Everything I thought I knew about body positivity had somehow become wrong. One morning last year, I logged into my teenage daughter’s student profile to add lunch money to her account. I was surprised to find only a few dollars missing. We were driving when I confronted her. I could tell she was having difficulty putting her thoughts into words. “Mom,” she blurted out, “I want to lose weight.”
I pulled over into the Yogurtland parking lot. We sat in the car, watching people come and go with gooey sundaes. She confessed that during gym class, all the girls had to line up and have their weight and body mass index measured. Afterward, several started a diet soda weight-loss plan. My daughter — an average-size teenager — had been buying only a diet soda each day. She hadn’t eaten lunch in a week.
Excerpted from the New York Times