So let’s talk about Maria Kang, the “What’s your excuse” flat-abs lady.
You’ve probably seen the image that’s firing up the interwebs. If not, it’s this one.
Most of the critics are like “She’s shaming fat people!”
Or “I’m overweight because I have an illness!”
Or “She looks like that because of her genetics!”
And let’s get one thing clear: This broad and I would NEVER be friends. Just the sight of her kinda makes me want to break shit and run. She’s the mom I see from afar at the playground and I’m like “Oh God where ARE MY PEOPLE? WHERE?”
Then I look around furiously hoping there are other “mommy” options.
Judgmental and horrible? Yep.
That’s me. Just keepin’ it real.
So she calls herself a “fitness blogger and director of a fitness non-profit organization.” She also, incidentally, was born with such healthy pheromones she doesn’t smell when she sweats. She also has good skin and no leg hair.
Don’t believe anybody would say something like this publicly? Here’s the direct quote and source: “Honestly, I have no leg hair, I don’t smell when I sweat and I was born with good skin and healthy pharemones. (I think this has something to do with how I take care of my body!) Now everyone knows!! And NO, I am not going to post pictures!”
Um, yeah. I couldn’t be friends with somebody like this. I probably couldn’t even get through lunch with somebody like this. The pretentiousness, the self-appreciation. The “I’m doing it so why the hell aren’t YOU” mentality, the no-really-I’m-better-than-you attitude. Not my people.
Everything about that photo: The message, tone, perfect make-up. All of it. It just screams “MY GOD I’M SO GOOD and I just can’t for the LIFE of me figure out why you aren’t as good as me!”
No really why aren’t you?
The woman has made a life out of fitness. She has placed fitness above other endeavors, even making it her career. She says so: “I just made it a priority.” Well, yeah. Clearly. And her message is kind of like “Why haven’t you made the excellent choices I have?” Yuck.
And since she was doing “crunches” before school in fifth grade, she obviously has an innate interest in such things.
You know what I was doing in fifth grade? Inventing reasons to get out of running the mile. Also reading John Steinbeck and writing my ass off.
But I want to talk about this whole thing about her being “offensive” with the “What’s your excuse” message. I want to talk about the people claiming this woman is “bunching all fat people together by assuming they’re all making excuses.”
Newsflash, Einstein: MOST OF US ARE MAKING EXCUSES.
Yes, lots of fat people have medical conditions that prohibit them from eating well and exercising.
Wait. What? No, not really. That’s not really that common.
Okay, SOME people have medical conditions, genetic dispositions or other unavoidable ailments that cause them to be overweight.
BUT, the vast majority of fat people are fat because they eat too much and don’t fucking move their bodies enough. And if we want to get brutally honest, we could start asking ourselves how many of us use our illnesses as an excuse to not eat well and exercise.
Oh, snap. Ouch.
I held on to the fact that I was on crazy pills that made me gain 70 pounds in 3 months as an excuse for my weight THREE YEARS after I quit the damn medication.
I’m so sick of this shit. Why can’t we be honest with ourselves? You know you’ve got excuses. We’ve ALL got excuses.
I am currently 40 pounds overweight. Why? Because I use food for emotional comfort. Because I’m lazy. Because I put other things before my health.
Because I have insomnia (which gets better when I swim laps but I don’t do that because I’m lazy and busy – EXCUSES), and for some reason when I wake up after having slept 4 hours for the 3rd night in a row, I somehow determine that a scone and pumpkin spice latte is going to fix my life.
It never fixes my life. You know what fixes my life? Exercise.
But lately, I choose the scone anyway.
Yeah, I could reframe all the above-mentioned excuses into more convincing “reasons” for my poor health, but the fact remains: “I am 40 pounds overweight because of the choices I make and it will only change when I’m willing to FACE THE CHOICES I MAKE rather than try to convince myself my choices are happening TO me rather than FROM me.”
We were burglarized. We’re moving. We can barely pay our bills. I need every free moment to WORK. I’m a recovering alcoholic – I’m sensitive with an emotional nature (at least I’m not drinking!). My kids take all my time. My kids won’t eat healthy food.
Blah blah fucking blah.
Bullshit. All of it.
One day I stopped making excuses. I lost 60 pounds.
Then something changed and I’m back on the scone wagon.
Give me a minute. I’m sure I can come up with a few thousand reasons why I stopped losing weight.
But here’s what I really want to say: If you have a viable, accurate and real excuse for not eating well and exercising (and “I don’t really give a shit about fitness” totally works), then why are you all bent out of shape by her “What’s your excuse” question?
If you have an excuse you’re buying, that you truly believe, why the hell are you offended?
Why wouldn’t you just look at that poster and go “Well, I have ______” and move on with your life?
Because that’s not the way offense works. Things offend us when they hit a nerve we don’t like, when there’s a bit too much truth in the offender’s words.
I imagine most of the people all “offended” by miss perfect’s question have been holding on to the same tired-ass excuses for years and years and years and simply refuse to face it. It’s like being called out in a very direct way and they’re like “No! I have a REAL excuse and I need it validated by you because I really don’t believe it myself, so when you nod your head in agreement I can more easily overlook the fact that I’m selling myself tired lies.”
It’s hard to look at the shit we sell ourselves. It’s hard to look at the stories we believe.
We want our egos fed, our stories validated, our bullshit cosigned.
I want somebody to say “Oh Janelle, you’ve had ___ and ____ and this year’s been so tough for you, so don’t worry about losing that weight.”
But when I lie down at night and nobody’s around or I look at myself naked in the mirror or I feel the ache in my back or I get winded walking up stairs, I know it’s bullshit. I know for a moment I’m full of it, and I haven’t an excuse in the world. Of course I have time. If I made it a priority. Deep down, I know the truth about myself.
And I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one.
I don’t like that woman because she’s done what I’m not doing. I don’t like that woman because I’m tired of feeling like shit and I’m tired of my own excuses but here I am still doing the same old shit and she’s bringing it ALL to the forefront.
Yeah she’s obnoxious and I hate her.
Yeah if I saw her coming at me I’d climb a tree like a scared cat being chased by a pitbull.
But she’s right.
Yes, we have different lives. No, I will never look like her. And yes, her refusal to recognize the myriad factors that have contributed to her body/look is myopic and silly, but her question remains valid, and applicable to every single one of us in some area of our lives.
I may hate the delivery, but the message is real: “No really Janelle. What’s your fucking excuse?”
The day I’m willing to answer that completely is the day my life has a chance to start changing.
Renee'Thursday, 17 October, 2013 at 12:14
Yup – you’re right. The minute we stop fooling ourselves, get off our asses and stop eating junk is the minute we can get on that road too! I won’t look like her; I’ve never looked like her! But I can lose 40 pounds and be healthy and happier. Unfortunately, my brain would rather blame something or someone else! And besides, it is much easier to shoot out an excuse rather than putting some effort into getting started!
JoseyThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 12:21
How are you so amazing at writing out exactly what’s in my head? People in my twitter feed were blowing up pissed about this picture… but all I could think was, “yep, we all have an excuse, don’t we?”
No, she doesn’t seem like someone I’d be friends with, but THAT’S NOT THE POINT. The point is that she is right – and that’s why people reacted so vehemently to the question. It’s hard when a raw nerve you’ve been hiding from gets trounced on!
SondrahThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 12:22
I wasn’t offended by her question because I make excuses. I was offended that she veiled an attempt to show off her physique and condescension with a lame motivation message. If her intent was truly to motivate the message should have been positive instead of, “hey look at me, I am phenomenal and have three kids under 4.” It came off really lame to me.
KattasticThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 12:44
My “excuse” is that I don’t make it a priority in my life because I have other things that are a much bigger priority. That’s it. It’s not even really an excuse, because I don’t really care.
Sure, I have days when I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see, but I bet she does too. Most of the time, I think that all 5’3″, 210 lbs of me is pretty hawt. I’m not “classically beautiful” and I never have been. But I’m pretty awesome.
I’m healthy, I bike, dance, move, eat well, etc. But, being thin is not my priority. I don’t believe that my life will be better if I make it my priority. My priority is my family — kiddo, husband; my community; reading books and knitting; enjoying the days; reaching for joy. And getting up at 5:30 in the morning to go force myself to do something I don’t enjoy for reasons that don’t matter to me does not sound like joyfulness to me.
JulieWednesday, 5 February, 2014 at 20:53
Your health should always be a priority-not just for you but for your family. Maria’s message wasn’t about looking exactly like her but about being the best you can be, making your health enough of a priority to be the most fit and healthy YOU can physically be, no matter if that includes a six pack or not. Saying you simply do not make your health a priority is irresponsible and selfish. Don’t pretend it’s not. 5’3″ and 210 isn’t healthy for anyone and the stress you are causing to your joints and organ functions is taking an unnecessary toll on the longevity of your body. As you age and your unhealthy life increasingly diminishes your health, increases medical care needs, lessens your ability to be an active and functional participant in daily activities….well just tell your kids you did it all for them.
LiaThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 12:44
I am pretty sure that what is offensive is not the guilt as much as the constant need to excuse myself to people that do not have to walk my path. And even if I do not excuse myself, knowing tht I am judged. What is sad and depressing is that what you are sick, your health doesn’t give you as much of an emotional scar as other people judging you. The fear of being labeled lazy, not just fat and glutenous. I agree to an extent with your message. We all can do better. But my better is not yours or hers. And I bed that if you want to go down that path, if you reverse those roles, she would look like a fat slob. Skills and predilections are just as quantifiable as colors and taste.
TiffanyThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 12:47
I agree with you wholeheartedly except for the fact that the headlines begs the question that I have an excuse. I choose to enjoy other things as a priority over fitness. My knee jerk reaction was to get offended and I guess it is because somehow I feel that because the questions implies that she works as hard as she does and makes the choices that she makes therefore, if I didn’t have excuses then I should too. But I don’t have excuses. I just choose not to make fitness a top of the priority pyramid priority. Instead, I am trying to be gentle and loving with myself as I transition through the early and forever changing phases of motherhood and as I learn who I am as an adult female, as I figure out how to be an intentional part of this world. I get angry with this title because it insists that the reason that I do not look like her is because I have an excuse. It puts her in a position of authority because she has, according to the message, attained something that they assume that I want.
I have lost 40lbs since having my first daughter. 40lbs – I say that and it sounds like something big but I still look at my body with the same criticisms that I had 40lbs ago. I looking fucking good. I am back to my college weight and I am leading a healthier lifestyle than I have ever lived. My point is this though. I spent most of my late teens and 20’s seeking some perfectly sculpted body and I had a banging hot body. But it was torturous and full of criticism. I have learned that I don’t need shame, blame, or criticism. I don’t need a picture of some woman with rock hard abs asking me what my excuse was. I don’t need anything else from a magazine or any other media outlet to bring negativity into my world.
I do not have an excuse and I damn sure don’t appreciate Queen Abtastic insinuating that I have one. Good for her that fitness is a priority. Good for her that she makes healthy meal choices that excellerate the fat loss and weight loss. But, as a woman who has spent most of her life beating herself with these perfectionistic ideas about what a woman’s body should look like, especially after children, I want to tell this chick and her editors to fuck off. I am 5’10, a 34D with a small waist and an ass like Beyonce’s. I do not like the imperfect marks left behind from pregnancy or my lack of muscle definition but I am SICK of looking myself over with a critical eye and never being satisfied. The last thing that I want or need for me or my family is some blogger feeding negativity into my home by insisting that I have an excuse. Fuck the implication that I have excuses. I am sick of the media streaming unrealistic and unhealthy body image ideas into the minds of women and girls. Now I have some woman imply that any reason for not looking more like her is due to excuses. It pisses me off. How about loving on yourself? How about acknowledging that we do the best that we can with what we have? How about teaching our female friends and family that they are ENOUGH just the way that they are? How about teaching self-worth as a means of encouragement? I am worthy of a break from the pressure of being better, prettier, smarter. I am worthy of loving myself just the way that I am. I am worthy of having an excuse for not eating less/better or exercising more. Because I am worthy of just being ME today and I am worthy of that being all that I need to be OK. I don’t an excuse because I am enough. Maybe someone should should tell her that.
Good for you, Jenelle. 60lbs is a big fucking accomplishment and to accompany those 60lbs you have a lot of other badass accomplishments.
P.S. sorry for any typos, for the rant, and for the long-windedness. These issues get me fired up
WendiThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 19:08
RIGHT ON Tiffany! You hit the nail on the head here……………
“I am sick of the media streaming unrealistic and unhealthy body image ideas into the minds of women and girls. Now I have some woman imply that any reason for not looking more like her is due to excuses. It pisses me off. How about loving on yourself? How about acknowledging that we do the best that we can with what we have? How about teaching our female friends and family that they are ENOUGH just the way that they are? How about teaching self-worth as a means of encouragement? I am worthy of a break from the pressure of being better, prettier, smarter. I am worthy of loving myself just the way that I am. I am worthy of having an excuse for not eating less/better or exercising more. Because I am worthy of just being ME today and I am worthy of that being all that I need to be.
Thank you LOVED your rant.
Davist RivasSunday, 21 September, 2014 at 20:59
LOL. “Not Caring about my health and fitness” is your excuse. You keep saying that you don’t make excuse but the reality is that you do. Once again, your excuse is that you don’t care or ‘I’m fat, who cares”. In reality, everyone should care about personal health. Saying ‘I don’t care’ is an easy and very common excuse lazy people make.
And yet, all your hatred toward Mrs. Kang implies that you do care. It’s pure jealousy, that’s why it is.
noSaturday, 31 January, 2015 at 20:43
if you dont care so much then why did write 3+ paragraphs letting complete strangers know how much you don’t care?
the jelly school is calling, and it’s for you.
heidiThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 12:52
I’m so dumbfounded by that picture that I can’t formulate a sentence.
LaurelThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 12:59
I LOVE THIS. I recently had blood work done and I was so disappointed when my doctor told me my thyroid was perfectly normal. Wait, what? And my cholesterol is high? I HAVE TO CHANGE STUFF? My steady diet of cheese and carbs is a problem? Fuuuuccckkk.
Also, so many gazelles at my kid’s school. Where are MY people?
I think her approach is galling, but for those of us making excuses it’s a proper kick in the ass. She’s getting backlash for the same reason I got scolded when I wrote that I didn’t love my body. The “Health at Every Size” movement believes in one approach and will not be contradicted. Cutting through the polarizing bullshit is not easy.
So thanks for writing this. I’m gonna go make some spicy cheese grits and then take a nap.
Erica / Northwest Edible LifeThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 13:27
So. This is gonna sound really asshatty. I *have* looked like that. Actually, my abs were “better.” But I’ve made fitness a priority in my life – a real obsessive priority – and you know what? Went from 260 to 150 and I looked fucking great in pictures too. You know what else? I was freezing cold all the time and had ZERO interest in banging my husband because my body fat was way too low. So, you know, tradeoffs.
I think there’s only one excuse people really need if they don’t look like that lady: “I’m not a professional fitness model and haven’t made obtaining that body a priority.” Or how about this: “I’m more focused on my overall health than on an arbitrary image of health used to sell things.” Or, “Wine and chocolate yummy!” – that’d be mine, I guess…. 🙂
JulieWednesday, 5 February, 2014 at 21:01
What body fat percentage makes your not want to have sex? Serious question! What was yours? Is there a number where this is common to happen? I want to decrease my body fat but do not want to risk consequences that affect other areas of my life!
StephanieThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 13:27
So I know that people are “up in arms” about Maria Kang…but I have to hand it to her-she’s done a lot of work to get where she is today. I’m envious of her obvious dedication & devotion to her priorities. It’s apparent that she has chosen to make health & fitness a priority and I agree with her that it will affect her relationship with her children–as a result she will be able to be there for them & provide them with a healthy environment. Hopefully they won’t be claimed by the obesity epidemic that is sweeping our country. I applaud Maria (even though I secretly hate her b/c I’m jealous of her).
I, personally, have been battling weight my whole life. I was born into a family of skinny people, yet I am the opposite of my whole family. I’ve recently discovered Beachbody & it SAVED me! (I think Maria might also use their products?). I have lost 25 lbs since July & feel better than I have in years. ANYONE can do it IF they have the DESIRE and DISCIPLINE. I read recently that “The way you live your hours is the way you live your days. The way you live your days is the way you live your life. TIME is NEVER an excuse.” I subscribe to this.
IF anyone wants to check out beachbody workouts and a challenge group, seriously, it saved me & it can do the same for ANYONE I guarantee…check out my page and request more info. Diet & exercise CAN fit into everyone’s life. Even yours!
KateThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 13:30
I do like this. Saying “fitness isn’t a priority for me” is not an excuse, it’s just a fact. And there’s really nothing wrong with that if you feel good about the statement. Cleaning toilets is not a priority for me. Taking care of the yard around my house is not a priority. Putting on makeup in the morning, straightening my hair, or looking like a professional woman is not a priority for me (None of my male colleagues do that, so why should I?). I don’t feel bad when my interior-designer brother posts pictures of amazing houses on Facebook. And I don’t feel bad when I see women wearing suits on TV. So, I agree, we are often offended by things when they have a kernel of truth to them. If she’d been taking those kids to swim lessons and saying “What’s your excuse for not being the amazing mother that I am?” I would probably be pretty upset, because, yeah, that’s something I wish I was doing better.
melissaThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 13:32
Oh, gosh, this is so complicated. What’s my excuse? I did everything the doctors told me and it didn’t work. It was the exact wrong advice. I cut meat, I cut fat, I cut calories, I exercised, and I got fatter and sicker and crazier. Now I’m having to carefully rebuild my health, because I’m so fragile now I can’t just fall and pick myself up anymore — like, literally. And that’s hard. Genuinely hard.
I’m fat and I accept that. It’s my job to fix it, if I choose, and moment to moment, sometimes I choose expedience over health. I’m not offended by this woman and “What’s Your Excuse?” because I’ve got nothing to prove to her. I’m a little offended that she’s such a fucking idiot. I mean the stretch marks, come on… That’s genetic. She just plain fucking lucked out.
So I know what you’re saying, but I don’t like it without caveats. I can take responsibility for my health and every pound I haven’t lost this month, but only because I know what I have to do now. I’ve seen the Thinspo shit on Pinterest where every recipe is made from fat free yogurt and bananas and oatmeal… Guess how I gained a hundred pounds, sweetheart? I mean, maybe that works for some women, but for others it’s the perfect recipe for diabetes. I made the highest strides doing the opposite of everything my doctors told me — eat Matt, eat fat, eat less whole grains, exercise less, don’t take the needs, nap… I’m all for owning your shit, but I don’t think women should get all Just Do It unless they know what It is. I beat myself up for years because I was such a fucking failure, but there was no god damn way I could have succeeded. I’d been told to do the exact wrong things.
So sure, just fucking do it. But if it’s really hard, like really really impossibly hard and you’re starving and miserable all the fucking time and you feel like shit and you’re starting to look like shit, it’s not working. Don’t call yourself a loser and double down on bad advice. Figure out what does work and then do that.
melissaThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 13:40
Haha, auto correct really fucked me on that one. Eat Matt… smh
Erica / Northwest Edible LifeThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 18:56
Yeah, shit! Whatever Matt did to piss you off, I never want to do it. 😉 ROFL.
melissaFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 14:30
Hey, if he’s made out of meat…
And now I don’t know where to go with that, so cannibalism or blowjobs… Pick your poison.
ShellyFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 6:10
I’m giving to have to read this *entire* blog today. I was pointed here this morning by a wonderful gal singing the praises, and I think she’s right.
But anyway, to Melissa – your first 5 sentences of your original comment is exactly what happened to me. If I hear “calories in, calories out” one more, time, I will cut a bitch. Or in my case, bastard. Namely, my doctor. My husband even built a desk around my treadmill so I could walk while working (I’m a web designer/developer, so I’m at a desk all day) – and some days I was walking for 16 hours straight (but never less than 8) and THEN I would go out for a 30-minute jog. Cut my calories back to 1200 a day. Gave up the soda and sugar and fat. I did that for over a year. And GAINED 50 pounds.
Like you said, the “calories in, calories out” works for SOME people (one such person is my sister, who looks like the woman above. My sister’s annoyingly perfect without even trying, and now she’s into fitness and has turned herself into a stinking goddess. I’ve always said she’s the Arnold Schwarzenegger to my Danny DeVito.) I now take a half-hour walk a day, eat 2000 calories, and keep my carbs under 50g a day. And the weight is peeling off. And I have a LOT more time for the things that are *true* priorities in life. So, Melissa, I’ve been there – still there now, but after ignoring my doctor, I’ve found what works for me without sacrificing everything else in my life.
And Tiffany, LOVE your rant. Perfection.
Personally, I do want to lose all this extra weight. But *I* want to lose it. And yes, it’s hard,and yes, I had to force myself to get moving on it. But I have no desire to look like that woman. I want to be ME. (Which, at my goal weight – which I once was for a very long time – was Marilyn Monroe-esque. And according to my doctor, is still 20 pounds overweight. Fuck overweight. I was gorgeous. I’m not a number, I felt good then. THAT is what’s important.) But I want to be that for ME. Not because someone else says I should be. And I’ll get there in my own sweet time.
melissaTuesday, 22 October, 2013 at 20:27
Low-carb high 5!
Glad you figured out what works for you. I’m worried about the people that haven’t — people I know and love, you know? After the Fat-free 90s, it’s so hard to convince people it’s ok to eat the butter. No really, my cholesterol is lower than when I was nearly vegan. Do you want to see my bloodwork results? There’s new research coming out all the time… I am not going to have a heart attack right in front of you, I swear…
JulieWednesday, 5 February, 2014 at 21:41
There are good fats and bad fats. The lack of understanding between the two is what led to no fat 90s. Now more people are understanding that fat is needed in a healthy diet. But it matters if it’s good or bad fat. Interrupting that healthy diets need far into eating butter is just as misguided as eating fat free processed crap full if calories.
It’s not ok to eat butter-it’s ok and necessary to eat healthy fats such as avocado, coconut, olives, nuts, seeds, natural oils….
Butter isn’t a healthy fat by any means.
AliceThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 14:14
Hey, no. This woman is evil. I judge her for spending so much time on her abs, rather than on her children or something less narcissistic. There is nothing right in her shaming here. She is gross. I never tried to have flat abs after I had kids, because I don’t f-ing care.
JulieWednesday, 5 February, 2014 at 21:44
That’s such a sad sad response. Do you know how much time she spends on her abs? That’s unfair to assume or imply that she neglects time with her kids to do ab work. Being fit doesn’t mean hours in a gym.
DavidSunday, 16 November, 2014 at 8:54
Have you read her blog? Do you know how she manages to have that fit body, while NOT neglecting her children? Maybe make less assumptions about her life in the future.
ToniaThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 15:00
Yes ma’am. Totally totally agree. The reason I’m all up in arms about the “what’s your excuse?!” thing is because how she positions it as a postpartum thing. Really? Of all people to target, you’re gonna target POSTPARTUM moms? Dude, talk about a vulnerable (and volatile) audience. As someone who claims that health is her life, her priority, her true being (along with honey-smelling armpits), she’s really gonna go after moms when they’ve had their world rocked? Unhealthy. She may be a body goddess, but I’ve got to wonder where her mental health is. I mean, she looks frikin FAB. Rock on girlfriend, rock the eff on. Seriously. But did you take time to rest and let your body heal from childbirth? I can fess up to my excuses, I mean, I’m reading this while eating my third piece of bread and butter in the last hour. I suck at working out – it intimidates the shit out of me. I suck at consistent healthy food choices – what’s a cupcake or a hamburger now and again? I suck at making my body and my well being a priority – I’d much rather spend my time worrying about my kids health. I know I need to improve in all of those areas, and dammit you’re right – she called me out. She’s right. I even suck at support other people with healthy choices sometimes. What I rock at, however, is embracing the time period in my life when I shouldn’t be judged for how many sit ups I do or how flat my stomach is. I rock at knowing that the postpartum period is notoriously disrespected in the US. I rock at honoring myself enough to know that healing is healthy. The fact that this whole thing is towing the how-quickly-can-you-look-hot-again misogyny line is where my beef is. That, and in my belly.
Heather in OregonThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 15:32
Yeah I have mixed feelings about this whole thing. Mostly I think I hate the implication that we should all want to look like that. I fully admit that I could be slimmer and stronger. Honestly I don’t care about my size nearly as much as I do my strength and endurance, both of which kind of suck right now. And like most people it’s some combination of laziness, other priorities (like the brie and chocolate I had for lunch today), and a total lack of desire to spend that much time and energy on my appearance. The reality is that no matter how much I worked out and no matter how much time I spent on my appearance, I will never ever look that conventionally attractive. I am plain looking at 120lbs or at 170lbs. So yeah, I totally get that excuses thing, very few of us have excuses outside of our control to being healthy and strong but having her be the bearer of that message isn’t exactly inspiring.
VivienneThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 16:43
I think her poster is inspiring, but I’m coming from a place of feeling good about myself. I can see how it would be hard to look at. It’s easier to shoot the messenger than take a hard look at yourself.
HOWEVER, I went to her website and HOLY SHIT, that has got to be the ugliest web design I’ve ever seen.
JennetteThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 17:32
I thought the poster was awesomely provocative. Provocative being the keyword. I read a story about a boy in foster care, who moved to a new foster care home (how sad is that) and his foster mother told him he was fat, in a very blunt direct way.
He was. About 40lbs overweight. He was so hurt, so offended, that he decided to exercise and only eat healthy food. When he lagged, the pain of her criticism kept him motivate.
I was outraged at the mother, but the result was so remarkable that I had to reconsider her role, since he lost the 40lbs, and had a remarkable transformation into a positive, outgoing, athletic kid. Wow.
Now we know kids are cruel, and for other children to taunt kids about being overweight is cruel and out of bounds. But what if the perception changed. What if weight was something young peers could talk about, and the healthy ones encourage the overweight ones – even confront them about their excuses not to exercise. Wouldn’t they be doing their overweight peers a favor?
Here is an very inspiring story about a 6th grader who weighed over 200lbs. Teasing motivated him to lose 85lbs, and he got his whole family and neighborhood involved. For these kids, the confrontation worked. Obviously it’s counterproductive for some who just eat more.
Confession: I’m 53, hate to “exercise” and am within 5lbs of my college weight – and I’ve had a slew of kids. I eat crap – and good stuff too. But my poor husband gained 150lbs, then lost 80, and still has at least 60 more to go – he’s very active, an outdoorsman. He eats only salads twice a day – and I swear – he has plateaued for YEARS – at his current weight. It. Makes. No Sense.
There was a story about a marathon runner in his 50’s who couldn’t lose weight. Like the open water swimmers who are big hefty folks, he was rotund no matter how many marathons he ran. They were studying him at my university.
The most exercise I even had, was walking 5 miles a day on a service mission. I ate 3 meals, lots of beans, eggs, tortillas- and for the first time in my life – I GAINED 20lbs. Made no sense to me.
The only way I would exercise regularly so I could be in good cardiovascular shape – would be if I could earn points for a vacation to the Italian Riviera by exercising. In a way, Maria Kang is doing exactly that. Making money in a very difficult niche, -and marketing through provocation.
HeatherThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 18:08
I’m going to get really honest here…I am at this very moment, reading this and simultaneously polishing off a bag of peanut butter M&M’s! True story!! I have to admit looking at her picture while shoving M & M’s into my mouth at the same time gave me a weird feeling…but in no way made me actually stop eating them. The thing is….her choices are her choices, and mine are mine! No excuses. Her priority’s are not the same as mine. I didn’t have a body like that before 4 kids busted out of my Vagina and sucked my tit’s off. I have my body! And I ‘m okay right now. Sometimes I am not okay with it…and sometimes I want to change it….but I enjoy going out with my husband and ordering 3 different hordouerves because we can’t decide, and I enjoy eating ice cream sundaes with my kids. I showed this picture to my husband, and he was watching me shovel in M & M’s in my mouth and I said..” Don’t you wish I looked like that?” ..He looked at me and said “NOPE! I Like you exactly the way you are.” That’s enough for me! I’m happy. I think if someone isn’t happy, then by all means…change it. But this picture is very pretentious, and to assume that she has somehow reached “perfection” is what she is implying. No matter how hard someone can try…they will never be her. Her perfect is not my perfect and never will be!
lisaeggsThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 18:57
BINGO. That implication that she’s achieved perfection. Bleh.
And did anyone else notice that this chick had this picture PROFESSIONALLY taken by some guy named Mike Byerly? Can you imagine being a person who even has the idea to pay someone else to take a studio picture of yourself in teeny workout clothes with your children crawling out from underneath your abs? Just so you can post it to Facebook with that snotty message that is sure to make other women feel crappy about themselves? I mean, it’s not like her husband just snapped that picture. She thought that shit out and had it done professionally. That is some serious self-adoration right there. She looks great, I get it. But I would respond so much more positively if the message was, So Can You, or something. Oh well. I think in the end she got what she wanted. Cheers.
AdrienneFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 8:55
Exactly! I think it actually would be inspirational if the message was positively framed. She might have received much more positive feedback if she wasn’t such a twat. 🙂
KendraFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 9:46
A ‘so can you’ message would be SO awesome!!!!!
Valarie DeGarmoThursday, 24 October, 2013 at 14:37
Now I want M&M’s. Thanks.
KC LindThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 18:26
I’m glad someone is saying it! “You don’t HAVE to be fat because you’ve had kids! You don’t HAVE to be fat because you’re over 30! You don’t HAVE to be fat because you don’t always feel good!” Those are all excuses. If you want to over-eat and not move around much, then just be yourself and quit making excuses. No one makes you lie, either.
It really is OK to enjoy moving, and exercising, and enjoying good food. And deep breathing, and doing other things to make yourself feel good, instead of looking for something outside yourself to Make you feel good. And sitting around and sulking because things don’t make you feel good.
It’s what you think that really counts anyway. : ))
LyndseyThursday, 17 October, 2013 at 18:46
I feel kind of like I have no right to comment on any of this shit because my healthy lifestyle is due to a disorder that involves me having an incredibly grouchy stomach (I can’t eat red meat, ice cream, milk, or anything more than a very tiny amount of fried things) and joint problems that cause me to wake up in extreme pain if I don’t ride my bike every day. Seriously, I would be eating all of the fries and all of the chocolate ice cream (I make THE BEST chocolate milkshakes, and I can’t even drink them) if I could. I complained to my doctor that I get very sick if I eat fries and he said that I shouldn’t eat fries anyway. BUT I WANT TO. I mean, in a weird way I’m glad of this disorder, because it’s forced me to take care of myself and I can honestly say I wouldn’t otherwise – self care is always the lowest of my priorities. It’s hard, looking after yourself, especially when you have kids. It takes time, and time is something we moms never have, and are always expected to use on people other than ourselves. I mean, I bet that lady gets a lot of shit about how much time she’s spending on fitness – I bet lots of people are all OMG BUT HOW DO YOU LOOK AFTER YOUR CHILDREN WHEN YOU’RE DOING ELEVENTY BILLION CRUNCHES I BET THEY ARE SAD. So go her, for doing her thing.
Julie SFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 5:11
YOU’RE WRONG! SHE DIDN’T HIT A NERVE! *eats all the gumdrops*
In all seriousness, I was bothered because I wonder how pervasive her attitude is. Do other skinny women look at my fluffiness and think the same thing? Do they even wonder if I’m on medication that makes me gain 20 pounds in three days? But by focusing on the things I can’t help, (like the pain I’m in all day, every day) I don’t focus on the things I can help. I don’t *have* to eat fast food. I can take a walk around the block. I can choose not to buy the comforting bag of gumdrops. Sweet, chewy, comforting gumdrops.
Al Jameson, DC, CKTPFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 5:26
I commend you on this article as this is really what Maria Kang was trying to say in the first place, but her approach is what rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. The real issue is that it isn’t about fitness, it’s all about wellness. I get really disheartened when people, like some of the commenters here, say I choose not to make fitness a priority.
It’s okay not to make fitness a priority, but eating better and being more active is not about looking like Maria Kang as the goal, it is about improving your personal quality of life. Wellness is the journey, not the destination, friends. We eat better to live long enough to play with our grandchildren. We move our bodies so that when we retire, we will still have knees that will take us to all the places we would like to travel to. We make better choices to serve as examples for our children and to have the energy to keep up with them. Kids do as we do rather than as we say.
So let’s not go all or none on the whole making health a priority thing. The goal doesn’t have to be Maria Kang to choose to improve yourself. The goal is to change bad daily habits into good daily habits for even more important gains – maintaining the one body you have to stand up to the challenges of life better…
JulieWednesday, 5 February, 2014 at 21:54
Awesome! Exactly! Make your health a priority FOR your family!
SaraFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 6:05
I am 30 pounds overweight, and I don’t have an excuse. And I don’t feel I need one. I think that mental health is just as important as physical health, and I strive to find the balance between the two. If I looked like Maria Kang, I wouldn’t be mentally healthy at all! (Not that I am the most mentally healthy person on the planet either, mind you…)Yes, being physically healthy helps one be mentally healthy as well, but that’s not the only thing that helps, and if I were to spend all my time either working, taking care of my kid, working out or sleeping, I can tell you that the benefits I would get from being physically healthy wouldn’t satisfy me at all!
If I would take a similar picture like the one Maria Kang prances around with, I would certainly look less healthy and less in control. But I pride myself in having things that aren’t so visible on a picture, like generosity, sensibility, love & affection and empathy, among others. I think we should judge less on the appearance and more on the actions.
Also, the reason why I hate that picture so much, is that she’s giving into a certain stereotype that I hate. It’s always the same thing: a mother should be physically fit and look like she’s a Superwoman, ready to achieve everything with ease. I’d rather spend more time reading instead of being as physically fit as she is. It’s a question of personality and different interests. Why would I need to look like her? Why would anyone imply that I need to look like her? It’s my life! I choose balance over being extra fit! I’m so tired of seeing the same stereotypical mother everywhere… Can’t we talk about other types of moms?
Kateri Von StealFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 6:30
Thank you for this HONEST post.
There was a FACEBOOK war about this yesterday.
And, I was directly called out for being the ENEMY.
If you follow my blog at all, you know that I lost 50 pounds between February and August. And that now, I am trying like hell to keep it off.
I saw that picture and that sentence… and it reminded me of all the excuses I made. I saw it from all sides. The “50 pounds overweight me” and the “in shape me” had a conversation…
And I commented on this facebook post, with basically what you said above.
I got hate in a way you WOULDN’T BELIEVE.
And, honestly… I don’t care. If people can’t see that their insecurities, boundaries, and excuses are holding them back… It’s not my problem.
I love that you know EXACTLY what your issue is.. That you know how to fix it.. but, you just CAN’T right now.
I love that you are REAL… and SELF-ACCOUNTABLE.
I wish more women were like you…
(Oh, and even though I’m on the hated “in shape” side of this battle I completely wouldn’t hang out with this bitch on the playground either…. She makes me super uncomfortable)
LyndseyFriday, 25 October, 2013 at 18:03
I agree. I wish more people were honest with themselves, and held themselves accountable for their choices. I’m trying hard to do this – it’s a difficult thing – and Janelle seems to navigate this incredibly difficult thing with a kind of grace that I really admire.
claraFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 7:37
Mixed feelings on this one. Tricky, isn’t it?
I wasn’t initially annoyed or offended by this super-fit-woman’s post, the first time I saw it. But after the n^bazillianth reposting, I started to think about it a bit more.
Seems like a big call to accuse her of directly, knowingly, body- guilting, fat-shaming, etc, but she seems to bring up a lot of feelings.
Personally, I’m on a mission to do 15 minutes of intentional, on purpose, weight bearing/resistance exercise a day, and my current ability to manage “every few days” is a massive improvement on my previous state of “what?! I walk a lot every day, that makes me not totally unfit!”(I’m not overweight, but I am almost overweight, and I am definitely not fit, and I did used to be really fit, and – trust me- I CAN find 15 minutes a day. If I don’t, it’s an excuses thing).
However, while the resentment/guilt/calling out factor might be relevant, I just want to point this out: what if the same photo had the caption “Have you checked your privileges lately?”. Would it feel different?
Because the reality is not that socioeconomic status = fitness level. But it is true that increased socioeconomic background has a positive correlation with improved health status outcomes. That doesn’t mean that I can’t do 15 minutes of exercise a day and eat healthily. But it does mean that I objectively can’t spend an hour at the gym, or become a personal trainer, or invest my imaginary income in a fitness business: I actually can’t do those things right now, my energy needs to be invested in other goals that matter more (to me).
I might be wrong, but I think what riles is the perpetuation of the idea that “anyone can do x”, where the presentation of the ideal x is at odd with what most of perhaps us consider achievable. Most people can be more fit. Most people can find a little time to exercise a little bit, to eat a little better. But my current attempt at 15 minutes most days is hard going: and in large part it’s hard because I’m a full time student, I commute a long way, I have young kids, and I objectively have an insane schedule, and minimal free time, and no spare money. Sometimes it’s hard cos I can’t be fucked, and I have no excuse. Sometimes it’s hard cos by the time I get home, and ,my first two attempts at exercise have been stymied by leaping kiddlers, I’m fucking over it. Again, no excuse. But I’m not feeling bad for not going to the gym: I KNOW what it takes to do that, and I don’t have that much time or money right now.
But the reality is that when things are easy, it’s easy to make exercise et al a priority, and when things are hard it is fundamentally a challenge. I think it’s the perception of ignorance of that dichotomy that’s caused the controversy. Thoughts?
SarahSunday, 17 February, 2019 at 17:13
I agree, and I think that is what rubbed me the wrong way about this ad when I saw it. It didn’t feel empowering, it felt shaming, because it seemed to imply that I should be able to get back into shape quickly, and if I wasn’t, it’s because I wasn’t trying, when the truth is that it’s very hard to get enough exercise with young children. After my first child, I didn’t find it too hard- I had a spring baby who loved loved loved the babysling and so we walked all the time everywhere. But once I had two, I just couldn’t get enough. I adapted and adjusted as well as I could, yet it was still never quite enough. It got better once I could put them both in a bike trailer, and things were looking up. Then I had two surprise babies and I just can’t carry/stroller/bike trailer 4 kids. I’ve considered a 3 seater tandem bike with child pedal adapers the trailer, but don’t have the thousands of dollars that such a bike costs and no longer live within distance to walk anywhere. I don’t have childcare, and have one too young still for that anyway. If you’ve time, money, and opportunity, you probably can acheive this if you set your mind to it, but no matter how hard I’ve set my mind, I haven’t been able to create sufficient opportunities with the resources I have to make it happen.
AnnFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 8:35
Janelle, you’re awesome. Scone wagon or skinny wagon.
VivienneFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 10:10
Kang has beautiful abs but a REALLY UGLY website. The horror!
melissaFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 15:46
You know, honestly, I’m not excited by her abs. I don’t want to tear her down. She’s attractive and I hope she loves her body. But I don’t want it. I don’t want an athletic build, with broad shoulders and narrow hips. I’m pear shaped with delicate shoulders and very curvy hips and thighs. I like my shape. My little waist and birthin’ hips make me feel sexy and feminine. I’m not trying to say she’s not feminine, because duh, she’s a woman, therefore. I’m just saying I wouldn’t want to give up what makes me feel feminine. Maybe she feels the same way about her breasts or legs (or even her hips, I dunno. Just because they don’t fit my definition of super womanly doesn’t mean they don’t fit hers).
I get more excited/inspired by women who are built more like me, like Jennifer Lawrence or Jennifer Love Hewitt or Cabanel’s Venus. So my reaction to this picture is “Dude, I don’t even wanna look like that.” I’m irritated by the assumption that her ideal body should be my ideal body. Like, I’ve extended her the courtesy of acknowledging her body as attractive despite it not being my personal ideal, and she hasn’t done the same for me. I get all, “Screw you, Man-Hips. I want to be a Frazetta.” And then I have to go apologize to Feminism. Dear Feminism, I’m sorry I let a judgemental body-shaming bitch bring out the judgemental body-shaming bitch in me.
ZoeFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 11:44
Janelle, you are so brave. Ilove that you have the courage to tell the truth!
tina pFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 13:15
I Love your Humour!I love that you tell it like it is. Fantastic post! I look forward to more!
ErinFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 14:23
I’m just annoyed with that comment because I feel like she implies that we should look like that and if we don’t, something is wrong with us. I am a mom of two young kids and I try to eat healthy and run at least 3 days a week. I have finally lost the baby weight plus a little more. I am not overweight, but I don’t look like THAT and never will. The comment just angers me because even though I am in shape and I finally feel good about how I look again, here this lady is telling me it’s not good enough. (It actually doesn’t anger me that much, it just annoys me because she is contributing to the attitude that we all have to look perfect and if we don’t we are not good enough).
MeredithFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 15:09
I loved this post! This is the first time I have commented but I read all of your blog posts and I think they are awesome!
I feel that you hit the nail on the head with this one. I am someone who has always struggled with my weight.Especially after having two children. It is something that is a touchy subject and I am currently using extreme discipline to try to lose the weight (minus 14 pounds, 40 more pounds to go!). For me, I just got tired of being tired. Quite frankly, taking care of a 3 and a half year old and a 20 month old wears me out. It takes an ass ton of energy to try and keep up and I know my weight was not helping.
Having said that, I think what bothered me about this pic was not really the message, it was the way it was said. I just get the impression that this chick is the type that thinks someone who is overweight with a few kids in tow is a sack of shit. I also get the impression that she probably thinks she is superior than most because of the way she looks. To me, it feels like the mean head cheer leader treating the overweight art kids like crap and being a bully.
Just my 2 cents!
Fern LehmannFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 17:03
I am much older than most of you and I think I have a different perspective about this whole *you should be more like me* attitude that this woman has. I actually think she planned this whole ordeal to bring attention to herself and I believe she is very insecure about herself. I mean most women don’t put other women down unless they feel insecure about themselves! She wants adoration and appreciation from others. Why else would she do this? Just my opinion.
However, I also think she is condescending, insulting, and totally NOT on anyone’s journey except her own! That’s what is important here. We all have our journey and our own lives to live. We have our own lessons to learn and our own contributions to make to mankind. Therefore my priorities may not be to have rock hard abs and to have 3 children in 3 years and still look like I am an athlete in high school. My husband is proud of my post-baby body and even proud of the scares left behind, because as he says, “That soft belly carried our babies.” He loves me just the way I am, even when I am over my ideal body weight. He wants me to be happy and content more than he wants me to look like a model. Besides, I wasn’t a model when he met me anyway!
So I think Maria Kang has her own insecurities and her own journey. What’s right for you may not be what’s right for me. I choose not to judge her, because I do not know what her struggles are; but I can assure you, she has them. We ALL have them! We all have insecurities, difficulties, and struggles. What’s important to me is that we should be supporting one another as women, not tearing each other down. That’s where I have a problem with her caption. She isn’t saying, “I am proud of myself”; she’s saying, “Why aren’t you as good as me?” That’s not cool. That’s passing judgment on a whole group of women who she doesn’t even know. She has NO idea what my journey is and what I need to focus on. That’s my business and my choice, not hers. She can do whatever she wants with her situation and her journey. I will do what I need to do with mine.
Sassy KasFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 17:21
My excuse is simple, and a reframing of all this body judgement. I AM NOT HER. My body is beautiful for me, her body is beautiful for her, your body is beautiful for you. Why compare? Or judge? Love yourself now, today as you are. and continue to take care of your self. And love me for mine, and her for hers.
Rob FrankelFriday, 18 October, 2013 at 23:17
So perhaps as one of — or maybe the only — man here, kudos to all who have FINALLY woken up to realize that to be really fit and beautiful, it REALLY helps to be under 30, genetically inclined to be slender, and firm where most people flesh out.
This is yet another reason to teach your children that the most important piece of technology is the OFF switch, which can be found on just about any smart phone, television or personal computing device.
Don’t get me wrong — I love eye candy as much as the next guy, but no amount of dimpled abs can disguise an obnoxious personality and pert, firm breasts can’t mask repulsive self-indulgence.
Did I mention I have a blog that’s even more iconoclastic? 😀
AHSaturday, 19 October, 2013 at 10:16
I don’t make working out a priority. It’s BORING, it makes me feel like my lungs are going to explode, and I have british comedy to watch, stories to write, a house to clean…I also decided to be happy with the way I look, though the doctor said to lose 7 pounds. 7 pounds. So bread for dinner is probably out.
I started to care. I’m getting older and nearly pulled a back muscle checking my blind spot. And recently, my family was faced with a scary diagnosis, one of those things that put everything in perspective. I would much rather do the work now, make it a priority now than be in a hospital wondering why I didn’t exercise or eat more vegetables. You can’t repair the damage you did. I think the No Excuses mentality works because you are the one (meaning I’m the one) choosing baguettes over carrots, steak over salad.
It’s not about my body. I’m in freaking love with it. I love that I can run, walk, etc. I love it so much the way it is that I want to treat it well. It deserves to be treated well. No excuses.
HeatherSaturday, 19 October, 2013 at 16:08
Yep. You’re right. Weight isn’t my issue (thank God because I’ve got so many other issues going on), so this whole thing didn’t really get me too worked up. However, I find it very difficult to keep a tidy home and yes I have some excuses: work, highly spirited children, blah, blah, blah, so if some princess posted an ad with herself standing in front of her sparkling clean, eat off the floor playroom with a caption that read “what’s your excuse?” I’d be ready to throw down. But she’d be right. I do make excuses. That said, I’d rather be a somewhat disorganized wreck with a bit of substance than a vapid Stepford wife.
AnaheraSaturday, 19 October, 2013 at 16:38
This photo just made me feel depressed. My abs have tears from labor/delivery. I must have them surgically repaired. I am 20 lbs over my desired weight goal, but abs…never. Not without an abdominal surgical procedure. So, yeah, i felt shitty…so i ordered a pizza and watched Modern Family…which brings me to RenegadeMoms logic…i can still be the best i can be..i can still try…Thanks R.M.
SueSaturday, 19 October, 2013 at 19:22
Good (and unique) take. It bothers me that men would never go into a tizzy over any dude who said this. I understand we are socialized differently and have different expectation placed on us. But still. This tizzy just showcases the weaknesses women TEND toward. Can we ever just shrug it off?
I feel like, Kang’s audience is other people into getting fit. So, she posted something acceptable in that world. She was marketing toward and expecting people who are exercise conscious and fit conscious to see it.
Something “fitspirational”, in that world.
The problem is somehow it got out to the masses, who don’t see that kind of thing daily in their facebook feed. People like Billy Banks, Denise Austin, and other fitness gurus or fitness guru wanna-be’s, — ” no excuses’ is a common theme for people who have decided NOT exercising is not acceptable for them.
AlyciaSunday, 20 October, 2013 at 0:33
See, this is where I couldn’t give less fucks about this chick if I tried. This tiny little Filipino chick has zero to do with my daily life, my inspirations, and anything I want to be or do. Posting pictures of herself online with her three (adorable) kids under 4, talking about her pharamones, and hairless legs even further removes her from any circle of things I am interested in.
If you have chosen to devote your ENTIRE life to fitness…that’s cool. Do your thing, rock star! If that’s your choice, your journey, your gig…I’ve got no problem with that. You do you, and I’m going to do me. Don’t veil your attempts at shaming others in some random picture you post and try to disguise it as inspirational.
People who need to lose weight, and eventually decide to take control, will do it because of an internal struggle that finally wakes them up. Not being able to sit in a regular sized chair. Not being able to climb a flight of stairs. Worrying for the umpteenth time if the lawn chair will hold you. Hating yourself as you polish off that candy bar in secret. Those are the kinds of things that inspire people to become healthy…not random, airbrushed pictures of tiny women who don’t sweat, who have battled eating disorders and have always been thin, who design entire websites devoted to their healthy eating habits and 6 day a week workout schedules.
RoxieSunday, 20 October, 2013 at 14:35
I’ll hold these truths to be self evident – her Ego planned out that move. But, hey, whatever … if that’s what you do, you gotta take the heat that is dealt with it. But a really good Ego can shift through all that and come out happy, because that’s what Big Egos do! So one should not worry about her, IMO. And, if she really meant to encourage, well, she’ll back-track and change her approach. Whatever.
That is one thing about getting old(er). You have seen so much go down, you kinda of know why the Buddha is laughing.
SSunday, 20 October, 2013 at 19:44
Ok…I have a science PhD from one of the world’s best universities. What’s her excuse? See how ridiculous that sounds? No way in hell am I going to work out for 6 hours a week. You know what I do 6 hours a week, omg, exactly? Teach university students. And 6 hours a day, preparing for the next class. Those pesky slides! Can I still fit in exercise? You bet. Let us forget about knee and hip problems for now (not giving excuses). I prefer getting my exercise the normal human way. That is, by cleaning, taking stairs, walking. Not eating junk too, of course. However, I do not need an “excuse” for eating it if I want to. Mm, junk. Am off to eat some just because I can.
MelMonday, 21 October, 2013 at 13:16
Yeah, yeah, it’s a fair enough point. We lie to ourselves all the time, about a whole range of things. The real shock is someone in the fitness industry trying to sell something by fostering comparisons between women, engendering guilt and creating a ‘controversy’ that garners lots of media attention – who woulda thunk it??
Winter BensonFriday, 25 October, 2013 at 8:02
I would have to say that I agree with you 100%. You can look at this as offensive, or you can use it as motivation. Not that I’m ever going to look like her. I’m a nurse, not a fitness blogger/model/whatever. I can, however, be healthy, and THAT is what I’m working towards! I’d probably cross the street to not have to walk by her though, I wouldn’t want her to see my shameful obesity.
DesireeFriday, 25 October, 2013 at 11:13
The part I didn’t like about all of this is the either-or-ness of it: “You can be fit OR a good mother. Obviously, her three kids are hog-tied in the closet while she runs on her treadmill.” Why does it have to be that way? Why does fit automatically equal bad mother? And yes, her statement about not smelling when she sweats is asinine, but who the F cares? What does smelling when you sweat have to do with parenting? What does it have to do with being fit?
“No! I have a REAL excuse and I need it validated by you because I really don’t believe it myself, so when you nod your head in agreement I can more easily overlook the fact that I’m selling myself tired lies.” SO MUCH THIS.
Our (mine included) need for validation borders on the pathological, especially when we’re doing something we know to be harmful in any way. We will search the world over for the one person who agrees with our choices just so we can sleep at night…
ATuesday, 29 October, 2013 at 10:51
The sweat thing is probably true. Most Koreans and many Japanese don’t have apocrine sweat glands (the smelly kind). The internet says some other Asians don’t, but th eKorean and Japanese thing is straight out of my anatomy text book.
TinaWednesday, 30 October, 2013 at 11:36
Ha, just saw this link on facebook: http://schmenus.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/nuff-said/
AnnekaWednesday, 30 October, 2013 at 11:58
I am appalled by all this negativity. Her message is not dedicated to moms, but to anyone who wants to be fit, and is making excuses. If you have a valid excuse, the that is your excuse, but if you don’t, do something about it. That’s great that all you women love your current state of health, but how dare you judge her and claim she doesn’t care about her kids as much as you do. Don’t you see how mean spirited you sound? It’s called “fit shaming” and you should be shamed of yourselves. Melissa, you do need to apologize to the Feminist movement and so do the rest of you who are being judgmental. And Alycia, what does her ethnicity have to do with it? Just because she is Asian does not mean she is naturally thin. She is a real women with trials of her own. There is a picture of her on her Facebook page where you can see the excess skin on her belly, but she is in great shape. The photo above is not photo shopped either. It was posted on HER Facebook page to HER readers who are actually interested in health. If you don’t have that same passion, fine, but why bash her for it?
JoleneTuesday, 5 November, 2013 at 1:09
I totally agree with you. I have a 12 week old baby and I’m sick of people telling me that its ok for my house to be messy or me not to do any exercise because I am busy with her and my 2 boys. Its not ok and it shouldn’t be ok.
Thank god for my neighbour who when I said that the kids made me busy replied, ‘well yes but everyones busy aren’t they?’ My kids all sleep through the night, I really have no excuse, just that I don’t feel like it right now thanks.
And that Maria chick and I would definately not be friends, but good on her, she obviously cares about it.
DanaWednesday, 13 November, 2013 at 21:50
No, we’re not fat because we eat too much and move too little. See, that’s why there are still so many fat people. Even when they do manage to starve themselves and run marathons for long enough to lose weight, know what they’re losing? Just as much muscle and bone as fat.
This is probably also a major reason so many more women than men have osteoporosis. All that starvation and destruction of lean mass.
There are LOTS of reasons people gain fat (not gain weight–if the weight was muscle you wouldn’t be complaining about it). But all those reasons crop up to about a bazillion different ways your hormones get knocked out of whack. The good news is that you can make food choices and other lifestyle choices that will help those hormones get back into balance–especially insulin, the biggest culprit in fat storage, and frequently at too high a level in overweight people. The bad news is that each overweight person’s situation is different and what balances out one person might not balance out another.
For example, here are some things you should look into.
1. Sleep habits. You must get enough sleep, at night, in a dark enough room, otherwise your neurotransmitters and hormones go all haywire.
2. Gluten and other grain proteins. Just because you aren’t diagnosed with celiac disease doesn’t mean you can eat wheat and most other grains and get away with it. I found out the stuff was giving me migraines, and I’ve never been diagnosed with celiac disease.
3. Too much soy intake. No, tofu is NOT a health food. Every time you eat it, you’re taking a goddamn estrogen pill. Estrogen, by the way, is also secreted by FAT CELLS and encourages fat gain.
4. Hyperinsulinism. Like I said, most fat people have high average insulin levels, especially high fasting insulin. This one is almost entirely diet-driven; if you eat a lot of carbs, especially wheat and sugar (yes, wheat is especially insulin-triggering and will spike your blood sugar way beyond what you’d expect from the carb content), your insulin will be high all the time. This matters because it’s the primary fat storage hormone and it’s supposed to drop in between meals so that your body can access its stored fuel in… guess what… your fat cells. Your inability to remove that fuel is why you keep packing it on.
5. The fats you eat matter too. We all know by now that trans fats are dangerous but what a lot of people won’t tell you (or will deny is the truth) is that most polyunsaturated fats are bad for you too. The essential fatty acids are all PUFAs, the trouble is that we way overload on the omega-6 fats and we have too high a proportion of PUFAS in our total fat intake. They also will not tell you that saturated fat is *good* for you and, in fact, helps protect omega-3s from oxidizing. If you’re eating a proper amount of animal fats, avoiding seed oils and not going crazy on carbs (get them from vegetables and fruit, not bread), then your body overall works better. I have even seen this approach work wonders for my own mental health–gee, the brain’s mostly fat!
Actually? Malnutrition in general is a big problem with fat people. Public health authorities measure malnutrition by how many calories you eat daily. Calories are not nutrition. They are a legal fiction to help you conceptualize how much potential energy you’re eating. When was the last time someone asked you how much magnesium you were getting? Real vitamin A? (Beta carotene doesn’t do squat for far too many people.) B12? (Most of us get the wrong kind.) Et cetera. All this stuff matters too, since your metabolism is governed by tissues and organs, and ALL them suckers need to eat.
See? It’s NOT simple. But health authorities insist on treating us like dummies and they don’t want to explain any of this stuff to us.
By the way, you have no idea what kind of real shape this woman is in. For all you know, she has an eating disorder. It’s actually normal for a woman to not have a *visible* six-pack. I mean, we have extra fat stores in case of pregnancy and nursing. We’re not guys.
Just way too many thoughts in way too big a textwall. Sorry.
KateFriday, 29 November, 2013 at 19:19
I had two main reactions to this picture. Firstly I thought, “you are absolutely right, I have no valid excuses.” But I completely own that I am fat because I eat more food than I need, and am not active enough. The word fat holds no emotional value for me. Being fat does not make me any more or less valued. It does mean I have made some poor choices for my health. I do not believe that I am beautiful regardless of how fat I choose to be, because MY fatness comes from personality traits that I do not admire like gluttony, laziness and immaturity. I do believe that when I am living a healthy life that I am beautiful regardless of what shape my body happens to end up. But again feeling more or less beautiful is not basis for my self worth. To me it’s like preferring certain colours on myself, but if I choose to wear yellow (which mostly looks awful on me)that doesn’t mean I am more or less valuable than I was the day before when I wore a colour I look great in. It just means I made a different choice.
So in some regards I find Maria Kang’s image motivating, because it feels like a kick in the pants to remind myself I can and should make healthier choices.
However, what makes me shrug my shoulders and think, “that’s not for me,” is the absolute focus on her appearance. She might say that she has made health her priority, but this image is all about what she looks like.
Now don’t get me wrong, she looks frigging amazing, but if this was an image of her looking hot in a bikini while she romped around in the surf with those gorgeous boys, or looking hot while out cycling, climbing a mountain or just kicking a ball around with her sons, than that would be more inspiring to me. It would put the focus on activity, and health, and getting out there and living life. It would feel like looking hot was just a bi-product of living an active and healthy life, rather than it being the purpose of that life.
Now if Maria Kang’s aim in life is to have sculpted abs, then all power to her, but that is not my desire in life. Therefore my eys slide past her image to images that do inspire me to live the kind of active life I want to live.
VickySunday, 6 April, 2014 at 19:06
This is creepy, but what the hell? I love you, woman. You make my heart fuzzy and warm.
Aquarius MoonSunday, 13 September, 2015 at 6:26
I sustained spine injuries that prevent me from using heavy weights but it’s no reason to hate Maria Kang. She works hard and looks amazing! Her photo inspires me to continue with my own exercises to keep healthy and slim. Women who don’t have issues with themselves wouldn’t be so offended by her.
She didn’t refer to anyone in that photo. Those with ‘guilty complexes’ outed themselves.
FarerynielSaturday, 16 April, 2016 at 13:16
That was refreshingly honest, good on you for being sincere and not bitter over someone else’s lifestyle, it takes a strong person to accept their flaws and not blame them on others.