NO EXCUSES: I absolutely hate this phrase.
I exercised today for the first time in months. It was hard and felt great and I’m proud of myself. But during my workout I reflected on WHY I haven’t exercised much recently, and the difficulties I finally feel like I’m moving past, it reminded me of why I hate this phrase so much.
“No excuses” almost always seems to be used in conjunction with shaming mothers and women who don’t have daily exercise as their top priority at that moment. While some may consider it “motivation,” I believe it does more harm than good.
The word “excuse” implies that the person is trying to defend something that is WRONG. We need to stop classifying the exercise schedules and eating habits of others as “right” or “wrong.” Black or white. Good or bad
LIFE IS NOT THAT SIMPLE!!! This is not a healthy or realistic way to look at the world. There are times when priorities shift and something else requires a great deal of our energy and attention. THAT IS OKAY.
We should exercise because we want to and enjoy it, not because we feel pressured to or we need to punish our bodies.
I’m not saying it’s cool to NOT take care of your body. What I’m saying is we need to stop butting into the way other people live their lives and trying to shame and pressure them into doing things the way YOU do. To handle stress the way YOU do. To follow the schedule that YOU do. To prioritize things the way YOU do. To spend money on the things that YOU do. To approach their problems in the same way that YOU do.
Guess what? People are different.
And if someone is struggling, you are completely invalidating what they are going through by insisting that there‘s not one acceptable reason in the world that should keep them from exercising. That’s NONSENSE.
Oh, you lost all your baby weight and started exercising two weeks after giving birth? Great, but I just gave birth and my vagina is still swollen and gushing blood so bye.
You have three kids but get up at 4am to exercise? Impressive, but ain’t no way I’m getting up at that time when I STILL GET WOKEN UP MULTIPLE TIMES A NIGHT because kids and an awesomely weak bladder. Did you know that sleep is also important for your health? Bye.
You run 18 businesses and run 18 miles a day? Cool, but sometimes depression means I’m just trying to get through the day without giving up on life. I take my meds, I go to therapy, and I make sure my kids eat every day. And that is sometimes all I can do without collapsing. Every day I get through is a victory. Bye.
I’m trying to live my life without shame, and that means accepting myself, my life, and my body EVEN WHEN I can’t operate at optimal capacity. The concept of accepting yourself and your body where it’s at + setting aside expectations, and the knowledge that your health is important and there are things you can improve, can coexist. And they should!
Let me be clear: I care about my health. There HAVE been times where I exercised daily and prepared very healthy meals. I’ve lost baby weight and been skinny. I’ve gained weight and been fat. Being skinny or in shape doesn’t mean I’m a better person. Sure, there are lots of positives to exercise and there have been periods of time where I’ve been very, VERY dedicated. But never, EVER, have I accepted the “no excuses” mantra. Because it’s bullshit. Sorry for the language but when Brené Brown says “speak truth to bullshit” that‘s what you gotta do.
The bottom line: It’s so important to recognize that most people are doing the best they can in the moment. There are short term and long term concerns we all are dealing with and it’s a constant learning process. People need time to adapt. Give people the dignity and respect of making their own choices…and know that if they need help they will reach out.
Until then, give the “motivational speeches” a rest. No excuses.