I'm sure lots of you have seen this controversial image which has been doing the rounds online for a few months now. It features Maria Kang, a California mum and fitness blogger, showing off her, frankly amazing, post baby body.
What do you read into the "What's your excuse?" tagline?
For some, she might be saying "Come on, girls! Don't feel like motherhood has ruined your body. With the right diet and training, anyone can achieve amazing results. Don't give up - if I can do it, you can do it. Let's go!"
For others, she might be saying "Hey, fatty - you don't look like me, why is that? Because you've had kids? What a lame excuse! Look at me! I've got kids, and my body is amazing, so if yours isn't, you should be ashamed and you really need to explain yourself. Come on, what's your excuse? Get your fat ass to the gym!"
It's totally a matter of perception, and there have been lots of responses to Maria online, most of them pretty hurtful. In a way, I can see what she's saying - if you aren't happy with your body, don't hide behind excuses or a victim mentality, do the best you can with the abilities you have.
Of course, another part of me thinks "Oh, eff off you, with your perfect image. Get a life!"
My own response to Maria would be this;
Hey, lady, you're right, I don't look like you, and I have no excuse. What's more, I don't need one. I'm happy with how I look. When I look in the mirror, I don't see pounds and ounces, or stretchmarks, or wrinkles, or wobbly bits, or imperfections.
I see a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I see a woman who loves and is loved, who lives life and enjoys it. I don't have hours to spend in the gym honing a perfect body. What little free time I have, I'd rather spend playing with my kids, cuddling my husband, chatting with my family, baking a cake or laughing with friends. I'm healthy, I eat my fruit and veg and I take long walks, and that's enough for me.
It's not fair to judge everyone by your own standards. If I, with all my flaws and imperfections, can have the confidence to stand proud and say Live and Let Live, then what's your excuse?
How do you feel about this photo? Please share!