In a desperate bid to help his daughter combat escalating weight issues, a concerned father, the Original Poster (OP), proposes a controversial solution – to pay her to hit the gym. This leads to his wife’s very different opinion and a heated debate online.
A Concerned Father
OP, a 53-year-old man, grows worried about his 22-year-old daughter’s escalating weight problem. He notes that her weight has surpassed being a mere aesthetic issue and also the fact that it is becoming a health concern.
Reason For The Change
His daughter is a graduate student living out of town, supported by OP’s funds for tuition and rent, while she works part-time for her other expenses. Up until now, he has been pleased with this arrangement.
A Delicate Conversation
OP decides to discuss the weight issue with his daughter, being as gentle as possible. The daughter receives the conversation well, even though he can sense her feelings have to be hurt. He is put in a tough spot on how to help her.
OP’s daughter acknowledged the problem but expressed a lack of motivation to address it. She attributes the weight gain to a time and money issue. Her busy graduate school schedule and part-time job leave her little time to go to the gym.
A Unique Proposition
OP proposes an intriguing solution to motivate his daughter: financial compensation for gym hours. He suggests paying her $15 per gym hour, allowing her to reduce her work hours and have more time for exercise. OP is trying to remove any blockades from her being able to take care of herself.
The Honor System
Even though there is no real way for him to track if she goes or not, the payment works on an honor system. OP trusts his daughter won’t take advantage of the situation and will choose to prioritize her health with this agreement.
A Divided Household
OP’s wife expresses disdain at his approach, labeling it “disgusting.” He, on the other hand, believes he’s offering his daughter a beneficial replacement of her work shifts with gym shifts.
A Question of Ethics
OP seeks external perspectives on his situation, asking if he is the antagonist for offering to pay his daughter to lose weight. The question seems to stir more than a few debates. Meanwhile, the underlying question of his daughter’s health and well-being continues to loom.
An Emphasis on Diet
Many comments highlight the significance of diet over exercise for weight loss. Some say that helping with diet may be less damaging to their relationship rather than paying her to go to the gym.
OP acknowledges this aspect but defends his focus on gym hours as they seem to be the most visible barrier his daughter faces. The question of how to incorporate dietary changes into the agreement remains unanswered.
OP considers professional intervention for his daughter, thinking a neutral party could help navigate the situation. He considers a nutritionist and a personal trainer, thinking their professional guidance would be more effective. He wonders if his daughter’s response to this new approach would be more productive.
A Question of Autonomy
Another issue for OP is that his daughter is in graduate school. She is no longer a child. Because he is still taking care of her monetarily, he believes this is an area where he can intervene. He wonders if it isn’t his place to do so.
Deeply concerned for his daughter, OP grapples with whether he owes his daughter an apology or not. He acknowledges that his actions were driven by concern, yet he wondered if he lacked sensitivity and respect for his daughter’s autonomy.
Was Offering to Pay for His Daughter to Go to the Gym Appropriate?
The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter. Here are some of their responses:
One reader said, “Diet plays a bigger role in weight loss. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Your money would be better spent on a nutritionist to work with your daughter on healthy food choices.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote: “Your motivations may be genuinely good, but the impact of this is harmful. There is no shortage of messaging telling fat people there’s something wrong with them, and it’s not like your daughter is unaware of potential health issues.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person states, “It is so difficult to manage weight when you’re struggling for money and still getting to grips with adult life because bad food is cheap and not exercising is free. Provided her weight gain is sufficient, and she enjoys the gym and wants to be fitter, then good on you for helping with that.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another viewpoint on the story: “You love her and want her to be healthier. And there is nothing wrong with offering to pay for her gym membership if you can afford it and she can’t. In fact, it would be really nice of you. But linking your payments to her compliance sends her a very clear message. I am fat. I am ugly. No one will ever love me the way I am. My own dad doesn’t love me because I’m fat.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.