Oh, Maria Kang. I kind of hate you. But you also got me thinking.

maria kang photo causes social media uproar

I won’t lie. I saw this picture while I was eating leftover birthday cake. And man, did it make me feel like crap.

I’m 15 pounds overweight right now. The heaviest I’ve ever been. And I feel endless guilt about it. I hate how I feel. I hate that my clothes are too tight.

I need to lose weight. I feel horrible about how I look and that’s no way to live. I’ve been going to sleep at night, wishing I had figured out a way to exercise that day, dozing off with guilt weighing me down.

So yeah. You could say that I’ve been in my head about my crummy body image issues.

Then today I see Maria Kang staring at me from Facebook as I snack on cake, asking what my excuse is.

I felt a wave of anger and guilt, seeing her super-fit body and big smile. What’s your excuse? Really, lady? REALLY? I felt like she was taunting me, saying, have these three little kids and I’m hot! Why aren’t you, you lazy fattie?

Then I noticed the text next to the photo. I didn’t see it at first – all I saw was Maria and her crazy abs.

This is the photo and text that was really staring back at me on Facebook, courtesy of my blogging bud, Karen from Baby Sideburns:

my excuse

And I nodded as I read. Yes, I thought. Yes to everything you’re saying, Karen!

Of course, some of Karen’s excuses are funny. Some are true issues many of us can identify with. But her “excuses” are real, and ones many of us face.

I did a little research on Maria, the backlash to the photo, and her response, and she seems to me like one of those people who have little sympathy for others who can’t “manage it all” like she can. She’s the epitome of SuperMom, and represents a standard that very few can attain -whether it be because of finances, time, genetics, health, whatever.

I don’t pretend I can ever look like Maria. But I can be fitter. And her question, her taunt, whatever it was, got me thinking, and thinking hard.

Honestly? I hate exercising. HATE IT. I hate working out, going to a gym, lifting weights, doing “Insanity,” sweating to videos. There are a MILLION things I’d rather do with my time.

The only reasons I was fit until I had babies were 1) I danced until I was 21 and that was my exercise – I didn’t have to do anything else, and 2) After that, I was childless and could do things like attend yoga classes and run after work, because I had time and dispensable income.

Now my only option for exercise is to run on the treadmill downstairs at some god-awful hour in the morning. And it never happens.


Because I choose to do other things.

That’s the real reason. I am a working mom of young children, and I am making other choices every day that do not include exercising. The other stuff just seems more important right now.

I work part-time (not a choice, per say, a need that I happen to enjoy – but it’s a big chunk of my time). When I’m not working, I’m hanging with my 4yo and doing dishes and laundry and cooking and errands and other mom things. This is the majority of my waking hours.

I have about two hours to myself each day, from 8pm – 10pm. In these hours I choose to write, play around on social media, hang with the Hubs, or read. I try to be asleep at 10:30pm and wake up at 6:30am so I can shower before the day begins.

But you know how it goes: A lot of nights I end up not really spending any time on myself, and I’m instead answering emails, online shopping for gifts, planning my 4yo’s birthday party, returning phone calls, etc.

So you see the difficulty in fitting in exercise – something I don’t even WANT to do. It’s another have-to on my long list of have-tos. And I cherish my tiny amount of time to do what I WANT to do. I NEED that time to remain sane.

However. I know I have to exercise again. I feel crummy. I don’t look how I want to look. My clothes are too tight and I’m not about to spend precious dollars on a size-bigger wardrobe.

So I’m faced with a hard decision: Do I cut out an hour of me-time three or four times a week to make myself exercise? Or do I continue to gain weight?

Maria Kang makes it seem like it’s a simple decision. But we all know that in reality, life’s not that simple.

Are you in a similar situation – or have you been before?

UPDATE 10/22/13 : You know, after reading some articles defending Maria, I’ve figured out how to express what’s really eating at me about her photo. It’s not so much that her picture made me feel crappy about my extra 15 pounds. That’s MY problem.

What pisses me off is that I think she’s perpetuating the belief in our society that if you don’t look like her, it’s due to your lack of willpower. Maria’s “What’s Your Excuse?” picture adds to the constant messages from internet, TV, magazines, and so forth that if we can’t reach a (likely unattainable) goal of looking like a fitness model, we are failures who are making excuses for ourselves.

The idea that if we just tried harder, we could look like her, is crap for most American mothers, given the hectic, stressful lives we lead. And what about all the women who work out and have a great level of fitness, but will NEVER look like Maria? Do they need an excuse that they aren’t a size 4 with a six-pack? It burns me that the media perpetuates this stereotype of what beautiful and fit is – and Maria Kang is just adding to the pressure by stirring the pot with her loaded question.

From what I’ve read, it seems that Maria has little sympathy for women who can’t manage it all – job, kids, perfect body, lovely life – like she can. Sure, Maria, you can do it all. But most women can’t – and even if they are fit, they don’t look like you – so stop throwing it in our faces and maybe find a kinder way to be inspirational. *throws down the microphone and walks offstage*

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81 Replies to “Oh, Maria Kang. I kind of hate you. But you also got me thinking.”

  1. This picture has been floating around for about a year now. Another blogger even created a campaign against it last year.when it first surfaced (and I was even a part of it). I will say all of what you said here is truly my reasoning for not always being able to make time to workout even for 10 to 20 minutes a day, because seriously by the time I do have a free few moments, I am too tired to think about it and would much rather chill out watching something on my DVR or reading blogs or a book. So, seriously you said this perfectly here.

  2. Yes, im a mother of two and i made the choice of exercising. I wake up at 5:45am to get a 6-7 workout at crossfit and this year i have been increasing the time working out from 3 times a week to 6 times a week. It sucked, i drag myself to the shower each morning in order to wake up and be productive until it becamed an habit. Its IS NOT easy or enjoyable. It costs money. At the box I push until my body says stop. At home I cook all meals and I make them healthy. My reward: feeling great the rest of the day (even if it means I go to bed early 9:30pm), having the strength to deal with my kids, and being able to fit in my pre-marriage clothes again. My social life sucks but I do look like I've never looked before in my life. Good luck!

  3. Oh, am so with you on this. I have always had “body issues” and, right now, would like to lose about 20 pounds. However, I HATE exercise. I don’t work (at least not for paycheck), but I do a lot of volunteering at my kids’ schools, etc. I would also have to get up extra early or or jump on the treadmill late at night in order to squeeze in exercise. It is, indeed, a much harder decision than it seems!

  4. I choose other things, too. Though often they aren’t glamorous- it’s choosing to do the dishes, the laundry, take the boys to soccer, volunteer at their schools, and work. And yes, sometimes it’s sitting on the couch and reading or watching tv or reading blogs- b/c I need that downtime.

    But even at my thinnest(and I was teeny pre-kids), I never did look like that chick. So could I do it now? Highly doubtful.

  5. I haaaaaaate exercise. I made the choice to eat less instead, and while I lost the weight, I’ve started to notice that I’m weaker than I’d like to be… I think I might have to suck it up and try yoga. Or maybe just have my husband carry all the heavy groceries.

  6. Amen.

    I, too, despise exercise. I’ve tried to brainwash myself over the years into thinking I like the “high.” But I don’t. Exercise blows. My best defense when things start getting out of hand? As much as I don’t want to, I start watching what I’m eating. A lot. And I try to squeeze in what we’ll just call “more physical activity” whenever I can. Taking the stairs when possible, parking the car father away, literally walking around while I’m on the phone instead of just sitting. It’s not much but I feel like it’s something.

    Hang in there, J. With a little effort, I’ll bet the first 10 come off easy. But you might have to work for the remaining 5. Those little SOBs have suction to your body that science just can’t explain.

    Have fun tonight. Sorry I’m not in the Boston area. 🙂

  7. Oh, I have SO so many things to say about this!! First of all, this brings up one of the most divisive issues among women. OF COURSE we all want to look like this. Reality check- not everyone can. I know someone who runs races all the time, and when I look at pictures of her, she still looks overweight to me. Yes, this body is a 24/7/365 commitment. Plus, guess what? It’s her JOB – she’s a trainer. So she has to look like this. Celebrities HAVE to look like that. Plus, they have help to look like that. Some women love to work out – great. Other women, like me, love to write and connect on social media. I love, like Karen, to snuggle with my kids or eat buttery popcorn and drink root beer with Hubby on the weekend while watching a movie. I love going for ice cream with my sons. This woman’s kids are all under three. They are not in school, so no homework, no activities, no sports, no tutoring appointments or speech therapy, or the zillion other things moms are expected to go to. What does her house look like, and when was the last time she did laundry? Does someone clean for her? Or does she not give a crap what her house looks like? What does her husband do? Who watches her kids while she works out? The last time I checked there was no triple jogging stroller (if there is, it’s gotta be $1,000 at least). The only post I’ve ever written and gotten nasty comments on was about exercising. This issue is just as divisive as bottle vs breast and working vs stay at home. I think she went about making her point the COMPLETLY WRONG way! Yes, as mothers we need to be healthy, BUT we don’t all HAVE to look like that to accomplish good health.

    Rant over. 😉

    1. You just listed a whole host of reasons that can easily be changed. 80% of your body is built from the kitchen. Feed your body junk it will reward you with junk.

      You need to go on a diet. Just make a few simple changes that the whole family will benefit from.
      One example is if you like homemade chili.
      Replace the ground beef with ground chicken or turkey.
      That’s one meal you’ve cleaned up!

      There’s nothing wrong with indulging on weekends at all. Keep the rest of the week clean and healthy! Then indulge on the weekend as your reward…………….just don’t over do it and undo everything you’ve done throughout the week.

      So yeah………..people are making excuses for not being healthy!

      1. That was meant to read as: YOU DON’T NEED TO GO ON A DIET lol………………not ” you need to go on a diet”

        Anyways………….NO EXC– — — USES!!! 🙂

  8. What Kathy said. That.
    We are all doing the best we can. The part that bothered me was “What’s your excuse?” Really? Let me count the ways.
    Being fit and healthy is the goal, right? Fit and healthy often does not look like her photo. I will forever have the kangaroo pouch belly and I’m ok with that. Sometimes, I eat a salad for lunch and sometimes, I eat leftover birthday cake. Whatever.
    Building each other up and being supportive of each other is most important- with or without cake.

  9. As a single mom who works at home and has a very clingy toddler, I actually would like to work out. But time. Time is my issue. My toddler goes around 8 and gets up at 5 or 5:30. I can’t get up earlier than her to exercise. I can’t do it at night because I pretty much have to do some cleaning that I can’t do otherwise. She’s in daycare while I work and that’s not time I can do much. I do choose to spend time with her instead of exercising after preschool. And I don’t have a significant other to watch her so I can take an hour to go run in the am or whatever. I need to loose a significant amount of weight. But all I can do is what I can do. That’s all any of us can do.

  10. Until my youngest was a year old, I rarely had the energy to exercise. I wanted to do it, and sometimes found ways to fit some in, like pushing a stroller with a baby and a weeks’ worth of groceries and pulling a toddler at the same time. But most of the time I didn’t do it.
    Then I saw a pic of myself and it opened my eyes to how overweight I was. While the photo scared me into wanting to lose the weight right away, the reality was I had a lot to change. It has been 2 years since that day, but I only began to lose weight in February of this year, and that was because I changed my diet along with exercising.
    I’m still in the weight loss phase – I’m not at my goal yet, but it’s close. I exercise 5 – 6 times a week from 6:15 – 7:15 a.m. It is my sanity saver. I need that time to myself before the kids are up. It was hard at first, but now I can’t go without it. Here is a link to my blog page where I keep a record of my progress. http://dayslifedreams.wordpress.com/my-fitness-journey/

    1. Wonderful job Mercy!!! Keep it up!

      You are proof that where there’s a will, there’s a way!!!

      No more excuses for you! 🙂

  11. I don't ever comment on these articles, but my "excuse," if that's what you want to call it, is that I am the only one who cares for my child while Daddy is at work (8-5:30 M-F), plus I run a full-time web design business during those hours from home. I eat healthy, and I love to exercise whenever I can. I don't look like a supermodel, but I am a healthy weight, and that should be all that matters. With such a busy schedule, if I have an extra hour, I am going to spend it with my son. We go outside to play. I refuse to deprive him of critical one-on-one time so I can get an hour workout. To me, it's more important to spend those precious moments with him. So, for myself, it's not an EXC– — — USE but a CHOICE. As long as I'm healthy, the athletic physique can wait. I've got more important things to worry about. My son won't be two years old forever. This is coming from someone who does enjoy exercise.

  12. I don’t ever comment on these articles, but my “excuse,” if that’s what you want to call it, is that I am the only one who cares for my child while Daddy is at work (8-5:30 M-F), plus I run a full-time web design business during those hours from home. I eat healthy, and I love to exercise whenever I can. I don’t look like a supermodel, but I am a healthy weight, and that should be all that matters. With such a busy schedule, if I have an extra hour, I am going to spend it with my son. We go outside to play. I refuse to deprive him of critical one-on-one time so I can get an hour workout. To me, it’s more important to spend those precious moments with him. So, for myself, it’s not an EXC– — — USE but a CHOICE. As long as I’m healthy, the athletic physique can wait. I’ve got more important things to worry about. My son won’t be two years old forever. This is coming from someone who does enjoy exercise.

    1. ………..no one ever said to not be around your son. If that is what you prefer so be it!
      Use him as an extra weight while doing squats, or bench presses. Kids love that!!!
      Outdoors is always a great place to be with little ones full of energy!

      I worked out last weekend with my 4 year old in my basement gym. He’d mock my moves, then we’d count my repetitions together (practice number counting), then he amused himself for the last 10 mins. Now I’ve done this with all 4 of my children. Now respectively aged 21, 10, 16 and the 4 year old. I started as early a day after giving birth by just lifting my head off the floor while I had my newborn cradled on my thighs.

      No excuses!!! C’mon ladies…………where there’s a will there’s a way.

  13. I agree with so much of what you said. I feel like what is her point really? Is she REALLY trying to motivate and help other women? I don’t think so. All this picture says to me is nah nah nah nah nah nah look at me! I look awesome. Yeah we get it. I think she probably unmotivated more women than she motivated. I mean if there is a woman who is trying her hardest and she sees this she may think to herself why am I bothering? I am NEVER going to look like that. I can tell you I’ve always had issues of relating my self worth and happiness to how my clothes are fitting and what my weight is. It’s not a good attitude to have. After having kids I have become more comfortable in my own skin. I happen to love to run. I don’t just do it for exercise though, I do it for stress relief. It’s my time to unwind and clear my head without a kid holding on to my leg. My husband is great about giving me time to do it. I think it’s important to find something you actually enjoy doing. Even just a long walk listening to some great music. Do not do something you hate. We have enough stuff in life to do that feels like a burden…school fundraisers. 😉 I can tell you though Sports Illustrated isn’t calling me anytime soon or EVER for that matter so to me it’s about balance. I am not giving up chocolate or wine or wings with my husband every now and then. I’m just not. So I run, when I can. No one is going to guilt me into doing something because they show me their insane abs. I feel bad for her. Ice cream is good. Life is short. No one is showing up at your funeral and saying she had the best abs. 🙂

    1. I’ll tell you what I saw when I first saw the picture.
      I saw the workout clothes, the fit body, and then the kiddies. My first thought was “Cool a fitness mom!” Then I went on to read the title and all of the comments.

      I think it all boils down to one’s frame of mind. You either think positive like the “Little train that could” which is one of the very first lessons we teach our children. Try and try again.

      Or you can think negatively and put limitations on yourselves.

  14. I chose to do other things I enjoy besides exercise. The duck faced woman below my post seems to miss the point of this article. Keeps jogging your still ugly on the inside ladies

  15. I was just thinking about this on the elliptical – no lie! Here’s the thing. I think if she had just posted the photo with a caption like “You can do it!” there would have been little to no backlash. It’s great that she spends this much time on fitness, but to imply that the many, many priorities and lifestyle choices other women make (Choose to make? Are forced to make in some cases?) are “excuses” is hubris, frankly. If somebody posted a photo of their kid’s perfect school lunch bento box or a master’s degree or the view from their corner office (all representing different priorities) and wrote “What’s your excuse” on it, they’d be flamed, too. The bottom line is, we are not here to judge each other. We’re here to recognize that making it in life takes choices. She’s made some valid choices, but they don’t work for everyone. With that said, people also need to spend less time flaming people for the same reason.

  16. totally there. My psychiatrist and I had a conversation about it as I'm recovering from post-partum depression – she said I can either go on more meds (which would mean SWITCHING meds) or try exercising instead. I chose the exercise. I hate it – or at least my lazy 6 year old inner self hates it. And I'd rather spend time with my fam too. But once I get into it, I do like it. It's getting started that sucks. And I really do have to think about it in terms of "I will do this to be alive and not suicidal for my family".

    It also helps me to think about it (as I am getting in to the gym/exercise, warming up and realizing how out of shape I am) in terms of preparing for the zombie apocalypse: right now, I'm out of shape – I'd be zombie-snacks. If I get in shape – I'll be kicking zombies and keeping my brains.

  17. I'm a stay at home Mom, my day does not stop, but I make time for it ! I feel better and it helps with stress ! It's a choice , so if you want to do other stuff then exercise then so be it, but us moms need to take more time out and take care of ourselves .. Happy Mom happy kids and life!

  18. I will tell you what, I have done it. I have looked (kinda sorta) like old bitch-face Maria up there. No shit. I had infant twins (I started my working out when they were 6 months old) and a 3yo at home. I did all the mom crap and then, around 11 pm, I did P90X. It worked. I was stupid fit. I was in the best shape of my life, ate well, and loved to clothes shop.

    But that? That was a crazy time commitment. One I could not maintain today—nor do I want to. I was motivated then by the extreme changes to my body after the twins. It was a time in my life that I may never revisit. Or maybe I will. Who the hell knows?

    The point is, as Karen so perfectly made, most of us live in seasons. Right now, I’m in a season of career productivity and learning to navigate the beginnings of having school-aged kids. I’m a volunteer, a writer, a mom, a wife, a Candy Crusher, a DVR watcher, and a person with long-distance relatives that I try to make time to visit. Exercise is on the list, but for this season, it’s at the bottom, like long-johns and snow boots in the back of my drawers and closets.

    What rankles about Maria is the idea that hers is the “right” body and the rest of us are making excuses not to look that way. Well, okay, Maria, that’s one way to go. And some time ago I would have been angry over this photo and this accusation: “You’re not doing enough!” Today, having passed through a few seasons, I just flip off Maria and get back to work. I’ve got life to live and, at times that I’ve been fit and times that I’ve been less so, that life had been moving right along, with ups, downs, accomplishments, and failures. None of the important moments have given a whit about the tautness of my abdomen or the pounds I can bench press. Fitness over fabulous, ladies. And let Maria drool while we eat cake.

    1. Isn’t calling another woman “bitch-face” somewhat ridiculous? For those posting negative remarks about Maria Kang’s photo, aren’t you judging her just as you feel you are being judged? Also, almost every post is filled with excuses…how busy your day is, why you can’t exercise, and all the other things you’d rather be doing? There are many ways to prioritize in order to make room for exercise…watch less tv, cut down on your computer time, even sleep an hour less, if necessary. Most of the people at the gym have jobs, lives, and families and don’t necessarily enjoy working out. Her photograph did not cause me one ounce of anger and I really don’t “get” the public outcry, however, it is a sign of everything that is currently wrong with our society; excuses, zero accountability, and everyone playing the victim. I’ll add this…be overweight if you’d like, it’s a personal choice and no one has the right to judge, but our bodies are not created to handle the extra pounds that people are packing on these days. Those pounds equal heart problems, respiratory disease, diabetes, joint pain and a host of other comorbidities so get moving while you are still young enough to do something.

  19. You nail it here. And it's the battle I agonize over myself! Where is the time? "I have about two hours to myself each day, from 8pm – 10pm. In these hours I choose to write, play around on social media, hang with the Hubs, or read. I try to be asleep at 10:30pm and wake up at 6:30am so I can shower before the day begins.

    But you know how it goes: A lot of nights I end up not really spending any time on myself, and I’m instead answering emails, online shopping for gifts, planning my 4yo’s birthday party, returning phone calls, etc."

  20. There is a difference between excuses and real life get-in-the-ways. Most moms experience the real life get-in-the-ways, myself included. And I made excuses too. Don’t get me wrong. Cookie dough is my weakness and still is.

    I tried Insanity, P90X, and TurboFire. I didn’t enjoy all of them and they were too time consuming. But I have been unhappy with my body for far too long and needed to do something. I hate working out at night after my son is asleep and I refuse to wake up at 5am to get a workout in before work.

    I heard about Focus T25 and saved up until I could afford it. I’m now half way done with week three and not only do I feel 100x better, I noticed results in as little as 14 days! It’s 25 minutes, 5 days a week. That meant I only needed to wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual (totally do-able) and I wouldn’t have any excuses to quit. You should look into the program. It’s well worth the money and you can split it into three payments, like I did.,m

  21. My first time commenting on your blog…

    Here's me: Mom of three – 12, 9, and 4. Suffered moderate postpartum depression and anxiety after my second's birth (actually it started during pregnancy); wasn't diagnosed/treated until she was 8 months old, went on Zoloft when she was a year old and stayed on it for a year. (I remember my dear friend telling me how exercise helped her with her mood, and I was like, "I can't figure out how to stand up off the couch, let alone exercise." Literally, getting out the door was an insurmountable challenge most of the time.) When expecting my third and afterward, I kept up regular appointments with my therapist to keep tabs on my mood. This, and a reduction in other life stressors, I believe helped prevent any major mood issues surrounding that pregnancy.

    I was *FINALLY* diagnosed with ADHD a few years ago (maybe 4?). This disorder of course doesn't help much with the finding a way to get things done AND fit in exercise. On the other hand, treatment has helped somewhat, and awareness of the issue I think has helped the most.

    I was overweight most of my adult life. I'm now 40. I maxed out just shy of 170 lbs and I'm 5' 5.5". Lost 10 pounds prior to getting pregnant for my first, and did always come back to about 158 after each of my pregnancies.

    Three years and three months ago, a friend wore me down and got me to try Couch to 5K with her. I though only fitness fanatics and crazy people actually ran. I didn't expect to like it IN THE LEAST, and I didn't expect to be able to make myself stick to the program. I finally agreed after a couple of weeks of her bringing it up, mostly to prove that I was going to hate it. I didn't buy any running clothes (read: I ran in t-shirts, very old running shorts, sweat pants. I looked like a dork. I have pictures to prove this.) or running shoes, because I wasn't going to go spending money on something I wasn't going to stick with anyway. But I *DID* want to get healthy and and set a good example for my kids. So in the back of my mind, I secretly hoped it might just work, and I signed up for a 5K race in my hometown that happened to be slated for the weekend after I would complete the 10-week couch-to-5k program.

    You know what? I didn't hate it. I sort of liked it. I definitely liked the feeling I got when I accomplished the scheduled workout. I could go out on my own terms, at a time that worked for me – I didn't have to wait for the gym to be open or to meet up with someone. Sometimes, having a 1-year-old at home and older kids to get onto the bus in the morning (and not being in the least a morning person – and being an all-star procrastinator), I wouldn't find time to run until 10 or 11 at night. I live in a well-lit neighborhood and I wore a reflective sash – I still went out and did it. I could go straight out my front door. It was free. (Used the "First Day to 5K podcast from Podrunner.) It starts you out VERY slow (run/walk interval program), so it was do-able. COUCH to 5k was totally applicable in my case. Running doesn't really require grace or co-ordination; there was no step to fall off of like I did the first time I tried step aerobics, no dance moves to master, no complicated footwork.

    I ran that 5K, then I ran another, and another. Then I tried the 8K program and got up to 5 miles. Then I ran 10K. Then I tried 10 miles. Then some half-marathons. You know, I don't look anything like Mariah King up there. My abs need work. At 40, after three kids, there's no way they'll ever look like hers – the elasticity just isn't there anymore, but I can get stronger. That's all I care about – being stronger and healthier. After the initial Couch to 5K program, you know what? I hadn't lost any weight. None. But my body composition was starting to change, and how I felt about myself was also starting to change. Eventually, over a year-and-a-half's time, I lost 30 pounds, and have now kept it off for nearly two years.

    And I ran a full marathon, yes that's 26.2 miles, a week and a half ago. I still have ADHD, of course, and sometimes I still get moody, but I feel like a different person from that woman who couldn't get off the couch.

    It. Can. Be. Done. And it's worth it. I couldn't get out and do it before I got treatment for the depression, but I didn't feel completely better until I started taking care of myself. Best wishes and love to you.

  22. Oh, and yeah, all of this has left less time for some of my other favorite hobbies, like reading and knitting, but I'm ok with that right now. I won't be training for another marathon right away. (Now THAT is time-consuming. Crazy.) And I'm looking forward to more reading and knitting now that I'm cutting back on my running mileage after the marathon, but I do like running now, though I've never actually liked exercise before – I suppose it's an acquired taste. I'm very glad I ran that marathon. I taught me a lot about myself. I also met some other very inspirational women through this process.

  23. I hate that this made people feel bad. I love our country, I love freedom of speech, but with that comes a responsibility to each other. Inspire other moms, sure. Make them feel bad? Come on, lady. She really can’t imagine the gazillions of REAL reasons (NOT: Excuses) parents have for being REAL people. I honestly hope she just had no idea how badly this would make other people feel. I hope she will think about it moving forward.
    I wish she, and everyone, would realize it takes different things for different people. Some people have better metabolism, some people have medical issues, some people have more disposable income to join a gym, some people have more of an opportunity for others to watch their children while they work out, etc. Some people just don’t WANT TO. (Like me.) And that’s okay in my America.

  24. Yes yes yes! You managed to say what I was thinking when I wrote this list. Some people like to work out, and this never ceases to amaze me. I HATE it. But even more than that, there are so many things I'd rather be doing. Or need to be doing. And all these people are backing this woman up saying that she did nothing wrong. I disagree. I don't take whatever I'm good at and throw it in people's faces and say why can't you do this too. I mean kudos for her for keeping it all together and looking like this (even though I really believe most of what she's good at is having good genes), but there's no need for her to say why can't you look like this when most women don't have the time or the means or the drive to.

  25. I LOVE exercise.
    But I dont have time, energy or physical capacity to do it at the moment.
    I miss the gym with an intensity I could never have imagined.
    And yet.
    Its also a stressor for me. Thinking about squeezing in exercise, and worrying about eating well are “shoulds” according to my therapist. And “shoulds” are things that stress me out, as much as they might be things I also WANT to do.
    Before I got pregnant, I was fit. I was as slim as I had ever been, and fitter than I had ever been. By the end of my pregnancy I could barely walk – a combination of oedema and hip / back problems. Six months in and I still have a lot of weakness in my hips and back, so much so my doctor was worried I had a pregancy-induced arthritis in there somewhere.
    And I’m exhausted. Surviving rather than thriving as a mother. I cant get up earlier in the morning because I’m often only back in bed after the last overnight feed an hour and a half before its time to get up again anyway, and I cant go out exercising in the evening because my little one has separation anxiety, and if he wakes up in the middle of the night, I am the only one who can soothe him. Dammit.

    However, I’m starting a mums exercise class tomorrow, to see how I cope. Its during the day, designed for bringing the baby along to. If I can do that, then in the new year I can renew my gym membership and start working out again.
    Because I know I need to do it to improve my mood. Because I want to do it.
    Even though its another “thing” I “should” be doing, and makes me feel stressed thinking about how to get going again.

  26. You know, it's not about just looking great, I think it's about being healthy and happy and figure out what's important to you. I look at this picture and say to myself "I can't never have her body, but what can I do to improve mine." These women and their comments are just excuses and hating to me. Plus you know if I had that body I would show it off too. Well, I don't think I would post a picture like that saying "what is your excuse," I do not like to make others feel bad, and get people all worked up by my actions (these comments are that proof) but who wouldn't post a pic like that if they looked like this? Please you know we all would. She is just proud of her body. Let her be proud, she works hard for it right?

    Come on people you are who you want to be. But first you need to accept yourself, figure out your goals, who do you want to be? And what things you can change, what things you can't and how can you make yourself look better and happy.
    I am getting married next year and almost every day since I got engaged I have been getting up at 6am to workout (ok not everyday, 3 to 5 times a week). I have a son too, a full time job, and a man who is the love of my life and whom I love to take care of (meaning spend time with him, cook and do as much things together as possible, not meaning me being his sugar mama, just in case that was in your mind). He is also very understanding and does not get mad, frustrated or furious when he comes home and I did not have time to clean up or make dinner, but I did have time to workout 🙂 .
    I have been there too, trust me, I gained 100lbs with my pregnancy. I felt soo depressed getting on the scale and being 217lbs. Plus I was a single mother and unfortunately my son's biological father was a woman's worse nightmare. But what did I do? Did I become a couch potato? did I make up excuses? did I accept my weight gain and let it stick? No I didn't. So all of you that say "I have no time, I rather do this or that, I hate exercise." Whatever it is just remember, you are who you are because of what you eat and because what you choose to do with your time. Instead of criticizing her, look up to her. This to me is inspiration. This is what's wrong with America, other people's happiness always bother everybody else and we look for ways to try to destroy it. Stop being that way and stop blaming motherhood or your job for not having time to take care of yourselves.

  27. Juelagran! Hoy si le cayo a la mara huevona…jajaja! Ta bueno vos, el querer es PODER! El Ross esta durmiendo remal otra vez -diria como su cara de mal pero para un bebe eso se oye muy feo y su carita es muy bonita! Anyway, alli me levanto a las 5:30 hacer mis ejercicios!

  28. La reactividad es en mi humilde opinión el peor de los males que tenemos como seres humanos. Me agrada ver que vos tomés esta historia tan proactivamente. Más que nada me enorgullece ver como te has superado. Justo ayer le hablaba de eso a Martina Lara. Sos una inspiración no sólo para Gabrielito sino para mi ahora que soy padre. Te quiero mucho!

  29. Let's see… My abdominal structure was blown out by my first kid.. Which by having 3 more after him really didn't help. I have diastasis..there i said it and by golly i did my video workout last week. But i will never look like that chick… Mainly because I'm super pale..bugs hit me at night when the lights are off as if I'm some kind of light bulb. But not all hope is lost.. I conned mneighbor into doing the couch to 5k program! We are into week 5

  30. I exercise. I’m the smallest I’ve been in years and I just ran 7 miles for a race but I do it because it relieves stress. I need the exercise to feel better. I can tell you that I would rather sit on the couch but if I get myself going I feel 1000x better. After starting yoga I no longer hate my body. That was a 30 year journey. I don’t look anything like that other mom but that’s ok. It took 2 years to lose the baby weight and that’s ok too because I’m a less stressed mom.
    I only exercise 2 days a week.

  31. Love your honesty. I am a Mom who works out five days a week. I finally had to because my depression was so bad and after hip surgery last year, my weight was out of control! AAAAAAAND, I like to eat. For all reasons, seasons, and yeah, you get it. So, needless to say, I had to get my booty back in gear. And I must say I LOVE exercise again. And it would be REALLY easy for me to judge people and say what ol’ Maria Kang is saying, but SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?! Since WHEN does everyone have to be a size 6 to be a good Mom? And since WHEN is that THE most important goal in a Mom’s life? For me, it is. But, before I hold my standard to ANYONE else, I realize that MY physical goals are much higher than most people’s. And if I am HONEST with myself, I struggle with making sure I am working out for my HEALTH and NOT for second glances now that I am back in shape. I always remember a Proverbs from the Bible. “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Should we take better care of ourselves? Absolutely. I DON’T want my health to fade due to my laziness or lack of self-control. I want to teach discipline to my kids. BUT, more than ALL of that, I better make sure that my HEART is seeking the right things. And perfect chiseled abs is NOT the most important goal. My question for myself when I am high on my mighty “Everyone-should-work-out-like-this-and-eat-like-this” high-horse (I would ask Maria Kang the same thing.) is this: “If my body failed me tomorrow or I was paralyzed in a car accident and my health faded, would my character fail me? Would I be able to be thankful if my face was disfigured or my skin was burned? If my worth is found in my beauty or my ability to be Supermom, when that is taken away, how will I go on?” And, THAT is what makes me kudos every Mom who is doing their best. Because we are not all cookie cutters made to look like magazine covers. And besides that, I want to encourage others to be more than what they are. Not do it through guilt or making them feel like they don’t “measure-up.” Wow. I TOTALLY went off on my soapbox, huh? HA! And, as for your response to her? Genius. Gut-honest. And spot-on. It is a daily decision for me. To get up and work-out. But, I don’t work and my gym has child-care. For me to hold anyone to my standards of health is self-centered and egotistical. Kudos for wanting to do better. I know you can. It does WONDERS for my self-esteem and my depression. WONDERS. But, if you never made another change, your value is greater than the sum of your “parts.” 😉 Love the blog. Now, I must refrain from sending hate-mail to Maria Kang. 😉

    1. Reach your own optimum health.
      I’ve taken care of clients in wheelchairs that had use of only one arm. That one arm did a lot of work, to keep the other limbs limber and their range of motion intact even though the client couldn’t use the other limbs.
      This client was one of my most positive thinking/living clients I have met to this day.

      So………………no excuse. Exercise within your means, eat healthy, and reach your own optimum health. 🙂

  32. I made a mistake after reading my novel comment. It is NOT my most important goal to be a size 6. I meant it was a goal of mine to be physically fit. (And it is NOT my most important goal.) Had to clear that up! 🙂

  33. I LOVE to walk~~ it's a wonderful exercise 🙂 I suggest doing it outdoors when possible~ it gives you fresh air and find somewhere with little hills~

  34. Oh this so speaks to me. While I get that there are choices, for some of us are choices are so limited though that it’s darn near impossible. I have 6 children. One is in college, two live with my ex and the three youngest live with me and my husband. My husband works and I’m a SAHM & blogger. My husband does not help with the children at all other than to yell if they bother him. ( I even vacation alone with the kids.) My nine and six year olds are both Autistic. My youngest has developmental delays. Without sleep meds my Autistic children could stay up for days. The meds do not always work. It has been 9+ years since I have had a week worth of full nights of sleep. I usually get a about 4 hours. Most days I survive only through caffeine and sugar and even then it’s just barely. I am responsible for the house, cars, money, everything in our lives. So do I have time for exercise? No I do not. I just got picked to be a Hot Chocolate 15/5K race blogger. I am doing this, training, forcing myself to make some time for me to not only get myself together to some degree but to maybe show others that they can too. I had to force myself to make this decision and find a way to try because I have spent the last several years with nothing but severe health issues.

  35. EXACTLY where you are! So frustrating. I was running until summer and then it was just too hot. I keep telling myself now that it's cooler I'll start again. Every day I tell myself that, and the postpone it yet another day. Uggghhh.

  36. I hate working out, but I love the way it makes me feel. Maybe I should start doing that again. I have no strong feelings one way or another about the picture or the message, but I love how you put words to many women’s thoughts on the issue. Thank you for being a reasonable, thoughtful voice on this topic.

  37. I hate the fact that some mothers feel some type of way about her picture. Sounds like a pretty awful feeling. But why do they feel like she was speaking to them? I saw the picture last year and it actually inspired me. Fortunately, I was already fit at the time. But I had gotten lazy and found every excuse in the book for why I would skip my workouts. I’m not even a mother, but seeing her picture made me realize that if the chick with three kids and two businesses can find time to keep herself in shape, I really had no excuse that should keep me from doing the same. But fitness is also a high priority for me, and I know that it’s not a priority for everyone. If you’re happy and you don’t want to exercise, that is fine. Exercising is not a priority for you, and it’s okay to own that choice. But other people who can give a thousand different excuses for why they’re not healthier, well that’s an entirely different animal.

  38. I totally feel the same way you do. I should be in bed right now, but I’m “working” as a blogger, writing and reading other people’s posts.

    I just got a Fitbit because my doctor recommended it, and a few of my friends have been talking about theirs. It’s nice because it inspires me to walk just a little bit more each day, not go on a death march. But I can pace while I brush my teeth, talk on the phone, or walk in place while I’m waiting in line. I can park a little farther away.

    I’m about 10 lbs. overweight, but I’m really pissed that the dresses I bought just a year and a half ago make me look like a snake that’s swallowed a watermelon. I really do eat a lot of empty calories. But preparing food takes a lot longer time. I’m still working on it though. The important question is, “How do I get the really most important stuff done and let go of the rest?”

  39. I’m not an expert at most things in my life, but I’m an expert at this s%#$. Why? Because I used to have a raging eating disorder and now I’m on the other side of it, find the time to work out healthily, and am a mom. Also, I’m a licensed mental health counselor that specializes in this s%$6.

    So let me tell you all this –

    No one has ever lost weight permanently through body shaming or low self-esteem or feeling like they have to exercise to maintain an image of, let’s say, perfect abs and a size 4 body. People lose weight when they change their ENTIRE selves – their mental health, their lifestyle, and their food intake. They lose weight when they start realizing they’re doing it for their low cholesterol and low blood pressure. They do it when they start realizing their daily run means more for their peace of mind than their waistline. Maria Kang projects an image, not health. Not true health.

    Not to mention, there are so many genetic/income/gender factors that weigh into this. Let me tell you, when I was 109 lbs and starving and weight lifting, my abs still didn’t look like hers. And they’re never going to. And the low incomes that some middle class white women are pawning off as “excuses”? They’re realities, not excuses. I counsel clients on food stamps who literally have no idea soda contributes to weight gain because they grew up in HELL. They weren’t focused on nutrition, they were focused on survival.

    So, Honest Mom :-), I LOVE what you had to say about this, and do NOT understand the “other” side of this argument. There are too many environmental factors that play into everyone’s life that make it too difficult to boil down to “excuses”.

  40. I know I’m a month behind here, but I just wanted to chime in anyway. JD, you need to exercise. I do too. I hate it as much as you do, but here’s what I know: it is one of the pieces of the puzzle for fighting depression. Just taking anti-depressants isn’t enough. Come on, sister. Let’s exercise. Maybe we can cheer each other on?

  41. It's perpetuating the idea that women SHOULD look like this — that looking like her makes you superior to those who do not, makes you a better, more valuable, more worthwhile person. So very self-centered.

  42. The reality is that you're a lazy fattass, and your man must be disappointed.

    Of course he dont show it, but dont dream, he would rather have a beautiful, healthy wife than a ugly disgusting fatass !!

  43. She is promoting a healthy lifestyle. It's your choice, and your own excuses preventing you from achieving your own optimum health. Heck , even a 20 mins walk is better than doing nothing! That would be great!

    Nowhere does this lady say "look like me". I only see "healthy lifestyle". You can choose to be at the lower end or the extremist end. She is above the average but nowhere near extreme.

  44. It's great to hear other's perspectives. When I first saw the picture , without knowing what was going on yet, I thought to myself "Cool, a fitness mom." Then I read the rest of it.

    You see it's a matter of perspective of what you get when you look at it. She clearly stated in an interview that she was and is only promoting a healthy lifestyle. At no time did she every say "look like me or you're not good enough" Those were your thoughts only, not hers. I see nothing self-centered about her at all.

  45. Suzanne Aubin Interesting that you immediately assume that we are not healthy and that we do not exercise. Judgmental much?

    How are you defining "healthy lifestyle?" And what about her lifestyle is "healthy?" And, more to the point, how do you know that people you have never even met are not living a "healthy lifestyle?"

    1. Hi Suzanne! 🙂 That’s a great name btw! 😉

      No where did I mention “you” were not leading a healthy lifestyle. Again, your perception of the message conveyed. I was quite clear in my message.

      It was interesting to read your point of view and how you process what you read.

      Have a great day Suzanne. 🙂

  46. Suzanne Aubin Then why is the caption, "What's your excuse?" What, exactly, is that supposed to convey?

    Oh, it most definitely is a matter of perspective.

  47. Of course it’s a matter of perspective. I took the message as a positive statement. You took it as a negative. I processed the information as “get out and do something”, “just do it” (a la Nike style), or the Little Train that Could “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”.

    I”m a glass full kind of a person. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and there’s a solution to everything. Even if the solution isn’t apparent yet.


  48. Suzanne Stauffer Lambert
    Hi Suzanne! 🙂 That’s a great name btw! 😉

    No where did I mention “you” were not leading a healthy lifestyle. Again, your perception of the message conveyed. I was quite clear in my message.

    It was interesting to read your point of view and how you process what you read.

    Have a great day Suzanne. 🙂

  49. I took her picture a totally different way. I didn't take it as you should be super mom more like " I am doing this for my kids." As caregivers we always say we do everything for our families which can ultimately skew what is really important. If we don't take care of ourselves then what good will we be to the ones we love?

  50. I took what she wrote the same way you did- it is just her point of view – and I wasn't at all offended by that or the photo. She should be proud of how she looks and how quickly after having her kids she got back to that shape. However— for her to go as far as to say that she has sagging skin, poor genetics, etc. and post this professionally done picture—and not think she was going to have some 'feedback' come her way- is at the very least naive. Getting people talking about it is great- and necessary–but I get the defensiveness and sadness that people have too. When you are that heavy and out of shape seeing someone write what she did may do the exact opposite of what she says she is trying to accomplish. Which for our kids sake is NOT where we can afford health wise to go….

  51. I like your statement "I choose do do other things." I can't do all I do–be a mom, work, support my husband's business, grown my own business, be a good daughter/sister/friend, keep a nice home , occasionally have fun, relax, travel, AND look the way she does. Something would have to go. So I guess it's my abs.

  52. You know what? Not everyone wants to look like that! I’m actually fine with myself and I’m far away from that! I ran a half marathon last year and am training for another this year, so I’m not in terrible shape, but I am overweight. I really wish skinny people like that would stop thinking that I need them to save me. I am perfectly happy the way I am!

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