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This Story Bothered Me

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I just read a disturbing story posted on YAHOO news. A 9 year old girl died of a seizure. That would be a tragedy by itself. But, the reason this little girl died was because her grandmother and step mother forced her to RUN for three hours ! This was punishment for lying about eating some candy bars. According to the article, the seizure was brought on by dehydration and a very low sodium level. You can read more here.

Why would ANY adult have a 9 year old child run for three hours without water as punishment for lying about some candy bars ? No sane adult would do this to a child. It's torture.

However, perfectly sane intelligent adults DO this to themselves every day. How many times on Spark People or any other weight loss website have we seen members who were told to go get in an "extra" workout because they ate too much ? How many times did we torture ourselves in the gym because we thought the exercise would help us compensate for all the extra food ?

That's what we're told, isn't it ? We're told that if we eat too much, we should work out more. Right ? No, it's not. It's wrong. A person shouldn't feel guilty because they ate too much. Don't associate food with guilt. No one is weak willed because they ate too much. No one lacks self control. No one is a bad person because they ate too much. And no, they should NOT kill themselves in gym as punishment.

Exercise should be thought of as a REWARD for engaging in healthy habits. If we eat too much one day, then we do our best to eat a little better for the rest of the week.

I'm totally guilty in past of having hit the gym for a couple of hours to compensate for eating too much. That was the unhealthy me. Today, the healthy me exercises because it's fun and because it's part of my routine. This story bothered me on multiple levels. It just reminded me how many people still believe that exercise should be used as punishment because they ate too much. These people were just crazy. You have to be to think that was a suitable punishment for a child.

I hope they throw the book at those two people !

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    i am actually the opposite maybe because i love exercise i see exercise not as a punishment for eating to much i see food as a reward for the exercise.the more i exercise the more i can eat, the story it is aweful and frightening and happens more than you denmark a couple of months agao a father let his son in a sports hall 70km from where they live in only his shorts and t-shirt in -9 weather and said he had to walk home because he missed a goal in the game he was competeing in.a worker from the sport centre found the child shivering out side the sport centre.when told the story he phoned the father on his handy who was already a third of the way back home and the father refused to come back for his son.he told the worker the same as his son that he must make his own way home.luckily they managed to find another parent from the boys team who took the boy home.the sport centre contacted the police who are taking matters further but how it is gone i don´t know.thanks for shareing.hopefully something good comes out of this and zthe little girl hasn´t died in vein and other people learn and don´t make the same mistakes. emoticon
    2573 days ago
    emoticon Those kind of stories just rip my heart out.
    2575 days ago
    Very sage advice.
    2579 days ago
    Me, too! That is totally crazy. It does put a different perspective on things as you have written. I never did the "exercise to compensate for overeating" regimen. I would just try to do better next time. I see exercise as a great thing that I can now engage in easier since I am not having to move around as much fat. It's a way to get more fit and healthy. Hope you have a great, progress-filled week! Keep up the good work! Thanks for the encouragement! Spark on! emoticon
    2579 days ago
    Tragic story....I hope you're right and they throw the book at the perpetrators of this crime.

    And well said on the point of your blog, I've been guilty myself of putting in extra time in the gym because I had eaten something unplanned, or more than I wanted to....and while I enjoy working out, your point is valid, if we think of gym time as a way to make up for poor nutrition it will stop being fun....
    2580 days ago
    so disturbing.
    excellent insight.
    no one HAS to exercise. We GET to.

    2580 days ago
    what a horrible story.
    2581 days ago
    Your take on this is really interesting. You don't quite "see the bright side" but you are making a really good point. Our society sees food as a reward and, increasingly, it seems, exercise as a punishment. Thanks for pointing it out.
    2581 days ago
    Thank you for putting that into perspective. Those monsters are cruel, heartless, and soulless for putting a child through that abuse. But, you are right. We adults "punish" ourselves with the same thing over and over every time we have a food foul-up. If we wouldn't abuse a child this way, we need to stop abusing ourselves this way, too.
    2581 days ago
    I am so shocked and saddened by this story, Karen, and yet I am grateful that you brought it to our attention. From an early age, exercise should be described as something enjoyable that benefits the body, but an activity to be engaged in with care and respect. I was particularly shocked by the statement, "It sounded like punishment that got out of hand." What?? It "got out of hand"? So on some level, exercise as punishment is appropriate and acceptable? There's the sick kernel of the premise!

    I hate exercise and always will. And I do exercise and always will, as long as my ol' body permits! I do it only for the sake of my health; it causes me discomfort. But it is medically condoned discomfort in the interest of physical well-being, so I keep on keepin' on. THIS, however, just ain't in the same ball park, to put it mildly...
    2581 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/23/2012 3:09:50 PM
    sick story -whats even worse is she had a condition where the chocolate in the candy bar could have made her more sick - THEN they compound it with this punishment??? REALLY?!?!?!!?!?!!!!
    2581 days ago
    I read this this am & it made me depressed :( I grew up in an abusive family and know that this was straight out child abuse. I know that for a fact that this poor child having to push herself that HARD meant that she was that much more AFRAID of what would happen if she didnt finish. I hope that any other children that were with them are permanently removed... I can only imagine what other horrors this poor child had to suffer through! May she be in peace now, and I hope that these monster people get the maximum punishment!!!
    2581 days ago
    That's horrible.

    I absolutely agree with you about exercise.
    Just a few weeks ago my daughter told me she was going to do stationary biking because she felt she overate - then she said "No, I'm not doing that - that would be just as wrong as throwing up".
    I was so happy she said that.

    2581 days ago
    You are so right.
    2581 days ago
    Oh, Karen, what a tragedy - and yet, you've drawn such excellent points from it. The mirror of Life indeed. The things we would not do to friends, let alone a child, but do to ourselves, all unthinking.
    2581 days ago
    That's shocking and terrible!!!!
    2581 days ago
    I read that too. It made me want to vomit.
    2581 days ago
    That's so sad.
    2581 days ago
    You have such a great way of bringing things into perspective. Most people would have read an article about this little girl and felt really bad and maybe a little angry at the mom and grandma. But how many of us parent ourselves exactly that same way. You are so spot on in your blog. I hope a lot of folks do some hard thinkin' about what you said. Very intuitive! Hugs, Calen~
    2581 days ago
    This is tragic and horrifying. Children are beautiful and sad.

    You are right. Exercise should never be punishment and yet we see it often don't we? Hazing, athletes and even the military. A perspective shift would be a good thing.

    But it would never help a child like that. I know. Among other problems my brother is bipolar. Too bad the grandmother was a terrible person too.
    2581 days ago
    I too was sickened when I read about this earlier this morning. Some parents should not have children. I see exercise and fitness as something enjoyable and necessary for health. When did exercise become a punishment? My parents took away television or grounded us. Child abuse has always been around but these people have no common sense. There is NO excuse for child abuse. I don't care if she ate a whole bag of candy. Sorry, but this really gets to me.
    2581 days ago
  • SPARKRAE2012
    That's a horrifying story! How anyone can do that to their child is unknown to me...

    I do agree with what you see about us adults. I constantly have to make an effort to not associate exercise as punishment or a negative thing I put myself through. I'll hate it forever if I do that...
    2581 days ago
    I too, hope they throw the book at those two people. Actually, I hope they throw the whole stinkin' library at them!

    I am one of the ones who will do "Extra" exercise to offset eating too much. I don't look at it as a punishment though. I also don't associate eating too much with quilt. I do extra exercise to counterbalance the calories coming in so that I don't feel sick. If I overeat one day, my body feels like a lump. The more I exercise, the better I feel physically.

    2581 days ago
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