7-Year-Old's Weight-Loss Plan Is Heartbreakingly Painful to Read

Polly PocketA 7-year-old girl's diet list has been circulating on the web recently, causing heartbreaking gasps and an outcry against our weight-obsessed culture. The handwriting is childish, but the sentiments it contains are those we like to think don't begin haunting children until later in life, though time and again, we're shown otherwise.

The note came from mom Amy Cheney who shared the "diyet" list with all of its misspellings at Mamamia. She said she found it in her daughter's room, amidst the Polly Pockets and friendship bracelets.

The note outlines foods the girl lets herself eat: "Appals, keewee, yoget" as well as exercises she needs to do: "pooshups, 16 star jumps 2 time a day, and rid my bike 3 times a day."

Again, this is from a 7-year-old girl.

Cheney says she was shocked and didn't even know where her daughter learned the word diet. She wrote:

Whose fault is this? Is it mine because I let her play with Barbies? Because sometimes she’s allowed to watch Total Drama Action? Is it because when I draw with her I can only draw stick figures?

Seventeen Poosh-ups two times a day.

I felt sick. Physically ill. Like someone had knocked the air from my chest.

I, frankly, don't find it surprising at all that a 7-year-old would write a note like this. Of course, she knows what a diet is, because we talk about them all the time. A study from the National Eating Disorders Association found that 40-60 percent of kids ages 6-12 are worried about their weight; 70 percent would like to be thinner. The fact that she's determined to eat healthy foods and exercise certainly isn't negative, but to see someone so young be concerned enough about it to write down a list has bigger implications, and on that front I get this mother's feelings. Seven-year-olds should be playing with Polly Pockets, not obsessing about their diet.

Cheney goes on to say that she's "smart" about this stuff. She has a degree in early childhood studies, and her family promotes healthy attitudes about food and body image. So she blames society.

F*ck you society. F*ck you and your and stupid obsession with women and the way they look.

How dare you sneak into my home with your ridiculous standards and embed them in my little girls head, polluting her innocence with your pathetic ideals.

Your unrealistic expectations will not win in my house.

Won't they? I hope not, just as I hope they won't in my house either. But I look at my perfect, beautiful 4-year-old daughter, and I know that's not how she will see herself for long. I know it's only a matter of time before someone crushes her spirit that soars with all the confidence in the world right now, before it's chipped away little by little just because of how she's supposed to look.

And it frightens me, because I don't know how stop it from it from happening. And it depresses me, because it feels so inevitable that it will. I look at myself and at most of the women I know, and how even the most seemingly confident among us has spent countless hours in pain and self-doubt because of our body image. We can try to set a healthy example (despite the fact that we're poor ones inside), but that seems like so little when there's a world of other messages coming at them.

How do we stop it? How do we protect our beautiful, perfect daughters and encourage them to be healthy and strong without letting their self-worth rely on their size? I have no clue really, and that's what most heartbreaking of all.

What do you think of this 7-year-old's "diyet" note?


Image via MCA/MikeAllyn/Flickr

kids nutrition, girls


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LadyM... LadyMinni

Oh Mama, it's just as much your fault as it is society's. Who let it into your house? That would be you. Don't blame Barbie, blame yourself. If you have ever talked about eating healthy or going on a diet, that is where she learned it.

Are we so sure we should be discouraging this? I'm going to sound like the bad guy but hear me out. The kid clearly understands what it means to eat healthy and exercise, at least to a degree. Explain to her the difference in living well and dieting, then let her do exactly what is on that list. That is how we combat the childhood obesity problem. I did push-ups, crunches, and jumping jacks pretty much every day as a kid. I ate well. Now I'm healthy. I'm not saying put the kid on a diet or encourage her to diet, but aside from the title at the top, she's going in the right direction.

Now, please teach her to spell. She's seven years old, she needs to know how to spell "apple," "push," and "bike." Honestly it looks like an adult wrote it how they thought a child would have, not like a child wrote it....

Karla C. Mulrenan

I totally agree with you LadyMinni, Also, the mother is turning this to what it shouldnt and it is clear that if she sees this as a negative then it is the mother who has that mentality of " be skinny and pretty and watch drama shows and be a total fucking bitch who lies and whines about minor shit in life" Let me turn this around for the mother of the 7 year old girl. Im gonna turn this into a positive thing. Cross out diet and write Fitness Plan instead. Now, that's much better. The list is all a child should be doing. Eating fruits and staying active. The word diet is probably she hear and misunderstand its implication that she head from her mother. This girls intentions might not be "be skinny, starve yourself and hope society accepts you" maybe her intentions are to be fit and well nourished. Nothing wrong with that, 

Karla C. Mulrenan

Now, if you want to let your daughter know that aesthetics arent all that important then have a nice talk with her and explain to her that she should also appreciate her personality and qualities as much she appreciates her desire to be physically active and healthy. Dont turn it around into a DRAMATIC point of view which clearly shows how society has shaped you to think!!! so if the mother is cussing society she is cussing her self right back. at 7 years old, I was thin, active, in a soccer team, riding bikes, running around playing tag and just having fun and eating well ( my mother always fed us healthy) There is no need to turn this into something negative, make it into something positive. 

B1Bomber B1Bomber

The number one indicator of whether a girl will have strong self esteem is a positive relationship with her father (preferably still married to her mother). The next indicator is a mother with strong positive self esteem...it's a mixed message to always tell your daughter "You're beautiful just as you are" and immediately follow it by complaining every time you look in the mirror yourself.

Chandra Haverstock

the girl is parroting what she has learned in school. They are teaching kids to eat healthy and exercise starting in pre-school to combat childhood obesity.

nonmember avatar Dawn

This issue will only get worse the longer that we accept "diet" talk and and celebrity body images as the norm for our girls. I mean there are commercials for Skechers Shape-ups for young girls! WTF? This isn't normal. I have a 10 year old and I can see how the media shapes her perception of her body image. It is sick. So, we don't "diet" in our house and we don't watch TV shows where all the girls are bratty and running around half dressed. It isn't much, but it is a start in a long battle.

nonmember avatar kaerae

First of all, just because she heard the word diet and used it, doesn't mean she's body-obsessed. Exercise and healthy eating are ok. But I do think the obesity "crisis" is going to also increase the rates of eating disorders. The schools are trying to treat 100% of the kids for a disease only a third of them have. The schools where I live actually weigh the kids every year now. If I had a daughter in school, I would raise holy hell about it, it's NOT their job to throw a bunch of skinny girls on a scale and get that number in their heads!

Tripl... TripleC14

FYI author, your diet is everything you eat and drink, and schools are (correctly) trying to teach young kids about proper diet and exercise. The word diet does not equal "weight-loss plan".

This list seems perfectly normal to me. If my kiddo told me that he needed to make sure he ate fruits and veggies every day and exercised, I'd say "great idea", not freak out on the internet about the "ills of society". Get a grip.

the4m... the4mutts

I think the bigger concern here, is that my 5y/o spells better than this 7y/o. Get that kid some tutoring, because the mom is obviously failing her in that regard.

Linsala Linsala

Nothing like a bunch of mother's tearing down the self-confidence of a 7 year old over her spelling. My son is 5 and cannot spell most things. Does that make him stupid? Does that make me a bad parent? No. He's just a little behind developmentally. YOU are part of the problem. All of you want to tear down the mother and critizice the child. No wonder women have such self esteem issues.

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