March 29, 2014
I just interviewed with ABC Nightline. They followed me for nearly two days while I prepared a potluck dish for my father’s birthday party, cooked my boy’s breakfast (in my sponge rollers!) before dropping my eldest to pre-k. They filmed as I checked in on my elderly care home, taped a live News10 segment and led my No Excuse Mom (NEM) workout group. This all happened before a mini photo shoot with Guardian UK magazine and a NEM online group leader meeting. We discussed my busy life and controversial new image promoting my No Excuse Mom Movement where I experienced Round 2 of critics (again) claiming photoshop, bullying and narcissism. Despite the negative press, the NEM movement is growing at an incredible pace. In just over two months we are organizing 700 locations in 24 countries.
From one provocative image and a three word question, I seemed to wake people’s consciousness and create a controversial dialogue about health, body image and motherhood. What began as a motivational post on my fitness page, turned into something twisted, tainted and taken out of context by bloggers everywhere. While some criticized my message and blamed their negative reception on my delivery, the truth is…
It’s not just the message, it’s the messenger.
Even the most articulate blogs can’t pose a good argument without using the word ‘look’ in it – as if I’m suggesting people should look like me. And why not focus on my looks, right? After all, would this poster gotten as much attention if I were a man, a paid personal trainer or slightly chubbier? If this was all about the delivery – as some have suggested – I doubt any of the other scenarios would’ve made it onto CNN. Facts are I am an everyday mom. I have a strong, unrelenting, unapologetic voice. I am promoting health and a hope that you can achieve your goals if you take action and make no excuses. How you receive my image and my message is out of my control. I can’t create guilt or shame without it being already psychologically present in one’s mind. If you react negatively to the word ‘excuse’ then you must feel you’re not doing something that you know you should be doing.
And we all know what we should be doing. We hear it every day. I’m not stating anything outside of what the Surgeon General recommends. I am advising people to get up, move and make no excuses for not prioritizing their health. Yet, with heart disease maintaining its lead as America’s number one killer and children struggling with obesity and Type II Diabetes, it seems that people aren’t doing what they know they should be doing.
So as the messenger, I’m sharing my story. I’m showing that a little girl’s pain in watching her mother struggle with her health can turn into an incredible passion. This passion will further deepen as she overcame an eating disorder and struggled being 30lbs overweight. After falling in love with an injured veteran she will give birth three times in three years while building her own business, founding a nonprofit and starting a free fitness mom group. While she lacks a cook, maid or nanny, she still prioritized her fitness and was able to rock a healthier post-baby-body, stretchmarks and all.
Attaining any goal in life is about planning your days, prioritizing your actions and preparing for things to go wrong. I’m not making myself vulnerable to the world so I can sell you something you don’t already have.
I’m selling you – you.
You are the key to your success. It all begins with a decision…a single choice to not give up and dedicate yourself to a journey that will take time, focus, discipline, faith and hard work.
While my journey in spreading one’s personal awareness has been frustrating, I know that the people who got the message – got it. The people who didn’t, will eventually get it because it’s not a matter of if but when they will start prioritizing their health. You’re only given one body and it’s the only thing you own in this world.
While my approach is more straightforward, you can’t expect to break unhealthy habits sitting in a psychologist’s chair asking them to say ‘you can do it!’ Their job is to ask you questions that will make you dig deeper and discover an inner awareness of what actions are preventing you from living your fullest potential. I asked, “What’s Your Excuse?” to followers on my fitness page and I received a lot of excuses. So as a nation let’s look at these excuses and start providing solutions.
The No Excuse Mom movement is a piece of the solution. It’s not the latest, greatest, fitness craze and you don’t need a membership fee to join. NEM is an ideology. It’s a belief that despite the odds of making fitness work, you can do it and you don’t have to do it alone. We are not an island onto ourselves. We need people to raise us, support us and lead us.
This powerful energy created a community of moms – moms who are the very leaders raising our future generation – to prioritize their health and therefore their family’s health. These moms are creating free workout groups in an effort to get fit, become role models and connect their community.This tumultuous effort would not be possible without the volunteer efforts of our administrators and group leaders. Thank you most of all to Lori Hare, Stephanie Stafford, Jaylene Lawrence, Gioia Aw, Ay Carter, Shannon Link, Alex Gonzalez, Lorna Pope, Inemesit Graham and Mckel Springer. Without your efforts this past year, nearly 17,000 moms wouldn’t have a special place to feel accepted, supported and encouraged.
Six months ago, when my whole world turned upside down I didn’t know why this was happening or where this would all lead, I just had faith that like any pain, there is some purpose behind it.
Thank you to all the NEM’s out there. You give me purpose.
Find a location or become a group leader at www.noexcusemom.com
For those wanting an update from my last journal, we did move – but after a very emotional ride, I decided to pull out of escrow from a potential home (and follow my gut) and move to another rental. Home buying isn’t to be taken lightly and I didn’t want to feel the pressure from time constraints . Here I am packing! Can you believe I started packing the house at 1:30pm on Saturday afternoon and we started moving everything at 7am on Sunday? I had everything moved and unpacked by 1pm Monday! Thank you to all our friends and family that made this miracle happen! (btw – those are jalapeno cheetos. My husbands!)
Shooting in our new backyard. That day was crazy!!!!! Tune in April 5th on ABC’s Nightline Prime.
I took a psychology class in high school and was shown this picture. What do you see?
Do you see a beautiful young lady or an old woman?
A Paradigm Shift means if you change your perspective, you can change what you see. So
how can so many people see insult while many others see inspiration in my fitness poster? I think
we just had a big psychology course on America’s attitude today.