In the past week, I have seen the photo below of fitness mom, Maria Kang, being circulated around the Internet and even on the news. The general consensus seems to be a knee jerk reaction to the “What’s your excuse?” caption that accompanied the photo of a very fit Kang alongside her three little boys. I wonder why the photo above didn’t got viral? Maybe because it was harder to misconstrue.
When I saw the photo below, I was not offended. I wasn’t motivated to workout either but she made me think. Think about what my excuses were and turns out that yes, losing weight is hard and time-consuming but my reasons for still being overweight is just that; an excuse. Well, that and the fact that I screwed my metabolism up with 8 years of eating disorders but I could still definitely be in better shape; probably not Maria Kang shape but definitely the best version of me. I saw a mother who has made sacrifices and has a kick ass body to show for it. Maybe I’m just not willing to make those same sacrifices?
Then I heard the words “fat-shaming” and ”bullying” being thrown around. People like to abuse the word “bullying”. Bullying is an epidemic but unless she was sending this photo to people’s inboxes, spamming them on social media with the photo and the caption, mailing it directly to them habitually or standing outside the McDonald’s taunting “What’s your excuse?” how was she bullying anyone?
It was a photo on her FB page that went viral. People really hate this woman based on this one photo. I don’t like to judge a book solely by its cover so I did a little digging. Plus, I still wasn’t sure if I hated her for being condescending or loved her for being inspirational. I did know one thing, if a stranger yelled that at me, I’d be pissed but if a friend did the same thing and worked her ass off while being a mom and looked like that, I’d be a little bit jealous but mostly, I’d be all “You GO GIRL!”
I went to her FB page and hey, guess what? The photo links to her blog and her entire story that led up to that photo. I read her story. Imagine that. Turns out our stories are very similar. She’s been heavy. She’s suffered through eating disorders. She gained a lot of weight during pregnancy. She had a metabolism that seemed to have quit. She’d tried every diet under the sun but she kept at it. Kept trying to find a way to get healthy. Then she made the decision to bust her ass and dedicate her life to being physically fit by any means possible. I have no idea where she find’s the time in the day with three small boys but she does.This is something she enjoys. It’s a passion for her.
And that caption “What’s Your Excuse?” She wasn’t fat shaming at all. In fact, she is one of the admins of a closed FB group called the 2013 –No Excuse Mom Challenge and they are participating in the No Excuse program. The tagline? We will achieve our goals…No Excuses! The photo was a progression photo related directly to that. In context, it makes sense. It was actually meant as a motivational tool for a very specific group of women who were in this group and wanted to lose the weight. To them, her photo is inspirational because she is one of them, one of us, and she has done it and if she can do it, maybe they can to?
Maria Kang is just a mom like you and I. Just a normal person who wanted to get into shape. She wanted accountability and support so she started a program and a challenge. She did it. She deserves to show off what all her hard work has gotten her. I’m jealous and after reading her story I.Am.Inspired. Hell, I even signed up to join her group. I want that kind of support. I want to be able to post my own progression photo. She looks happy. Her kids look happy. As long as she doesn’t run up in my face and cruelly taunt me with , ” Look at me! What’s Your Excuse, Fatty?” Live and let live. All I can really say after doing all the research is, “Maria Kang, You GO GIRL!” I have no excuse.
***Update : Yes, I read Ms. Kang’s “apology”. It comes off as assholey but what came first the assholey behavior or was it being attacked that made her react in a defensive way?