By now, the internet is pretty familiar with Maria Kang, the self-described “no excuse mom,” whose entire movement is about pushing mothers to reach their potential in fitness and health — without using any excuses.
Kang originally set fire to the internet after posting a photo of herself minimally dressed, with her children surrounding her, touting her achievements in working off the belly fat post-kids. While she claims her image was meant to be inspirational, she received enormous backlash for being a “braggart” who is self-promoting while simultaneously putting others down. She was even branded a "fat-shamer."
Now she’s back at it: facing the controversy, Kang isn't letting any haters stop her. In her most recent full-body photo, posted on March 4, Kang stands with her arms crossed and her muscular thighs apart, staring straight at the camera. Arrows point to different parts of her body, leading to words like, “no nanny or chef,” or “not a trainer, athlete, or fitness model,” apparently to emphasize the fact that the mother of three young children doesn’t use such excuses to stop herself from working out. According to AdWeek, this new photo is part of a promotional push for her movement, which aims to inspire realistic women of all shapes and sizes to live a healthier lifestyle while in the midst of careers and families.
Her website, NoExcuseMom.com, features an image of herself in a workout bikini, holding one child in one arm, with two toddlers hugging each of her legs. The quote, “Motherhood CAN make you Better!” is stretched across the top.
Despite plenty of internet hatred directed at Kang for making people feel inferior, her website features mothers of all shapes and sizes who are simply trying to live a healthy lifestyle while raising children — something that can be a challenging feat after pregnancy, when our bodies change and make it harder to lose those extra pounds. The website also offers different recipes, fitness training tips, and female role models.
Late last year, after the controversy over Kang’s Facebook photos, she even wrote an Op-Ed piece for Time titled, “Fit Pride Isn’t ‘Hate Speech,’” in which she described how the fat acceptance movement could actually be harmful. “Have we really created a society so sensitive and weak that we cry ‘hate speech’ whenever someone points out the fine line we’re walking as a nation by promoting a healthy body image above actual health?” Kang writes. “Has the growing movement promoting ‘fat acceptance’ and even ‘fat pride’ gone so far that now we need a countervailing movement promoting ‘fit pride?'”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-third of American adults are obese, and the cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008.
However, in order for Kang's movement to be successful, it may be important for Kang to switch the focus from herself, and concentrate on highlighting the achievements of other ordinary women more often. Regardless, take her updates with a grain of salt: working out and eating healthy certainly isn't negative advice. One commenter on Kang’s Facebook writes, “You women absolutely love to tear apart a woman who takes care of herself. Here’s a thought — try actually exercising something other than your tired excuses and get moving.”