Sunday, November 3, 2013

What's my excuse?

Over the past couple of weeks, the internet has been a-buzz with the picture of the fit, buff mom with her three little ones and the caption "What's Your Excuse?" Some moms were offended by the insinuation that if you didn't look like this woman, perfect, that you needed an excuse or were making excuses. Some were offended because they knew that getting their bodies to look that good when having children would involve spending a lot less time with their children. I was not offended. In fact, I thought of all the excuses that I make. I sit around when I could be exercising, and I don't have to go to the gym to do it. One of my favorite Facebooking mommies, Crazy Mommy Keeping it Sane, was inspired to ask her readers to post their "excuse" pictures. So many of these moms looked really good for having children, but they looked no where near as fit as the mommy in the original picture. They knew they weren't perfect, but they exercised (and some didn't except for chasing their children!) to maintain or to lose weight and get healthier. This was even more inspiration for me.

THROWBACK! Me and my family - I think this was taken about 12 years ago, well before kids. I'm the one in the middle in the grey sweater and glasses.

I am pregnant right now and I have problems with my feet, so it's hard for me to get a lot of exercise. I still try to play with my children, go for walks when it's nice out, etc. I know that I need to get more in shape for myself and my children. I was thinking...what is an excuse anyway? I always think of excuses as lies. Like saying your dog ate your homework because you didn't get it done or calling in sick to work when you were really just out partying too hard the night before. Maybe that's why moms were offended when they were being told that they were making their children an excuse.
So, I consulted and looked up the meaning of the word "excuse".

an explanation offered as a reason for being excused; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or for release from an obligation, promise, etc.

In this definition, our children would be excuses for our flabby bellies. I can see that...

The one I always think about is:

a pretext or subterfuge

What's a subterfuge? According to it is an artifice or expedient used to evade a rule, escape a consequence, hide something, etc.

Do you see why some might be offended, being told they are lying or trying to evade something and using their children to do so?

So instead of being offended, I came up with reasons why I should get in shape!

Let's replace our "excuses" whether they are legitimate or lies, with reasons that we should be in shape! I may never look like that woman in the photo, but I don't expect to (besides, she was probably air brushed anyway!)

Pregnant with baby boy #1 who is about to turn 1 year old next week. At my heaviest, about 225 lbs.

I am going to turn my excuses into reasons!

Excuse 1 - I have problems with my feet! I have bone spurs and they are very uncomfortable.
Why is this a reason? The more weight I lose, the better they feel. I am not afraid to talk about the numbers on the scale so I will say that I weighed 225 lbs when I gave birth to my son. I am only 5'3", so that is a lot of stress and pressure on my feet. By the time he was 4 months old, I had lost 40 pounds and my feet barely hurt at all. I have gained some of that back since I am pregnant again, but the knowledge of how much the weight loss helps is a reason for me to work on my weight loss after my next child is born.

Excuse 2 - I am so busy with my Master's degree work.
Why is this a reason? I recently read an article in Prevention magazine where Dr. Travis Stork said that one of his mentors once told him that he should never ask a patient to do something that he wouldn't do himself. I know that exercising makes me feel better, happier, less lethargic. When I am counseling, I know that I should not tell my clients to exercise so that they will feel better if I'm not doing it myself!

Excuse 3 - I have two kids (and a third on the way).
Why is this a reason? Simply put, I am going to have a 2 year old and a 10 month old at the same time down the line. First, I'm going to have a newborn and a 14 month old at the same time. I need to be able to keep up with them! I want to be able to play with them and have enough energy to get through the day. Also, I need to make sure to eat healthy and take care of myself while I am pregnant and breastfeeding.

In Feb. 2013, after I had lost 40 lbs and before I got pregnant with baby boy #2. I weighed about 185 here. Excuse the dirty mirror!

So, instead of being offended by this picture, let's all take the opportunity to think of our excuses and how they can also be reasons for us to get in shape. It's not just about how we look, it's about how we feel!