My opinion on the What’s Your Excuse discussion.


One of my Facebook friends posted this picture of these two women.

I thought everything about this picture is interesting. Most importantly, the idea of fitness and discipline versus body acceptance. In this discussion they are made out to be two separate things, but as you (hopefully) understand, the two are not actually mutually exclusive and actually go great together.

But I have a few opinions about the general ideas behind the “what’s your excuse” discussion that this picture stirred up. More below.

BACK STORY: Maria Kang is a fitness blogger (I guess) who posted the picture above on her Facebook page in response to “constant body (fat) acceptance campaigns strewn all over the internet.” More specifically, the Curvy Girl lingerie campaign, that is FUCKING CUTE, by the way.

In her defense, she was thinking about the negative effects of obesity on a person, family, communities and even countries. Not so much in her defense, she feels the people with discipline should be the ones who get celebrated instead of the ones with ‘unhealthy’ sizes. I don’t know how to tell her this, but…society already does that. All the time. Okay?

Her picture evoked outrage in women who don’t look like she does, including the woman on the right who in response took this adorable picture of herself with her babies saying “my ‘excuse’ is that I’m okay with this.” There are loads more women who responded like that, some quite hilariously. I like their point.


First of all, I went to her webpage and Maria Kang seems like a nice enough person. If you read her articles, you can actually see someone who is striving to make herself but also the world healthier and happier. From what I gather, she is in the ‘fitness business’ and her motivation to speak out about fitness is that she lost her parents to health issues that could have been avoided with a healthier diet. Therefore I understand why she speaks the way she does. I don’t have anything bad to say about her as a person, even though I don’t completely agree with her philosophy or method.

If she wants to dedicate a part of her life to being fit and -it has to be said- looking spectacular for a 30-something year-old woman, she totally should. She looks healthy and happy. I bet she is a great motivation for some. Good for her.

I totally feel the one on the right too. It took me some investigating, but her name is Jule Ann and this is her reponse to Maria’s picture. I like her self acceptance and what she wrote is actually very kind and self reflective.

And in regards to that, there are a couple of points I would like to make on this subject.

First of all, YES I am FOR eating healthy and exercising. If it’s important to you and a way for you to take care of yourself and your body. I feel it should come from a place of self love and taking care of yourself. Again, if that’s what YOU want to do. Therefore I quite like fitness blogs and reading about exercise and healthy food.

But I personally dislike fitspo that goes “what’s your excuse” and “I do today what you won’t so that tomorrow I can do what you can’t” and “stop being so weak.” It’s very aggressively phrased, it contains an element of “I’m better than you because I exercise” and negative self-talk whilst implying anyone who doesn’t work out is ‘weak.’ But that’s just me. If it works for you, by all means.

More importantly, I don’t believe in body shaming, whether it’s fat shaming or thin shaming. Women should not be put down because of their size. Being thin is not some magical quality that makes one person better than the other, and the curvy girls should not make comments that ‘real men like curves’ and ‘sticks aren’t attractive’. Just, stahp it.

While health should absolutely be kept in mind, body acceptance is best. You can work from there so much easier than from a place of self-hatred. In my opinion thin girls looks gorgeous, but curvy girl are magnificent too and any size in between can be beautiful as well.

And size doesn’t always say EVERYTHING about how healthy someone is. On average, it might. But there are also thin, fit-looking women who are unhealthy (physically or mentally) and there are big(ger) women who have perfect cholesterol scores and who do pretty well in their spinning class.

Plus (size, haha), if a woman is happy with how she looks, who are you to tell her she’s not allowed to be?

Raining on the body acceptance parade will not make anyone happier. If you tell someone they’re not allowed to be happy with the way they look now, you’ll only make them unhappy. And most people who are unhappy are even less inclined to make healthy choices in diet and exercise in the future.

Therefore, logically I’m all for curvy girl lingerie, beautiful plus-size clothing, as little photoshop as possible and as much body acceptance as is necessary for everyone to be happy.

And what I’m saying is that if you’re happy with how you look and don’t feel that inclined to get (even) thinner or fitter, that’s fine. Good for you.

HOWEVER. (And now we’re taking it into the whole other direction…)

You DO want to train like a beast?

You want to eat a lot of weird-looking crap that is good for you? You want to not eat any normal looking crap that is a bad for you?

You want to be a go-hard-or-go-home kind of girl/boy?

You want to work out in all kinds of weather?

You want to track all your progress on all sorts of different devices?

You want to have epic, awe-inspiring goals in terms of fitness?

Because it makes you feel great, because it makes you look great naked, because it improves your self-esteem and your health, because it’s good for your skin, soul and sex life, because it helps you grow into the person you want to be, and because it’s just something you really want to do?!


NOBODY is saying you that any of that isn’t okay to want or do. All of that is awesome and a constructive, fun thing to spend time and effort on. You go on with your bad self. Chances are you’ll feel and do great and inspire other people along the way. So to you I also say: Good for you.

What I’m trying to say is that the encouragement to work for health and fitness is great. But body acceptance and self love is also awesome. I sincerely hope the two coincide in most cases because that makes for happy, healthy people.

And the women who love fitness and the women who don’t can peacefully co-exist (if they stop with the back-and-forth.) because neither is better than the other. We all have different ideas and priorities, and that’s okay. We should celebrate each other and what these differences bring to the table.

Okay, enough of my opinions for the day. I’d love to hear yours, though. See you in the comments.

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  1. I loved reading this and this is so much like my opinion, but I could have never put it in words like you just did. I am sharing this. I’d like the world to be a bit more: do whatever the fuck that makes you happy and stop bothering and insulting people who like something different.

  2. Love this article, I totally agree with your opinion! People should back of a little more and leave everybody to spend their lives as they want it to.

  3. I have been following this discussion too, but I stopped because it bothered me that women can get so nasty to each other so I just let it be. But now I read your post and will include my 2 cents too 🙂

    I think both women and images are great, if you’re happy with who you are then that’s great and I’m all for spreading the love. But I feel like looking at all the hate surrounding this picture, a lot of women do have certain insecurities and that’s why the first image hit close to home to them: they feel attacked and instead of doing something about their insecurities, they blame a complete stranger who may or may not look like they way some of these women want to look like. This woman however, is just doing her thing and is hoping to inspire a certain group of people that are into fitness and health. She can’t reach everyone with her messages, not everyone is into “fitspiration” or wants to look like her, so those that are not into it should just let it be.

    I feel like if you’re really confident and happy with who you are, a picture like this will not make you hate the woman or upset you in any way, you can just look away or say “good for her, but I’m doing my own thing”. I don’t think the amount of criticism that they first woman got is fair, I think a lot of the hate is coming from a place of insecurity and negative feelings/believes that women just love to blame on someone else (I have been there too), because it’s easier than actually dealing with your own problems.

    That said, not everyone needs or wants to look like her, hell I don’t look like that and I’m perfectly fine never looking like that, but I think that women should rather work on themselves than hate on other women. This woman didn’t put this picture online to “fat sham” or anything like that, she posted it to her followers who are looking for fitspiration, and that’s just what this picture is: it’s an inspiration to a lot of her followers. I think she rocks and I think it’s great that she inspires other women to push themselves a little bit harder. Then I also think it’s great that other women have websites and post images of different body types and lifestyles to show that that’s great too. Just find someone who you can look up to or relate to, and try to be happy. I agree with what you wrote, just be happy and healthy and accept that not everyone is the same, just let everyone be and focus on you!

    1. Thank you for your eloquent and elaborate response, Sophie!

      “but I think that women should rather work on themselves than hate on other women” That I agree with!

      I respectfully disagree with you on two points, though:

      – This woman did put this picture on-line as a response to a positive body image campaign for curvy women because she didn’t think that these sizes should be celebrated. To me, that is pretty close like fat shaming!

      – Not all the women who see a picture like that and respond with indignation are unhappy, insecure and ‘not dealing with their own problems’. Yes, some of the out-of-proportion responses might be. But to dismiss everything under the ‘they’re just unhappy about themselves’ is such an easy way out. A lot of the response from the general public to this picture is basically “um, I don’t need to have an excuse to look like you and to insinuate that I do is kind of stupid”

      1. Ah, I didn’t realize she put this picture up as a response to the campaign. I should have read your post more accurately! What I read online were mostly just insults towards her on various Facebook pages. I thought it was just one of her many pictures to motivate her followers… That’s why I was a little taken back by all the response from women that don’t even follow her. Then yes, I fully see your point! And of course, I myself should also realize that we’re all different, I guess everyone reacts different to this picture. I’m going to look into it a little more now and see what the campaign is about, thanks for your response!

  4. Mooi stuk weer babe. Ik zat hier laatst aan te denken. Ik heb nu eindelijk een beetje mijn buikje kwijt en ik moetvzeggen; ik ben een stuk happier over ma body dan net na de bevalling. Betekent het dan dat ik per definitie happier ben als ik iets slanker ben dan normaal? Nee. Ik denk, nee ik weet wel zeker, dat het allemaal begint met self love. Eerst v jezelf houden en weten dat je goed genoeg bent met die vetrolletjes of juist niet. Geen kwaad woord over het eerste plaatje, want ik ken haar niet, maar toen ik die foto voor het eerst zag, ging het bij mij, als pas bevallen vrouw, toch wat knagen. Ze had het denk ik wel net wat anders kunnen verwoorden

    1. Precies dit

      Ik las ook dat iemand zei dat het “what’s your excuse” echt een hele agressieve vraag ook eigenlijk is. Zo van kijk, ik doe het terwijl ik moeder ben van 3 kids dus wat denk jij dat je voor goede reden hebt dan om het niet te doen?!

      Het is ook helemaal okay om extra lekker in je vel te zitten als je bijv. wat fitter/slanker/gespierder bent, dat is heel normaal denk ik. Maar ook als je niet superslank ben, of een buikje hebt, of wat dan ook, dan nog mag je blij kunnen zijn met hoe je eruit ziet en wie je bent!

  5. Helemaal niks aan toe te voegen, helemaal waar! Iedereen heeft andere prioriteiten en als iemand tevreden is met zichzelf dan hoef je daar niks over te zeggen. Iets met iedereen in z’n waarde laten, een beetje respect voor anderen is soms ver te zoeken, helaas.

  6. Just casually strolling through your blog and came across this brilliant post, I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head here! I personally feel that health is so important but the polarisation of opinions surrounding the topic have led to, in many cases, body shaming on both sides of the spectrum. Everyone has different goals in life and different things that make them happy – its what makes us individuals! Really enjoyed reading a post that takes in both sides of the story.

  7. I read the article at a go! I mean wow! I have been looking for a balanced view like this. We need to strike something that is not extreme in situations like this. I myself am very confused about my body and the way I look and the way I think I should look. I am losing weight and I am healthier and happier. But I also cannot analyse the depression I had gone in because I was constantly fat shamed to an extent that I became convinced that I am ugly. Thanks for saying whatever you did.
    Power to you and much love,