Everything that went wrong in 2014

December 31, 2014

From severe acne, weight gain, war zones and betrayal – how everything that went wrong, really went right in 2014.

Like most, I began this year with high hopes, a set timeline and a desire to hit resolutions. Despite ending the prior year at a low after being banned by Facebook for supposed hate speech, I was ready to take my newfound public platform and motivate others to stop making excuses. In January, I launched the No Excuse Mom Movement, which included our first annual Fit Mom Swimsuit Calendar and the organization of hundreds of free workout groups in 25 countries. In the process, I was featured in Oxygen magazine, the cover of Shape Malaysia, filmed ABC Nightline and Dr. Oz and appeared regularly on HLN and News10. Not only did I write and finish my first book, The No More Excuses Diet, but I also traveled to Hawaii for a family reunion, went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (Israel), and boarded my first family cruise to the Caribbean. From an outsider’s standpoint, it seemed like an incredible year! And it was.

But as I reflect on all the things that seemingly went right, in-between the headlines and Facebook posts, there are private stories of strife. Often times we see the highlight reel of a person’s life, not realizing that in order to see one’s strength, there was a prior struggle.

When I began my journey this year, I was in a lot of pain. After years devoted to hosting free fitness programs, mom groups and eBooks, I was internationally chastised as a famous fat-shamer who brought women’s liberalism back 50 years. While critics distressed me, they didn’t deter me – I still believed that if we empowered the leaders of our homes, we can change the health of our nation. So, I directed this tumultuous energy towards No Excuse Moms, and I taglined our movement, Health Starts at Home.

While bringing on NEM regional managers and hosting a new calendar contest, I was blessed with the opportunity to write a book with Penguin Random House. For someone who wrote her first book in 3rd grade, became a published poet in 6th grade and became a freelance writer in her twenties, this was a synchronized break to put on paper, what I know for sure, about fitness, nutrition and creating a solid program to build your best self.
Around the time I started writing The No More Excuses Diet, I began suffering from acne. For someone who rarely has pimples, especially during puberty, it was an aggravating experience. Every week, new pimples, formed on my forehead and would leave scars and additional flesh-colored comedones under my skin. While vanity played a small role, being a public face that appeared regularly on TV was not easy when dealing with severe acne. I remember one morning, months after the breakout began, and I couldn’t get out of bed. Up to that point, while I was incredibly insecure, I continued to work, do media, go the gym, attend events and be present at every sports practice, while hiding under hats, layers of foundation and investing in several topical acne solutions/medications. That particular morning I had to assess a new resident for my care home. My face was inflamed and my skin was brutally scarred.

I hit my low – and couldn’t keep a joyful attitude anymore. I was stressed from so much stress – and while I don’t show it on the outside, the stress was manifesting, in the form of acne, from the inside out.

I was fatigued from building the NEM organization, managing my care homes, cleaning the house, cooking daily meals, caring for my kids and writing my book at the end of each day. Not only was my face affected by internal stress, but my weight began to climb.

My clothes were tighter, my AB definition was disappearing, my bras were a bit snug and my fitness level was weaker. Lacking sleep, skipping meals and dealing with continuous injuries were taking its toll. Suddenly, I no longer felt like ‘Fit Mom’ and often felt fraudulent in trying to motivate others when I was also struggling to motivate myself.

When I finally completed the book, I rewarded this feat by journeying with my father on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We visited Galilee, Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, where I prayed at Holy sites like the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Mount Tabor, the Wedding Church in Cana, St. Peter’s House, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Western Wall, Dead Sea and Mount Calvary. While visiting the Mount of Beatitudes, we stopped on a hilltop overlooking the Syrian Border in Golan Heights. In disbelief, I could hear gunshots and see smoke from bombs in the city of Queneitra. According to CNN, the rebels recently seized the city days before after capturing UN Soldiers. I stood in horror, sadness, anger and humility.

I’ve often questioned life’s unfairness – after all, we don’t decide where we are born, who our parents are, what genetics we are given, or what experiences we will undergo. Life, on a large level is decided by fate, but, if you are blessed to have simple haves like water, shelter, food, family, faith and freedom, then live life to its fullest and give as much back as you possibly can.

Since then, I have woken up with gratitude every day because while there are so many with more, there are many more with less. Be prayerful about your perspective in life and know that life can be positive if you seek for it.

While I prayed for gratitude, it wasn’t an easy effort, especially when I discovered my Instagram page was hacked by a former NEM admin later this year. Despite being hurt by the betrayal of several past admins, I focused on the people who provided kind advice, called me out of concern and helped rebuild me when I felt completely broken. In my years of striving, I intuitively knew that there are reasons why people come in and out of your life. You will always deflect people who don’t resonate in your energy field and affect people who are.

So as I end 2014, while many things went ‘wrong’, they really were the right events to make me grow in strength, humility, passion, perseverance, love and forgiveness.  I am leaving with a few less untrustworthy people, plenty more passionate colleagues, a new understanding on stress, a greater gratitude for clear skin and a humble awareness that despite what I’m going through in life – I still get to live in a free country and utilize my free will to focus on what’s important: family, friends, faith and fitness.

Happy New Year Everyone.

My hubby voted against sharing this image, but I’m sharing anyways! This is an example of the acne I was dealing with. This wasn’t the worst stage either!

This is how we cover that up! Lots of foundation! I took this selfie during my People Magazine photoshoot.


In Jerusalem I visited the Holy Sepulcher, the church built over Mount Calvary. After Jesus was crucified and died, on this rock, they prepared his body for burial by wrapping him in linen and spices

More pictures of my pilgrimage to the Holy Land can be seen on my Instagram.

Never thought I could be a runner, but as I close 2014, I can say YES I am!
Join our No Excuse Runners group here and follow this motivational lady to my left here.

All pre-orders received my 60-mine Core Workout DVD (has 3 workouts), a Recipe Booklet and and entry for my 12-week challenge starting January 12th! Order at your favorite online retailers site and fill our the pre-order form on my website for your free gifts. So excited for this!


  • Reply christina January 5, 2015 at 1:44 am

    I almost never comment, but reading the comment above i have to say something. you are such an inspiration and i suffer from acne so it make me feel better to see people being honest and makes me feel like i’m not the only one in that boat… lol sorry for the run on sentence…. thank you so much for everything you do….

    • Reply Maria Kang January 5, 2015 at 7:39 am

      Thank you for your support!! Maria

  • Reply Allison January 6, 2015 at 5:23 am

    I never viewed your efforts as negatively as the media tried to make it out to be. There are many of women who raise children and still make the effort to do what it is they need to do to reach their goals. It takes hard work and discipline to do all of that and I commend you for not letting criticism deter you and instead, allowed it to fuel your creativity and continue on with your inspirational works. I’m happy your site exists! Congratulations on your success, girl!

    • Reply Maria Kang January 6, 2015 at 7:35 am

      Thank you so very much for your support! Best wishes, Maria

  • Reply Nikki January 7, 2015 at 1:25 am

    I’m sure you remember me, I’m the one you blocked for trying to help you, though it seems you don’t see it that way. Funny how we can’t force people to infer our intentions. Anywho, just thought you’d like to know that I and every other blogger who criticized you have since moved on and it’s time you did the same. Like I said, I’ve been banned from your page, but I can tell from the skyrocketing readership of my ONE blog post about you whenever you decide to play the victim again. There were like maybe five of us who spoke out against you, and we each wrote ONE post, and here it is over a year later, and you’re the ONLY one still dwelling on YOUR fuck up. Who are you trying to convince you were in the right? Your critics or yourself? I’ll make a deal with you, agree to drop the subject, and I’ll delete my post, even though it generates the most traffic to my blog, it’s time we all moved on. Here it is, in case you forgot:
    PS: You don’t have the right to criticize women for opting for manicures over a gym membership when YOU have fake french tips in EVERY photo. That’s called hypocrisy. Google it.
    PPS: Most moms (and dads) don’t have time and money for five vacations a year. Stop saying you’re just like any other mom when you’re clearly quite privileged.
    PPPS: For the record; nobody gives a single furry flying fuck about you diet and exercise habits. Not once have you been “fit shamed”. You were merely called out for fat shaming. Learn from it and move on.
    PPPPS: Either get neutered or stop bitching about the cost of obesity to the healthcare system, especially considering TAX PAYERS are funding your OBGYN care! OB care has always and will always be the biggest drain on the healthcare system. Especially unplanned high risk pregnancies.

    • Reply Nikki January 7, 2015 at 4:20 am

      Oh, and before you label me as “undisciplined” based solely on my appearance (as you’re wont to do; judge people for how they look), I’m a vegan living in a small town in Virginia. You don’t know what discipline is until you’ve eaten a veggie patty at Denny’s stone cold sober 🙂 In fact, if you read my blog, you’ll find several idiot proof, low-cal recipes.

      • Reply Nikki January 7, 2015 at 4:25 am

        And if you scroll down to the comments, you’ll see I post EVERYTHING (except for ads) good, bad, and telling me to kill myself because I’m not afraid of confrontation.

    • Reply Maria Kang January 7, 2015 at 5:02 am


      Thank you for taking the time to write in. I have to thank the bloggers, good and bad for their helping in pushing media interest. The No Excuse Mom’s groups have surged to now record groups and members. You took my photo and chose to not look any deeper. I don’t fault you for that, negativity makes the loudest noise so the many negative bloggers actually gave me a voice and the many positive bloggers reaffirmed that they did, truly get the message in it’s proper context. I would love to send you my new book at no cost. You could read it or bash it, as long as you blog about it 🙂 Best wishes to you in this new year. Maria

      • Reply Nikki January 7, 2015 at 6:44 pm

        I’ll PM you my address and send you a copy of my book as well (once it’s published), feel free to bash it, as long as you blog about it too. I appreciate your response and to be honest, we probably agree more than we disagree, we just don’t like each other’s methods. I have absolutely no problem with encouraging healthy living, I only take issue with judging others for not being healthy. I don’t discuss my health habits often as they’re usually met with disbelief and I don’t want to come across as trying to justify my appearance, but I’m 5’2″ and 160ish lbs and 1000% happy with it. I use fitpal to keep my calories in check and with PCOS and several autoimmune disorders requiring use of steroids, I will never be smaller, and insisting it’s possible for people like me to be smaller can lead others not so happy with themselves to eating disorders. I’ve been T1D for over 2/3 of my life now, and you don’t live this long with T1D without practicing healthy habits, which is why I lose my shit when people like me are accused of being undisciplined. Even if someone has no genetic cause whatsoever for being fat, food can be an addiction, and addictions develop when people are trying to escape the reality of their shitty lives, so even then, it’s no reason to judge. I admittedly flew into a rage spiral when the story first hit, and the members of your fan club calling me names and telling me to kill myself only fueled the flames, so in hindsight, I should’ve taken it up with individual assholes instead of referring back to the original post. Best wishes to you and your family as well and I’m glad it seems we’ve all learned something.

        • Reply Maria Kang January 11, 2015 at 5:00 am

          I have always deplored name calling. I have even banned anyone who attacked others on my facebook. Everyone has a story. When I posted the picture, it was on my private facebook page geared at the people who were following me then. It went viral and most people thought I was was aiming it in every direction. At the end of the day I have always said that everyone can improve. There is nothing wrong with trying to get better than we already are. There is nothing wrong with failing as when we fail, we get stronger. I am humbly thankful when people take the time to read deeper and discover they can actually relate and resonate with my message. Context is everything and most people took the picture and the words and made their own context that fit how they were feeling at that very moment. The things people said, knowing nothing about me, having never met me or attended the free programs than I have done for years, hurt. But I excepted that as I put the picture out there, to be judged as much as people felt I was judging them. We live, we learn and the one thing that trumps any perception is the love and passion people put forth. That will be my legacy. Long after the picture fades and I am forgotten, if one woman or mother takes the one step of a thousand to getting healthier because of my efforts, I have succeeded. A person does not have to be thin to be healthy. I tell people that when I was at my thinnest, I was the unhealthiest I have ever been. Nikki, I wish you well in this amazing new year. Maria

  • Reply Casey January 16, 2015 at 2:55 am

    It is refreshing to read how you deal with extreme stress and still try your best to meet your goals! I really admire you and the wonderful message you stand behind. You’re one of my heroes Maria Kang! Please don’t ever stop blogging. 🙂

    – Casey

    • Reply Maria Kang January 16, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      Thank you Casey! Best wishes. Maria

  • Reply Naomi January 20, 2015 at 4:15 am

    Hi Maria, I never had a single pimple until about 3 years ago at the age of 32. I know EXACTLY how you feel. Here are a couple things that I think really helped me clear up my skin. YOGI (brand)- Skin Detox Tea & DIY Vitamin C serum. Please feel free to email me, if I could be of some more help to you with this.
    Sincecerly, Naomi

  • Reply Christina January 23, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    I think you are very inspirational, Maria! I have been very surprised by the negative publicity you received in the past. I have seen it on other boards & heated debates on whether or not your “fat shaming” I have never heard you say anything even close to fat shaming.

    Your “what’s your excuse” campaign actually made me ask myself “what IS my excuse?” and get back to it. I am guilty of making excuse – single mom, full time career, I’m tired, tomorrow. So, I stopped making excuses & just got to it. So thank you.

    Also, for the acne, I’m 41 & started breaking out like mad. Hormones they said. My Derm gave me 2 RX’s. In the morning I use Clyndamicin & at night, Retin-a. Cleared it right up.

    • Reply Maria Kang January 27, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      Thank you Christina ! Best wishes, Maria

  • Reply Anna (from Finland) January 29, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    You know, that “fat-shaming”- thing was news here in Finland too. It is actually quite interesting how people get offended so easily. I think you have a good thing going on here and you are right in promoting healthy eating and exercise.
    Because the truth is that no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves that being overweight is no big deal, it really is bad for your health. Ok, everyone can make the choice to stay overweight and I can accept that, but it is still not a normal state for human body. There are so many easy things that everyone can do to improve their health. Just eat more vegetables. Eat mostly unprocessed food. Make sure you stay physically active throughout the day. Sleep at least 7 hours a night. Small things that will improve everyone’s quality of life.
    It doesn’t mean that everyone has to buy a gym membership (although several studies suggest that weight training is beneficial to health) or run marathons. But can people honestly say that their life is better when they’re overweight? I can’t. Before I lost weight I was tired, depressed and surely didn’t feel like the best version of me. I wanted to have more energy to do fun stuff and the only way to achieve that was to start eating right and exercise a little more. As s side effect I lost 75 pounds. Just by wanting to be more active in my life. No calorie restricted diets, no counting of calories, not a single “fat-free”-labeled product, but healthy food with lots of nutrients and little exercise that I enjoyed.

    So before you start blaming Maria of fat-shaming, ask yourselves this: Are you the best version of yourself? Could it be that she’s actually right in promoting healthy lifestyle? Is your life really what you want it to be?

    I hope you have a wonderful time this year, Maria.


    • Reply Angela February 5, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      Hello Maria,
      I just wanted you to know that when I saw your “What is your excuse?” photo with your 3 children, it inspired me to join the 12 week body transformation challenge with Golds Gym. I went from 147 pounds to 119, 28% body fat down to 20%. Then, as you did, I posted my final picture with my 3 children, who were 1, 3, and 9. I labeled it “Inspiration.” Thank you for posting that photo!!

  • Reply CC June 3, 2015 at 12:43 am

    I know just how you felt, I had to go on prednisone for my asthma. I gained 20 lbs and got prednisone acne from it. I looked like a chipmunk. It took me 9 months of bike riding and two antibiotics to counteract the prednisone and to lose the weight I’d gained. Now I look like my old self. When I saw your picture that was what inspired me to ride and hike. I do 30 miles or more every weekend riding and try to hike at least twice a week and walk on every break and lunch time. I love feeling better and eating better and it’s because of your inspiring story that this 45 year old transformed her baby body and her mindset. Thank you.

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