Both Jen Sinkler and Jennifer from Mama Lion Strong have done an eloquent job explaining why the "no excuses" message is not the most effective method of motivation in their articles here and here.
But after reading quite of few of the comments left on these posts like these and others, it's clear that some of you still don't agree.
The thing is, this really isn't up for debate. The idealization of images of perfect bodies, perfect lives, and perfect diets via all forms of media is greatly affecting our confidence and self image. Don't believe me? Take a few minute and read even just the abstracts on studies like this, this or this. It isn't helping. It's hurting, and that's a fact.
It's the message, not the messenger.
The majority of the responses sounded something like "haters gonna hate" or "they're just jelly" in reference to the uproar about Pell's abdominals.
It may not be every one's bag, but I love the look of her abs. I'll be honest, if they were handing six pack ab's out at the gym, I'd sure as hell take one because I love all the muscles. I admire and respect the hard work I imagine it took her to achieve those.
However, I assure you, there is not a bone of hate or jealously in my body in regards to her abs. It's her delivery I don't care for, not her.
Beyond that, this isn't really about a mom with a ripped core. Founder of Habity, Coach Stevo writes in an article, "No Excuses", "It is important to remember that the difference between excuses and reasons is the feeling of justification. If people are telling you they, “want to change, but…” everything that follows the “but” is not an excuse; it’s an obstacle they want your help getting around."
We need to find a better way of motivating others. A manner in which inspires people to overcome
People should take it personally.
One of the comments I read was from a gentleman encouraging people to just "get over it and not take everything on the Internet so personally."
Well sir, I get that it may not have personally offended you. But I'm not just thinking about you or me for that matter.
I'm thinking about the community of hundreds of women who see fitspo images like this and feel deflated, never good enough. I'm thinking about my young daughter and the positive messages I want to promote as she grows older. I'm thinking about her friends and how they're affected by exposure to similar messages.
Click any of those links I mentioned above and you'll quickly find out why this is beyond a mom with a six pack. Or take a peek at this extensive research, "Children, Teens, Media and Body Image". According to this research brief, as early as six years old, both boys and girls in the US have expressed their ideal bodies are thinner than their current bodies. In addition, by the time they are seven years old, one in four children will have engaged in dieting behavior.
I am certainly not suggesting Ms. Pell is to blame for these alarming statistics. Her meme is one of tens of thousands out there, her photo just happened to go viral. It is clear however that media plays a role in our perception of self. Statistics like this are why creating, sharing and re-sharing any fitspo image deserves more consideration.
Taking back fitspo
Thanks to Mama Lion Strong a movement has begun. A movement to take over the fitspo world with positive, welcoming images of everyday women doing their best to achieve their goals. As Sinkler says, "come with me" images, not "look at me".
We're all in this together. Join us. Make and share your own meme with a photo where you feel your best. That's all there is to it.
No shame, no six pack required.