Personally, I think Maria Kang’s picture and the caption is awesome. As someone who wants kids in the near future, I found it entirely motivating and inspiring. The reactions people are going to derive from this is largely based on their personal outlook, and thankfully mine is happy and secure.

Unfortunately, there have been a few themes I’ve noticed in the responses to this seemingly normal wife and mother, and they’ve been harsh, and they’ve been presumptuous. The overwhelming reaction to the above picture seems overly sensitive to me, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s due to peoples’ insecurities.

Or is the overall response indicative of the mindset people hold toward health, obesity and personal accountability in this country?

We need to take ownership of our bodies.

If you choose to be overweight, that is your choice. I don’t hate you for it, I don’t think you’re less of a person, and I doubt Maria Kang does either. But recognize that in the vast majority of situations, it is a choice. I made this choice at one point in my life, most people do. She is not saying you have to look exactly like her. That is an assumption that people are making. Healthy comes in a lot of shapes and sizes.

I am not fit because of genetics. I haven’t always been fit. I haven’t always been healthy. I’m healthy and fit because I work really fucking hard at it. I plan meals, I spend a good portion of my salary on organic food, I prepare, I spend hours every Sunday prepping food for the week, I make dinner every night and along with lunch for the next day all while working two jobs. This isn’t to say I don’t love my food or that I don’t enjoy it (I love to cook), but being healthy requires effort.

We need to take ownership of our emotions.

Did MK really make you feel bad? Someone you have never and most likely will never meet? Someone who has absolutely no bearing on your life? Or do you feel bad because the picture and caption triggered something in you that was uncomfortable?

I’ll tell you something, Maria Kang is more toned and muscular than I am. Did that make me feel bad? Hell no, I don’t put in the work to be as toned as her, and homegirl has three kids! Did I get mad at her over this? Did I assume she is in better shape than me because of genetics? Because she has more time? An easier job? No. She’s more toned and muscular than me because she puts in an effort that I do not put in. Simple. Easy. She’s not a terrible person and I don’t feel bad about it. I still have an awesome body, it’s just different. Yours is different too.

Let’s not take everything out of context.

MK is not a random mom who created the picture to garner attention, to fat shame or put other women down. Let’s use some common sense here.

The woman is a fitness professional!

She started a non-profit fitness organization whose goal is to,

…instill a collaborative effort between students, teachers and parents to engage in fitness activities to improve overall health and physical fitness standards. Our objective is to provide 250-300 students an opportunity to increase their state’s physical fitness tests in strength, endurance and flexibility through before school programs, nutritional workshops and parental participation in FWB’s Leadership Academy.

In a country whose obesity rate is higher than ever, whose adolescent obesity rate has tripled in the last 30 years, shouldn’t we be commending her?

Maria Kang is not thin and fit because of genetics. Genetics are not the defining factor here. She is toned and muscular because she works for it. It is literally her job to motivate and inspire and spread the word about fitness. Why is she being attacked for doing so?

I think everyone should be proud of their body. You don’t need to look like Maria Kang. I don’t. Health comes in all different shapes and sizes. And generally speaking, obesity is not healthy. Being obese does not make anyone less of a person. It doesn’t mean a person shouldn’t love their body.

I love my body. I’m proud of it. I debated about posting a bikini shot, but here goes:

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We’ve all got excuses, we’ve all got baggage. We are not special butterflies whose lives are tougher than everyone else’s. Everyone has shit to deal with.

My Potential Excuses:

  • I had a rough childhood
  • Everyone in my immediate family is addicted to drugs and I don’t speak to a single one of them
  • I’m poor (I’m not anymore, but I was)
  • I was abused physically, mentally and otherwise as a kid/teen
  • I come from a broken home
  • I had a mother that made me take a cab to the gym every single day after school in 8th grade and wouldn’t pick me up until they closed at 10 pm (with no food or money to buy food), because I had a body that was “prone to getting fat”
  • I’ve been on my own since I was 16
  • My family doesn’t love me
  • A shit ton of others

We ALL have excuses. I used to make a lot of them. I used to have a drinking problem. At some point I decided my excuses were bullshit; I decided I was not my excuses, I decided I was worth it. Self-love allowed me to become healthy, it allowed me to care about my body. Self-love, responsibility, and effort are how we heal, physically and otherwise.

My intention in writing this is not to hurt feelings but promote discussion. Whether you agree or disagree, please comment below. I always want to be understanding and compassionate, and I don’t particularly understand the negative responses to this picture.

So, if you disagree with me, let’s talk about it!

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