Maria Kang, an entrepreneur and mother of 3, posted a photo of herself with her three young boys that challenges people to become fit.
The ages of the boys are listed, and Kang is in workout gear, looking extremely fit.
“What’s your excuse?” says the photo.
Kang says she put up the photo to inspire people.
It was first posted in fall 2012, and received 510 shares and a little over 2,000 likes, as well as 510 comments.
But Kang says she’s been continually getting “an influx of new followers, emails, and comments” on the photo, which is her Facebook profile picture. So she re-posted it with a message–and the re-post has gotten over 167,000 likes and 13,400 shares, as well as over 18,300 comments.
“I’ve been getting an influx of new followers, emails and comments (on my profile pic) recently,” she said. “Some saying I’m a bully, I’m fat-shaming and I need to apologize for the hurt I’ve caused women. I get it. SO 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?”
In the FAQ page of her website–created after the influx of comments–Kang says she owns a residential home for the elderly, and also founded a nonprofit, Fitness Without Borders.
Later, she posted another photo, saying: “I know some of you have seen the news and the motherhood/weight/bully/fat-shaming debate is on a roll. For those who have supported me and follow my site and this page I want to say THANK YOU. You know who I am. You know I have stretchmarks. I have excess skin. I get depressed. I’m often overwhelmed and I’m not always motivated to eat healthy and exercise. But, I do it. I may splurge on chocolate or miss a workout – but I never stop, I never quit, and I never stop striving. I am a real mom, with real obligations and this is a real picture of me – excess skin and all – saying YOU are beautiful. Motherhood is beautiful. AND it can make you better!”
People have had different reactions, but Kang estimates that 80 percent of them have been positive.
Commenting on her Facebook, Rich Cruz said: ” Let the haters hate.”
“For having 3 kids you look amazing and have every right to be proud of your hard work!” said Hailey McDonald.
“Maybe it’s your title? You could have gotten your point across without being snarky,” said Jessica O’Donnell.