Parents made daughter sign up to Weightwatchers and exercise daily

Woman reveals her ‘fat-phobic’ parents put her on a diet at the age of SEVEN and forced her to exercise daily – but she’s finally happy with her body after years of bingeing and starving

  • Esther Field, 24, from Oxford, was put on a diet by her parents in her childhood
  • Was made to use an exercise bike daily so that she could burn enough calories
  • Started to binge eat and starve herself, leading to disordered eating habits
  • Is now a size 24 but feels confident and refuses to diet or weigh herself  

A women has told how her ‘fat-phobic’ parents made her sign up to Weight Watchers at just seven – years- old and forced her to exercise daily.  

Esther Field, 24, from Oxford, grew up in a family who equated healthiness to being thin, but being a chubby child felt under pressure to lose weight in order to be accepted. 

Her parents, who were themselves frequent dieters felt at just seven-years-old that Esther was old enough to join them on the weight loss plan. 

When her family bought an exercise bike for the house, Esther, who is now a UK size 24, was made to make use of the bike for a set amount of time every day in order to burn the number of calories her parents deemed ‘enough’. 

This began Esther’s habit of hiding food to binge eat in secret and eating hardly anything the next day. To this day, Esther is shocked at how early in life she began her disordered eating habits. 

Esther Field, 24, from Oxford, developed disordered eating habits as a child when her parents put her on a diet. Pictured: Esther eating some cake when she was about seven years old

Esther is now confident in her shape and doesn’t weigh herself anymore, after years of battling with her weight and body image

‘I constantly hated my body from as young as just six years old,’ said Esther.

‘My parents were often focused on health, which in their eyes meant being thin. I was a chubby child and so from a very young age the idea that I needed to lose weight to be accepted was drilled into me. It wasn’t just from my parents, but from television, celebrities, magazines and my friends.


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‘I was first put on WeightWatchers by my parents when I was seven. My mum was on and off diets for years and I guess when I turned seven she decided that I was old enough to go on one with her.


Esther (left) at a young age before she was made to diet. Today (right) as a body positivity influencer. She wants to show others the importance of embracing their bodies, regardless of their shape

‘I absolutely hated dieting. It made me want to rebel and sneak food whenever I could. I would steal little bits of chocolate or sweets from the cupboard, which frequently got me into trouble.   

Throughout her childhood and her teenage years, Esther was often the subject of her grandparents’ comments about weight, even handing her a serving spoon at the dinner table to imply a normal spoon wasn’t large enough. 

‘I can remember, even that young, having the horrible kind of satisfaction when I’d make it through a day having barely eaten. Looking back, the disordered habits of restricting and then binge eating started incredibly young.

A young Esther, before being consumed by diet culture. She now estimates she’s a size 24 but doesn’t weight herself or worry about her dress size anymore 

Esther, pictured today, recalled how her family bought an exercise bike for the house and she was made to use it for a set amount of time every day in order to burn the number of calories her parents deemed ‘enough’

 ‘I was definitely chubby, but I was fairly tall for my age, so I was always wearing clothes aged a few years above what I was. I certainly wasn’t huge though.

‘It was my parents who enforced set exercise each day. We got an exercise bike when I was just eight and I had to cycle until I’d burned a set number of calories.

‘Before we got the bike I had to run up and down the stairs a certain number of times or spend a set amount of time on our trampoline.

Esther, a UK size 24, began her own page, @spreadingunicornlove to encourage others to see that all bodies are acceptable and worthy of love, as she no longer believes in scales and refuses to weigh herself

Esther has finally found her inner confidence after years of allegedly being bullied for her size by family members

‘I loathed exercise – I still do to a certain extent. When we had the bike, I found where it was in the pedal round that would make the calorie count increase, so I’d just move it back and forth over that until I hit the amount I needed to.

‘I basically just found the way to trick the bike into thinking I was cycling super-fast.

‘In my family there were definitely a lot of fat phobic attitudes. My parents and sisters treated being too fat as the worst possible outcome in life. My grandparents would frequently make comments and jokes about my weight, which I laughed off at the time, but they really hurt me.

‘My friends also teased me a lot for being too fat and they’d say I couldn’t do things or play because I was too fat.

Esther now recalls her experience when she was younger:  ‘My friends also teased me a lot for being too fat and they’d say I couldn’t do things or play because I was too fat

Esther began bingeing and purging on food when she was very young after feeling societal pressure to lose weight

 ‘A memory that will always stick out in my mind from when I was about 10 years old was when we were having dinner with my grandparents. Just as we all sat down to eat, my grandad got out of his seat and went to get an enormous serving spoon and gave it to me and said that it was a better size for me, as opposed to a regular spoon.’

Esther can now look back on those horrible memories and appreciate her strength to overcome them without giving in to social pressure.

Since finding the body positive movement on Instagram, Esther, a UK size 24, began her own page, @spreadingunicornlove to encourage others to see that all bodies are acceptable and worthy of love, as she no longer believes in scales and refuses to weigh herself. 


Esther showing off her curves on Instagram (left) and her in September 2011 when she had just turned 17

‘In hindsight, I think the habits of restricting and binging started when I was about seven years old. Then they became worse when I started earning money because I could go and buy lots of food and keep it a secret,’ Esther said.

‘When I was 15, I had an evening job so I earned some money and each week when I got paid I would go to the corner shop and buy bags of sweets. Then I’d hide them in my bag, so my mum couldn’t see them.

‘Then in the evening I would eat them all and hide the wrappers behind my bed. The next day I would feel so guilty about it that I wouldn’t eat anything.

Esther admits: ‘When I was 15, I had an evening job so I earned some money and each week when I got paid I would go to the corner shop and buy bags of sweets. Then I’d hide them in my bag, so my mum couldn’t see them

‘Through Instagram I came across body positive accounts and then I decided to start my own’

 ‘It was only in 2016 when I learned about binge eating disorder and realised that that’s what I was doing at the time.

‘Now, I have no idea what my weight is. I try and stay as far away from scales as possible. My dress size varies from a UK 22 to a 28 sometimes.

‘Through Instagram I came across body positive accounts and then I decided to start my own. I forced myself to be in front of the camera and show the things that I hated most about myself. That helped me revaluate why I hated them in the first place.

Esther at 13 in 2008, when her parents were still telling her she was too fat she had disordered eating habits

 ‘I realised that the only reason I’d hated my body for so long was because I was told my whole life that my body wasn’t good enough.

‘I have spoken about the issues with my parents and about where I am now, and they support my body positive journey. They’ve come a long way from the views they held when I was a child and now they see mental health as incredibly important.

‘I think they definitely regret the way they went about trying to get me to lose weight, but they were doing what they genuinely thought was best for me.

Esther: ‘I realised that the only reason I’d hated my body for so long was because I was told my whole life that my body wasn’t good enough.’

Esther posing in London with a friend – is now confident in her own body and runs an Instagram page to inspire others 

 ‘Everything they did was out of love and wanting me to be what they saw as the best version of myself, which included being healthy.

‘Instagram has put me in contact with some of the world’s most incredible humans. I can go on my Instagram feed now and see pictures of marginalised bodies being celebrated and people calling out diet culture.

‘It’s a positive space where people like me can be accepted and seen for the people we are, not just the dress size we wear.

‘I want people to know that all bodies are amazing bodies and there’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ body. All body types, regardless of shape, weight, colour, gender etc, are worthy of love, acceptance and respect.’

‘If your kids grow up fat that’s okay’

Appearing on This Morning Esther said that she advises parents to lead by example and send positive messages.

‘There are plenty of happy fat people around- if your kids grow up fat they grow up fat, don’t focus on it.’   

She also revealed she became a secret eater and would sneak into kitchen at night: ‘I’d eat cake when no one was looking.’

By 13 she was binge eating then starving herself and it affected her mental health. ‘I developed bulimia in 2012 when she was a size 12 and everyone said she looked great was her lowest point.’ 

When questioned about her health she said: ‘My mental health is my priority over my physical health, ‘being happy in myself is more important to me.’ 

 

 

 

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