Maria Kang, 32, is a mother three, the breadwinner in her household since her husband David Casler suffered a traumatic brain injury during a bomb attack in Iraq, owns two small residential care facilities for the elderly, and is a recovering bulimic. She also works out almost every day.
In an attempt to insire others, Kang posted an image on Facebook that has since gotten more than 16 million views, and generated more than 12,000 comments.
Some of the responses were light hearted.
And many of the responses were positive.
However, the negative ones were legion and included:
•“Those precious little things need their mommy more than they need you to have glamour muscles.” •“Not that I *NEED* an excuse for not working out, but here's mine you self-righteous idiot … fibromyalgia.”
•“You are part of the body shaming problem that is going on in North America and other parts of the world."
•“You are a bully with a super inflated sense of your own self.”
Kang responded with grace.
“I'm sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way," she said. "I won't go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two businesses, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer. What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It's yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn't create them. You created them. So if you want to continue ‘hating’ this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life.”
“I wanted to inspire people,” Kang explains, adding that the “What’s your excuse?” part was simply a borrowed, popular phrase that’s been used in various “fitspiration” campaigns. “I wanted to say, ‘I know you think you don’t have time if you have kids. But if I can do it, you can do it, too.’”
Now her detractors took it a step further and had her temporarily banned from Facebook, for the following message:
WARNING VENTING AHEAD:
I woke up this morning to news stories about how overweight nearly obese women should be proud of their bodies (as they posed in lingerie). I think we should all accept how any healthy body through good nutrition and exercise manifests but I’m starting to get annoyed and here’s why:
1. We have a health issue in America with over 2/3 overweight or obese.
2. We have a healthcare crisis. We spend over 3 trillion in healthcare yearly!
3. We have a childhood obesity issue, with many children suffering from adult diseases like diabetes.
4. We have magazines everywhere praising the celebrity (with all her resources) for being fit after months of giving birth and scorn the “real every day mom” who is able to be successful.
5. We keep blaming the culprit (school lunches, fast food, etc) when the real change starts at home – ESP those who lead, which are the parents.
There are some serious contradictions in our society. I know many people still get riled up with me and my convictions but the truth is I KNOW how it is to work your ass off and not have energy at the end of your day. I know how it feels to be overweight and not drop an ounce after years of disordered eating. I know how difficult it is to raise multiple children – all born a year apart – and make my fitness and nutrition a priority. Lastly, I know how it feels like to grow up with an unhealthy mother wondering if she will live to see your wedding day.
I know it’s hard. I know it’s not easy to break habits and build new ones. I know your environment challenges you and I know making your health a priority amongst the many priorities to stay afloat in today’s world is difficult. But I will tell you this: IT IS WORTH IT.
We need to change this strange mentality we are breeding in the U.S. and start celebrating people who are a result of hard work, dedication and discipline. I’m not bashing those who are proud and overweight, I am empowering those who are proud and healthy to come out and be the real role models in our society. (Vent done)
"Isn’t that nuts?" Kang asks. "They also deleted my post. While I’m certain this may be computer-generated when several critics reported my post as offensive, you would think Facebook would be more assertive about what defines ‘hate language’. (I’ve seen much worse on Facebook) They said it would be 12 hours – but I have a feeling it will be a few days."