Judging a book by its cover.

September 18, 2012

September 17, 2012

A picture of me and my three boys has gone viral on Facebook.

Innocently written on the top of the picture is “What’s your excuse?” Originally, I thought this would be a fun caption, as everyone has an excuse as to why they can’t workout and eat clean. It seemed illustrating a fit mother with three boys three years and under would inspire others to look at their personal excuses and train harder.

Or so I thought.

Immediately people started defining the photo based upon their own personal experiences. Some felt it was ‘insulting’ for mothers who were single, had post-partum depression or c-sections. Others were claiming the image was photo-shopped and that ‘there was no way I could look that good’ since they also exercised but didn’t see the same result. Many blamed genetics, wondered if I worked or if I had a nanny. A few insinuated I was an inferior mother because they would rather be with their kids than spend 30-60 minutes a day exercising.

The funniest thing I read is someone stating, “…she’s been active since the 5th grade! She loves to Exercise!”

My first experiences with exercise were triggered by my fear of being overweight because my genetics made me susceptible due to my mother. I became very conscious and took personal accountability for what I ate and how I treated my body at a young age. These precocious experiences developed the person of discipline, drive and determination that you witness today. I took P.E. seriously, I brought a bag lunch to school each day, and I rarely drank soda or ate fried cafeteria food. I educated myself because I intimately knew how difficult it was to struggle with poor body image as well as deal with health-related diseases. I didn’t decide to be a fit mother after giving birth, I made the decision years ago and planned my body and brain for the fight of its life after giving birth 3 times in 3 years.

Fast forward fifteen years later and those disciplines helped me excel as a business owner of a residential care home, a founder/director of a nonprofit and a writer for magazines, newspapers and online publications. Those disciplines helped me prioritize my life while raising three young boys back-to-back without the assistance of a nanny.

If it wasn’t for my early disciplines found in fitness, I wouldn’t understand the importance of being accountable for how you treat, respect and honor your body, your time and your life.  Whenever you challenge your body, mind and spirit towards an insurmountable goal, you become changed – you begin to see that life is your creation. You have the power through introspection, discipline and determination, to reach any goal, if you first believe.

You can’t believe if you make an excuse why it’s not possible.

I make it a point to surround myself with people who believe in possibilities….people that take excuses and redefine them as opportunities to build their spirit through adversities. Having three little boys while working built my spirit. Overcoming depression and recovering from Bulimia built my spirit.  Putting myself out there to be criticized built my spirit. But most of all…believing as a little girl that I can become the person I’ve created today, built my spirit.

People will judge our “covers” based upon their personal experiences. What many don’t see in that Facebook photo is the manifestation of a resilient spirit represented in my strong body and the ecstatic faces of me and my three boys. The people who did see that spirit are the only people I resonate with.

Follow me for tips on how real moms get in shape on Facebook here.

God Bless.


Follow me on Facebook Here: www.facebook.com/mariamkang

Photoshopped? I don’t know how to edit on my iphone! This shot was taken the day of the shoot


  • Reply Susan September 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I was one of the people who supported you and that photo. It’s sad that women can’t be genuinely supportive because they take one person’s success as a way to magnify their own shortcomings, but that is on them, not you. I see it as nothing but an inspiration and I have nothing but the utmost respect for your dedication and for your spirit. God Bless.

    • Reply Maria Kang September 18, 2012 at 3:08 pm

      Thanks so much Susan. I appreciated your support!!!!

  • Reply Alisha Warren September 18, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    People will always find something negative to fill their void. I think you are a great role model for all of us mothers and single women who are stuck with the negative thoughts of getting in shape. I just started reading your blogs and I find it very motivating. Thank-you!

  • Reply Jim Esten September 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I think Taylor Swift of all people has put it best … “people throw rocks at things that shine”. As a culture we’re quick to judge, never mind that everything we judge has a backstory we don’t know. Once we step back and realize that, the perspective changes. On the surface, yeah, you’re a beautiful young mother of three who is no doubt blessed with some genetic disposition that, at this point in your life, allows you to enjoy being and looking healthy. That in NO WAY discounts what you did to get there and NO ONE has any right to judge what you do to stay there. We’re all on a journey.

  • Reply Toni Su September 18, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    It’s sad to hear how people took your photo negatively. My initial reaction is that your photo is an inspiration to all women out there to treat your body as the best instrument you can ever have. Fitness is not about being in your slimmest figure but feeling good about yourself and embracing the person you are. Your blog and spirit, Maria makes me want to continue eating healthy and getting more physically active. Haters going to hate, I guess. God bless you too and your adorable family.

  • Reply What Do You Think When You See This? | My Friend Betty Says… September 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    […] What makes this picture offensive to some? Is it the caption? If people take the time to read her story, they will quickly find out […]

  • Reply Kerry September 18, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Good for you for pushing back! Why bother look at themself when they can poke at the person who actually IS working hard, caring for her family and caring for her body?!?! You’re an inspiration to all moms, whether they want to see it or not. You look great! Keep on keepin’ on!

  • Reply April Lambert September 18, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I think its a gorgeous picture! Your children are happy and healthy. You look happy! Shame on those haters for downing your hard work. I reposted it on my page because I considered it an inspirational picture! You keep going..Despite all you do in life, there will always be a negative Debby downer!

    Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.
    Leon J. Suenes

  • Reply Meagan Norris September 18, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    This was a pleasure to read. I don’t know you, but I support you and admire your accomplishments. I’m a Beachbody coach and a friend posted your photo in our Challenge Group. That lead me to your blog post. Though not on this level, I can relate. I’m a mother of two boys and my fitness and health is a priority. I schedule workouts like dental appointments and don’t miss them. Sometimes people react negatively to my success from a place of insecurity and frustration. MOSTLY, people want information, want to know how to take control (hence, I became a Beachbody coach).

    You look amazing (and your boys are precious). Your hard work is inspiring and motivating on so many levels. Don’t let the negativity drag you down to “that” place. Like you said, surrounding yourself with encouraging and positive and happy people will get you through the hard times. All my best. 🙂 Meagan

  • Reply Missy September 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    It’s amazing what nastiness comes out of people when they are jealous. You are very inspiring and I love your posts and your Facebook profile. I love your honesty and genuineness!

  • Reply Jen Wall September 19, 2012 at 12:53 am

    You rock!! I think the reason why so many women are ticked off at you for posting this – is because you confront their inability to push through difficult situations and choices. The reasons they ‘say’ they disagree with you are most likely rocks out of their bags of insecurity they keep carrying around. They don’t want to have their excuse taken away. So many women are ‘okay’ with allowing their bodies to retain extra weight, extra pounds from having children. They accept that as part of the package because A. They either don’t want to do the work it takes to get there ,or B. They don’t think it’s important enough to do it. Bottom-line: You called women out and they don’t like it. I, on the other hand give you a standing ovation! Thank you for showing it can be done all while raising three beautiful boys who seem very happy and well-adjusted. They also have a terrific role-model of discipline and dedication in you, their Mom. Thank you and God bless you!!

  • Reply Maritza September 19, 2012 at 3:17 am

    First I would like to congratulate you on your accomplishment and thank you for being an inspiration to keep me focused on my goals (30 more pounds to go YEA!). No kids but became over weight due to medicine and college life (lack of sleep, drinking, low budget etc).

    But I guess I want to play Devils advocate for a second, because I think I understand where the hostility came from towards your picture. Your response to the hating comments while thoughtfully written somewhat resonates that changing should be easy as 1, 2, 3 other than that you’re not working hard enough or you are not trying hard enough and resting on excuses not to (which based on the responses on this thread is what people are getting out of it too). That is something I really would have to disagree with, because just like you said people only see your results and never watched the movie as to how you got to your happy ending (in this case your cliff hanger/continuation), you don’t know other people’s stories and semi-insinuating that they just arent trying hard enough is kind of insulting and can break a person’s spirit as opposed to building it. In reality we don’t know what your everyday life is like in comparison to a good chunk of America. We don’t know if you have a loving partner to support you, we don’t know if you’re financial income allows you to buy all of the healthy things at the supermarket, we don’t know if you were fortunate enough to grow up in an area or even with a good family where healthy eating was highly encouraged. I only say this because where I live (NYC) you see all of this, now while I was fortunate enough to grow up in a very very nice middle class area where we learned about healthy eating, a lot of people aren’t as lucky. So what you may view as an excuse may not be an excuse to someone but, it’s their reality…

    I work in East Harlem and I see and hear stories everyday from my tenants about their financial struggles. Hell even the super market across the street from my job proves how serious the economic status of that community is. Take a mother such as yourself with 3-4 kids, works 2 jobs and only bringing home 2k / a month and by the time you are finished paying bills and basic amenities you are left with $200 to buy food for the rest of the month (reminder there are 3-4 extra mouths to feed besides yours) buying healthy is not as much of an option for you, You end up forced to buy the 4 – 2ltr bottles of soda for 6 bucks deal or you’re forced to buy the 10 cans of chef boyardee for $10 or buying junk food from outside because you have to make sure the kids eat, do their homework, go to bed and you get ready for work the next day. I guess what Im getting at is in some way or form you’re being the pot calling the kettle black because I don’t think a lot of those women who back lashed at your picture were giving excuses, but I think A LOT of them are going through something that to you may seem like a discipline issue but to them its deeper than that.

    In regards to the women who said depression… Based on what you wrote, it appears like you never went through the depression stage of being overweight and out of shape and never felt the mixed emotions one goes through when dealing with that especially when you’re not used to seeing the scale 50-60 pounds heavier than what you are (in some cases over 100+ pounds). If you can do me a favor and just read what this personal trainer did maybe it will give you some insight as to what some of these women may be going through: http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/05/health/drew-manning-fit2fat2fit-lessons/index.html

    Thanks! Once again congrats and you really are an inspiration! I also don’t mean to come off rude or seem like Im coming at you. But it really grinds my gears when people think those who have trouble losing weight they put on is being lazy…I feel like things like that deter people from wanting to be better…

    • Reply Maria Kang September 19, 2012 at 4:35 am

      Maritza, I appreciate your comment and agree that for some, the photo can feel self-defeating. You make great points about those who struggle financially or lack a supportive partner. However, as a personal trainer in the past and a director of a nonprofit that focuses in under-served communities, I know there are those who can overcome their personal adversities by putting health as a priority for themselves and their family. I have employees who make 2k/mth, has no gym membership and supports an entire six person family on one income – who have lost an incredible amount of weight.

      In regards to depression, you haven’t read my site enough to know that YES, I have been there. It doesn’t matter if you’re 30 or 100 pounds overweight. Depression is a disease in the mind that kills the spirit of person. It nearly killed me when I was Bulimic.

      Also, thank you for the CNN link. I have in fact read it before and also blogged about it here: http://www.mariakang.com/2012/06/06/fit-to-fat/

      • Reply Maritza September 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm

        Hi Maria,

        Thank you for responding. I didn’t look around your site because this page was linked to a friends FB (who is one of people in those demographics I spoke of earlier, I just won’t repeat her caption as it wasn’t very nice) , so I just responded to this particular posting. But I would just like to say my apologies I didn’t know you were depressed or Bulimic. My roommate in college suffered from it, all in the sake of trying to get that perfect body and it really was a sad and scary thing to see up front. So I am aware of how screwed up one’s head can be.

        I mean I would like to know what options your employees take in order to reach their goals so I can maybe talk some sense into the person who posted this link to their FB page. Because for her money & time seem to be the major factor. Emphasis on the money issue (She is in that demographic of $200/mo for food shopping $275-300 if she works overtime). I read that you’re from Cali, I don’t know what food prices are like in Cali but in NYC , they are through the ROOF for fresh produce and all of the healthy options. Is there any, options she can take to buy groceries that are healthier with her budget or any stores you can suggest that are a national chain that can be found in NYC with decent food prices? Thanks a bunches… And my apologies once again.

  • Reply Michele September 19, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I have a lot to say on this subject, but not a lot of time to say it in, as I am just heading out. So I will copy what I said to another blogger, who is not so happy with your choice of captioning.

    I have to weigh in here. I agree that a lot of the dieting crap that’s out there is just that. Crap. Not everyone is the same, and not everyone will get the same results. I think we need to practice more acceptance of ourselves, and eachother. That being said, I don’t see anything wrong with the photo of Maria, or the caption. I feel like, if I had 3 kids, those ages, and sported that six pack, I’d be singing pretty much the same tune. I would want to say “Hey, if I can do it, anyone can!” And I don’t think she’s saying that there’s something wrong with women who can’t attain that level of fitness. I think more than anything else, she wants to share what it feels like to be that healthy.

    I DO qualify as obese, and I have since I was a child. I have always been heavy, and felt like I was less of a person for it. I have felt at times that I was unworthy of love, and that I would never find someone who could deal with my body. But I have never put that off on anyone else. This struggle has always been my own, and I have always taken responsibility for it. And now that I am making changes in my lifestyle, I can look at pictures of women like Maria, and not be envious, or spiteful. While I will never have a body like that, I can celebrate that she does. I’d high five the crap out of her!

    I don’t think that Maria’s brand of beauty is the “right” one, because there isn’t just one body type that is beautiful. I think that women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful. It’s actually somewhat funny, I said to my boyfriend earlier, after seeing a commercial for Dancing With the Stars; “Man, there’s something so sexy about Kirstie Alley, no matter what weight she’s at. Old enough to be my mom, but damn!” I think it is important for a woman to do what is right for herself, and stop being so concerned with what others are doing. Not to be rude, but I think the women that found this so insulting, should take a look at themselves. For them to be so concerned with what Maria chooses to do or say, they must already have some insecurities. This is coming from the queen of insecurity, so trust me, I get it. But back off, this is considered bullying. Let her do her fitness thang, and I’ll do my own version of it, at my own pace. Congratulations to Maria, and “other blogger” (name omitted so as to um… not name names?) having seen your body three babies later? Congrats to you as well. You’re gorgeous, and I agree with you. As long as you’re happy and healthy, not a thing about you needs to change!

  • Reply Cheryl Brown September 20, 2012 at 4:19 am

    I am also the mother of three and have been a single parent for the past 8 yrs. I have experienced financial struggles that many could never imagine. For those that say they can’t afford to eat healthy: I have done several comparison shopping trips (Walmart). I bought food for three cheap HEALTHY meals a day. The total for the week was less than $50 for the entire week. Keep in mind that’s for four people. IT CAN BE DONE. An earlier reply mentioned someone struggling financially is forced to buy the four 2 liter sodas……REALLY? How about some tap water???
    No, I don’t have a nanny, work my butt off and have not had liposuction. I have made the CHOICE to make health and fitness a priority for myself AND my kids. We have a strong family history of obesity, heart disease and diabetes in our family and I refuse to have that be part of my kids life without putting up a fight!

    When I read your caption, which I have also posted on FB with one of my pics, I assumed it was addressed to those women out there who use pregnancy and kids as their excuse for not exercising…PERIOD. It has nothing to do with finances or depression. It simply means, if you are one of those people who use kids as an excuse for being sedentary, then this is proof that you CAN DO IT!

    Anyone who responded negatively did so because of their own insecurities. My advice to you is to NOT put anymore effort responding to any level of negativity. CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU ON YOUR FITNEAS ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND ON INSPIRING SO MANY WOMEN!!!!!!

  • Reply Lisa September 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    First, you look great! But, I believe there is a dark side/ dysfunctional obsession with your body. By your own admission, you have struggled with an eating disorder. Eating disorders are all about control, it is obvious from your post that your eating/working out/body obsession is a way for you to reduce yor anxiety about the world while focusing and obsessing about what you can control, your body. I am quite sure that there are repurcussions in your life for the huge focus that you put on your body, both good and bad. When someone is as focused on their body as you are (or anything else), other important things are getting pushed out of your life and there is a bit of pathology in an obsession like you describe, especially one borne out of childhood fear of not becoming obese like your mother.

    • Reply Danii September 22, 2012 at 1:26 am

      all i see when i read this comment is “blah blah excuses i’m a hater blah blah more excuses.” take your negativity and assumptions somewhere else, honey! OAT, maria you are SUCH an inspiration to me! as a 22 year old single mother to children ages 3, 4 and 5 i am in awe of you and your determination to create your own destiny despite the obstacles! i just recently overcame very serious depression that turned into serious drug/alcohol abuse for several months on my own without meds or therapy so i KNOW i have the ability to do anything. i’m still taking things one day at a time, but people like you give me hope. thank you!

  • Reply Lora @ Crazy Running Girl September 22, 2012 at 12:05 am

    You look amazing! And what people don’t understand is that by spending that 30-60 minutes by yourself, taking care of yourself, it makes you a better mother. Yes, everyone’s schedule is different. But there’s no reason why people can’t celebrate how hardworking you are! There are so many great qualities about being a fitness lover that spill over to the rest of your life (i.e., being organized, passionate, etc.). So ignore the haters and do you!

  • Reply Kamal September 22, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Well said. Working out, believing in possibility, it’s a way of being. You’re expressing your potential, it’s inspiring.

  • Reply Deon September 22, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Wow i dont know how you did it but geee your one sexy mother i just needee to say that, if you look arround you there is a lot of woman that get their same old figure back like being skiny i agree excercize and a good eating habit might be supportive, If you dont get it back well atleast you can still be the nice yourself instead of being jealous for that wouldnt make you loose an inch.

  • Reply Michelle September 22, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I think you look fantastic!!! I recently seperated from my partner of 5 years who I thought wanted kids, but since have found out he doesn’t. On discovering your page and blog, your words alone and determination have made me see that I deserve to be happy, I deserve to meet a man who walks with the same dreams, I love to keep fit, but your photos, clean eating and inspirational words have made me determined to take it the next level and not just “keep fit” but get to the healthy body that I want internally and externally and follow my dreams, knowing anything is possible if we put our minds to it…. I think your headline on your photo was fantastic and thank you for waking me up because it worked I asked myself what is my excuse and my answer is nothing anymore, watch out world, here I come!! 🙂

  • Reply iSophie September 23, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I have just seen the photo for the first time on FB and my initial response was Wow! what gorgeous, vibrant and healthy busy Mother of some seriously cute kids.

    I have 4 sons, from 2yrs to 8 yrs and I know how busy life is, and honestly I am lucky to bounce back after babies and am still now in the same size jean as before babies.

    Honestly, it should be inspiring to people. Ok, I do understand everyone has their own situations and problems etc, but then they should just let that go, don’t convey their horrible thoughts when they have no idea of what lies beneath the surface.

  • Reply Evelyn Fuertes September 24, 2012 at 1:00 am


    You look beautiful and healthy as do your children. I saw this photo and said “wow, what an inspiration.” I hope more people see it and feel the same way. It’s not easy to dig deep and do what has to be done even when you know it’s the right thing to do, I applaud you for telling it like it is. The hard work is paying off!

    Best health,
    Evelyn Fuertes

  • Reply Chelsi September 25, 2012 at 1:47 am

    First off, kudos to you–having three kids and looking that awesome is something to truly be proud of! Now, as for the haters, of course they are going to hate and make excuses to feel better about themselves, heck, I’m jealous of the way you look! But, I would never ‘hate’ or ‘bash’ you for your choices, instead, I’ll use that “jealousy” as motivation and drive to know I can do it also and I plan on doing it! Nothing is going to stop me, it doesn’t matter that I’ve had 2 C-sections already (and honestly, once I get the rest off, it won’t be that noticeable that I’ve had C-sections) and it doesn’t matter that we are trying for #3. There’s no excuse for me not to be healthy and having my children and my struggle to even have children want me to work even harder for my health. As for those on the limited budget, my husband and I have done compare and contrast. For example, feeding our family of 4 at a fast food restaurant (which gag, btw, but we were in the middle of nowhere and it was our only option) was $24.24–two adults and two small children. Now, at home, we are always looking for good deals at the store, but we were able to have grilled salmon, asparagus, and grilled peaches for under $13 with enough for leftovers for my husband the next day. We still have a ways to go in our health journey and that’s ok, but people need to focus on themselves and their own insecurities rather than attacking you. Keep doing what you are doing and never let anyone bring you down–oh, and I also am able to workout while raising my 2 children (no help, we have no family around), run my own business from home (so I can stay home with the kids), go to school full time online, and am active in my children’s activities and the community, but I MAKE time to work out and take the kids with me, especially for cardio. I load them in the jogging stroller and go and when it’s nice, we go to the high school track and they can run around the field while I run or they run with me. And I do Insanity and Rush Fit at home and they ‘try’ and join me. Doing stuff like this with them will inspire them to stay active and healthy all their lives, so there is NO EXCUSES 🙂

    ~God Bless you and your family

  • Reply Elizabeth September 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Maria, I know this is a really personal question, but I don’t know anyone in my life who has recovered from an eating disorder before. I struggled with mine for a long time and finally wound up in an intensive treatment program. I put myself and my husband through absolutel hell and I never ever want to go back there again. At the same time, I want to be a healthy weight. In my efforts to lose my post-baby weight, I joined an online fitness group. And I have realized that it is so difficult to find the line between what is normal and what is obsession. Is it normal/mentally and emotionally healthy to weigh out everything I eat so that I can count every single calorie exactly? A lot of women in my group do that, but I was also doing this when I was sick and learned in recovery that it is an obsessive behavior. A lot of women in my online fitness group work out 6 days a week. When I do that (I have to wake up at 4:45am in order to fit it in), I can see the worry in my husband’s face and I know that he thinks that it is too much. How did you figure out where the line was between discipline, dedication, and obsession? How do you keep yourself from crossing that line? How do you know what is an “excuse” and what is the voice in your head preventing you from falling back into a downward spiral?

    • Reply Maria Kang September 29, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      Elizabeth, no one ever truly recovers from an addiction. However, I will say that I fully believe that any struggle, especially with food/alcohol/drug addiction is a SPIRITUAL problem. I think whatever we are undergoing internally manifests in our need to ‘control’, ‘satiate’, ‘fill’ – parts of our physical world. With that said, I DON’T think you should measure your food or track your calories. Sometimes I write down what I eat, sometimes I don’t. You shouldn’t have your sense of worth based upon the number of calories you consume or the number on a scale. Knowing my perfectionist side well, I often eat something small that is considered ‘bad’ just to challenge my psyche…this could be in the form of a small peanut butter cup, a few fries, a glass of wine, etc. In reality, these small things don’t effect my overall health and keep me from becoming too obsessed. For people who are perfectionists we have to do things ‘less than perfect’ while most others are striving to be like us. Funny how that works. Also, I train 5-6 days a week. Most of the time it’s 5 days a week. Stop the negative internal dialogue and say positive affirmations to yourself each day. God Bless you.

  • Reply Silvio Reis September 27, 2012 at 10:50 pm


    Congratulations! Forget about the facebook’s comments, your boys have the God’s grace to have a mom in good shape, you can play with them every day, see them growing up and running with them. It’s the most important thing about to have a health life: take care of your children.

    Criticism and negativism are noisy, but there are lots of good comments about your “willpower”, so again, forget about it and don’t spend your time with that, spend it with your family!

  • Reply Joanna October 1, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Very well stated. I’ve been making excuses for years, even today…. Those who want it will, those who don’t will make excuses. Making Excuses is a deadly disease. I suffer from it daily, but i’m trying very hard to over come. Keep strong, and continue to keep inspiring others. Haters will always hate, but if you strike a spark in one person, the world is a better place because of you. Keep it up.

  • Reply Dyanared October 2, 2012 at 8:32 am

    hi Maria,allow me to make your picture as Facebook cover. You are really an inspiration.Tq 🙂

  • Reply maria October 3, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    So inspirational! You go girl!

  • Reply Shawnie Campbell October 3, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    You look amazing and do not let those people on Facebook bring you down! I am a mother to 8 children and I struggle daily with my weight, health and fitness. I am happy to say though that I weigh 150 lbs. LESS than I did before I even HAD children. I have maintained that loss for almost a decade. It can be done. I don’t think I will ever have rock hard abs w/o surgery just due to the huge amount of weight that I lost…but I am so much healthier and that is what matters. People are just jealous…and so they lash out. From one Mom to another…you are doing the right thing and giving your children the best gift possible, which is a healthy Mom!!!

  • Reply Tiffany October 4, 2012 at 1:24 am

    Some people work hard at trying to lose it but some can’t I have the thyroid problem so mine
    Is stuck on me like glue im take medicine everyday for it and not use probley took all kid
    offered. The things to get back to ur old self improvement know alot of people who was a
    Super fit before they got pregnant and at 8 months they are still working on it so don’t go posting a
    Things like that when other people try to lose weight but can’t.

  • Reply Marie October 4, 2012 at 3:01 am

    I think a lot of moms took offense at the photo because of the implicit fat-shaming in the words: What’s your excuse. Do you want to know my excuse? I’ve had multiple hip surgeries, fought thrush-induced mastitis for the first six months of my son’s life, I don’t have access to the gyms and personal trainers that greatly assisted your fitness. Would I like to look like you? Yeah. Would I punch someone in the face to even have one tenth of the fitness you have, the endurance, the resources, the health? Of course I would. Have I shed many, many tears about the side, thoughtless comments from naturally thin people who cast aspersions on my willpower? Yeah. So when you post a fat-shaming photo with a question on it, then you need to be prepared to listen to the answers people give you in response. By putting “What’s your excuse?” out there, you *will* receive responses to it—real women, real stories, real pain and anguish of being reminded, over and over, that our bodies and our worth and our very identities and sense of purpose are always, eternally lesser than people like you. I am not threatened by your obvious beauty and fitness. I am glad that you found a way to achieve it against what must be a ton of work taking care of three kids (I have one; I don’t know how people do it!!) but you honestly shouldn’t be surprised when people respond with heartbreak to a caption like this. It is a cruel reminder that no matter how good of people we are, how good as mothers, how educated we are or what we accomplish, our bodies still require excuses. That is a sad, sad thing.

  • Reply Theres Tulips In Holland October 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I think this is the nature of blogging. I just did a post about this recently. You’re always going to find someone to disagree with you, someone that doesn’t like your perspective, a word you may use and you have to remember that women generally have a catty nature. It’s sad but it’s true. You worked hard, you’re proud of it and why shouldn’t you be able to talk about that? After my 2nd kiddo I lost 60 lbs. my in-laws said not one word about it and it was clearly obvious. The stem of that was jealousy. You’re always going to run into people like that. Some women have legitimate reasons for not being able to work as hard as you and others lash out at you because they’re jealous that you have the motivation and discipline to work as hard as you do and they don’t. You’re amazing! I know how much discipline it takes and that is certainly something that deserves a “You’re awesome!” shout 😉

  • Reply Ashley October 5, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    The reason people took offense is because the caption “What’s your excuse?” implies that anyone who doesn’t look like you is imperfect and probably has an unacceptable excuse for why they look bad. It’s egotistical, insensitive, and demeaning. And then you cap it all off with tips on how “real moms” get in shape, which implies that anyone whose goals and physical condition do not align with yours is not a real mom. How much more offensive can you be? And how can you claim to not understand these things? It’s basic communication skills. I have no idea who you are, and I’m glad I don’t. Positive role models don’t have to exert their influence through the act of shaming others.

    • Reply Maria Kang October 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      Ashley, I’ve always loved Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Maybe you should examine your personal insecurities more because no where in my caption did I say or imply anyone should look like me. Lastly, when I say ‘real moms’ I mean non-celebrity.

    • Reply Keri December 4, 2012 at 8:23 am

      Ms. Kang, I applaud your dedication, and you look great! I don’t assume you don’t spend enough time with your kids, or any other negative thing about you because you are able to put the time and effort into being fit. That said, I must tell you that your photo hurt me, and I felt like your message was insensitive, like Ashley said. I want to believe that your intention was not to hurt anyone, but to empower women. As a writer, I know the importance of choosing the right words. “If I can do it, so can you!” is uplifting and offers encouragement. “What’s your excuse?” is demeaning and suggests that there is something wrong with women who can’t/choose not to prioritize diet and fitness. If I saw this photograph on a billboard, the more uplifting message might nudge me to the gym, whereas the current message would probably send me home to cry into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Having babies comes with a lot more than just a few extra pounds for some people. I do not mean to diminish your efforts, but I implore you to consider the mother with severe post-partum depression who can barely get out of bed each day, much less hit the gym. Or the mother who gained a LOT more than a few extra pounds due to a medical condition like diabetes, for example. What about the mother who has crippling self-image issues? Or the mother who has health problems that prevent her from being able to perform vigorous physical activity? These are all valid circumstances under which weight loss could prove to be either low priority, or next to impossible, and they are almost all circumstances that come with guilt or shame bred from social stigma. We need to encourage each other, not tear each other down.

  • Reply katherine October 11, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    When your photo posted on the nowloss facebook, I went to war in your defense. I think you are amazing and am absolutely astounded by the hate spewed by people who are on sites for weight loss. I’m not trying to point fingers, but it’s just so evident these days that people would rather sit there and tear another person apart for reaching their goals than look at it and say “ok, she did it, I can do it. I don’t need to look just like that, but I know I want to get to my own goal and this shows me I can do it.” Too many are wrapped around the specific body type of the other person and end up comparing themselves to that. I used to be this kind of person myself before my son was born. There is so much insecurity these days and it has bred a sense of “me vs. her” between women that is self defeating and toxic. It sucks to see so much hate these days instead of comradory. We need to be a sisterhood, not separate armies that go to war against one another.

  • Reply Scott October 12, 2012 at 3:49 am

    From doing the impossible is something I am also very much aware of the stigma that comes with it. I get crap all the time over my success and I think it’s crazy that people can’t just be proud of you rather than jealous and hateful. My story is not at all about fitness. I come from a MULTI generational military family so I would be fit no matter what I did with myself, but it is about financial success. I always told everyone that I would retire at age 30 and I have been saying that since I was 7yo. Now that I am 28 and people can see that I am actually going to make that deadline to actually NEVER have to work again (probably at 29 but for sure before 31) they are saying I must have cheated, not reported taxes, have “hidden” accounts, or been doing something shady on the side. All you can do is be you and never doubt yourself based on what someone else is telling you. If you want to be and stay fit for life, do it. People will always have an excuse as to why they can’t do it but that’s exactly what it is, an excuse. You see it when you watch shows like the Biggest Loser. Those candidates aren’t suffering from medical issues or anything else that people claim keeps them from reaching their goals. They just don’t have the proper self motivation. They use the term “Naturally thin” to describe you. We are our habits and our lifestyle. We are our choices. IF I lived a lifestyle of laziness and ate disgusting food, despite my super genes I would eventually LOOK and FEEL like I ate disgusting food and was lazy. With workouts at home like Zuzka Light and others available to the world via YouTube there’s still no excuse for 90% of the people out there making claims against your success. Drive on and don’t let them get you down. You make choices every day to get where you want to go and stay there, and maybe even reach higher once you’re there. It’s an attitude and a lifestyle. Follow HTFU on Facebook and see the messages they put out, and I guarantee you will agree with them 100%. TTYL

  • Reply Dena October 13, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    I am going to be quick here…. but forget the Debbie Downers. I have been obese all my life and having a baby finally gave me motivations that I needed to get healthy. I had a csection too and yet I find time to workout three days a week at a minimum. If a woman is serious enough they will find time. And the time taken isn’t selfish… its for the family. If my time away from my child now allows me to see them walk down the aisle later or hold my grandbabies one day then it is worth it and I will always make time to be healthy. It isn’t an option. I may not ever look like you because… well I am not you and every woman is different. But I can be healthy. And that’s worth the time, energy, and chaos it might give me trying to make a schedule. NO EXCUSES.

    • Reply Sara April 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      That’s a great comment! Having kids should motivate moms to stay healthy, because we want to be able to keep up with them and, as you say, watch them grow. Good luck! Y

  • Reply Mark October 14, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Maria, my belief is the women who were offended by this picture would rather you look like them. Overweight, stressed out and depressed because then they could say “see having kids is hard, now give the easy way out”. You chose not to do any such thing. You are truly a picture of what mothers should strive to be, hardworking, healthy and caring. It is very easy to see how wonderful you with you kids just by the smiles on their faces. Keep up the hard work.

    For all of the ladies out there who are upset by this picture, ask yourself what your afraid of; ask yourself what is holding you back from having the life you want. Hard work is not easy and that is why it is called HARD.

  • Reply charlene October 17, 2012 at 4:19 am

    Maria,, girl you ROCK!! you are a total inspiration!! you make me want to just absolutley change the way i eat and think about food. you are amazing. I too am a mother of 3 boys ( a 4 year old an 22 month old twins) I have used the kids as excuses not to exercise but you make me see it differently. they should be my inspiration to work out so I can be the best , healthiest mom to them. Dont let anyone bring you down . you are amazing and Im thankful for your facebook page. love it!!

  • Reply Surein October 23, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Having just read the various comments that have been made about that photo I am struck by the overwhelming thought that you are getting negative comments purely for the reason that people are unable/unwilling to step out of their worlds and embrace all the possibilities that there are out there. So I guess in short, sod em and keep doing what you are doing as I am sure that for each negative person there are many that will be inspired.

  • Reply Gordon October 24, 2012 at 12:42 am

    I just have to say, good on you. I just saw the picture on facebook, and read the comments on it, and honestly was surprised by how people chose to deny people who work hard, always trying to find fault in them.
    I think you must be a great mother, and a great person. You don’t deserve the bad comments, and the good ones, you should never forget.
    Honestly think the world needs more people with your attitude.

  • Reply Hiker mom October 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    This is so true! I get so frustrated when people give all sorts of excuses for why they are out of shape instead of just doing something about it. They look at us fit people and grumble. We work hard for what we have and they could have it too, if they would just try. Great post!

  • Reply Sarah October 28, 2012 at 4:35 am

    Your caption just motivated me… I have no excuses b/c of you! Thank you!

  • Reply Emily Segal November 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    That photo is 100% inspiration! I too was shocked at the negativity it generated and felt quite upset and depressed even though I don’t even know you. I feel like the world has gone crazy. People think being out of shape and over-eating junk is normal and being fit and eating right is obsessive. Just keep doing what you’re doing and now how you have inspired me to be my best! Thank you Maria!

  • Reply lauren November 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    You inspire me so much!Today I was going to skip another workout ( I work out every other day) But now I’m going to get my butt up and run!

  • Reply Teombi Batiste November 6, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Thank you for having the courage to put yourself and your personal experiences in the public eye. It takes a very brave and confident person to do that, as these are the lucky ones that receive the harshest judgements from the anonymous and faceless internet critics. I came to your website because I saw your picture on facebook and I too myself immediately thought that you MUST be photoshopped. There is just NO WAY a woman with three kids can get a stomach like that again…fast forward 10 minutes later, I am sitting here in front of my laptop with a huge guilt trip after judging you, and I read the real story, and now I am more motivated than ever!!! It is amazing how our human instinct will so many times allow us to believe that goals within our reach are very much impossible. It just takes someone, anyone, just one person to prove that instinct wrong, then our consciousand true intentions are put to the test. We can either allow the over-powering negativity to win the battle, or rise up, even if with fear, and silence that voice a little each time as we fight to arrive one more step towards our goals!!! Thank you Ms. Maria, because the very voice I needed to hear came from your picture today…God bless you and your beautiful family. And thank you again for your courage…you are very much so making a huge difference in the lives of those not afraid to face to music…now off to the gym I go…finally the tomorrow I have been talking about for the past year has arrived…no more excuses for me!!!

  • Reply Ari November 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Thank you for saying it! It is so awful to hear those negative comments when you should be able to be proud of what your body can do!

  • Reply paul panko November 17, 2012 at 11:26 am

    this is to all those offened by her, get a life you fat gross ugly losers. i hope i offended you, everyone that complained about this picture. my wife has the same body as this woman, what are you going to say about her? it’s not fault you’re a sloth and it wasn’t really her you were offended by, it was yourself when you realized that if you weren’t a shmuck you could havelooked the same.
    so there, i hope this gets seen, yes this is negative but someone has to say it

    • Reply Kristina Scott December 4, 2012 at 8:10 am


      • Reply paul panko December 11, 2012 at 12:48 am

        im sure yuo do. but im sure you aren’t the type of person i was talking too. im sure you treat yourself well and don’t hate on this woman for taking care of herself like all the other losers did…. just saying

        • Reply Alexis December 26, 2012 at 9:21 pm

          That was great. haha!!!

    • Reply Sunny Chung July 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      It’s interesting that you took the negative responses personally, Paul. The irony of it all is that the women who reacted so negatively (and so strongly) to Maria’s What’s Your Excuse photo took Maria’s accomplishments personally themselves!! My thought is this: if you can put yourself in those women’s shoes, you can probably imagine that they are responding from a place of frustration. Granted, some people are just nasty and actively try to tear others down. Everyone’s response is individual, which is a culmination of one’s personal life experiences. Some are better than others at being optimistic. I’m in no way condoning the mean things said about Maria. But I think I can understand where it comes from. Just the same, I imagine you and your wife have experiences where people who have not achieved as much as you have talk smack about you. Their responses are not really about you though. It says so much more about them, their pains, and their hurdles in life.

  • Reply Glenda February 5, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    <3 Amazing. Tell them how it is!

    I actually raised a point once on a baby forum about why it is important to be fit during a pregnancy, which to me would be.. kind of obvious. I was shot down by almost every reply on the thread about how "vain" I was being and how they "had health problems and couldn't lose weight". Actually I was responded to with just as much negativity that you are being attacked with now.

    I am not as fit as you, at all! But I am definitely not overweight. And I take pride in that. I have two little girls. My oldest just turned 4 and my younger child will be 3 in June. I don't drink soda but I do indulge on a little too much chocolate every now and then. (hehe) People are just.. well, people. You look great and your kids look fantastically happy and that's all that matters~!

  • Reply Beverly Miller March 19, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    I just found your website even though I follow you on FB. Interesting that the negative comments to your picture were the very excuses everyone was using to not be healthy. You’re doing a great job and there are a lot of us who appreciate your motivation, support and insight. Thank you.

  • Reply Erica April 10, 2013 at 3:02 am

    I think you’re great and inspiring! I’m a single mother of 3 with 2 jobs and a fashion blog. I have no time for anything but I can MAKE time for fitness. I love to run but you have kicked my butt in gear to do more!

    You look fabulous 🙂

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  • Reply Susan October 17, 2013 at 3:48 am

    Inspirational? Yes I suppose it is for some.
    But guess what? We are not all alike. The only things that photo (with caption) “inspires” me to do is to revert back to my eating disorder that completely destroyed my life years ago. But who cares? At least I’ll look good. Bet my kids will really benefit from that. As if it’s not hard enough being a woman and mother? Why couldn’t you be proud of yourself without putting others down?

  • Reply Brenda October 17, 2013 at 12:15 pm


    Everything that you have accomplished is due to your hard work, dedication and experience that you have gained through the years, all is wonderful; the only mistake the way I see it is to have put those words in your photo. Keep up the hard work.

  • Reply Lerah99 October 17, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    As someone who has been overweight all my life, I find your picture inspiring.

    There is ALWAYS an excuse for not taking care of my body (I’m busy, PCOS, Fast Food is so convienent, working out is so hard…) and that is on ME.
    Those are my excuses, just as my obesity is the result of MY actions.

    Your picture proves that there is another way. That it is possible to have and raise 3 kids, run your business, and still take care of your body.

    Rather than seeing that as an attack, people should see that as a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Maybe I will never have washboard abs, but I can hire a personal trainer and start making my own food.
    Maybe I will never pose in a sports bra and shorts, but I can work on losing these extra 200lbs clinging to my frame.

    And when I am filled with self pity thinking “This is so hard!” or “I just want a cheeseburger!” your picture can remind me that those are just excuses getting in the way of me being healthier and happier.

    I’m sorry you are getting so much hate.
    From this fat chick, you are getting nothing but mad respect.

  • Reply Shweta K October 23, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Hi Maria. Just chuck what other people say. You are doing a great job. You really inspired me. I have a 13 months old boy and need tips from you for having a flat belly. Mine was a normal delivery.

  • Reply Shweta October 23, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Hey Maria, you are doing a superb job
    Chuck the world and keep going
    I’m really inspired by you and need tips to have a flat belly.
    I have a 13 months old boy and had a normal delivery.

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