People rarely strive to be their healthiest selves. The concept of health, however, varies from person to person. Some individuals define healthy as consuming certain foods and exercising for a specific amount of time each week. Others simply want to feel good about themselves.
The internet has continued to ridicule a father for putting his 9-year-old daughter on a diet. A father and his ex-wife divorced when their daughter, M, was five years old. Following this, he relocated and only visited his daughter during breaks, but he spoke to her frequently on the phone.
The father returned to his hometown after a few years and began seeing his daughter every other week. However, he noticed that M had begun to gain weight and decided to take action. He restricted her diet, limited her portions, and accompanied her to a family-friendly gym.
Due to this, M has developed a fear of gaining weight and of eating certain meals. As a result, in February 2020, the father began to question whether he was right to place her on a diet in the first place, and sought assistance from Redditors. Redditors took offense to this father for “emotionally harming” his little daughter, who is still growing, and he had to abandon his strict diet plan.
He noted in his Reddit post that when he saw his daughter in person for the first time in a long time, he realized she had gained weight. While it’s normal for children’s bodies to change as they grow, OP was concerned about the way his daughter M looked.
“When I spoke with ex, she became defensive, saying that M eats what she wants (ex is thin and healthy) and participates in a sport twice a week,” OP said. In contrast, OP did not believe that M exercising for 90 minutes twice a week was sufficient.
“I know it’s tougher to lose weight as you get older,” he said, “so I decided to keep an eye on her and do what I could during her weeks with me.” “I didn’t put her on a crash diet, but I did start packing lean lunches for her instead of letting her buy food.”
M ate vegetables, yogurt, and cooked chicken breast for most of his meals. OP also added that M started going to the gym four times a week. “The only thing I told M about it was that we were working to get her physically fit and aware of what she ate in the future,” OP explained.
M was asked to bring snacks to a birthday party, so OP prepared a bag of vegetables and hummus for her. Popcorn would also be served. OP dropped M off at the party, and his ex picked her up.
OP explained that the next day he spoke with his ex-wife, who was upset, and his daughter refused to look at him. She apparently warned the other kids at the party that eating their bad treats would make them fat, and that eating vegetables would help her lose weight. She also refused the popcorn and pizza.
“M was crying as she said she was afraid of gaining weight and making everyone hate her if she ate anything bad.”
According to the National Eating Disorder Association, this phobia is unfortunately common among young girls. An estimated 40% to 60% of girls aged 6 to 12 are worried about their weight or the possibility of becoming overweight.
He and his ex-wife had an argument because his ex claimed M was healthy and active, but OP claimed her body didn’t show it. “My ex is now threatening to not bring her back to me unless I stop ’emotionally harming’ her,” OP said.
Redditors promptly shut him down after he asked for their opinions. Some others advised OP that if he was truly concerned about his daughter’s health, he would have taken her to see a doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist to develop an appropriate diet plan and exercise routine for her.
Many people, however, did not believe this was the OP’s intention. One person said, “You only care about how others see her.”. Another commenter stated, “If your daughter is crying about her weight and afraid to eat, then you handled this terrible.” This is how “emotional injury” is defined. You may have the best intentions, but something is seriously wrong here.”.