British mom Aly Gilardoni is under fire for forcing her daughter Corleigh to eat only 700 calories a day. Even more disturbing is that she’s had the girl on the diet since her second birthday. Experts tell HollyBaby.com that this mom is destroying her little girl! Is this a form of child abuse?
Aly Gilardoni has struggled with being overweight most of her life. She began comfort eating as a teenager and ballooned up to a size 20 by the time she was 16. Now in a desperate — some might say deranged — attempt at keeping her daughter, Corleigh, from becoming fat she’s had the 8-year-0ld on a dangerous 700-calories-a-day diet since she was 2! That’s about 1,000 calories less than she should be eating. “Being overweight dominates my life. I don’t want Corleigh to be like me,” Aly tells the Daily Mail. “I don’t want a fat child. I want her to be pretty and popular and she won’t be if she was bigger.”
Dara Chadwick, author of You’d Be So Pretty If…: Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies — Even When We Don’t Love Our Own, says that sadly this kind of thinking is actually quite common. “For many moms, wanting to keep our daughters from feeling the shame we’ve felt about our bodies drives us to comment on and critique their dietary choices,” she tells HollyBaby.com.
Have you ever caught yourself criticizing your kids’ bodies, HollyMoms? If so, Dara has some advice on how to handle this in the future. “Rather than obsessing about whether their daughters are going to ‘get fat’ like them, my advice to moms who want to raise healthy daughters who feel good about their bodies is to focus on addressing their own body image issues and improving their own habits. Moms are a powerful example for their girls and our daughters are always watching what we say and do.”
While Aly, who admits to being obsessed with how her daughter looks, consumes about 3,000 calories a day including nighttime junk food binges, little Corleigh typical diet includes a bowl Weetabix cereal for breakfast, a half of a roll with salad for lunch and nothing more than a baked potato at dinner.
Six years of being on the starvation diet have already taken a toll on Corleigh, who was anemic until she was 5. “She’s always looking in mirrors. I feel guilty — but it’s how I want her to be. I’m glad I’ve trained her. I want her to grow up happy and do things I never did,” says her mom, adding that she’d rather her girl become anorexic than overweight. “With an eating disorder you can get through it with therapy. But when you’re fat your fat for life.”
I have trouble following her logic on that one — how could she possibly be happy binging and purging or starving every day for the rest of her life? Talk about delusional. Aly doesn’t think this dieting is hurtful in any way. “Corleigh’s not so underweight she’s going to die next week,” she says.
But nutritionist Jackie Keller, who has worked with celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz, finds that very hard to believe. As she explains, children between the ages of four and eight should be consuming 1,400 to 1,600 calories a day. “Her body would be developmentally compromised, as this is nearly a starvation program. Additionally, I am surprised that her brain and skeletal development is not slowed and below normal,” she tells HollyBaby.com, adding that a child Corleigh’s age needs to be consuming 20-30 grams of protein, 40-60 grams of fat, 3 servings of calcium rich dairy, 7 fruits or vegetables and 8-9 servings from the grain group. “Grains are for the brains!” says Jackie.
HollyMoms, we’re curious — have you ever thought of putting your toddler on a diet? And do you think Corleigh should be taken away from Aly?