So, if you’re my friend on Facebook you probably know that when the “what’s your excuse?” Mom went viral, I went ballistic. I was so angry I could spit, and here’s why:
No two people or two stories are alike. Some of us are never going to look like that woman, even without children, some prioritize other things over having a perfect body, and implying that because we don’t look like she does means we are making excuses is disrespectful, ignorant, shaming, and just plain rude. Reading the blog posts she wrote in reaction to the backlash further infuriated me. She doesn’t know my or anyone else’s story, and is frankly, clueless.
Here is my “excuse.” I have PCOS. This makes weight loss harder than average for me because my metabolism is screwed up to begin with. I was also exclusively breastfeeding my daughter for the first year of her life (that means we didn’t give her solid foods-only breast milk. That’s right I was sustaining a life using only my body not just for nine months while I carried her but another year as well!) I continued breastfeeding her until the day she turned nineteen months old. Now, they say breastfeeding helps you lose weight because it burns extra calories. Not true for everyone, including me. For half of us it makes our bodies resistant to weight loss to protect the baby from famine. I chose her over the possibility of a better body for as long as she needed me. And last bit not least, it would require far more time on a daily basis to achieve that level of fitness than I am willing to take from my daughter. I want her to see fitness as a part of life, but a balanced, full, not aesthetically obsessed life. So if that makes me lazy in your eyes…you’re bonkers.
Now, I accept (after listening to Jillian Michaels’ take on the debacle) that maybe she meant it as a piece of inspiration, and we should try to take that from it…maybe. However, I’d like to propose a different question might be more productive, uplifting, and across the board, applicable. Jillian Michaels (who you all know is one of my heroes in life) often encourages people to find their “why” because “when you know your ‘why’ you can tolerate any ‘how'” , meaning, if you know why you are doing something, why you are pushing put of your comfort zone, you can endure what it takes to get there! It doesn’t involve you comparing yourself to anyone else as a measure of success, only pushing toward what you want for yourself, and I find this SO powerful, not just for fitness but for any pursuit. It’s much more productive to motivate ourselves to look hopefully at the future by giving ourselves a reason TO do something than to shame ourselves for all the excuses we make not to. So, instead of “what’s your excuse?” I want to ask this:
What’s your Reason?