When a Challenge Crosses the Line

A few weeks ago, I was scanning Facebook when an interesting photo popped up in my newsfeed. It was of a woman in a coordinating workout sports bra and short shorts outfit with three darling children positioned around her. In the snapshot, she’s beaming from ear to ear and at the top reads: What’s your excuse?

Maria Kang

My eyes quickly scanned through the truncated status and I was immediately intrigued. I saw that there was more to this woman’s latest Facebook post so I clicked “read more.” I won’t even attempt to summarize her status; instead, I’ve copied it below.

Here’s my First and Final Apology:

I’m sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way. I won’t go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two business’, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer. I won’t even mention how I didn’t give into cravings for ice cream, french fries or chocolate while pregnant or use my growing belly as an excuse to be inactive.

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. You can either blame, complain or obtain a new level of thought by challenging the negative words that come out of your own brain.

With that said, obesity and those who struggle with health-related diseases is literally a ‘bigger’ issue than this photo. Maybe it’s time we stop tip-toeing around people’s feelings and get to the point. So What’s Your Excuse?

My first thought was, “Holy mack, this woman is awesome.” Then a second thought occurred, “This will be the equivalent of a spark around gunpowder in the social media world.”

Well, fast forward to today and what was one of the headline news stories? This woman’s.  Her name? Maria Kang. Here’s the link to the CNN article.

The comments people left stemmed from either admiration or hatefulness. Men and women applauded her for challenging other overweight individuals. Likewise, other commenters hated on her approach and scolded her for invalidating their reasons excuses.

Personally, I don’t believe Maria was flaunting her rockin’ body or her successful career. She was  advocating for a healthy lifestyle and better choices. At least, that was my take away from her Facebook post.

In fact, a large majority of what she wrote, I completely agree with. Too many times, people make excuses and take the easy way out. We’ve all done it. Heck, I even published my latest excuse just a few weeks ago! I put on a few pounds because Max was getting ready to deploy and every meal was our “last.”

It took a reality check to realize the error of my ways. In essence, I stopped tip-toeing around the cold hard truth and decided to do something about it. I’ve started keeping food journals again to watch what I eat; I’ve been cooking more at home; I started posting fitness plans to hold myself accountable. Bottom line: I stopped making excuses and rededicated my pledge to living a healthy lifestyle.

Did Maria’s photo and Facebook post cross the line or was she inspiring women with a hard and fast challenge?

12 thoughts on “When a Challenge Crosses the Line

  1. I’ve been following this news story too! I was just telling my husband that I didn’t find her post “inspiring” at all! It has a negative connotation instead of a positive, encouraging one. The tagline has a “one-upping” kind of feel to it. I feel like it would be different if her challenges (her children) were thrust upon her – but it was her choice to have back to back children. I also think that she MUST have sacrificed valuable time with her very young children in order to look THAT fit – we all know how much time that takes! I do agree with her on one point – we shouldn’t be sugar coating people’s poor health and people need to be told like it is by their doctors and family members. Bottom line for me, she could have inspired more people with a more encouraging tagline – some people suggested “What’s Your Motivation?” Loved your post!

    • Yes, her approach and tagline could have used some finesse; however, her stance on not making excuses and owning your lifestyle choices really resonated with me. For me, that was the biggest take away and I honestly think she hit the nail right on the head. People who constantly make excuses about everything – work, free time, meeting up with friends, crossing items off their bucket list, changing their body image (literally everything) – really irritate me. If something bothers you about how you’re living your life, then do something! The only person holding you back is you! That’s what I think she was trying to get across. That’s why I found it more inspiring than discouraging. So glad you enjoyed my post 🙂

  2. Very good point – I have soooo many friends who make excuses for not exercising (usually “ain’t nobody got time fo dat” haha!) and not eating healthy (“Oh I could NEVER give up my soda!”). I hear it every day as coworkers are leaving for lunch and asking me if I want anything – I always say no thanks I brought my lunch (I can’t leave campus so I have to, but I pack a healthy lunch and drink water only). I’ve been told by a coworker “You’re such a good example for us.” Yet nobody eats any healthier! You’re right, we each make our own decisions.

    • Exactly! I drink water constantly throughout the day and 90% of the time, I pack my lunch as well. Once in a while, I’ll go out with some co-workers, but I’m always mindful of what I order. My officemate is always commenting on how restrictive I am with my eating habits, but I don’t think that at all. I’m just very cognizant of what I pack for lunch. Plus, I don’t stop by the snack bar once or twice a day to grab a Snickers or M&Ms and a soda like many of my co-workers! Seriously – every day! Oi!

      • That’s so funny that you say that about the vending machines and snack time! I eat a late lunch (1:30) so a lot of my coworkers come into the break room during that time already hungry for a snack because they’ve had an early lunch – they all get candy bars and sodas. I just feel miserable if I drink soda and eat too much sugar (I love my Sour Patch Kids though!) and I really don’t think I’d make it through the rest of the work day! Good point about being “restrictive” versus being mindful – I call that “conscious eating.” I look at food and I literally ask it (not out loud) “What will you do for me?”

      • If it’s been a long week, I’ll treat myself to a Snickers (my weakness!), but that’s only once in a blue moon. Food that’s packed with sugar leaves me feeling moody and sluggish. I’m so much more alert if I’m eating lots of veggies and fruit. I love your terminology – “conscious eating” is the perfect way to describe my eating habits! I’ll have to use that phrase the next time my co-worker makes a comment 🙂

  3. You all make excellent points.
    “Conscious Eating,” love it! I too will use this as a tool to keep on task.

    I believe this young lady should have thought more about her tagline. She missed a great opportunity to be an inspiration to the masses.

    And of course the media has focused more on the negative then the positive .

    • The media’s definitely become something else in recent years. It seems more like a circus to me, blowing everything out of proportion. It’s unfortunate really.

  4. Right now I am trying to get on the weight loss train and seeing this ad made me realize that I need to stop making excuses and start getting in shape. However, for some people who have medical issues or are dealing with serious problems, I can understand their outrage. But I think that no meme or ad will ever apply to every person out there. Great piece you’ve written here.

    • Too true! Her ad works for some people, but not everyone. There are few things in life that are truly “one size fits all” (no pun intended!). For some, it was just enough to nudge in the right direction/get back on track and for others, it came off as smug and condescending. Everyone’s motivation stems from different sources. To each his own. Thanks for sharing your opinion and so glad you enjoyed my post!

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