I'll admit, the caption on the photo gets to me. As a commenter on another blog pointed out to me, I do not know her personally at all so I cannot and should not assume anything about her. I can only say that "What's your excuse?" comes off sounding judgmental to me with the judgement directed at moms in particular.
And the commenter is absolutely right. I should not judge her either. I don't know her story or what prompted her to post what she did.
But here is what I do know:
1. I personally do not feel "What's your excuse?' is inspirational. Regardless of its intention, I think it sounds accusatory. I think it is likely to make people who may need inspiration the most just shut down and feel defensive. I think what people hear is not "You can get fit too!" they hear "Why don't you look like me?"even if that's not what she meant to portray.
2. I wish she would have had more of a rallying cry, something like "If I can get fit, so can you!" or "A fit mom's tips for anyone to get healthy," or "It's possible to be a mom and get healthy too!" Because she really does seem to have a great success story.
3. Maybe some people haven't thought about fitness in a long time. But maybe for others, they think about it a lot but are struggling with things like:
- Postpartum or other depression.
- A child or spouse with health issues.
- An unsupportive spouse or marital problems.
- A dying parent.
- A special needs child.
- Crohn's, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, or any number of disorders.
- Being a single mom.
- A disability or caring for a loved one with a disability.
I just wish she would have considered those people before asking about excuses.
4. Weight loss and fitness are HARD. I lost 30 pounds twice in my life and it was not easy. What is like for someone who has 100 to lose? Or has health issues I don't have? I don't know. Maybe it's harder for some people than others. Her statement seems to suggest a level playing field and it's just as easy for anyone.
And a person can be perfectly healthy and still not look like her. How she looks is not the definition of fit or healthy. I think it's different for everyone.
5. I cannot understand why she is surprised at the backlash. She chose to put her statement out in a very public way, a very personal way and on an inflammatory topic.
6. I have to admit, her push has been successful. People all over (myself included, ha!) are talking about her and her message, and about fitness in general. Now the fitness part truly is a good thing. For all I know it will truly motivate somebody looking for a push of one kind or another.
But I wonder if there was an opportunity missed had she chosen to present her message in a different way, a way that seemed more supportive and encouraging, and less judgmental? There's enough guilt and shame in our broken world. Anything that adds to it - intended or not - makes me sad.
I don't know. It seems as though we have a deep division in our society based on body size, fitness and health. I don't know what the answer is but I think her message highlighted it.
What do you think of her photo and message?