December 20, 2013
I’ve shared my life online for nearly 9 years. People have read as I transparently talked about my battle with Bulimia, my courage in quitting my corporate job, my struggle in finding my fitness passion and my anxiety when I first met my soon-to-be husband. I spoke openly about the challenges in moving back to my hometown, traveling to very poor countries, beginning a family without financial preparation and dealing with depression after having children.
I was 24, single and living in San Francisco when this website was born. Each week I consistently and openly reflected on my life’s evolution while simultaneously making myself vulnerable to outside judgment and criticism. I never felt silenced –
For the first time in nine years, I had nothing to say. I was speechless. I felt like I could no longer casually talk about my marriage struggles, my critical thoughts on fitness/bikini contests or my concerns in normalizing a health crisis. Everything I wrote was repeatedly taken out of context and it made me fear sincerely expressing myself as I once did ….
I saw how the media spun stories and minced my words to fit their antagonistic portrayal of me. Suddenly I was a contender in the “mommy wars” and a “fat-shamer” who disapproved of ‘curvy’ women. I felt like people were telling my story – and defensively defining my intentions – without researching the real story.
I’m not one to back down and often times, fight the urge to have the last word. But – in this past month of not blogging, I’ve allowed the uncanny silence on this site to settle inside my soul. After all, it takes more strength to not say anything when you really want to say everything to everyone who has wrongly attacked you.
Tonight I met the owner of Curvy Girl Lingerie, Chrystal Bougon, and gave her a big hug. While I never mentioned her name or provided an image in my deleted Facebook post, she was eventually sought and we battled our differing views on CNN and Access Hollywood. My viral comments on the normalization of obesity and the continuous promotion of having a positive body image over actual health led to a guest article, “Fit Pride Isn’t Hate Speech” in Time.com – as well as a social media mention in Time’s People of the Year issue.
When I finally met her I knew I liked her. She was sweet, vibrant, open and passionate. We are both business owners who desire to positively impact our world. Despite the media’s efforts to portray us as enemies, the peaceful energy that surrounded our meeting would make any gossip magazine fall asleep.
Because let’s face it: Sex sells. Shame sells. Sensationalism sells.
Somehow I meet all those requirements – and people bought into it…
A reader reminded me tonight that if you don’t tell your story someone else will.
So I’m back on this blog.
And I’m ready to continue telling my story. Thanks for being here.
When we met, we realized we both are laughingly similar when it comes to not caring what other people think. Here we are ‘battling’ it on Access Hollywood.
I definitely feel a life long connection with this special lady.
Chistmas Party for our Employees. This was the third party we hosted in less than two weeks! I’m so exhausted.
At the Christmas party for our carehomes in Elk Grove. It’ s usually a large, catered event at a community center complete with caroling, raffles, presents and Santa Claus!
Our youngest turned “2” yesterday! I baked him a vegan chocolate bundt cake for his birthday. The recipe can be seen here.
This is the first time I’ve visited your site. Had to see what all the fuss was about with your ‘after the baby’ picture. I agree with you 100%. Body acceptance is good, but not the obese body. As I former high school teacher, I was appalled to see that my 56 year old body was in much better shape then most of the 15 year old bodies I saw at school. If the students are so out of shape and physically unfit now, how will they be in 10 years? It’s awful! Thank you for continuing your writing!
I highly doubt your soon-to-be 60 year old body was in better shape than MOST of the young 15 year old girls at your school. You seem like a mental case to even say that. Weird that you were comparing your body to teenagers as you taught.
Good for you for meeting. That took courage for both of you. I couldn’t care less about outward shape, but I respect character–and choosing to meet without media, ignoring the people who really wanted the “feud” to continue and the real bullies who wanted to use you as an excuse for bashing others–that’s character. I’ve read the savage comments on your Facebook post about you two meeting, and all I can say is keep your chin up, you did the right thing.
Good for you! I applaud the way you stuck to your beliefs despite all the negative feedback….I’m sure it took a lot not to crawl under a rock to wait for everything to quiet down. I’m not sure I would’ve had the strength to keep defending your beliefs like you did. Happy Holidays!
As much as all of the controversy had (has) to hurt – it’s what brought me and many others to find you and for that I’m thankful!
Me too! 🙂 And while I don’t agree with everything she says (how could you possibly agree with everything anyone says anyway) Maria has excellent character and lots of good advice. Merry Christmas! 🙂
There are a lot of over weight women in the world who will always be pissed off at you…you can’t please them and never will. You have to stay strong in your convictions and not cave in. Carry loads of extra weight on the body is not healthy and it’s very painful to look at every morning in the mirror. I know because I have been significantly overweight in my life and it was the PITS. I don’t “disapprove” of curvy women…I was one and it is physically, emotionally and spiritually VERY challenging. It took me over the course of several years to drop food addictions…one by one. People who don’t want to do that will always be pissed off by those who do…
I think it’s great you don’t walk on eggshells just to please others or to cover up for there weakness’s… I believe firmly in a healthy life style and the hardest balance to find is between caring for a family and caring for yourself, especially with young children, I do believe you can really do it all with the right balance and support and you are an inspiring example of that!
You’re such a great person inside Maria. You see this obesity-filled nation and want to contribute in a positive way with this passion you have that has allowed you to live a more positive and healthy life; and what makes you different than other fitness “gurus” is that you have this incredible back story, and have the will, determination and inner-strength to have achieved your past fitness goals while being a mother and wife as well. Most of all though Maria, is I love the way you communicate. Very articulate and very honest in your interviews and blog post. Just so you know, you obviously already motivated and become a positive energy to more people than not. Thanks again!
You are thoughtful, articulate, and brave – please continue sharing your story because there are people like us who enjoy and appreciate hearing them. Happy holidays to you and your family.
You were far too kind and courteous to that woman during the Access Hollywood interview….she was rude and spiteful and you still kept it classy. She continuously spoke over you, rambling on and on about nonsense and never gave facts. Fact is, you can’t be OBESE and FIT. Those women were not curvy, they were overweight and borderline obese….Everything you said was backed by facts. There was nothing malicious about it. Some people would just rather reman fat than take the necessary steps to live a healthy active lifestyle….SMH. Kudos to you for going against the Normalization of Obesity!!!
sigh. Did you read what Maria said at all? Maria and Chrystal met yesterday, found out they had much in common, and are on friendly terms now. Read what Maria said right before the interview clip: the media did all they could to make both Maria and Chrystal look didactic and pugnacious. Because sensationalism, sex and shame sells. Now, do you really think Maria will welcome your views on someone she turned out to like and feel a connection to?
I think you are amazing!!! 🙂 you are completely right… we should NOT be normalizing something that is detrimental just to save someone from hurt feelings.!!! keep up the good work lady!
I feel really sorry for you, but all those things that are happening to you are kinda what you’ve asked for. You are very rude and though less. At least that’s how you come across to most people, remember the whole world is not just the people that follow your blog.
Really? This comment was rude and pointless. She is being real and she is being her. And no, she doesn’t come across that way to most people. Just small minded people like yourself who need to find something to bitch about or someone to bitch about to make yourself feel better. Obesity is a REAL issue that needs some serious attention. It has nothing to do with being skinny or looking good in a bikini. I love my curves and don’t ever want to lose them but focusing on being HEALTHY is what is important. You can have curves and be healthy and you could be lanky and skinny and be healthy. It’s not about that and people who don’t get just won’t get it. Let’s stop tearing down people who truly care about helping people get healthy, who happen to be slender and look good. I guarantee you if she had been overweight no one would have said one bad thing, they would have applauded her. But because she is healthy we tear her down?? I was obese at the beginning of this year until I took my health into my own hands. I am still “overweight” by society standard but boy has my life changed for the better since deciding to put my health first. And that Naya is all that matters.
Naya, shame on you for trying to make Maria feel guilty about her viewpoint.
Some people will never be happy until they drag others down to their misery. Change comes from within, not by bashing others. Maria never bashed. You are.
Maria…… I will say it AGAIN! You are TRULY an inspiration, I don’t know you personally, but we have a mutual friend ( Janelle, also a fit mom) People are SO QUICK AND LOOKING FOR A “fight”…..IF, again, I say IF, anybody reads, contemplates, and takes the time to really LISTEN to what you are saying, I wouldn’t think ANYBODY would be “hating/judging” you……. Shame on ALL that don’t do their research AND can’t comprehend what your TRUE MESSAGE IS! Happy Holidays to you and yours!! 🙂
Maria, I am pro your advocacy but what exactly is it that you’re wanting people to get out of you? You want people to be healthy and I truly agree with you BUT maybe, just maybe, we need to be TACTFUL and less aggressive with your mantra. Your publicity is awesome because people are talking about you–however, they are not absorbing your true purpose of being healthy and fit BUT rather having the impression that you are just a self-absorbed woman. Your strong personality turns people off and are making a mockery of what you are doing.
How is it women are to be meek, not have a strong personality, and/or voice their opinions? Our strength, our voices should be honoured as too being healthy, fit, and taking care of ourselves . Am tired of the ‘fit shaming’ and judging. Strong women empower others.
She doesn’t have to be meek or mild, but she must get a voice coach if she wants people to take her seriously. And, Access Hollywood? That’s a bit low-rent. Perhaps Maria’s 15 minutes are up?
Not the biggest fan of that woman as she was more
Less twisting what you said in order to try and get the upper hand, hence (in my opinion) knowing she was wrong. People have been sugar-coating things for too long and look where that has got the country, you have to be honest, it’s not brutality, it’s just that people were not used to it nowadays.
Watching all this unfold online I can only applaud you Maria. I have watched the tv interview and been eyeing your website and Facebook page and I completely agree. Everyone should have pride in themselves but you are given a body and should treat it with respect. Obesity and being grossly overweight is not something to be proud of. It’s unhealthy and it’s not a good example to set for our next generation. It’s a fact that you can in fact get an idea of someone’s fitness by the size and shape of their body and you were extremely diplomatic in your response within that interview. If Americans saw some of the motivational speak we are given over here in Oz they’d be beside themselves. A good job well done Maria, you have my respect.
It’s amazing how we as a society continue to call obesity a disability. Rather than promote being healthy by offering nutrition and exercise regiments (as the norm) to combat health issues we offer up sizes 1X 2X 3X and call it curvy. The woman Maria “battled it out” with likely has health issues. I can’t imagine it’s all too comfortable getting out of bed let alone walking more than a 1/4 mile or up a flight of stairs. The excessive weight is making it that much harder for her organs to function. Wait no, I retract that entire statement. We shouldn’t be fat shaming this woman by suggesting she lead a healthier lifestyle, she has a disability. We have an amazing healthcare system that’s not choking on the excess influx of patients with health related issues due to obesity. I’m quite certain TLC and all those fancy reality shows pay for their medications and hospital visits, it’s not on the tax payer dime so I need to quit being a fat shamer.
I love having you back. I always look forward to your blog and Facebook posts <3
Maria, I am such a huge fan!!! Thank you for doing what you’re doing. I am also becoming increasingly interested in possible societal causes of our obesity epidemic – including hormones in our food and birth control, sleep deprivation, possibly emotional dissatisfaction, etc. I think part of taking responsibility for our health includes sitting down and feeling through what activities make us feel happy and healthy, and isolating those that do the opposite. Deepak Chopra’s new book is helpful, too, especially wrt the emotional satisfaction side. Lol lots of random thoughts! :)))
The vast majority of people who are overweight are that way because they have unhealthy
food in their homes, don’t self-discipline when in social/food settings, have the mentality that everywhere they go, they need to bring food, eat at restaurants and fast food places a couple of times a week or more, spend way too much of their $ on food, and don’t have the self-control and respect for their role as parents to change these ways so that their kids aren’t overweight. And I haven’t even mentioned exercise! Now that we all pay for everybody’s healthcare, it is vital that people change all these habits. We’re all going to be paying to remedy the diabetes and heart problems of 2/3 of our society! That will never happen as long as people jump on the excuse bandwagon and blame hormones in animals, lunches and lack of PE in schools, advertisements, sleep, society, etc. Eat less, eat healthy, and move more. It’s all about self-discipline and hard work. Not easy for anyone.
Great post! Best line: if you don’t tell your story someone else will. Keep telling your story. Ignore the haters.
When I first heard about you I was not a fan but I read your blogs, watched you stand up for yourself and I have really bumped up my goals in clean eating and fitness. I feel like you were a blessing in disguise and would love for you to write a book. Keep on keeping on…..You planted the seed and it is starting to bloom.
@Shells and @Barbara you two are very hateful. You know that? And how do you know this supposed information about Maria’s husband? You’re can’t attack her anymore, so you have to go and attack her family? What a sad couple of POS you both are! I am assuming that you two are single mothers who don’t have your baby daddies in your lives and you’re bitter! Shame on you both! It’s one thing to talk crap about that person, but it is another to target their loved ones to further your own agenda! How sad for you two!
Another epidemic in this nation is Fatherless Children. You know. Daddy makes babies and then ups and leaves them for a new woman. You are married to a man that sees his daughters only TWICE a year. He travels around the world to volunteer, yet he only sees his children TWICE a year.
That is not normal. That is not healthy. His girls will have long lasting effects from this. Why doesn’t he work harder to see them more often? Why did he give up? Why doesn’t he plan to work on the Court System every single day? Sort of like you tell others about exercise. He needs to work at being a better father and never give up. No matter WHAT the circumstances are.
So, while I know you just HAVE to help all of the fat people out there, how ’bout you help an issues near and dear to your heart: Child Abandonment.
Hopefully, he doesn’t abandon your 3 boys one day.
He only sees his daughters from a previous marriage twice a year? Wow. What’s his excuse?
What a sad excuse for a father.
Yeah. I’d be a bit nervous. He seems like he has no problem leaving your boys for weeks at a time. You better keep an eye on that, Maria. Most fathers want to be with their children. Yours likes to leave his to “help others”. Uh. Yeah.
My father only saw his children from a previous marriage once or twice a year -BECAUSE his Ex wouldn’t let them visit with him! Many parents – dads and moms – work out of town and do not spend every evening with their children. You know what? Those children grow up just fine. They learn lessons in independence and responsibility. Maria’s boys will see their father’s passion for helping others. Just because her husband got divorced once and works away from home sometimes has nothing to do with their marriage or their parenting. Neither of you are living Maria’s life. Keep your hateful comments to yourself – for once.
You come across like an insecure MESS, just wanted to point that out. Sorry, but in now way are you inspirational to other women or mothers out there, i’m laughing just typing that!!!!!! Work out if that makes you feel good but don’t be one of those annoying people telling everybody what a special snowflake you are. Go get a REAL JOB, pursue a REAL EDUCATION and then we can talk. Seriously, what’s YOUR EXCUSE for not getting a better job? A better education? Do you have a college degree? How many years will it take before you compete in some shady reality show because no one cares anymore? How many books do you read every week? The answer will be propably not any because hey for THAT you don’t have time i guess! So really, I’m asking YOU what’s your excuse for beeing close mindes, shallow and not more educated?
Wow. She has a real job, she runs two business while managing a home, fitness career, children and marriage. You are rude, crass and down right nasty. And you think having a college degree somehow makes someone smarter? Fool. Learn some manners.
Are you serious?? Why are you even on her blog? You have obviously never read any of her posts. You are just on here to hate. If you had read her blog you would know she does have a college education and she very much has a REAL job. You’re post is pathetic and you obviously have some serious issues. You should really know your facts before you go spewing off at the mouth.
LOL WOW UCD is not an easy school to get into.
She is very inspirational to me, and helping 1 person is more than a lot of people will ever do.
@Jules: Learn to spell before you criticize someone on their education. Too funny.
@Jules maybe you are the insecure mess here! She is college educated, runs two businesses, and raises three children. You have no right to be throwing your judgement around. I’m assuming you’re a self-hating fatty who only hates those that are more successful than you. Maybe you should get an education because your misspelling and poor grammar really hurts my eyes!
@Jules….just going out on a limb here. But I’m guessing that you’re overweight?
So glad you’re back! You’re definitely a strong woman and you did an excellent job in the interview. You came across as calm and polite, while still sticking to your beliefs. You are a breath of fresh air in all of the political correctness of today!
You know, I really didn’t like you when I first saw you on the news. My first glance was “Gee, another shamer” and I rolled my eyes. But then I heard you speak, came to your website and read a number of posts. While I don’t agree that being proud of curves is akin to normalizing a health crisis – I don’t even think it is a health crisis – I do appreciate that you stand up for your beliefs. You have had your pains, your struggles, your ups & downs but it has only served to drive you further. I think that’s admirable and I certainly respect you for it.
As a fellow woman who always looks for the last word, despite any & all better judgements, I hope you keep doing what you’re doing.
I saw the video where you two squared off. Good for you for holding your own especially when she was trying spread lies about you coming on to her FB page. I don’t where she got that idea that you actually went on her page to say what you said. It was obvious she was trying to play victim for her own lifestyle choice. She wanted publicity for her ‘lingerie’ line she should have chosen more positive avenues instead of targeting you and spreading lies. Glad you called her out. If it were me in your shoes and I would have met her in person, I would not have been so nice. You have a very forgiving spirit when it comes to bullies like that.
Excellent Access Hollywood Interview Maria! You were a joy to watch! Keep it up and just know that while there are many detractors out there there are quite a few of us that support your message. Obesity should not be the new normal, it really is a silent killer.
I’m not here trying to sell lingerie… lol…classic!!!
@Jules. It’s blatantly obvious that you’re a total moron. Run your hateful comments through a spell check before you post them. Instead of sitting at home, stroking your chins in front of the computer, hating on others that are more successful than you perhaps you should get a life!
I believe the world would be a better place if me spent more time minding our own business if we are not going to help others in a way that would surely change and benifit there life! I must admit that heqring some of the words aired on national tv tonighr upset me and a few of my amigas. I weigh 236 pounds and to some I would be considered over weight but here is the factor I am 88% muscle mass I don’t work out I am and always have been solid and you would never know that by looking at me. It is noticable if you touch me because I am solid to the touch but I am healthy and curvy and there isn’t. Anything wrong with that. I will never be a size 4 and if I ever became that thin i wouldn’t be happy with myself… I Love the skin I’m in and you can’t change that!
You are a female who weighs 236 pounds and you claim to have 12% body fat? Are you alright? I weigh 100 pounds less than you do, I’m a competitive athlete who strength trains daily, and I have 16.4% body fat which is very low for a woman, especially one over 40, which I am. You are a liar of the worst kind.
Maria – THANK YOU!
I found your FB page and this here blog and I am excited to start the new year. I am over weight. I have always been on the “fluffy” side. I just want to live the next half of my life on the healthy side! (I am 46 with 4 almost grown children).
I also am in complete agreement with you on the growing acceptance of obesity. It isn’t right to turn on the television and watch a “reality” show that promotes a certain family’s obesity. Yes, as a “big” girl, I want lingerie that fits and is comfortable, clothes – even work out clothes – that doesn’t hug my fat rolls, etc. But HEY! that pain is what makes getting into shape possible! BTW “I’m in shape. Round is a shape.” Lol ;~p
Why did you not marry Asian man? You do no like yourself, want your kids look like white man. Ashame.
Seriously?! Out of everything on this website you want to know why she didn’t marry an asian man and that she doesn’t like herself? This world is ridiculous anymore, you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all. I personally am inspired by Maria and she along with her family are gorgeous.
Just because your level of ignorance is so astounding, let us examine scientifically why what she did as far as breeding was sound. The reason why we don’t mate with our siblings or close cousins is because we need a genetic stratification to reduce the incidence of genetic disease. When you leave your regional genetic pool you tend to find more of the quality traits possessed and reduce the incidence of genetic disease in your offspring. To say it simply, while you are probably making kids with 16 fingers and vestigial tails, Maria and her husband are ensuring their genetic lineage has a chance at being survivors. Now I understand your low brow ignorance isn’t capable of understanding, but you probably also subscribe to this reverse darwinistic literally top heavy society where the fit have to work hard to support you on your social services. Here’s a tip, just because they offer scooters in Wal-Mart, try walking. Children exemplify the best parts of ourselves, twit.
PURLEIN!! SERIOUSLY??? it’s an old post, but the shame still lingers…”WHAT” does someone who thinks like you marry? i wonder….
Let’s just put it in perspective. A Ukranian man told us, in awe and wonder, “USA, only place in world person can be poor and fat same time! Beautiful!” I’ve always fought personal space, rights and speech, but when people steal my paid for real-estate on the airplane it isn’t my fault or my problem. Maria is right on all accounts, and is a hell of a lot more objective than most people. A good person loses time contemplating things introspectively while the bad people attack. Maria is being attacked by bad people and praised by those that aren’t ignorant. There is a difference between truth and facts, and Maria pops off both. People that argue against facts such as CALORIES IN>CALORIES BURNED = FAT need to get with reality. Science doesn’t exist to only be valid when one feels it’s convenient. Maria is not going out and getting in people’s faces, she is a reference for you to go to. Those people that go out of their way to get in Maria’s face are disruptive and degenerative towards society and community. If you’re under 34/age take the Military Challenge and join up. You’ll lose your ignorance about 2 things which you have no right to speak of if you haven’t done them(military and fitness). Then come back when you’re fit and tell Maria that you were happier when you were fat and are going back to that lifestyle. It’s highly probable you wont.
Hi! I seldom comment on posts online, but I quickly wanted to say that you are a rockstar for being so inspirational to many people, even myself! I am in that part of my life where I am learning to make time for the things that matter, and nix the things that just don’t. It’s a hard line to walk, but I am making many efforts to make health my priority. Second, I read some of the comments here, and some people are just crazy! The things they say, how they express themselves, and why they even bother to? Anyway, you’re super resilient for putting-up with so much and still being so positive. Sending you many blessings!
Keep doing a great job! I just wanted to say it.
Maria, you should never give up ! you did something what wasn’t done before, you proved that is possible to be fit and health when being a mum, wife and working at the same time.Most women are telling I’m a mum ,I don’t have time etc. but the truth the are lazy. I’m a mum myself and put on during pregnancy 38kg!! After giving a birth I was devastated ,instead of enjoying motherhood I was depressed ,because I was FAT!!! I’m glad I saw you in TV because you are my inspiration ,you’re not a professional trainer and you look amazing -your story is very similar to mine ,I had bulimia. Now I lost 45kg , I exercise -I run at 6am and eat health and I feel great ,my mind is working much better and I’m more energetic. It’s possible because I did it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I just watched the video on Access Hollywood, and I have to say that you’re right: you cannot be fat AND fit. In November 2013 I was diagnosed with a DVT (deep vein thrombosis–blood clot) in both my right leg and left arm. I was in the hospital for pneumonia as well. After being treated with blood thinners for 5 months I recently had bloodwork done. They found 3 genetic abnormalities in my blood, 2 of which contributed to the development of the DVTs. Guess what advice my doctor gave me? Exercise and improve my diet. He told me that lowering my cholesterol will help decrease the chances of a repeat DVT. He didn’t say, “Well, you’re healthy at 179lbs. Keep doing what you’re doing.” He didn’t say that because it’s not true. I understand wanting to “look” beautiful no matter your size. But we have to recognize that there’s a difference between looking beautiful and feeling good. Yes, bigger women can be beautiful. In fact, some women look BETTER with a little weight on them. What you’re trying to get people to understand is that they will FEEL better when they are healthier. That’s not fat shaming. That’s just telling it how it is. I think when they hear healthy most people think you mean skinny. Those 2 do not always go hand in hand. Some very unhealthy people are skinny. Some very healthy people are not size 2’s. People need to expand their way of thinking. It is not black and white. You just keep being you!
You said it perfectly!
Keep fighting the good fight. You’re a HUGE inspiration to me, and I fear for what the pro-obesity movement is going to do to our country.