A father on Reddit is being criticized for going way too far in attempting to help his 9-year-old daughter lose weight. The anonymous dad admitted he has not always been apart of his daughter’s life but is currently attempting to be more involved — especially when it comes to her health.
The 34-year-old dad moved back and has taken regular custody of her after being away from his daughter for four years. But as of late, he started to become concerned with her body changing.
“I had noticed M [my daughter] starting to put on weight,” he began. “She’s not obese but seeing her in person, I’ve noticed she has a belly which hangs over her waistband, and she wears 12-13 clothes despite being only 9.”
When the dad asked his ex about their daughter’s diet, she told him the girl was perfectly normal, eats healthy, and participates in a sport with regular practices, twice a week.
“I asked about portion sizes and other exercise (twice a week for 90 mins isn’t that much),” the dad shared. “I was trying to stay friendly but ex shut me down.”
So he decided to address the problem himself.
He admitted that he understands how it is harder to lose weight as kids get older and decided to put his daughter on a healthy-eating and exercise plan when she spent custody time with him.
“I did not put her on a crash diet, but I did start using a portion control plate and packing lean lunches instead of letting her buy her food (carrot sticks, yogurt, flavored steamed chicken breast etc.),” he shared. “M complained at first but then seemed fine with this.”
“I also took her to the gym with me four times a week,” he went on, adding how his gym has parent and child classes.
He also insisted he did not use any body-shaming language, insisting how “the only thing I said to M about it is that we were working to set her up for the future being physically fit and mindful of what she eats,” he continued.
But at a birthday party, things turned south. While all the other kids got to bring their favorite snacks to the movie and sleepover party, the dad sent her to the party with hummus and veggie sticks.
“She made a little fuss about not getting candy but seemed fine,” he wrote.
But when she got to the party, she saw what the other kids were eating and was upset. The next day, the girl’s mother texted him and livid.
“Apparently when they were [sitting and] waiting for the movie kids started comparing snacks,” he wrote. “M told the other kids that they were gonna get fat and unhealthy because their parents gave them those snacks. She said she had to eat the veggies so she could lose weight, and she wasn’t allowed any popcorn (I never said this).”
And when she was back at her friend’s house, M refused to eat anything, believing she was going to get fat.” The night ended with the birthday girl’s parents calling his ex and requesting her to come get her daughter.
When the 9-year-old opened up to her mom about her anxiety in regards to gaining weight, she was in tears: scared to death that if she ate anything “bad” that “everyone would hate her.
In addition, she revealed her dad’s gym routine with her, which was news to her mom.
“She blames me for giving M a complex when she was healthy and active,” the dad went on. “I said if she was healthy she wouldn’t have a belly and be bigger than other girls. I said that at least I cared about what the girl puts in her mouth and she said M was happier before I moved back.”
His ex is now telling him how she won’t send him back for visits if the dad doesn’t stop “emotionally damaging’ her,” which led him to ask the internet whether he’s in the wrong. Did you think he did the right thing? The Reddit community certainly thought this dad was in the wrong, with the majority of comments calling him out for his bad choices.
“If your daughter is crying about her weight and scared to eat then you have gone about this poorly,” one of the top comments reads. “This is the definition of ’emotional damage’. You may have good intentions but something is going very wrong here. YTA [you’re the a**hole] for not taking that on board.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.