Health and fitness, especially in children and teenagers is a sensitive subject.
Subjective beauty standards can be misconstrued for health, when overall these discussions should be left between patients and doctors.
When Redditor wild-pixie was asked by her stepfather to help her stepsister get in shape, she was a little hesitant. The original poster (OP) didn’t think it was a good idea, and declined, leading to issues with her family.
She felt guilty about the situation, so OP took her story to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to find out if she was wrong.
“AITA for refusing to include my stepsister in my workouts?”
This was what her stepfamily wanted:
“My (16f) stepsister (16f) is visibly overweight. It’s definitely been a point of insecurity for her especially because her dad compares her to me a lot fitness wise.”
“I guess for reference I play a high level of hockey and am in great shape from constant diet and exercise since I was like 11.”
“Now my stepsister and stepdad got the idea that if she started working out with me it would motivate her more.”
“Now there’s a few problems with this, my workouts are high intensity and focus on speed and building muscle, not weight loss. I also run at least 5km 2x a week, which she’s nowhere near that level yet.”
“Another thing is, I’m not at their house all the time, so is she even going to follow my routine when I’m not there?”
“I feel like she’s doing it for all the wrong reasons and I don’t want to ‘help’ her if she’s just going to slow me down.”
“Well I told them no along with basically those reasons above and they got super pissed saying how I should want to help my ‘sister’ and how doing this would help her so much, and I’m kinda feeling guilty, AITA?”
OP is stuck in a difficult situation.
On one hand, her family is asking for help in something she has a little experience with. On the other hand, she’s not nearly knowledgeable enough to craft a program for her stepsister.
Whether or not she’s at fault for turning down her family’s request is determined by the commenters in the AITA subReddit.
This is done with one of the following acronyms:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
OP is a 16-year-old kid, who’s experience with health and fitness boils down to sports and training for sports. Her regimen is probably going to be too extreme for her sister.
Putting that kind of responsibility on her shoulders is too much, which is why she was voted NTA.
“NTA, they could’ve asked you for what kind of regimen you’d suggest for someone of her size, or even where to find a good trainer to do so if you can’t. Having anyone even marginally overweight start off on such high stress fitness is more dangerous than helpful” – Soulessnight
“I disagree. OP is just a 16 year old who plays hockey, she’s not a personal trainer or fitness expert.”
“Stepdad should be finding out this information and making the arrangements himself, not putting this off onto a teenager.” – thisleandpeony
“NTA you are not responsible for her health. You could offer to help her with an exercise program of her own on maybe a free day a week .. but that’s entirely up to you and you have no obligation.”
“Encourage her to get going, offer to help her figure out Training and exercise if you want to be nice but you have zero obligations here.” – Roctapus42
“NTA. Working out for high level competition is something completely different than just trying to loose weight. If your stepdad is truly interested in helping her, he should find a dietician, as long as your stepsister is open for it.”
“It’s still a big AH move from his side for comparing her to you. Ofcourse, you could help her with her own exercises of her own programme as mental support but that’s up to you.” – Potvinvis
On the other hand, there isn’t nothing OP can do. While putting the entirety of her sister’s health into her hands might be too much, she can maybe point her in the right direction.
OP can also be supportive in a different way, by encouraging her stepsister to control her own health, whatever that means.
Overall, a lot of comments were much more sympathetic to the sister, with some even blaming OP for being cruel.
“Wow. YTA not for refusing but for your sanctimonious attitude. Have a little empathy and maybe stop looking down on your step sister.” – Beelzebebe
“Thank you! I couldn’t believe the answers here. This 16 yo is going to leave this thread thinking that her attitude is appropriate and justified.”
“It’s also as if there is no middle ground? There’s a vast spectrum between no exercise and a high intensity workout that isn’t touched on because ‘she doesn’t HAVE to help’. God forbid anyone does something they don’t HAVE to do to help another person out.”
“This sub just breeds this selfish, entitled, egotistical perspective that just isn’t compatible with the real world.” – deeba_
“How about talking to your stepsister (separate from her parents who are pressuring her!) and see if SHE really would like you to help her set up an exercise program.”
“There’s a way to help her with a parallel plan rather than you essentially giving up your workout time to be her trainer. Nothing wrong with supporting and encouraging her that way.”
“Maybe she’s got another friend who would want to workout with her regularly, etc. Shift the reliance off of you. Just encourage her and help her decide on a routine.”
“Compromise to be just a little helpful. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing! ESH a little bit.”
“Edit: And her dad sucks for trying to make her feel bad about herself for comparing her to you. Can’t imagine that would be helpful.” – ParsimoniousSalad
“I’m not going to call you an a**hole, but you’re treating this as an all-or-nothing thing, which it doesn’t have to be. She doesn’t have to be doing YOUR workouts to exercise next to you or at the same time as you.”
“She could do something with you once a week to start with in order to build structure and feel accountable to someone. You could do your routine and she could follow along with a youtube video that matches her fitness level.”
“NAH because ultimately you aren’t obligated to help anyone if you don’t want to. But they aren’t a**holes either, it’s really hard to be a parent worried about their kid’s health and future, and it’s REALLY hard to be an overweight teenage girl.” – icecreampenis
With comments like these, OP reiterated that she isn’t that knowledgeable outside of what she gets from coaches. Her experience is tailored to a high level athlete, and not for someone starting out their fitness journey.
Which is an issue, since OP’s stepfamily wants her sister to join her exact workouts.
“edit: guys, I might know a thing or two from working with nutritionists and coaches, but it’s purely working on muscle and speed.”
“I have no idea how to set up a program, or how to help her with her eating habits either (she’s an overeater). But I will ask her if this is something she really wants and I might see if we can get her in with my nutritionist.”
“To clarify: they want her to be doing my workouts with me, basically to have her join my program.”
There’s a lot going on here. OP’s family shouldn’t be comparing the fitness levels of the two sisters. At most, they should be discussing the health of the sister with her doctor.
If the doctor feels something is wrong, they can look at options for a health plan, one that doesn’t involve her jumping into a high-level exercise with little to no preparation.
OP can be supportive, and maybe even help, but what’s being asked of her is putting the whole thing on her shoulders, which just isn’t right.