. I feel that using the word diet with a child is imprinting a flaw in their mind. If I had it my way, my girls will never worry about the scale. I feed them a balanced diet and keep them active with play and dance. I don’t want them to know or care what they weigh. I just want them to be satisfied with who they are and to know that they are beautiful and perfect, as is.  This book undermines that lesson and teaches children that to be beautiful, popular and a star of the team , you must be aesthetically pleasing to others and beautiful. This book cover alone screams the message that to be happy with your life, you must be perfect in the mirror. Shouldn’t the message be that to be happy in your life, you must be beautiful on the inside and satisfied with your place in the world not the size of your dress?

Just Say No to Maggie Goes on A Diet

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Bleu 2011/08/29 - 2:35 pm

I was at a lake with the kids last week and we swam out to the diving raft and there were 3 girls laying out there all around 12-14. The ENTIRE time we were out there they discussed what they disliked about there bodies and what they wanted to change or trade. Each one taking turns going over the others body part by part, only discussing the bad parts of their own body and on rare occasion saying something they liked about the other one, but only in so far that the other had something good compared to their same part that was just awful. These were 3 beautiful, fit girls with bodies to be proud of.

I spoke up at one point telling them they should love every part of themselves and that there were all beautiful. They looked at me like I was an alien.

So sad.

Jessica 2011/08/29 - 4:31 pm

I agree. While I don’t necessarily disagree with the idea of wanting children to want to lead healthy lifestyles, I don’t like the book’s implication that it is a diet (a loaded word that shouldn’t even be used by adults) that can lead to a better life, more happiness, etc. As parents, I think encouraging healthy eating habits in our kids is something that is our responsibility.

Coffee Lovin' Mom 2011/08/29 - 8:09 pm

Wow – I hope this book never makes it to my daughter’s eyes…
I almost can’t believe it was published and I haven’t even read it – I’m with you, Just Say NO!

KalleyC 2011/08/29 - 9:52 pm

I tried to comment a few moments ago, so forgive me if this is a duplicate.

This is so sad. I mean really, do girls really need to be targeted for soemthing like this? Like you, I’ve grown up with a negative outlook about my body. This has been going on for years. I don’t want my daughter to ever know what it feels like to be uncomfortable in her own skin.

I hope that parents who do end up buying this book will really weigh the postive and negative outcomes that this book is going to imply (even if it is not explicity written down).

Truthful Mommy 2011/08/30 - 9:37 pm

I agree with you 100%.I don’t think enough consideration was given to the possible array of things that could go wrong with this book. It’s like a train wreck.

angela 2011/08/31 - 10:07 pm

This makes me so upset. I have had issues with my body my whole life, and I am doing everything in my power to try to demonstrate healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Something like this could really undermine the idea that outward perfection is necessary for inner happiness 🙁

julia 2011/09/04 - 2:31 am

I’m a 17 year old girl and to be honest, I see nothing wrong with this book. if my parents had given me this book…yeah, I would have been a little upset, but I would know they were just trying to stubbly help me. Everybody is beautiful in their own way, but who doesn’t want to be healthy? I mean it when I say that I am the happiest I’ve ever been because I eat right and exercise daily. This book’s message may just as well be a small step to help you onto your pursuit of happiness

Truthful Mommy 2011/09/05 - 10:21 pm

I agree that a healthy active lifestyle and eating clean is a great idea. My issue is that I think that if the message that a child needs a diet is sent to a small child ( as this book is written for 4-8 year olds) it is a negative message. Instead, I feel ( as a mother and someone who has had body image issues and eating disorders) that rather than the idea that a child go on a diet, a parent should be sure to model a healthy active lifestyle and feed their child a clean nutritious diet. The weight issue should not be something that a small child should have to worry about. The parent should support the child, give unconditional love and help the child become healthy through behavior modification ….NOT by putting a child on a diet. Losing weight does not solve all of a person’s problems. A person is not worth more or less as a human being because of their weight. I am glad that you are healthy and you are happy. Stay well.

Hopes@Staying Afloat! 2011/09/05 - 1:29 am

Oh my blood is boiling over this. I mean what parent would rely on a book such as this?

How can they seriously think this could help ANYONE?

Truthful Mommy 2011/09/05 - 10:13 pm

I don’t know, perhaps its the same parent who would buy that JCPenney “Im too Pretty to do Homework” t-shirt:) I hope no one buys it that actually has young children. I hate that this book could plant such awful seeds of doubt in a young girls mind.

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