Just by reading the title, I suspect you might already know what I’m talking about. In the past few years, some women have been put into the spotlight for the wrong reasons. One Asian-American lady in particular, Maria Kang, was able to give birth and lose the pregnancy weight in a matter of weeks. She then went on to brag about it, telling women they have “no excuses” for being fat.
Unsurprisingly, the woman in question faced a series of backlash from other women who had been unable to replicate her result. Not long after that, a Norwegian woman, whom I think was a soccer goalie, or the wife of some, showing pictures of her “post-baby body”. She did not brag about it or rub it in peoples’ faces, yet she also received some backlash, most likely from the backlash from the Asian-American lady.
We might also know such people in real life. Back when I was a teenager I lived beside some lovely neighbours, one of whom was a lady who managed to lose her pregnancy weight quickly. As an inquisitive fat teenager, I asked her what her secret was, and she said it was breastfeeding. Of course I didn’t question it then; neither would I question it now.
Time is no immunity to this phenomenon. Recently, another lady by the name of Abby Pell, a British fitness competitor, also did that. While some might view it as motivational and aspirational, the intended audience of such posts are more likely to feel inadequate, ashamed, and like a failure because they are having difficulties replicating the results of Maria or Abby.
While the women who post those “What’s your excuse?” images genuinely believe that they are spreading the message of positivity around and empowering others, they might be a little far from reality. You see, with the advent of social media, people, women particularly are starting to become more body-conscious. This was shown to be true in a study by Flinders University in 2014, where it was found that a lot of high school girls were spending time on “fitness inspiration” pages.
So what’s the issue? Well, unsurprisingly, a lot of images on these pages are of professional fitness models that display perfectly-crafted six-pack abs. Truth be told, these bodies are unattainable by most “everyday” women who have neither the genetics required nor 24 hours a day to tend to such a physique. As an aside, us here at Granite Fitness also uses some of those images, but the content of our posts are a lot more “organic” and “real”.
Think there is no impact? Well, try to think of it from a mother’s point of view. How would you feel if your children are looking at these oiled-up, six-pack bodies for motivation and feeling inadequate when their own efforts do not result in such a physique? Imagine the impact that has on their self-esteem. Not good, is it?
Let’s put our feet back on the ground in the first place. If you went and surveyed 100 fitness professionals, chances are that most of them do not have the six-pack that is defined and depicted in these images. Personally, I came from a background of being chubby throughout my childhood into early adulthood. I still have some leftover skin lining my abdominal extremity. If I ‘suck in my gut’, there will be ‘packs’, but they won’t be as clear-cut as the oiled-up once on those sites.
Instead of the ‘no excuses’ mantra, Granite Fitness is about body positivity, not fat-shaming. It’s about not needing to strive for perfection, but to strive for good health instead. It’s about accepting your body but wanting to lose weight and get in shape because you love your body, not because you hate it. It’s about knowing that a better, but not ‘perfect’ physique, coupled with good health brings you even more body-positivity!
As such, my opinion is that the best way to motivate others is not to use comparisons that might “shame” people into wanting to lose weight. That’s a negative message. In fact, that’s an egotistical message. They are basically saying that if they can do it and achieve that kind of success, women who can’t reach that level are just worthless losers. How bad is that?
If what I said in this blog post resonates with you, think about getting a strong positive mindset first before embarking on your journey to good health. Consider getting the Granite Fitness Solution or the Granite Fitness Masterclass, both of which empower your mind for long-term weight loss success, as well as providing you with the tools to get there. No to fat-shaming, yes to body positivity!
Mark is an all-rounded guy with dreams, aspirations, and a desire to be a better version of himself. Having conquered obesity, he set-up Granite Fitness to help regular people get in shape and stay healthy. As of 2023, Mark spends his days as a People and Culture Manager. He holds three science degrees, a Diploma of Christian counselling, a Diploma of Human Resources, and a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety. Connect with Mark @ http://au.linkedin.com/in/marksptan