Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What's Your Excuse?

Have you seen the latest big Facebook controversy? I'm not going to include a photo because I'm still not clear on copyright infringement blah blah blah, but it's an image of a woman surrounded by her three children, ages 3, 2, and 8 months. She is dressed in a sports bra and fitted shorts. She is very attractive and in great shape. The caption reads, "What's Your Excuse?"

Cue: Internet firestorm. 

I will not travel down the road of slamming the woman in the picture. I don't know her. I don't know whether she has great genetics (maybe), or works out hours and hours a day (very likely), or adheres to a very strict diet (my guess would be yes). What I do know is that at some point she's made some significant sacrifices to look the way she does. And she does look good. I'm sure having a body like that makes her feel happy and confident and complete in some way. Good for her. We all deserve to feel good about ourselves.

HOWEVER. I do take exception with the caption.
"What's your excuse?"

I'm sure the intended message was supposed to be motivational. Something along the lines of, "This woman is super busy with 3 young children, yet she has managed to stay in shape. You can do it, too!"

But (at least in my case), that was not the message received. It might as well have read, "What's your problem? Are you lazy? You must not be trying hard enough. IF YOU DON'T LOOK LIKE THIS, YOU SUCK."

I don't look like that.

And for a minute, I was pretty down on myself. Then I started to reflect. 

I've been moderately active for most of my adult life. Actually, for most of my life. I'm not overweight, but neither am I "skinny" or super fit. A few years ago I ran 3 half-marathons in the span of about 12 months. Not a monumental feat, but it was a big deal for me. While I was training, I would run several times a week - sometimes more than 10 miles at a time. And I still didn't look like that. I have never looked like that. I will probably never look like that.

I don't LOVE working out. I do it for my health, and to prevent myself from needing a new wardrobe. I do it so I can go skiing and hiking and bike riding with my family. I do it so I can play catch with my son, and do cartwheels in the yard with my daughter.

What I do love is having a few glasses of wine on the patio with my husband. I love making brownies with my daughter and fighting over who gets the last lick of the batter bowl. I love going out to our favorite pizza dive on Friday night and drinking a cold beer out of a tall, frosty mug. I love catching up with my husband on Saturday morning after a hectic week, snuggled under a blanket with a steamy cup of coffee. Or three. These things make me happy. But, they also prevent me from looking like a swimsuit model. Whatever.

Sure I'd like to lose a few pounds. Always. I also know I'd have to give up a lot of the things I listed above to get to where she is. So, what's my "excuse"? 

Maybe it's that I'm okay with me...just the way I am. 


  1. She seems blessed with good genes and probably more than a little help taking care of the kids so she can train. I think the spirit of the 'what's your excuse?' is like so many other motivational posters, sort of a challenge. I think 'excuse' is a poor word choice, I don't think it deserves the violent backlash I've seen in places.

    I looked at that and thought that soon enough she will have three teenagers and will likely look as frazzled as the rest of us.

  2. Great post. I agree with you, that the tagline was not the best choice. And no matter what your intent in posting the picture, how could one *not* see how it would make those who do not look that way feel worse about themselves than they already do. I'm slowly getting to where I'm okay with me, just the way I am (I love that), but things like that do not help in that regard. Definitely poor word choice. I mean, good for her, but am I less of a person, less of a mother, because I don't look like that? That's how it made *me* feel, anyway.

    Apparently, from what I read earlier today, she reposted it herself on her facebook page saying she was sorry for offending people, that it was not her intent, and that the tagline is just one that's often used in fitness ads. She went on to say that she has battled with bulimia, struggles with maintaining, and does not have a nanny for her kids. (

  3. I think, "YOU CAN DO IT!" would have been a much more palatable choice, but, kudos to her what I imagine is a very handy skill of breaking Flinstone vitamins against her abs of steel.

  4. Haven't seen this photo. But if mom looked like you she would be totally happy. She'd be younger too. Happy and younger.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  5. So, here's my thing. She's publically admitted she struggled with eating disorders and body insecurities. I get that she's hyped up because she looks amazing (I would photograph myself nekkid), but she should be a little more cognizant of the impact her photo and her words have on everyone, especially others who struggle with the same issues. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go house a chocolate-covered Oreo.

  6. I think her misstep was implying there should just be one. I have several excuses. I'd count them on my fingers but I'm too busy holding my 3-yr-old in one hand and a box of cookies in the other. C'est la vie or some other crap like that!

  7. Yeah, see, it's a little tougher being older to stay in tip-top shape, particularly when trapped in the middle of no-damned-where Nebraska until next year when we can pay off the house, sell it, and get the hell-o kitty outta here. At least, not without Jenny Crank as my personal weight loss counselor, which I'm trying really hard not to go back too. That's kind of a bigger struggle for me than my waistline. And if I lose, I go back to prison or die, which pretty much blows my hip measurements into a cocked hat.
    And these ladies who are mire concerned with their kids than their weight? Too right! It's not an "excuse" it's your life!
    So, yeah, girl may have blown off the caption, but she still got PAID for it, and didn't demand a retraction, so she can bite me, but it would probably be more than her daily caloric intake limit.
    *opens a Milky Way with no regrets*

  8. She obviously intended for her message to be provocative, and based on the reaction, she nailed it. I have tried to pick a side on this topic, and I just can't. I do know this: fit and skinny aren't the same thing. AT ALL. She just happens to be both.

  9. This is the first I'm hearing about this. I'm not big on FB. (I do love Pinterest - when in doubt, PIN, you can ALWAYS change your mind later and delete it - whoever dies with the most Pins, wins! :) (yes, I read your blog post about that and I LOVE your board names))...........I think I dont care what she was thinking when she posted it. Life is all about priorities. If you're happy with yours, then GOOD FOR YOU. :-)


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