Vogue diet mum speaks: 'I made a million mistakes'

Thursday, January 17, 2013
Vogue diet mum speaks: 'I made a million mistakes'
Dara-Lynn Weiss and her daughter Bea. © US Vogue.

She sparked worldwide controversy when she wrote about putting her seven-year-old daughter on a diet — now Dara-Lynn Weiss has admitted her approach was far from perfect.

Weiss opened up about her daughter Bea's battle with her weight in the April 2012 issue of US Vogue.

The now-infamous article went viral, prompting a deluge of vicious criticism of Weiss that has caused her to re-evaluate her parenting tactics.

Related: Is it ever okay to tell your child they're fat?

"I was expecting a certain level of interest and controversy based on aspects of my approach," Weiss tells the current issue of NY magazine.

"I lived it, so I knew that was something that people are sort of shocked by. And I accept a lot of the criticism. I am strict. I was abrasive at times. I made a million mistakes. But the idea that I embarrassed or humiliated my child, that's just wrong.

"It was painful to hear. The whole journey was full of self-doubt and questioning, but I was honest about it. So then to have this wave of people confirming my worst fears …"

But while Weiss insists she didn't humiliate her daughter, her original account of her "mission" to help Bea lose weight paints a different picture.

Weiss admitted refusing to give Bea dinner, banning her from enjoying her school's Pizza Fridays, and publicly "deriding" her daughter when she accepted calorific treats like cookies or chocolate from other adults.

In another embarrassing incident, Weiss snatched a cup of hot chocolate out of Bea's hands and poured it into the garbage bin when the barista couldn't tell her the exact kilojoule count of the beverage.

But no matter how much criticism she faces, Weiss says she will never regret acting on her daughter's weight problem, and would do it again if she needed to.

Related: Why are Australian women too posh to push?

"You have to parent your child around the issue of childhood obesity, even if it's in a public setting," she said.

"In so many situations in parenting, you have to do what's unpopular. It's not something a kid wants to help you out with. It's not something that other parents are happy to see someone going through.

"Childhood obesity is such an important issue to bring out, and the shaming of parents was at the heart of it. So while there were many times I wanted to recede back into a private life, I didn't want to be scared off by the criticism, either by people I felt disagreed with me correctly or incorrectly. The importance of this issue overrode my concern about undertaking it."

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