I was branded ‘obese’ & put on a diet by mum at 7 – she was accused of fat-shaming me & branded the ‘worst ever’04/05/2021
GROWING up, lots of children go through a puppy fat phase – but for 17-year-old Betty Kubrovy-Weiss, this was something she lived through in the public eye.
In an interview with The Telegraph's Stella magazine, the teenager said she's used to unwelcome comments about her weight after her mum famously put her on a diet when she was just seven years old.
10 years ago, Betty's mum Dara Lynn Weiss wrote a story for Vogue magazine about her attempts to get her daughter to lose weight.
Before putting her on a diet, Dara had been told that Betty – who weighed 6st 9lbs and was 4ft 4in -was "obese".
The story followed Dara's struggle to get her young daughter to stick to a restrictive diet over the course of a year – including snatching a Starbucks Frappucinno out of her hand when the barista topped it with calorific whipped cream.
In the controversial article, Dara detailed how she halved the portions of her daughter's meals, banned desserts almost completely and told her she couldn't eat cookies like her peers.
After the piece was published, one mum blogger claimed Dara had "handed her daughter the roadmap to all her future eating disorders" while other critics accused of her "fat-shaming".
Off the back of the article, Dara went on to write a memoir about the year of dieting called The Heavy.
In 2013, she told The Cut that she'd "underparented around the issue of food" for years and didn't want to ban Betty from having treats for fear of embarrassing her in front of peers.
She said at the time: "I accept a lot of criticism. I am strict.
My confidence hinges so much on how my body feels or looks. I sometimes feel more confident when I'm smaller. But it remains a fact that I do.
"I made a million mistakes. But the idea that I embarrassed or humiliated my child, that's just wrong. It's painful to hear."
A decade after the Vogue story was first published, Betty – who will attend Yale University in September – told Stella magazine that she still can't bring herself to read the Vogue article.
She said: "I have never doubted my mom's good intentions with either the article, the book or the diet itself. And I did lose 16 pounds in [that] year because of the healthier eating plan."
Over the past 10 years, Betty said her weight has fluctuated enormously and that it's been a "constant struggle".
She added: "My confidence hinges so much on how my body feels or looks. I sometimes feel more confident when I'm smaller. But it remains a fact that I do.
"Mom still feels like she did the right thing for my health back then. I would certainly be worse off if I hadn't learnt how to handle my weight and health from a young age."
Although Betty used to compare herself to her mum, she is now aware that Dara "spends a lot of time working on her weight".
Above all, the teen doesn't blame her mum for putting her on a diet because "control had to be enforced" – but she struggles with the fat-shaming criticisms levelled at Dara.
Explaining how her and her mother now choose what to eat together, she added: "My mother is no longer part of my body-image story."
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