Friday, October 18, 2013

She Probably Doesn’t Even Fart

Yes, I went there.

I debated whether to post this picture because it has been so viral and controversial and I honestly just didn’t care all that much. But, as someone who is of the “no excuses” mentality (hence the title of this blog), I wanted to give my two cents, and to hear yours.

Meet Maria Kang. 32 years old. Mother of three. Wife. Owner of two residential care homes for the elderly. Founder of a nonprofit fitness business. Freelance writer. Overall the kind of woman who some people love to hate.

She is quick to point out that she  does not have a personal trainer, chef or nanny. She says she is not naturally skinny. She works out about an hour a day, 6 days per week. She posted this picture of herself on Facebook and quickly became known as the Hot Facebook Mom. She also stirred up a huge discussion (as in 31,000 comments), some of them not so kind. She was referred to as a fat-shamer, a bully, a bad mom and someone who just doesn’t get it.

You know me - I am all about not making excuses for your life not being what you want it to be. So, I get that part of the point she is making. However, in my opinion, the message in this photo is not, “Stop making excuses and start working towards the body, health, fitness you want,” it is, “Hey women, you have no excuse to not look like me.”

Let’s break this down.

  • No matter how many hours a day I worked out or how much lettuce I ate, I would never look like Maria Kang. Never.
  • I don’t think those children are hers. She bought them at the farmer’s market (calm down, joke).
  • She looks amazing. She works hard. Hats off.
  • Yes, I know she works her butt off for that body. But, somewhere in her history there has to be some kick-ass genetics or at least some great boobs and skin.
  • She says she’s sick of people making excuses for being overweight or out of shape and wanted to post a picture to be provocative. Job well done. However, I can’t get over how attention seeking it all is. I know this because I have a blog and seek attention all the time. Maybe I’m just jealous. After all, I’ve never had 31,000 comments.
  • Some find the photo inspiring. Some just want to gaze at it at 1:30 in the morning while their family is asleep (hello, creepy pants). My fear is that some look at this picture and think, “Why bother, because I will never look like that.” As fitness advocates we should raise people up and make them feel good about themselves. I’m not sure she accomplished that.
  • In her 20s, Kang suffered from bulimia: “I was binging and purging three times a day, five times a week for four years straight.” I don’t have nor have ever had an eating disorder, but I wonder about those who have struggled with ED and how they view Kang now.  Is it inspiring to see someone with her past now “healthy?”
  • Yeah, yeah, yeah. Business owner. Gorgeous. Perfect body. 31,000 comments. But, can she do an Ironman?
  • Do you think she ever craps her pants on the run? Naw, she’s too perfect. She probably doesn’t even fart.

 

What do you think of the photo and the message? Inspiring or Infuriating?

SUAR

105 comments:

  1. I love you... and I love her.
    I follow you both, have for a while, and plan to continue.
    I love you both for different reasons but also for the same reason... you are both inspiring!
    If I had to pick who to go on a run with - well, it would be you... and who I'd share a bottle of wine with... it would be you as well. But yes, I am a Maria fan too!

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    1. Okay, it's settled. Time to meet for a run and a bottle of wine (or two)

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    2. There needs to be a like button for both of your comments.

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    3. Whoo-hoo! To wine and running... and farting!

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  2. I work out an hour every day, five to six days a week, and (mostly) watch what I eat. I will not look like her because I was given hips and boobs and a true hourglass shape by whoever/whatever created me. I'm having a very hard time, after losing 90 pounds, accepting my body even NOW, when I can whip out 50 squats and 10 push-ups without stopping, or a kick-ass kettlebell workout, or a nine-minute mile (five years ago, I couldn't even FINISH the damned mile). So I don't need her abs mocking me that I don't look like her, even though I work really hard, too. I want permission, just once, from society, to love and appreciate this strong, healthy body I've worked so hard in, even though I've got a bit of extra fat and loose skin. I want to feel okay eating that bit of chocolate, and not like I have to confess to the Fitness Gods that I indulged a little this week--but hey, I still made it to the gym, even this morning when I woke up with a massive headache brought on by my period. Believe me, I wanted a day off, but I went in and did those squats and push-ups and lunges.

    So yes, I find her beyond obnoxious. My excuse? I don't need anyone telling me my way of doing this is wrong. I'm so tired of it.

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    1. Meg- Strong is healthy and beautiful and comes in all kinds of packages. You rock, her abs only mock you because you let them. Be you, be healthy, be strong..but most important be happy and forget what others think. -Some random dude from the interwebs..

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    2. Amen, Meg! A.M.E.N.!

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    3. MEG!!! what you said, x 100000000
      Well spoken!

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    4. Meg! Agreed! I see all shapes, ages and sizes at a marathon and they are all strong and fit even with a bit of junk in the trunk :)

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    5. You are amazing! This is exactly how I feel! I work out hard, but I have hips! I'm a size 2 and DO NOT look like that. When my husband asked me the question about her, I gave your answer!!!

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  3. My thoughts:
    A) There is some serious airbrushing going on, so in reality, even she doesn't really look like that.
    B) The message is completely obnoxious. It isn't a positive challenge message, or inspirational, or anything that is helpful. It's a "look at me I'm so pretty, nah nah ne-nah nah" message. Not cool.
    C) Her picture, even without airbrushing, represents such a small percentage of women who have been able to have babies and not have major effects on their skin. I've had 3 wonderfully healthy babies and they all needed more room than what came with standard package, so they stretched me out. Even with surgery, I would never look like that. To imply that women like me could look like her if we only had more motivation is just wrong, and stupid.

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  4. Definitely not inspirational - I can see where she is coming from, but yeah no. You don't post things like that and say you are sick of people making excuses - some people need to eat what their kids eat or actually sleep ...

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  5. I read this as the former..."stop making excuses and start working towards the body, health, fitness you want". In fact, I wouldn't have thought twice about it if it hadn't stirred up a bunch of folks. I have found it pretty darn amusing to read the comments this provoked and think her assessment that the judgment people perceive in this photo comes from within themselves, not from her. I don't look like her, never will and don't want to...just like I don't aspire to be an Ironman...yet I am incredibly inspired by women...like YOU...who are totally, unapologetically, badass in working hard to achieve their goals.

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    1. I'm with you, DebraLou. Word for word.

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  6. HAHAHA! Enjoyed your take on this. :) I know I won't ever look like that (or be that perfect in the rest of my boring-compared-to-hers life). I'm also 48; not 32. And while I've never had an ED, I do have auto-immune thyroid disease. I only WISH I could look like that! lol But, I DO run 5 days a week under the tutelage of an awesome coach. And that, alone, makes me feel better about myself. Kang's picture doesn't make me feel belittled at all. I guess, for me, as long as I know I'm doing something to better myself, none of that stuff matters to me.

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  7. I was looking for the comment I made to another post about this earlier but I can't find it. If I recall, this picture is older (like a year) and although we all know things take off virally when they do (not in our control) I don't think her original intention was to tick people off this much. The "what is your excuse" theme is something I see several times a day over social media, usually posted by someone (like her) who looks a LOT better than I ever can! The fact that she has battled bulimia tells me something -- her story is really fascinating. And she also has a spouse who is dealing with a combat injury. One of the things she said is upsetting is people implying the kids aren't hers. I think we should all (realizing the fact that there is very little about our own children we can control) leave her kids out of it (respectfully said, Beth....). I keep thinking I want to do a satire one (NOT in boy shorts) -- wanna join me?! (And I agree about the farting ha ha ha)!

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    1. Yes, a satire! We were just talking about this tonight. And no offense about saying they are not her children. My joke about that was only because she looks so amazing to have kids that young - not at all to question that she actually the mother (I thought my readers know me well enough to get that?)

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  8. Nyeh, she doesn't bother me. She's beautiful, and her kids seem happy. I think she has her priorities straight from the interview I saw on the Today Show. I don't think she's Ironman material either, or ultrarunner (I favor running; an Ironman is on the bucket list, once I get over my fear of handlebars!); I don't know that she could handle farting out loud, blisters, and/or running trots, or even helmet head! I think her intentions were good, if not, well I've already moved on, and won't waste too much time on that.

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  9. I love you because I, like you, also saw this and thought "good for you" and moved on. And then it crossed my newsfeed again and again, and yet again (I hate that facebook works the way it does). I think she's attention seeking as well and I think she, like all women who look that way and think they're better looking than heavier women and want to SHOW THEM that wants to make people feel bad. She neither inspires me nor makes me go "wow, she's awesome". I just feel her blog and self-proclaimed "hot" body show HER insecurities.

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  10. I think she's inspiring. She works hard, and it's not her fault she has God given attributes as well. She works her ass off, in all aspects. I think if people feel downtrodden or "mocked" by her, it's their own insecurities at work, not her accomplishments.

    The way women hate each other due to their own insecurities- never fails to astound me.

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    1. But isn't she playing on the insecurities of other women? That's what I don't like about her. And she's not a picture of health; she's a "hot bod" pic.

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    2. How, pray tell, is she "playing" on the insecurities of other women? She's a go-getter, probably doesn't like the "excuses" she hears (and we all hear them) because it's negative energy. A woman that busy doesn't need one iota of negativity. I'm sure she gets tired, and has problems just like the rest of us. Just because she looks good doesn't means she's skating through life without the troubles that plague us all.

      As someone pointed out below, if a man had posted the same type of photo, people would be saying "awww!" and kissing his ass, etc. Lets not shit on all her hard work by saying "she's playing on our insecurities!!!". That's really stretching it, in my opinion. It's petty, and really not fair at all.

      My 2cents.

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    3. You're really good at possibly considering both sides of an issue and not being a douchebag about it.

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  11. I'm still uncertain why someone would be offended by this. She's fit, she's busy, and she intended to motivate and inspire others by the means she thought best. I'm reasonably confident, by both my own intuition and her words as well, that there was no intent to shame, ridicule, or demean folks that are not to her level of fitness. It's a pretty simple equation: if you're offended, don't look.
    Folks have taken this and run with it in more tangent directions than can be (and I use the word again) reasonably be expected. Damn near everybody who follows this blog is of above-average fitness, I would expect. I'm certain that at some point in their lives they have been accused of shaming or putting themselves on a higher pedestal than less-fit people they know. It's happened to me. But I know for a fact that I've never intended to "shame" people into fitness.
    I post race results, time splits, and race photos seen by hundreds, if not thousands of people who will never do what I can do. For the most part, it's because they *won't*, not because they can't, and yet they might be offended. I didn't intend to offend them.
    Folks reaction to this is of their own making. Personally, I took a look at it this morning and headed to the gym. No excuses.
    Allow yourself to be motivated, or let yourself be infuriated. But don't blame Ms. Kang for your reaction.

    ps - I'd drink wine with you, too.

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    1. Yes, we'd be good wine drinking buddies.

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  12. Sorry, but I idolize women like her, not because I want her body but because she works hard on it and that to me is amazing. I'm tired of the pity me fat women who make all the excuses in the world from the moment of pregnancy to having the child. To even accuse her of not having those children is BS, and bitter and jealousy. Giving birth is hard freaking work, along with the 10 months of pregnancy so to tell a woman she didn't bring those babies into this world totally discredits your thoughts and opinions in my eyes. I love seeing women (and men) like this, it does inspire me to work hard to get the best out of myself. And yeah, she does look pretty close to that, as she posted a cell phone pic on her FB page, she isn't skinny, she has muscle definition AND curves, not every woman has to have huge tits to have curves thank you very much. People need to stop complaining about her, I didn't see anyone complaining about the obese whale who wanted to reach over 600 lbs, had her own website for people to pay to see her eat! But oh gosh, let us complain about this amazing woman.

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    1. Truth! And...if you check out her website you'll see photos of her when she was a bit thick and chunky. She's worked hard for her results.

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    2. Okay, the fact that I said they weren't her kids and she got them at the farmer's market was obviously a joke. Of course they are her kids. C'mon, I can't believe you would think this was not a joke. I have had four pregnancies, two which went to live birth, so I think I know how hard it can be. Not to mention getting back into shape after pregnancy.

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    3. "I'm tired of all the pity me fat women" You know that eating disorders go two ways, right? You are incredibly harsh. Not nice at all.

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  13. The kids were definitely purchased at a farmers market. I agree. And, I agree-we as fitness 'people' have our blogs to build one another up...not tear people down for not 'looking like a super model.'
    Beauty comes in many packages. Fake, isn't one of them.

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  14. My only issue with her is this idea that she's "sick of people making excuses". Why is she concerning herself with others? Let them live their lives. She can live hers. I think those who inspire simply by being active and persistent are much more successful in spreading the joy of fitness. This kind of "in your face" posing turns people off (clearly) and makes people in dire need of fitness feel like giving up before they even start.

    It's fine to lead by example, but this kind of provocation is, to me, tactless and purposely harsh to a bunch of strangers she has no right to judge.

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  15. Oh, I'm going there myself. Wrote a blog post today and will edit it tomorrow. In short, I don't get all the hysteria over this. I don't understand why those who choose to be offended (and yes, it's a choice) give her power over their emotions and self esteem. I'm just fascinated by this whole thing.

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    1. I completely agree! I wonder if the photo featured a guy, would we get the same kind or level of response? (I personally don't think so.) That said, it's been an interesting window into people's psychology about how they feel about their bodies.

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  16. You know what I thought when I read her story? What enormous pressure she has on her now to maintain her appearance. Could you imagine it? She can't slip even a little because now everyone is watching her.

    I will never look like her but I like how I look and the qualities people see in me. I get to dress up this Sunday as a fairy for a 10K and no one will judge (because it is a fairy themed Halloween run). Moreover, I can fart all I want and no one will judge me (well yes they will but they won't say it out loud).

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  17. Coming from a mother of FOUR young children,(who is also a fitness nut),she really doesn't annoy me. I don't think this woman is purposely trying to insult anyone,but i DO understand why others have gotten the wrong message from her though.
    I think fitness comes in all shapes and sizes and just because a person looks like what society deems healthy, it doesn't or shouldn't set the standard for what every female should aspire to look like. I think this picture may piss other ppl off who work just as hard,(or harder) who don't make any excuses either..... and still don't or wont look like her. I don't think she was making a direct attack to others,i think she was saying,"look I have a busy life with 3 small children and I stll make time for myself to get in shape--if I can do it,so can you" . perhaps if she made a statement like that without a picture,maybe not so much negative attention would have ensued?
    I am NOT one to draw attention to myself,i stay covered in they gym when I work out and just get my work done and leave. I have a busy life outside of the gym. not many ppl know i have 3 pro cards,i don't brag about it. i DO have a blog where i share my experiences competing, i don't force my lifestyle on others. im just your average mom.....who loves to run and workout!
    if anyone wants to slam me for what I looked like 7 MONTHS after my 3rd child,take a look at the pics in the link below...and FYI, I competed in a triathalon 2 weeks prior..and then few moths later I got knocked up with my 4th baby,lol!(but I competed again 10 months later at the Pro level)
    http://melissacunninghamifpapro.blogspot.com/2011/05/brief-recap.html

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  18. I don't see anything wrong with it. She posted it originally on her own facebook page, not on a billboard. I see it as, what's your excuse not to be the most healthy, fit person you can be, not that she thinks we should all look like her. I am also appalled by the comments I've read on other sites about her by women. Women are so much harder on other women than men are.
    If a guy posted this picture looking buff with 6 pack abs and his 3 kids, people would think, wow he looks great. Guys would think, if I got in the gym and ate clean I could do that too. People wouldn't be saying cruel things like, "he must never spend time with his kids," or trying to tear him down.

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  19. Nail on the head! I work out six days a week for atleast an hour, eat well, and look NOTHING like that. Should I be ashamed? Hell no! I'm PROUD!

    I bet she totally runs to the bathroom to fart.

    Sarah
    www.thinfluenced.com

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  20. I'm making excuses. I have 4 kids and severe osteoarthritis in my hip. It fucking hurts to WALK. The "no excuses" thing bothers me more than she does. She's pretty. But she seems a little obsessive and hyper driven. Not sure how truly healthy her lifestyle is. Wonder if she'll wind up with really crappy perimenopause or adrenal fatigue due to never allowing an excuse to squeeze in there. That's a whole lot o' pressure to live with :)

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  21. I'm not offended at all, but I don't get offended easily- people are going to do what they want, no matter what I think :)

    However, as someone who had an ED several years ago and the mother of a just-turned 1 year old, if I were to do more than just gloss over the picture, it would probably do a number on my self-esteem more than inspiring me to work out more. It sure as heck is inspiring that she's worked so hard, but I have to adamantly resist comparing my circumstances with hers (she has THREE kids & can work out an hour a day along with working outside the home? I just have one and can't do that much!) I also know that those ED triggers & tendencies are always laying just under the surface, so I'd almost worry she's not quite as healthy as we may think. It's impossible to read that kind of stuff from one picture, though, you know?

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    1. I think you make some good points. Thanks.

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  22. She should have captioned it differently. It doesn't inspire me at all. I have 3 kids, I work out, and I don't look anything close to that. I have no excuse, I guess, so now I feel bad about myself because I'm not rock solid with washboard abs.

    Also, this is why I don't like the workout community. It's all about looks, while the running community is all about personal improvement.

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  23. I don't have kids, and it doesn't inspire me.

    I think for those who have decent self esteem it doesn't bother them...but I struggle mightily with my weight, making time for work, a personal life, sleep, eating healthy and this just makes me feel like crap.

    Whether it should or shouldn't really isn't the point. If you want to post something that can be taken in such polar opposite ways, you need to be prepared for the good AND bad. I wish it didn't affect me, I wish I didn't tear myself down at every opportunity, but I do, and something like this doesn't help. Especially when men or other women like to bring it up and say "See? She has way more on her plate than you so you should just do better".

    I just don't like the connotation that her quotation brings, I guess. The no excuses part makes me think that it just glosses over everyone's circumstances - physically, emotionally, and mentally. Do I have 3 kids, 2 jobs, and workout an hour a day? No, but I'm struggling with other things in my life that make it hard to make time for myself. People who post things like this are trying to be motivating, but not everyone is like you...even those of us who are "less busy".

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  24. I LOVE THIS!!! You know what is really funny? I said the "bet she doesnt even fart" comment to a pal the other day!! True, I did. Her pic doesn't inspire me AT. All. I look at it and think...not in a million f'n years will I ever look that good, hot, perfect. Its not inspiring. BUT I ADMIRE IT! I do wonder how she can work out like she does with the 3 toddlers. But then I am childless, WTF do I know? I am pretty proud of where I have come from. Wont look like that. Not unless I have plastic surg. Then I would have to stop running and would be one crazy ass bitch, So staying imperfect and hopefully inspiring myself to keep going further will save the world from my craziness....

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  25. She looks great... Good for her! I do a bootcamp and wrk hard for my body at 45 n 3 kids. It is NOT easy. I don't begrudge anyone that wrks hard and she sounds like an over achiever! As an RN I'm deeply disturbed at the number of extremely over obese I see each day. It's heart breaking. I hate to see what our society will look like in 50 yrs. it's sad that she is getting so much flak for this... Thanks for the post...she's not perfect but has learned from past mistakes... N will hopefully raise a healthy happy family.

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  26. YOU kick ass. SHE kicks ass. Isn't there room for all of us? Haters gonna hate, but she didn't get there sitting on the couch after 3 babies. I say good for her. Not everyone can Ironman. Not everyone can 5k. But if she motivates someone to get off his or her bahookey and walk for even 15 minutes a day - then amen. Some of us are SUAR and some of us need Maria (some need Jenny Craig... some need Russell Simmons...). It takes all kinds, and it's all good at the end of the day if we're all taking steps to better health. If one person got us all motivated, there wouldn't be a huge fitness industry. We'd all be doing Jane Fonda videos and watching reruns of "Lilias, Yoga, and You".

    That being said - I'd still rather go drinking with you.

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    1. Your comment about Russell Simmons just made me laugh…… It's Richard Simmons….sweatin' to the oldies….. Russell Simmons is the hip-hop mogul. Some people might need him too though…. LOL You kick ass too!!!

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  27. And Jane Fonda had us all 'making it burn' while she was bulimic for 30+ years. She had a nice body and worked out too.

    This gal does look fabulous! Even at my fittest and thinnest I never looked that good, and sure as hell not after having kids, so yup... I'm a wee bit jealous.

    I laughingly told my husband tonight that though I've been on a 1000-1200 calorie a day diet (logging every thing I eat) I'm not losing any weight... and might have to actually EXERCISE! Oh the horror! (I actually do toning exercises, but apparently they aren't enough.) Middle age has not been kind.

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  28. I just thought: Wow, she's awfully full of herself. You don't get to hold YOURSELF up as an example what everyone else should be like.

    That's not particularly smart. Or compassionate/understanding.

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  30. A few years ago I blogged about a friend I met while mountain biking. She walked the local trail with her 2 dogs. She was fast and always upbeat. She also has fibromyalgia. I posted the question, "What are you doing to be active?" and got slammed by an anonymous commenter. I think people who get offended are looking for offenses.

    Maria doesn't bother me. Super models don't bother me. I played with Barbies as a kid and didn't get a complex from her either. Maybe I'm just not wired that way. I ran a tough 10 miler today and was very proud of the mountain I conquered - nobody can take that from me because I won't let them.

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    1. Love this, so true "People who get offended are looking for offenses" nuf said!

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  31. I have two things with this picture and with her whole idea:

    - It's automatically judgemental of the viewer. She's not saying 'you too can be the best you can be!' The tag line 'What's your excuse' assumes we're not as fit/capable as her, and so that immediately makes us defensive. I think it's worse if it's on her private Facebook page - if a friend of mine did that, I'd tell them to pull their head out of their ass! Who is she to judge me, and why is she suddenly the standard?

    - Even if she prioritises exercises, and works hard at it, she's lucky to find the time. I have friends in London who work all day, commute an hour home, pick up the kids, feed and wash them, put them to bed. Then it's 9pm and they can start their own dinner. But they know they have to be up at 6am to start the process again, so exercise can't be a priority. Not taking anything away from this gal's hard work - plenty of mothers work awfully hard too, and that's their excuse. What are the chances they see that pic and feel adequate? Way to support your fellow female, Maria.

    Not a fan after seeing this pic - how smug can a woman get?

    Phew - that's got me too riled for a Saturday morning! I'm off for a run.

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  32. Hooah for her. She is a testament to women everywhere that if you want something bad enough you CAN have it! She wants to be a healthy mom and role model for her kids. At 50, I wanted to be a runner. In one year I went from running to the pantry for another cookie, to running my first have marathon. Lost 40lbs in the process. We are a mean society and everyone will tell you a million reasons why you can't do something while trying to make money off you telling you that you can do it. We choose to listen to the negative rather than the positive, It's your choice to rise above an listen to positive.

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  33. I think she looks incredible and while I'm sure she has some super-human genetics at work, she obviously busts her ass to look the way she does. Yeah, her message might be a bit strong to some, and of course there are people out there who have legitimate excuses for not working out or having abs like hers (carrying a child caused my ab muscles to split and no amount of planks will ever make them look like hers, though that doesn't mean I don't still work on keeping them strong). Maybe she should have modified her message a bit, but overall I'm with her...I think most people out there would be surprised to learn what you can do with a little bit of time and determination. My husband was DX'd with rheumatoid arthritis 6 years ago and told her would be on disability in 10 years. He was in so much pain he couldn't even kick a soccer ball across the yard to our girls. Did this stop him? No. He started swimming and gradually got some range of motion back, enough to start exercising in other ways again and to vastly improve his quality of life. I guess my point is, we aren't all going to be visions of perfection and we might not all have an hour a day to devote to the gym or the physical capabilities to do that, but I do believe we can strive to be our personal best.

    As someone who struggled with being the chubby kid and teen, then went through an even longer struggle with disordered eating, I get so angry when people make sarcastic comments about how I'm just naturally thin, or how lucky I am that I love running so much (like that makes all the ass busting I do not count somehow). No, I'm not naturally thin and I still struggle everyday with some of my old eating related demons, and yes, I work really hard to be trim and healthy because it's so important to me and the lifestyle my family leads. I think this woman looks amazing and if she wants to post a picture displaying the result of all her labors, then more power to her. I've posted finish line photos of races that I've been proud of, and I always tell people who say "Oh, I could never even run 1 mile" that actually, of course they could if they tried and trained....to me, it's not so different.

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  34. I just want to answer one of your thoughts... "can she do an iron man?" Probably not. ;)

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  35. I hadn't heard/seen anything about her until your post. I have to tell you that the picture on my facebook feed cuts her off just below the boobs so all you see is her lower half and the 3 kids - looks like that little one just fell out ;-). I was like, "WTF is Beth posting??" LOL And, I knew you were kidding about her buying her kids at the farmer's market. They don't even sell kids there..... well, maybe the goat variety. OK, I'm really just posting to help you reach your goal of 31,000 comments. This lady doesn't inspire me. But if she inspires others then OK.

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  36. You know what I think? I think she would be miserable to live with.

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  37. I wasn't all up in arms like some people were about her, but I certainly wasn't really impressed, either. I mean, is it impressive that she does all that she does and she looks the way she looks? Sure. But to post in a sports bra with her kids all perfect looking and say "What's your excuse?" Um... kinda stupid, and insensitive. Like you said, genetics play a part in the way she looks. She can't take ALL the credit. Plus, that picture was probably retouched. And yes, I'm jealous and have no real excuse for being as lazy as I can be. But still. Her message comes across less inspiring and more... show-offy.

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  38. The photo doesn't inspire me but it also doesn't make me feel bad about myself. She posted this picture on her Facebook page... like you mentioned, FB is for bragging and attention seeking! If you don't like it, don't look at it. I think people are 1. Jealous and 2. saying things to THEMSELVES in response to the picture. The picture says what's your excuse. It doesn't say, "You have to look like me to be healthy and happy". If that's what the pic says to you, that's because you said it, not her.

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  39. Good for her for making exercise a priority, but I think the caption was quite judgemental. There are all sorts of reasons why people might not look like her, just like there are all sorts of reasons that people might not prioritise exercise as much as she does. People can be healthy without the body of a fitness model, and shouldn't we be focusing on health rather than abs? Women are bombarded with images of how we "should" look all the time (as are men, in the interests of fairness) and so many women adopt unhealthy practices to reach this goal. I'm not suggesting that she has done that, but, by just looking at her picture and caption she's adding just another image to make women feel like they're not enough, in my opinion. And, judging from her picture, she looks like she never farts when running! And yet, she must be used to a certain amount of gas with three small kids!

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  40. I have worked my butt off (literally and figuratively) - I've lost 85 pounds - and when people ask me how and I tell them watching what I eat and exercising, they beg me to tell them that there's another way. I tell them if there was, I would have done it before now, because I tried just about everything before finally starting at the gym, but I am happy now with the results. And I don't follow this "mom", but I wonder what she has accomplished. Working out in a gym is VERY different from racing - I have completed 8 half marathons (I have 5 more scheduled, including one tomorrow), I'm running Marine Corps Marathon next weekend, I've run 5 mud runs and a triathlon (just a sprint, but my goal is to make next year about triathlons). However, having been overweight my whole life, I find myself immediately rejecting words like thin, beautiful, pretty, or skinny when they are applied to me. All I see is the excess skin that remains and that last 10 pounds that I wish I could lose.

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  41. I admire her and I like her message. I don't think it condemns folks who are overweight or brings them down. Great genes or not, the message is clear to me. You as a person, can always do SOMETHING. Even if that something doesn't leave you looking like Maria. Maria takes the validity out of the usual excuses, rationalizations and justifications people come up with so they don't have to address their health and fitness.. I think that's what really gets to people. I have a thyroid disorder but that said, I am a healthy weight, run half marathons, do triathlons and generally stay active. So many people say to me (not knowing I have a thyroid condition), I have thyroid issues so I'll never be able to get to a healthy weight, run, swim, or fill in the blank. Sometimes I tell them I do too and other times I just let it go. Those I tell scoff. They tell me I'm just lucky. I work my ASS off. I make time to train. I have a full time job, a significant other, you know a regular life. Still, I am maintaining a healthy weight and am active despite my condition. The bottom line is, in my opinion, people want a way justify not taking action to make their lives better. Maria is smacking all of the usual excuses in the face. That's what hurts.

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    1. I agree with you 100% she's not talking to those of us who are active, she's talking to all of those who are making excuses to be non-active.

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  42. What Farmers Market??! Mine only sells girls!

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  43. When I first saw this picture on FB, it made me uncomfortable, but I wasn't sure why. I'm 45. I have 3 daughters, all of whom I've watched struggle with an outside ideal of what they are supposed to look like. I myself struggled with it in my younger days...something about hitting 40 made not give a shit what other people think anymore. Interesting that my 40's are probably some of the healthiest years I've had since my high school/early college workout craze/eat healthy years. I think my biggest problem with this picture is this. It sets up one more goal for young women that simply cannot be reached by many and certainly won't be sustainable for a lifetime. I also couldn't help but wonder what Maria's xanax dosage is bc just reading about her life almost made me have a panic attack, and I'm just as hard of a worker and good mommy as she is. It's just not a sustainable ideal. Neither is Cinderella. Kudos to Maria, but don't send the message that everyone CAN look like you if they just try hard enough. That's like saying anyone could be a heart surgeon if they just tried hard enough. Really?

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  44. Honestly, I could care less - this would be one of those pictures that come up in my feed and that i would go past without much thought. I might on some level think - she looks great but I'll never look like that no matter what (true). It wouldn't necessarily speak to me either way on a motivational level or a negative level.

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  45. I think the picture is inspiring to others and i get the message but just like everything that is on Facebook it is very self-serving. I have recently gotten off of Facebook just because of this type of thing. I have many runner connections and I see this self glorification all the time. How many likes can a BQ or PR get? It does kind of get old. To answer your question... no i bet she has never crapped herself on a run, vomited, burped up gatorade or fart. Who knows, I sadly have done all of the above...

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  46. I wanted her to post how many miles she can run.

    The "What's your excuse?" IS shaming, and the research supports the notion that shaming does NOT motivate people to adopt healthy lifestyle habits. When people feel good about themselves (see: opposite of SHAMED), THEN they desire to do things that a good for their body.

    It isn't a pissing contest. She's not more of a woman because she has a six pack any more than having longer hair makes her more of a woman. She's not my ideal (which is great, because I can tell from this picture that we have different body types and put on weight in different areas). To tell me she SHOULD be my ideal is beauty imperialism, and who has time for that?

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  47. I don't know how "What's your excuse?" is much different than "Shut up and run!" The idea is - we all have the same number of hours in the day. If you want to be healthy shut the heck up and DO something about it! I can feel what she means - I get REALLY tired of people telling me how "lucky" I am to be thin. Um, no. I work my A$$ off to be in-shape - luck has absolutely nothing to do with it. I won't ever look like her (unless my husband buys me boobs for Christmas...) but it sure as heck motivates me that SOMEONE looks like that - especially someone who (aside from the boob thing) isn't all that different than me. We all have the same amount of hours in the day. You can spend it bashing her for doing the most she can for what's important to her or you can spend it doing the most YOU can for what's important to you. Right? I happen to like in-your-face type folks - the ones who tell it like it is (especially you, Beth). She looks HER best - and she shouldn't be condemned for saying how she got there. Some people really should be embarrassed by how they live (NOT how they look - although often the two coincide). Shaming sure as heck works for me - it's a big motivator, actually.

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  48. Could she do an Ironman?! Of course she could! If she TRAINED. Just like you did.

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  49. The problem with the image is the text. Being proud of your body, fitness, career, family, life is admirable. The text comes off as judgmental of others, which is the opposite of admirable.

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    1. I agree! I thought the picture was awesome, but the "what's your excuse?" came across as not-so-nice.

      Btw, *my* excuse is that I am just not willing to make the kind of sacrifices necessary to have a body like that. I'm all over my workouts, but also require daily doses of wine, chocolate and/or peanut butter. It's just not worth it to me to live without my little treats and, honestly, who's going to see my abs anyway??

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  50. Pre-kids, I looked exactly like her. Then came two miscarriages, one healthy though anemic pregnancy where I was scared to death to work out and have something go wrong (grief knows no logic), a VERY high needs son who was finally diagnosed as having mild autism, another miscarriage, another anemic pregnancy where exercise scared me, and as I type, I'm pregnant again. I would work out and try to get healthy the whole time between pregnancies. BUT, my muscles were shredded. I barely succeeded in starting to close them this past spring, but then, it required literally hundreds of stomach contractions a day. I seriously couldn't keep it up with my son's therapy and my daughter being two. You could call them excuses, but I say life throws you curves. I decided that training for a 5k was more important than having washboard abs. Short of surgery, it's not going to happen for me. While it has really hit my self confidence in the past few years, I, like some of the other posters, am becoming more concerned about my daughter and the unreal images that they are expected to attain. This just feeds into that. It's the fact that many magazines wrote mean things about the Duchess of Windsor the day AFTER she had her baby. It's the constant magazine articles dedicated to losing baby fat and baby weight as if it is the only thing that we should be focused on. I think being healthy: working out so that your body is strong and fit, eating well, and having a healthy balance of family time is far more important than trying to attain a certain body image that society keeps prescribing.

    The reason that SUAR is more motivating than her pic is that it is an internal cue....almost something that you would tell yourself. However, you would never tell yourself what's your excuse. (Maybe you would say I should quit making excuses...) Anyway, the cheesecake pose combined with the caption almost mocks anyone that doesn't have the time, genes, or desire to commit themselves to that ideal. I have far more respect for women that workout for sport than those that work out for attention. I would have far more respect for her position if she had posed in say, running gear instead of posing like an NFL cheerleader. Women aren't sex objects and it almost has the effect of saying that you must look like a sexy mom to have worth. Moms are under enough pressure as it is. How about a happy, fit mom? (Even if you don't look magazine ready.) I'd rather be a happy and fit mom. Hopefully once this morning sickness and exhaustion subsides, I can get back to it again.

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    1. "I think being healthy: working out so that your body is strong and fit, eating well, and having a healthy balance of family time is far more important than trying to attain a certain body image that society keeps prescribing."

      Exactly!!!

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  51. I wouldn't have known about this had I not run across your blog. Ignorance is bliss and I don't use inter web crap to motivate or inspire. I actually have a life off the net most of the time...

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  52. You hit the nail on the head. As an advocate for healthy living regardless of how busy one's life is, this does not encourage it. Also, I'll put money on it that her photographer did some editing.

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  53. So that's how I can get more readers!

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  54. She's not selling health, fitness or self worth in this picture. She's only selling sex appeal. I have no problem with sex. In fact, I really like it. But showing the world that she can be a sexy mother who takes care of old people while her long hair flows in the breeze and her perfect abs ripple isn't going to enamor me to her.

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  55. This is the first I've heard of the whole photo thing. I'd like to know how a photo = healthy. Which is not what she's saying. She's not mentioning health - or fitness - but 100% superficiality of fitness. The superficial side of the fitness reality. She could have a cholesterol count of over 235 for all we know. Pictures don't prove healthiness or fitness! (as we all know.) Instagram and fitspiration photos do the exact opposite. It's silly. I just don't understand when people take photos of their "fitness progression" (because six-pack abs in a photo mean you are healthy??) plastering their half naked bodies to prove something. It's proving NOTHING. It proves, yet again and again, that society is so fixed on the PHYSICAL aspects of fitness instead of really being healthy - and the more that we take pictures like this - the more far away from progress we get. It should not be about saying "look like this". No one ever said "this is how you LOOK healthy." The whole saying that was going around about, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels?" Really? You can be skinny, and be unhealthy. Duh. We need to stop focusing on how healthy should "look". I'm not angered by this photo at all - she just falls right into the mold of all the fitness magazines and the whole fitness "look" culture. It's absolutely typical and doesn't shock me at all.

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  56. If she really wanted to be inspriring, she would have posted before and after pics, (especially since she says she isn't naturally skinny). She also sounds like an extreme overachiever, which makes me want to hate her...well, maybe not hate her, maybe just not like her a lot. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to write another 30, 917 comments for you, because I like you way better.

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  57. You post is awesome. If she really understood nutrition and the way the body works she wouldn't be so careless. Everyone is different. I would gain 60 lbs in a pregnancy and it took over a year or more to get it off. It happens. Doesn't mean I wasn't fit. People can be obese and be malnutritioned.
    It's just bad Karma.

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  58. I love your take on this! You said everything I was thinking when I saw this.

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  59. I refuse to judge her but I have to leave a comment so that Flower doesn't have to write all 30,915 comments herself.

    I find your blog inspiring. I don't quite have the "shut up and run" mentality down 100% yet but I am working on it. I find you inspiring because you simply tell it like it is...farts...hollow trees....everything.

    There Flower now you only have 30, 914 comments to go.

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    1. Thanks 500 miles but I gave up after 1 comment. Apparently, I am not quite the Overachiever that Maria Kang is...

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  60. You are hilarious! She probably cuts those silent and deadlies...then blames it on the smallest one that can't defend himself (just kidding). That's what I do. I actually took no offense to her posting. She looks great and appears to have worked hard for everything she has.

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  61. Even if I had abs like that after my 2 kids, which I'm working on, you would still have to airbush the stretch marks out of the picture. Maybe because I waited to have kids til my 30's. Maybe my skin would have been more elastic giving birth in my 20's, but no way was I prepared to be a parent at that time. I'll take my stretchmarks continue to eat my chocolate and drink my wine and parent the 2 greatest kids on Earth.

    My goal is not to compare myself to other women but to make my life a little bit better, easier, happier, more fun, financially secure than my mother and grandmother's lives. Then to make my children's lives better yet. To compare yourself to other people is unfair because you can't control genetics (unless you're really good at science) but you can look at were you come from and improve on that. Leave the next generation in a better position than where you started.

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  62. I get why women find it offensive. I do. But to those women, I want to say - WHY do you let her make you feel like that?! We are all grown ass women. There is offensive stuff all over the internet. So why do you let some skinny lady get under your skin?? Own your body. Love it Be proud of it. Or don't. But don't blame your feelings and insecurities on some woman who posted something on the internet that wasn't even directed at you as an individual.

    People need to learn that the only thing you change about some situations is your own, personal reaction. I'm 29. I have no kids. My abs don't look like that. And I don't care. No one should. Let her do her thing, you do yours. If it inspires you, does good for you, take it. If it doesn't, just leave it be.

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  63. I had never heard of this woman or seen this picture until reading the post. I think the reactions that people are having are based upon wherever they are in their life at this time and what their past experiences have been. Unless you know Maria K. personally, none of us will ever know what her "true" intentions were in publishing this photo. I prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt and think that she was trying to be inspirational in a "you can do this, too!" kind of way, rather than a "why are you such a fat lazy sh*&" way. The photo doesn't bother me at all. As a mom of three young kids, I think "way to go"! (And no, I don't look anything like her and am not fitness model material by any stretch :)

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  64. I love this!!! All of you 9 points are spot on!

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  65. Glad you went there because I was afraid to ! LOL Kudos. Your sub-concious mind and where you are in your life this moment I believe contributes strongly to how you react to that post / comment by her. (maybe she was Photo-Shopped, just sayin') !! =) "Here's to the crazy ones..."

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  66. I am inspired by women like you and Maria. I can't even dream of running as fast as you and even if Maria's stretch marks are airbrushed - she still looks good.

    I try to use some of my own accomplishments when people give me there excuses why they can't exercise. I'm 56 and training for a 2:00 half marathon. And I won't even be in the top 20 of my age group. Too many competetive grandmothers out there.

    I've started a Couch to 5K group for a local 5K - hoping to help those who have had excuses in the past. I'm encouraged by the women who I have been e-mailing me and saying"I always wanted to do one, but didn't know how to start"

    Maybe Maria's picture might inspire just one person to get off the couch.

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  67. I'm almost 50, mom of 5, grandma to 2 and I run half marathons. I'm too skinny and have no curves and I'm ok with that. Maria looks good. I give her credit for what she has accomplished. I don't think she meant "everyone should look like me" but if you stop making excuses you can accomplish so much. Let's face it a lot of why we don't make good choices are really just excuses - this morning I didn't get up and run because I was tired - I *was* tired but so what. I'm tired every morning at 6 am! So we need to own our decisions. Did we make a bad health choice because we have a legitimate reason ... or just out of laziness? We all know the truth in our personal live but people get so defensive. So let's all be a little benevolent. Marie obviously has some good genes; she works hard; let's not assume there must be something wrong because she has accomplished something we might not be able to do.

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  68. BTW Beth, you crack me up! My husband runs with me and when he starts to whine, I tell him to "shut up and run!". And, yes, we're still married. And still running together!

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  69. I think you owe me a new laptop because this line made me spit tea all over my keyboard! "Do you think she ever craps her pants on the run? Naw, she’s too perfect. She probably doesn't even fart."

    I thought I was the only one to ever crap myself on a run until I came to this blog. You may just be my favorite person ever!

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  70. Yeah, ditto to a couple of the above comments: I'm pretty sure I can kick her ass in a running race. I don't care what she looks like compared to me. I just want her to see what really being fit means...it's a lot more than how you look. To me, it means how far can you push yourself. And it just looks like she pushes only to look good in a bikini.

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