Turn it around

Last time that the “What’s your excuse” mom sparked controversy, I was tempted to write about it. It eventually blew over, I forgot about it, and was recently reminded. The infamous Facebook photo-phenom made a return, and I decided I couldn’t keep my mouth shut (or fingers from typing) any longer.

If you’re not familiar with the “What’s your excuse” mom, a photo was virally shared a few months ago of a hot fitness mom, wearing a sports bra and tiny shorts, looking fit and amazing. In the photo, she’s surrounded by her three young boys along with the caption, “What’s your excuse?” She caught a lot of fire in response to the photo, and the backlash spawned conversations on both side of the spectrum: praising the mom for providing inspiration, and berating her for shaming the habits of other other moms.

I didn’t find anything wrong with photo. The mom looks great, her kids look happy and healthy, and if it were left alone, I could find it extremely inspirational. It IS possible to get extremely fit after having three children within three years. Good for her.


(photo source)

The problem I have is with the caption:

“What’s your excuse?”


Maybe a mom’s “excuse” is that she’s trying to make ends meet, spending any potential gym time working to support her family.

Maybe she’s sick, and has a medical explanation for why her body looks a certain way. Maybe she’s injured or physically disabled and can’t work out.

Maybe she’s enduring a personal tragedy, or depression, and making it through the day is a battle in itself.

Who are you to judge?

I feel like this is just another layer of the so-called mommy wars: women fighting to climb a ladder that doesn’t exist, stepping on each other along the way. 

I also feel like this is an aspect of fitness that I personally loathe: achieving a certain body type for the sole purpose of comparison.

If you want to look a certain way, do it for YOU. Don’t do it to turn around and ask why everyone else isn’t doing the same. Maybe they have a reason… or, maybe it’s just not important to them. It shouldn’t be important to you, either. Also, there is SO much more to fitness and healthy living than physical results. The benefits that can’t be photographed (better sleep, more energy, higher sports performance, better posture, etc), to me, far outweigh some chiseled biceps. Physical appearance is just a tiny glimpse into overall health. 

She recently posted yet another photo, indicating that she doesn’t have any “special help” to help her achieve her fitness goals.

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(Photo source. Icing on the cake: the photo was Photoshopped)

No chef, no nanny, not enough sleep, works 8+ hours a day, wah wah. What about the mom who does have a nanny and has a hot bod? Are her results less impressive? Not really. 

I think the purpose of this post was to share my thoughts and emphasize the importance of compassion. We’re all on different paths of our unique fitness journey. For many people, that journey hasn’t even started yet, and the snobbiness and judging in the fitness world could be what’s preventing them from beginning. Reach a hand out to someone who may need support along the way instead of guilting them (even if it’s unintentional) to follow the path you’ve decided for yourself. I think it’s especially important to remember that if you’re a mom: we’re all in this together. Being a mom is hard work, and by tearing each other down, we just make it more challenging. 

The funny thing is that I used to judge a lot more before I had a child. I was so fixated on how I wanted things to be when/if I had my own children, it was much easier for me to make assessments of other women for their choices. Now that I’ve been in the proverbial trenches, and many things didn’t work out the way I originally anticipated, I care so much less about how other women choose to live their lives. I’m too busy trying to figure out my own <3 Even though these photos got me thinking, and maybe got me a little riled up, I’m going to try and put myself in this mom’s situation. Maybe she’s not as confident as these photos suggest, or she’s trying to make herself feel better about something unrelated that she’s experiencing. Either way, she has her own things going on. 

As always, excited to hear your thoughts.


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  1. Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork on March 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    I completely agree with you. I didn’t have a problem with the picture at all; it was the caption. It was so attacking. She could have put a different, more inspirational caption such as, “If I can do it, so can you!” That would have been so much better and people would have been inspired instead of divided. I’m not a mom yet and there are days I struggle to fit in time to exercise even though it is one of my priorities. People don’t always have “excuses,” they have life that gets in the way. A terminally ill parent, a special needs child, working two jobs. While I love being fit and think it’s what best for my health, I know that life will get in the way and that’s okay.

    Thanks for posting this. I think it’s important that we support each other as women, not alienate each other.

    • Fitnessista on March 10, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      i totally agree! or something like “i take care of myself so i can take better care of them”

      • Katie O on March 10, 2014 at 4:36 pm

        LOVE that caption!

      • Shaina Anderson on March 10, 2014 at 5:09 pm

        yes! that!

  2. Lindsey A on March 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    So well said Gina! I completely agree with you…at the end of the day, the more compassion we are able to show each other the better. Thank you for the reminder 🙂

  3. Jessica on March 10, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Thank you for commenting on this as I think addressing the issue of women constantly putting each other down needs to be addressed. I’m thrilled to know that with hard work you can look like that after three kids, good for her! The problem with her photo is that you never know what journey someone is on so there is no need to make another person feel as if their body isn’t enough. We as women need to focus on inspiring and encouraging one another in a positive way – the negativity only perpetuates bad habits by making someone feel badly about their body type. Thank you for having the courage to comment on this – I imagine not everybody feels this way!

  4. Erin (Running Tall) on March 10, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    GIRL YES. I thought the caption was really aggressive and completely took away any inspiration the photo could have provided on it’s own. Aren’t we over shaming other women for our own advancement yet? I wish we were. Great post.

  5. Christine on March 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I am honestly tired of women bashing each other and bashing this woman for her hard work and determination. The idea she is trying to get across is that you need to take care of yourself and be “your best self.” She doesn’t want women to look like her. God forbid she doesn’t sugar coat it and just gets to the point by saying “what’s your excuse?” I explained more about this here

  6. Amanda on March 10, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I’m so glad you decided to talk about this! I can’t stand the photo. Like you said is breeds more mommy wars and judgement.

  7. Julia on March 10, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I agree with you when you say that if you want to look a certain way, you should be doing it for you, not because of what other people think or expect. However, when I saw the photo, it made me think about the potential difference between an “excuse” and a “reason”. I think that an excuse is blaming something else in your life for the fact that you don’t yet have the motivation, don’t prioritize fitness (which is totally fine), or have no desire to change the way that you are (which is also totally fine, and is something that I think happens when someone feels pressure from other people to be/look a certain way); on the other hand, a reason (to me, at least) is something medical (or psychological, such as depression), a tragedy, or being a single-mom who works god knows how many hours each day.

    For me, personally, when I first saw the image several months ago, my thought was “wow, she has three kids and works full-time and is still able to do that, while I’m sitting here telling myself that I’m just ‘too busy’ with a dog and one full-time job.” And it felt motivating to me, because I realized that I was just making excuses because I was too lazy to put in the effort. However, a year ago I actually had a reason (rather than an excuse) for not working out, which was that I had asthma – I didn’t know that it was asthma at the time, I just knew that whenever I exerted a lot of effort (such as working out), I would become very short of breath, and start coughing almost uncontrollably. Anyway, just my opinion on this – I hope it made sense, since it was kind of just stream-of-consciousness typing 🙂

  8. Julia on March 10, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Although, I should say that although I think she meant well with the photo, I do think that she could have worded her caption more eloquently, so that people wouldn’t feel like they were being attacked for not looking like she does or doing what she does.

  9. Samantha D on March 10, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    I agree 100%. I know that some people like a “tough love” approach, but this would not inspire me, the caption would make me feel judged. I think it’s important for fitness to not seem like an exclusive club only available to people who look a certain way. That kind of judgement makes people afraid and intimidated to go to the gym or begin exercising. I think it’s so important to be compassionate no matter where people are in their fitness journeys.

    I am so happy you feel this way, because I know that it is a very important attitude for fitness instructors and yoga teachers to have. Accept and help everyone!

  10. Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs on March 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I totally agree — great photo, showing what time, hard work & dedication can do for your body, which is completely overshadowed by a rude, negative & unnecessary caption. A complete turn-off.

  11. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on March 10, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    I completely agree with you! I think that there are so many hours in the day for us to achieve everything we want and for some women achieving what may perceived as a perfect body is just not their biggest priority. Also, like you point out, there are so many other benefits to being active and healthy beyond looks that are so important. Don’t get me wrong, I like to see women who are extremely fit and healthy after having children but I just think the way she went about it is so in-your-face that it loses all inspirational value. I think it is more effective to just be your awesome self and provide encouragement to others out there who may be going through similar things in life.

  12. Kayla on March 10, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    I totally agree with everything you said! I find her results impressive, but her message insulting. Its a little presumptuous that she just assumes every mother wants a bikini body. The only excuse I have is that I don’t want to put in the time. There are other things that are important to me. I believe I could do it if I wanted. But I don’t want to, plain and simple. After having 3 boys myself, I have achieved all the goals I want to (reaching my pre pregnancy weight and fitting into my “skinny jeans”) but that’s it. I’m done. I don’t want bulging biceps or a 6 pack. So I kinda roll my eyes every time I see “What’s your excuse?”

    Thank you for wording so eloquently thoughts the thoughts I had that weren’t as kind 🙂

  13. Jess on March 10, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Thank you for posting on this. I’ve seen this floating around, and even though I don’t have kids, my jaw still dropped when I saw that caption. If the message were positive and encouraging, I wouldn’t have any problem with it. However, “What’s your excuse” is basically, like, waking up the comparison monsters, which can lead to, yes, motivation, but also all kinds of negative feelings and unhealthy behaviors.

    I wish I could just give the benefit of the doubt and assume the caption just wasn’t thought through very well, but it still makes me sad. I think I’d be more inclined to soften my stance with the second photo if they airbrushing had been pointed out.

    • Jess on March 10, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      whoops—”the” not “they” airbrushing. Someone needs a little coffee….

    • Katie O on March 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Agree completely! I saw an interview with her defending her caption a couple months ago. it made me ‘grump grump grump’

  14. Katie Hood on March 10, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    THANK YOU. This post says exactly what I feel about the situation. I’ve only been on my fitness journey for about a year and it has often been a battle. I am often my own worst enemy, but seeing things like this certainly didn’t help inspire me.

    People in my life are starting to recognize that I am working out consistently and trying to eat healthily, and they’re noticing results. While it feels good for people to notice, it doesn’t mean I am better than someone else and I don’t want to come across that way. I try to remain humble and give advice when it’s asked for.

    Thank you for this honest post, Gina. The world could use more fitness leaders like you!

  15. Amber Schumann on March 10, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    I REALLY like your take on this. I go back and forth on the issue every time I hear a new perspective (she’s a local from my area, so she’s been all over our local news lately with several interviews).

    On one hand, I feel like she’s assuming the “tough love” approach to inspire other moms. Sometimes, that’s needed (like in my case). But sometimes, like you said, there’s deeper issues and more complicated situations that makes her approach very harsh and insensitive.

    I think that if people are so offended by her message, maybe they can find peace in knowing that her “tough love” approach isn’t for everyone.

    P.S. I think it’s funny how the term “photoshopped” is interpreted… She says that her photo was not “photoshopped”, but instead just used lighting manipulations. Um….why manipulate the lighting if you’re trying to show the “real” you?? *chuckles*

  16. Sarah on March 10, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Half of me says: Heck, YES. This nation has an obesity epidemic and some people need a kick in the pants.
    And the other half: Jeez, be nice.

    • Tabi on March 10, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      Haha, yes! Agree.

    • Bri on March 10, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      Agreed 100% on your reaction.

      I think that the mom here comes across as obnoxious, but it also seems that her goal was to get people fired up. Appears to have worked.

      Another observation: her message only makes sense if the audience thinks she looks good (whether in general or “for a mom). I’ll say it because she’s soliciting opinions by sharing: I don’t find her physical appearance aspirational or particularly fit-looking. I have seen many moms (myself included) appear more fit/lean at 8 weeks postpartum, after 1 baby or 5. Most of us, however, aren’t compelled to share photos of our fit post-baby bodies with internet strangers. Even if we give her a pass on the obnoxious message, what makes her think that *she* is a good candidate to portray the fit-mom-who-does-it-all ideal? The type of person who assumes this is a very special type of person indeed.

  17. Jaimie on March 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I do think the caption of the first picture was shaming. I don’t have 3 kids (or any for that matter) and my first instinct was, “geez, I guess I have no “excuse”, if this woman can do this…” but it made me feel sort of bad about myself. I think her second photo was just kind of a desperate dig, to say “see I’m just like you, but only much more fit.” Rubs me the wrong way.

  18. Katie O on March 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    EXACTLY how I feel about it, but put much more eloquently! I’m from the same town as this lady is (if i remember correctly). And while I applaud her effort and am happy to cheer her on in her achievements, the caption PISSED. Me. Off. It was so uncalled for and inappropriate because it puts expectations on every mom and doesn’t respect the individual journeys. I love how you pointed out the pressure of the mommy wars too.

    As a mom who had some messy complications after my first birth that kept me on the couch for 8 weeks post-partum, I felt attacked and judged, not to mention offended even though I lost all the babyweight and most of the inches within a year and was back up to my happy fit level by 15 months. As a mom who has learned a lot about tolerance and non-judgement in the process of becoming mommy, I couldn’t see what she was trying to achieve. I wish she had chosen another, actually inspiring caption. maybe a cheer for herself? “I did it!”

  19. Tricia @ Balance In Progress on March 10, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I agree with you completely. Being a mom is hard and is a different experience for everyone. People don’t need to be shamed because they aren’t doing what you are doing. Everyone has to do what works for them and at their own pace. Of course being healthy is important for mothers and well everyone, but being healthy is more than just looking good. Being comfortable with yourself is a huge part of your health. Images like these that seem to suggest moms who don’t look like this should feel guilty or aren’t working hard enough is sad. Ugh things like this are so frustrating.

  20. Jess on March 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    The caption is totally off putting. Good on her she looks amazing but having kids changes everything. Exercise has always been a priority for me but my kids come first. There are weeks where they are back to back sick and it is next to impossible to get a workout in, to me that is not an “excuse” but a reality. I had no clue how challenging it would be once I had kids, I thought id just pop them into gym childcare, do my usual workout easy breezey. Meanwhile in reality they scream at childcare and I get called back to get them. Workouts happen with the stroller, or after they go to sleep and usually in my front yard because the gym has closed haha.

  21. Carrie on March 10, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    I agree with everything you said,mostly about compassion. Clearly she was trying to provoke. But there is another side to it, and I have no idea if this is where she is coming from. I get frustrated with women that will comment on how great someone else looks and then toss out a comment like, well, my flat tummy went out the window when I had kids. Keep in mind, nobody has commented on their body in any way, but they felt the need to compare themselves with the other person and make an excuse for why they weren’t as something. The popular thing to blame is usually having kids. To me it’s an insult to the other person, discounting the work they are putting in. Kind of like, well, it’s easy for her and if I hadn’t had kids then it’d be easy for me too. I think the same thing can be said to this type of comment. Compassion – you have no idea where the other person has been or what they are doing now, so to me there isn’t any need to comment or compare other than to say, “you look really great and leave it at that”.

  22. Grace on March 10, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    I think this woman Maria created her very controversial caption on purpose in an effort to get attention and more traffic to her website. I briefly scanned http://www.noexcusemom.com and the message seems to be more accepting of all bodies. There’s a mention of “No Scale Victory” which supports ditching the scale and using other indicators like running a PR or clothes fitting better to define fitness progress.

    Overall, I don’t find her message sincere and the airbrushing doesn’t help her cause.

  23. allison on March 10, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    This photo was really hard for me to see. I’ve struggled with body image and weight gain, and having a really hard time getting to where I’d like to be. I’m not married or a mom and I work from home – is that supposed to mean I really have no excuses and should be the perfect example of health (tangent…what is that anyway?).

    Seeing an image like this, with that comment makes me think so much more poorly about my progress, makes my thoughts of body image go crazy, and I just want to say screw it – I have never looked like this and drive on over to DQ (cause ice cream cures all, right?!). This doesn’t encourage me whatsoever; it is the complete opposite.

  24. JennP on March 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    THANK YOU! I actually used to follow Maria Kang on Facebook, and I unfollowed her after that. I think the part that made me the most mad was the hundreds of “supportive” comments saying things to the effect of “You rock, Maria! Don’t be mad at all of the fatties who are just jealous of you!!!”. I wanted to ask her if those comments were really her objective. Apparently women are all such jealous, simple minded creatures that we could only possibly take issue if we were morbidly obese and jealous. Give me a break. You said the exact same thing I said… that photo was self explanatory. You are very fit and have 3 small children. We get it. No caption necessary. I used to think she was a hard working mom dedicated to family and fitness. Her relentless “look at me” posts now lead me to the conclusion that she’s just looking for her 15 minutes, and I don’t have the time for it. I’d rather read the Fitnessista 😉

    • Star on March 10, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      I also used to follow her, and I have to say that not only do I not appreciate the language of the caption but I was also really disappointed in those comments that others said in her defense. As an overweight person who eats clean & works out, it saddens/disappoints/depresses me that people look at me & see an overweight person so I must be some lazy, jealous fatty?! To me, that’s the most hurtful thing about the whole situation. I wish she would stop defending her shaming techniques & acknowledge that yes her caption inspired some people but it also hurt some too. But like you said, I think she is just looking for her 15 mins.

  25. Rachel C on March 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I am not a mom, I don’t know if I ever will be: however, I do feel bullied and belittled by the caption on these pictures. As women we are constantly comparing ourselves to each other, and we don’t need someone who could be an excellent role model instead using her words to make us feel even worse for the few extra pounds. I’ve worked out consistently for 5 years, but I’m not the smallest at the gym and I never will be. I constantly deal with my inner bully and have to remind myself that at least I’m doing something and trying. I can only imagine how that shame (and yes, sometimes being the biggest person in my Barre class does translate into shame and embarrassment), would grow after having a baby. I appreciate you posting this. It’s certainly a topic and issue that all women face. I find it a shame that the Mom decided to take such a positive thing (looking amazing and being for with a crazy hectic life with 3 boys) and make it so negative.

  26. Morgan on March 10, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Thank you for posting this! “What’s your excuse” isn’t motivating, its demeaning. Why does it have to be Mom vs Mom, Woman vs Woman. What happened to comradery? Why are we against each other instead of inspiring each other? Why isn’t the caption “I know it’s hard, but if I can do it then so can you!” I haven’t had the pleasure of having children myself yet, (although I am a stepmom to two amazing boys) and the fear of what a child will do to my “fit” body and how I will manage it all afterwards is certainly on my mind. That said, I don’t want someone asking me “what my excuse” is; I want another woman to say “Mama I know it’s hard and you’re tired, but remember exercise endorphins? Try just a 10 min HIIT and see where it goes”.

  27. Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution on March 10, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    I agreed with your assessment of this situation, but mainly I’m just peeved she posted another photo. She’s clearly never seen the other side of things — she’s maintained her position through all the controversy. But then, once it all dies down, she posts ANOTHER “What’s your Excuse” photo!? It just screams that she’s looking for more attention, and I don’t want to give it to her. I understand why you wanted to weigh in, I just “get it” now — she’s seeking attention.

  28. Farah on March 10, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Love this post – very well said Gina!!

  29. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on March 10, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    I agree with you completely! I understand her point of view and I too think she looks incredible, however I don’t think making other women feel badly because they for some reason can’t work out or can’t get fit was really the purpose. Motivational – yes but making women feel bad about themselves because they don’t look exactly the same is not ok.

  30. Meagan on March 10, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    I think to call all those things “excuses” is not valid. They ARE NOT excuses, they are life!! Excuses is when you could really do something productive (like fitness), but you actively choose not to! It can be anything. But to claim that work and family are EXCUSES so so so so not right. I’m in medical school, so I am not as fit as I once was. I don’t like it. And I’m working to fix it. But at some point, life REALLY DOES get in a way, and you have to work with what you got.

  31. joelle (on a pink typewriter) on March 10, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Well said. I think this goes back to the whole comparison trap, which honestly I think the blog world gets sucked into far too frequently. It’s a scary rabbit hole and one women should avoid. We’re all unique and have our own goals that fit into our own person visions for our futures and happiness… that should be enough.

  32. Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} on March 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    I totally agree with you. People just look at the surface of others and never really know the full story, I love when you said you don’t know if they are sick or depressed or what-have you. It is so true we never know what others are going through and life can be hard on us sometimes and who are we to judge?! Great post!

  33. Christine on March 10, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    I completely agree with you. Her picture without the caption may be inspiring to some, but the caption (and the second picture with all the explanations excluding good genes) I find very condescending.

    I’m the mom of 3. I am 38 years old and in the best shape of my life – just started training for my first half marathon. And I feel fantastic. My body does not look like hers and never will, even if I got to the same body fat % as she is. And I’m OK with that. My body does some pretty amazing things.

    And I am SO, SO, SO tired of the mommy wars. As moms we all make the best decisions we can for our families. Let’s have a little more compassion & understanding for people who make different decisions than we do. The world would be a much, much better place. We are all just doing our best.

  34. Carol on March 10, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Interesting pic. At first the caption totally made me feel like I needed to go work out…again. I already did this AM. So feelings of guilt came over me. Then I came to my senses and realized I had a great workout this AM. It was really tough and I would like to relax and enjoy my evening. Anyone with body image issues (such as myself) would be sucked in to the “must do more to look like her” trap. It’s hard enough being a woman and constantly feeling like you have to be perfect without images like these adding fuel to the fire.

    Great discussion on the topic:)

  35. Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries on March 10, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Aaaand THIS (among other reasons) is why I love you and your blog. 🙂 I totally agree with everything you are saying! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  36. Cheri @ Overactive Blogger on March 10, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Okay, I am so with you on this one. I follow Maria on all her social media, and I have to say, she’s not eloquent whatsoever. She doesn’t understand why people are upset, why people would be offended with her caption, or why people are sick of hearing her speak.

    I think she looks great, and she’s done a great job! She also said that photo was not photoshopped, and that it was just some lighting manipulation. That’s fine, whatever. But you don’t have to make other people feel like shit because they don’t look like you. I look awesome (if I do say so myself), but if you think for a second I’ll be beating up on other people asking them what their excuse is, you trippin! Great post!

  37. Emily on March 10, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    I always think that when you’re judging someone else, you’re not judging them or their reality, so much as you’re judging your own. The stories we create about others are rarely based on truth, especially so when we don’t know them or are making such sweeping generalizations. I think you are spot on pointing out what is important to one person may be less so to another. One mom might not have the defined abs, but she may still be healthy and also be going to night school (or wherever else her interests lay). We all do what we can, and compassion and understanding go a lot further than judgment at the end of the day. The most inspiring people I know are those who make me feel good about myself and positive about the idea of something, not condemning me as not good enough.

  38. Valerie on March 10, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I felt like once i became a mom, their needs were more important than mine so I let me slip a little. They didn’t ask to be born but they need a mom who is present. I was also working full time and going to school full time. I was lucky to get any sleep at all because it was about making a better life for them. My boys are older now so I can focus on myself a little more. I struggle with my weight and finding time to work out. I think she looks fabulous and I think kudos for her to be in that great shape after back to back pregnancies. That’s how she operates but it bothers me that my choices and sacrifices are considered excuses. I want to look that great. But, I want my children to be taken care of more. I’m not saying she’s neglecting her kids at all but that’s how I felt when I took time for myself.

  39. Tiffany on March 10, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! I have absolutely no problem with the picture and it does sound like she’s had great results. The caption is terrible though. It made me especially bitter because when my daughter was born, she ended up with a health issue that meant that beyond the regular exhausting routine of having a newborn, I was also having to keep up with all different medicines, a heartrate/oxygen monitor, and lots and lots of doctor’s appts. At that point, looking like she does and working out all the time was SO SO far from my mind and abilities. If she didn’t have that caption, I would totally be cheering her on. I’ve seen other bloggers who have bounced back quickly and I am so excited for them. Many of them have put fitness as a priority for both their pregnancy and postpartum and I think that’s fantastic. I don’t know why someone needs to tear others down to feel good about themselves!

  40. Catherine @ foodiecology on March 10, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    I can’t express in words how much I love this post! Seriously, we’re body shaming MOTHERS now ?!! I’m not a mother (yet!) but I know that it’s one of the most difficult (& fulfilling) JOBS out there. Yes, as you said, this woman looks incredible. But you’re absolutely right that the devil is in the caption. I hate ALL so-called “fitspiration” for this reason. We all have different bodies. Healthy and fit to one (super abs) is completely different than fit to another. I like to hope and tell myself that I will work very hard to look like I do now after I have kids, but that just might not be my reality. I’ll probably be doing well to put on pants other than yoga pants and it’s ok. We women MUST stop shaming one another! Ugh.

  41. Annette @ FitnessPerks on March 10, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Well said!

    I agree that the caption was not a good one–but to be honest, the picture is motivating to myself–mostly because I don’t feel judged at all, I feel inspired (but that is probably because I am in a good place where I am working on my own fitness, am happy being a mama to my little one, and am not stressed about how my results look or when/if they will look even close to that). But the caption should be changed.

    I think that it being a ‘layer of the mommy wars’ was a perfect reason for the caption to be changed and a more inspiring, kinder caption to be added!

  42. Rhiannon @ Bound to be a Buckeye on March 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    My favorite thing you wrote (and there are many) is if you want to look a certain way do it for YOU. It seem obvious that this woman is a prime example of someone who needs to put others down to feel better about herself. I was watching last year’s CrossFit games this weekend and watched how when competitors finished, they immediately went back to cheer on those still working. What a great sentiment about what fitness should be. We should all be cheering each other on and encouraging. Not tearing each other down. Thanks for this post and for always encouraging your readers in their fitness endeavors 🙂

  43. Ali on March 10, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    I don’t really feel that there is ever a good reason to make anyone feel badly about themselves. We have to remember that the most healing ingredient that exists in this world is love. If there are women out there who are not taking care of themselves and using their children as an excuse for why they are not doing so, asking them “what their excuse is” will most likely only serve to keep them doing what they are doing, and feeling attacked and defensive. All it means is that her goal of inspiring people will most likely not be the result.

    A more loving tag line like “You STILL deserve to take care of you” or something along those lines would be more empowering to women, and give them a boost that lets them know that even though they have children it is still OK, and necessary to take some time for yourself – even if that is not working out.

    In the end, making people feel badly is not as effective as encouraging them to feel good.


  44. Georgia on March 10, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    I love it! You remind me of my husband (not in a weird way!). You seem really sweet and like you don’t want to ruffle feathers. My husband is very attuned and sensitive to keeping peace etc. But I love this! I like hearing what you really are passionate about.. And I TOTALLY AGREE.

    The funny thing (but serious thing) is that it kind of bothered me but I couldn’t pin it down. You did a GREAT job.

    Keep sharing!

  45. Jacquelynn on March 10, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Agree! Compassion should be the theme amongst moms. Not an unhealthy body-obsession or comparison-obsession.

    You can never go wrong with compassion. You never know what another person is going through.

    Thanks for this post!

  46. Meg @ A Dash of Meg on March 10, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    OH SWEETIE I LOVE THIS POST! You have such a great mind <3 <3 <3 <3 i love when you talk about the things you CANNOT photograph!

  47. Ang @ Nutty for Life on March 10, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    This is really interesting to me, specifically as a daughter of a mother who, honestly, could stand to lose a few pounds. I say that in a way to mean I want my mom to be healthy so she can stay with me as long as possible and not fall victim to the same health problems brought on by being overweight that her parents dealt with. But this has actually got me thinking: my mom works a full time job, takes care of my brother, and watches/takes care of her parents, who are both sick, on a daily and/or weekly basis. She is busy. And on top of that, she found out she was sick, which was contributing to her lack of energy and lung problems. That’s her excuse, which is exactly like you said, there are sometimes other factors. She is truly the best mother on this planet to me and my brother. I don’t think that her being out of shape makes her any less of a mom, that’s for sure. I still would love for her to focus on her own well-being, but this has given me a bit of a different perspective on that. Thank you for posting your take on the photo – I agree with you that the caption does no good.

  48. Kara on March 10, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been beating myself up and trying desperately to fit in exercise to get my baby weight off. I’ve seen all of these moms do it and so many posts about being a mom and still being able to exercise. I’ve driven myself to sickness and exhaustion. And it’s not worth it. It’s better to be healthy and fit in what you can and listen to your body. I loved our winter shape up Facebook group because everyone was so positive and it was so good to hear that “life” happens for other moms, single women, etc. I used to judge others a lot more before coming a mom and it wasn’t fair. I thought moms and others acted so busy and tired but were exaggerating. But now I understand that sometimes it all adds up. In the end we should be supporting each other in whatever way we can because it’s so hard being a mom.

  49. Jillienne @ ChasingRaspberries on March 10, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    “Achieving a certain body type for the sole purpose of comparison” really struck a chord with me. I find that so many woman focus on looking a certain way rather than focusing on living a healthier lifestyle. Love this post! Thanks for sharing.

  50. Claire on March 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Hi Gina,

    I want to preface my comment by saying that you asked to hear our thoughts. I hope you meant all thoughts – positive and negative. Because it appears as though only positive ones have been posted so far, and I would hope you were mature and professional enough to publish comments that contain constructive criticism of offer a different point of view.

    I find it interesting that this post, in which you talk about your compassion and lack of judgment of others, is filled with judgment – as are the comments of all those who agree with you. You are explaining how what this woman did is wrong because it makes others feel badly about themselves. And yet you yourselves are shaming her for something she did. You say women shouldn’t tear each other down, and you are tearing her down for what she wrote. You are judging a woman for judging women, to show that judging women is wrong.

    Maybe this woman has crippling insecurities and needs validation? You don’t know her any better than she knows you – which you even point out at the end! And yet still you are using her story to point out how good of a person YOU are. This is very puzzling. True compassion would have taken the form of just completely ignoring this whole controversy, so as to not bring any more negative attention to it. Compassion doesn’t include patting yourself on the back for being better than others – and then publicizing it.

    Just my $0.02.

    • jennifer on March 11, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      Gina, normally I wouldn’t address another commenter here (so by all means delete if you need to) but Claire here is over on that website bragging about her comment so I think it is fair game – so to speak.

      Claire, all y’all do on that website is judge, mock, belittle, shame and worse.

      Using your own words…”you certainly don’t know (Gina or any other blogger) better than she knows you”.

      Your thoughts on judgment and compassion are hypocritical beyond words.

      Given the source…applause indeed, Gina for letting this through. 🙂

      Just my $0.02. 😉

      • Rose on March 12, 2014 at 12:11 am

        Jennifer, I’m not sure how you can make a statement against Claire because she posted both here and at that website. If you saw her comments, then you read there as well. And I admit, I read both too, and all Claire did was say that she made this post because of the exact same reasons that are already posted here. It’s possible to have legitimate conversations in both forums. I don’t comment on that website, but I do read there regularly because I find the honest conversations there a balance between the fawning comments on blogs. There is a balance! In this case, because Gina comments on Maria’s need for comparison (apparently) while not addressing her own habit of posting pictures of herself on the internet as a healthy living blogger, I see a bit of hypocrisy. Obviously each woman-Gina and Maria-feels she has something to share with the world about healthy living. Which one is correct? Probably somewhere in between. But to discredit a comment because you know that person also posts elsewhere (and in some detail), doesn’t do us any favors.

        Gina’s post basically shamed the woman in the photo for having the wrong motivation, but who are we to judge? Obviously we all have our own motivations and/or excuses, and each are as valid as the next. So no post has a moral high ground here, and it’s sad to read so many women tearing others down for sharing an opinion.

      • Claire on March 12, 2014 at 3:39 pm

        Hi Jennifer,
        I ask you to go back and read my comment again. Never once do I claim to be compassionate, therefore there’s nothing hypocritical about what I wrote. Nothing at all. I was merely pointing out the insincerity of what Gina wrote because she IS lauding herself for being better than another person, which is in clear contradiction with what she wrote.

        Also, I have to ask, how do you know about that website? If all we do there is “judge, belittle, shame, mock, and worse…”, and you clearly feel those things are wrong and beneath you, then why are you reading it? Oh, so, you regularly read something you don’t agree with, judge the people writing it, and then make negative comments about it online. Not at all like that website. Nope. You really are so much better than us!

        Finally, Gina I do applaud you for letting my comment through. Many bloggers would not have done the same, and so I appreciate your maturity. It would appear that you took what I wrote up top about constructive criticism to heart and realized that there is a place on blogs for people to have respectful debates.

        • Fitnessista on March 12, 2014 at 5:47 pm

          for the record, i don’t delete comments unless they’re personal attacks against myself, my family or fellow readers. constructive criticism is always welcome here.

        • Jennifer on March 12, 2014 at 6:03 pm

          Oh bless your little heart.

          >>You really are so much better than us!

          In so many more ways than I could EVER count.

          Sorry, Gina. Couldn’t resist. Moving on now. Hope NCY is a blast. 🙂

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