My Mom Wrote About My Obesity In Vogue When I Was 7. It Went Viral

When I was 7 years old, I was the subject of what Jezebel called “The Worst Vogue Article Ever.”

The Vogue essay was written by my mother, Dara-Lynn Weiss, in 2012. It told the story of how she helped me to lose weight by putting me on a restrictive diet. In the piece, my mother recalled banning me from participating in Pizza Fridays at school and depriving me of dinner after she learned that I’d indulged in brie and baguette during French Heritage Day.

“I dressed down a Starbucks barista when he professed ignorance of the nutrition content of the kids’ hot chocolate whose calories are listed as ‘120-210’ on the menu board,” my mother wrote. “Well, which is it? When he couldn’t provide an answer, I grabbed the drink out of my daughter’s hands, poured it into the garbage and stormed out.”

I remember being at restaurants and my mom asking the server to bring me a half portion. Sometimes I’d lie about what I ate at birthday parties because I knew she wouldn’t react well. I also started sneaking food because there was this shame around eating.

At the end of my weight loss journey, over the course of a little less than a year, I grew two inches and lost 16 pounds. I was no longer clinically obese or at risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes. But my mom was vilified by the media for fat-shaming a child. She was labeled the “worst mother in NYC” by one newspaper columnist.

A decade later, I can tell you that she is not.

A decade after her mother’s viral article, Kubovy-Weiss said her relationship with her body is “complicated.”Courtesy Betty Kubovy-Weiss

At the end of the day, I know my mom had my best interests at heart. She was worried about my health. She understood the social stigma of obesity and wanted to protect me. Throughout the entire effort to get me to lose weight, the explanation and justification was always very clear to me: It wasn’t about having a thin daughter.

It’s also important to note that my mom also has her own issues with body image. As she shared in the Vogue story, “I have not ingested any food, looked at a restaurant menu, or been sick to the point of vomiting without silently launching a complicated mental algorithm about how it will affect my weight.”

At a certain point, I had to decide: Am I going to be angry with my mom for the rest of my life, or am I going to try to understand her love? For my own sake, and for the sake of having a good relationship with my mother, I needed to find the logic and kindness in what she did.

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