Maria-Kang

I’ve been asked about this picture probably a dozen times over the last few days.

 You see, there are two camps here.  There is the camp that is highly offended and pissed off that Maria Kang would be so “judgmental” and “fat-shaming” and there is the camp that applauds her for her hard work and dedication to her health and her body.

So what’s my take on it?

Which side do I fall upon?

Do I agree with Maria Kang or the thousands of women who dislike her because of this photo?

The answer is: it’s not as simple as taking one side or another.  Here are my thoughts.

I actually just wrote an article about “fitspo” posters (fitspo = fitspirational) for SparkPeople.com.  It’s not published yet, but I will link it here when it is.

First and foremost, in no way whatsoever do I believe that her intention is fat shaming. She obviously has an incredible work ethic and amazing genetics to go along with it.  And I truly believe that she had good intentions when posting this picture. She wanted to show other Moms what is possible when you work hard and train consistently (while probably looking for some positive attention for herself, which is fine! Positive attention for your hard work feels great!)

My issue is this: in my experience, as you can see by the uproar, the women that this motivates, typically don’t need the motivation. They are already fit/healthy/lean/living the lifestyle. While the women it infuriates (i.e. the ones who aren’t taking care of themselves or living a healthy lifestyle) are the ones who could use the motivation/inspiration/nudge to work out and take care of themselves, which is what the picture was intended for.

If they were already living that lifestyle, they wouldn’t feel so upset/offended/attacked/lesser-than.

(ADDENDUM: ^^^^^^^ This is a very general statement, and it’s been my experience that the ones who have been angered by this picture are the ones struggling to find the time to work out and take care of themselves.   However, there are plenty of women who DO take care of themselves who have been upset as well, simply because the message is, “You SHOULD be able to look like this,” when in actuality, not everyone CAN achieve that look, so matter how hard they try.  I discuss this a lot in the following 3 articles: HERE, HERE, & HERE.)

 

I think if Maria had gone about this a different way (instead of simply blasting “WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE?!”) and she had the opportunity to tell her story (which is obviously hard, because it’s just a picture), she could reach a lot more women who do need motivation and inspiration.  If she talked about her struggles, and overcoming them, which she is clearly doing, women would absolutely love her, instead of being angry at her.

First and foremost, women seek to be understood. If you can validate a woman’s feelings first, your message will be infinitely more effective in the long-run.  If Maria’s picture had a quote at the bottom that said:

I know what it’s like to be a working mother with no nanny, and it’s hard, but you know what?  You can do it! I believe in you!  Let me show you how!

She would probably be a hero to mothers everywhere instead of the villain she is being painted to be.  Every good communicator knows that it’s all about the delivery.  That’s why communication is 90-something % body language and tone, and less than 10% what you actually say.

So while I don’t blame Maria or think that her intentions are bad, I do think that if she truly wants to get her message across to the women who need her message the most, there is a much more effective way to do it, that will resonate with women instead of making them angry.

What do you think?  Am I on-point or totally off-base?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

47 Responses to Maria Kang: Inspirational or Fat-Shaming?

  1. Laura Hopkins says:

    I think your comments are right on. I actually have followed Maria’s page for a while and really think her intentions were to be motivational, not shaming, but agree that this picture doesn’t necessarily portray that. Your point that the people this speaks to are already much like Mariais right on so I’m not sure it worked in the way it was intended. But even if people feel this is “fat shaming” or not portraying the right message attacking Maria for it and bringing her down doesn’t help. Let’s have a kind discussion about it. I think the uproar shows that perhaps we are all a little too quick to judge…on both sides!

  2. Sarah Gaines says:

    I 100% agree with everything you just said. This is an issue I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. Many “motivational” posts end up doing the opposite and instead enrage people or scare them away (posts like “if you don’t throw up you’re not working hard enough). It’s great that being fit is now the latest trend but just as you said, it needs to be properly communicated in order to achieve the motivation its aiming for.

  3. Kristen says:

    On point. I give a giant eye roll to fitspo pictures in general, and not because I’m a jealous hater. You never see fitspo pictures of super heavy weight women lifting big weights or doing cool stuff, and I think that’s unfortunate. “What’s your excuse” is poor message delivery, intentional or unintentional. Her “so sorry I’m not sorry” apology, though, was smug and that’s what I find irritating.

    • Danielle says:

      I agree with your comment so much- the picture & caption was mildly irritating, but the response was downright infuriating! When I first saw the picture I thought “oh well she’s just a tad insensitive,” but when I read the response I thought “what a hateful person!”

    • Jan Stanners says:

      I disagree that such a photo can ‘motivate’ people to be healthier/more fit..motivation comes from within. The “What’s your excuse?” comment just sounds like the nyah-nyah BS that was rife in elementary school…just living up to the stereotypical woman-on-woman hostility that diminishes us all.

    • kieraJen says:

      The mere fact that this is a great and uncommon accomplishment suggests that she IS saying nayh, nayh.

    • Kyle says:

      But CAN she say “nyah, nyah”? I mean, how much can she squat and deadlift?

      When you’re that lean you’re only a week of pizza and doughnuts away from being back to your pudgy old self. But you tend to keep the strong. Let’s focus on accomplishments that last.

  4. Darrell Addison says:

    Spot on, Lady!

  5. Chessaria says:

    I totally agree with you. I also think that many people have a misconception that being think is easy. That no one who is thin works hard to maintain that. So putting a story out there with the picture would help a lot.

  6. Susy says:

    Totally agree with this article Molly. I think when you are an active person and have a good lifestyle, this poster is a reminder for some, and a motivator for others. I am a working mother myself and i make time, and i’m in the best shape of my life, with an active 5 year old. She is inspiring to me because after having 3 boys running around and she still manages to make time for herself and look great :-)
    I posted this picture and I got ONE person who was a bit angry about it. She said she lost a lot of weight because she had to eliminate many things from her diet, because her baby was allergic. It wasn’t her choice etc. What i don’t get is why so many people take this as an attack towards them and their lifestyle. I guess the tagline is what angers them the most.

    • Jen says:

      Yes. It’s the tag line. Because many mothers don’t have “excuses” they have reasons. I’m really over the fitspo pictures as well but mostly it’s the “what’s your excuse” message that I have a hard time with. I think Maria looks amazing and this is the body I hope to have in the not-too-distant future (I just had a baby myself). I agree with Molly whole-heartedly that this is not the way to motivate people (most of them anyways) that need it.

    • kieraJen says:

      So is she thin because she eliminated food groups? Is that what you’re saying?

  7. Michelle says:

    Totally inspiring…. I take my hat off to her!!!

  8. Anna says:

    I agree. It could be a good message but “what’s your excuse” comes off a little holier than thou. I wish it were a little more welcoming like “It is possible. You can do it!” Something more motivating and encouraging.

  9. Ashley S says:

    You’re completely on point! As a mother who’s achieved great results on my physical health, fitness & appearance I know how proud of yourself you can be and how desperately you want to share that with others.

    As a mother who for the first baby and the majority of my early adult life was overweight, I know the furry that comes with captions like that. It implies that the woman who had a c-section, faced a death, have an ill child, broke her arm or is too depressed to get up today is being lazy. They aren’t, we all get up each day doing our best, trying our best and sometimes our best falls significantly short of what we want it to be. Sometimes raising kids, making sure they’re fed well, clean and safe is the best we can do – it’s not an excuse it’s a fact.

    If she’d have said something similar to what you did or, “It won’t be easy I can promise you that, but time, hard work and great support can take you ANYWHERE you want to go! I’m on your team let’s get there together” she’d have made more friends than enemies.

    Hopefully as time moves forward she can understand those who are hurt, and that the mean words & anger are more the cover up to sad hearts and low self esteem. Maybe this will show her that compassion will always take you further in life than criticism.

  10. Hannah Zeiser says:

    The photo sent a message to not just moyhers but everyone else as well, struggling with fitness or not. There can be so many responsibilities in peoples lives that living healthy doesn’t always “fit into the schedule.” Been there, working on that…

    You have some great insight on this picture I found it interesting. The picture kind of hit me, made me wonder, what IS my excuse. If a mother of three can do it why can’t I do it as well, me being a single 21 year old.

    Found it quite motivating, helped me self reflect and really think about what I need to be telling myself and quit with all the excuses.

  11. Elizabeth F says:

    AGREE!!! I loved seeing the picture. And, yes, she should be a proud, fit mom that should be able to share what she has achieved…..BUT, it was when I read the “What’s Your Excuse?” caption that I got turned off…and I’m a fit, mom of three, too! Your suggested quote would have been MUCH more motivating.

  12. Melissa d. says:

    I agree and am so happy you wrote this post. Looking forward to the FITSPO piece in SPARK.

  13. Jeff says:

    This picture does go both ways as far as whether it’s inspirational or shaming. I see it as inspiring, but I’ve been training for 30+ years. Even though I don’t have the genetics to be that lean I said good for her, she looks fantastic.I also too understand that while she has incredible genetics, she’s also had to work her butt off to be in that kind of shape. Unfortunately I also hear people speaking from ignorance that are agitated by these types of pictures. Statements such as,”Well she just genetically has it, so it’s not that hard for her to look good” or “It’s drugs that give her that physique”. I’ve been training for three decades and I’m still blown away by the level of ignorance about training and nutrition. It’ll be hard to change that view when there are products constantly marketed on tv and print claiming to be the “magic bullet” to attaining a great physique. Eat this, or take this, or do this workout ten minutes a day three days a week and you’ll look just like me the genetically gifted freak! If people could just understand the basics of hard work and discipline as well as a goal to be the best their body will be they would be so far ahead and as a whole we as a society would be more fit. Instead we get conditioned to desire the results that only a small portion of people can attain and we are frustrated and dejected when we don’t look like the genetically gifted one in 90 days. The physique of the average Joe or Jane wouldn’t sell any workout dvd’s or powders though would it…..

  14. Amber says:

    I agree, as well. I fall into the camp that found Maria’s post to be inspirational. I am 5’2″ and my weight fluctuates between 220 and 230. I make fitness and nutrition a regular part of my life. When I first saw Maria’s photo, I was instantly motivated. I thought, “She’s had three children (I have none) and looks amazing! If she can find time, what’s my excuse?” I believe that the difference for me is that I take ownership of my shortcomings/mistakes. I acknowledge that there have been (and may be) events outside of my control that force health & fitness a little lower on my list of priorities. When that happens, I have to acknowledge that this is temporary, and that I have chosen (for this finite amount of time) to re-arrange my priorities.
    I know that I could be more dedicated, and all Maria’s photo did was remind me of that. It made me take a step back and be truly honest with myself (which is difficult for a lot of us). I had to acknowledge that (at the time I saw the photo), I was not making my health and fitness a priority. I absolutely had to take ownership of that; it is so easy to place the “blame” on something external, to take away our own culpability. We would much rather have a scapegoat than take personal responsibility. Why? Because it’s easy. It requires much less effort to (verbally) attack a woman whom we don’t know and will probably never meet, as opposed to focus that energy on bettering ourselves. It is my personal belief that a lot of the indignation and outrage is based in jealousy.
    In addition to all of this, there is a biological and evolutionary component. On a very primal and subconscious behavior, those who “attacked” Maria and her photograph are doing so based on a Darwinian concept of sexual selection (yay, Science!). Women have been in competition with other women based solely on appearance since time immemorial. Think about the children’s fairy tale of Snow White. The wicked queen (an adult female) became so jealous of Snow White’s (a child) beauty that she ordered her killed (I know there are many versions, but I’m basing this off of the Disney telling since I’m assuming most of us grew up with that particular version). Even when the threat is not overt, but so subconscious that we may not even recognize it, there is the desire to discredit the competition as not desirable to society (and even more so to other potential suitors). It is so ingrained in our culture that we pass it on to our children through something as seemingly innocuous as bedtime stories.
    If someone takes offense to this specific image, they do just that: they take the offense, the offense is not given. They inferred something that was not implied.

  15. Michele says:

    How about “If I can do it so can you!” – that would be a little more inspirational and not so “judgmental” feeling! Would be more about putting effort in than attaining a certain goal of physical appearance. Plus, showing us several different shapes of women, with their kids, would be more inspiring as everyone could then relate to someone in the picture, rather than someone who most likely is pretty small to begin with!!! :)

  16. solongo says:

    I disagree. Kang set a high standard and showed her work ethic and results visually with her 3 healthy children. The message is direct and to the point and if unfit women cannot answer that simple psychological question of “what is your excuse?” or “what is holding you back?” then that person mentally is not ready to embark on any sort of fitness journey.

    I bet if the message was about losing weight “fast” or even plastic surgery then you will not have so much angry reactions.

    The anger from these haters stems from their own lack of personal willpower and discipline to put in the work. It’s about personal responsibility and Kang’s message and results shows that it can be done. Most mothers give up on their physique, citing their busy schedules and lack of whatever…only to mentally give up without even attempting.

    Kang should not change anything she was posted or said because she earned her physique and her hard work paid off. If her success makes people feel shitty about themselves then that is not Kang’s issue.

    Things like this show how unfit the women of our society still are and still holding onto the 80′s bullshit get skinny fast routine. Sending this or that types of message is pointless because in the end really comes down to doing or not doing. Exercising and losing weight is not complex if one really wishes to follow that type of lifestyle. It’s the mental junk that people cannot control within themselves and that is only up to the person, not anything external.

  17. Diana says:

    I guess I sort of agree with you… :) I am guessing she had good intentions (because I think that’s always the best think to assume), but frankly I think she was also just plain showing off. That’s fine and good, everyone needs their ego stroked (some more than others), but when you add such an inflammatory statement that, you ought to expect that people are going to get fired up. And for the record, while I wasn’t offended per se, I thought it was all in poor taste. And BTW, I am a mom of 3 kids under the age of 7, a full time grad student with a husband who travels a lot, and I work out 5+ days a week. I don’t look like her and I don’t expect to. Nor do I expect anyone else to look like me. And I’m ok with that. Everyone’s business is just that – their own business.

  18. Betsy K says:

    In some respects I agree – she should be proud she looks great. From reading some of the comments, what defines fit and what defines unfit? Do you have to look like her to be considered fit? Can you be at a larger weight and still be fit? To me sometimes its demotivational because I work out hard – and I have worked out harder in the past, but for me its always been peanuts that I get instead of big rewards (ie about a 15-20lb loss vs what I’ve always been told it should be). And contrary to other opinions, no it was not over a 3 month period, try 3 years. To me it all comes back to, what defines unfit?

  19. Alicia says:

    I’m just curious if this woman has a full-time job or not. I’m also curious if she has the money to pay a professional trainer and then more money to pay a babysitter so she can work out constantly. I think it’s great that she has the motivation to do that however I think what this woman is forgetting is that maybe not everyone has the resources that she does. Money money money. Apparently she has it! Most people don’t.

    • Shells says:

      I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think she ever said she works out constantly. With respect, you’re throwing a lot of assumptions and aspertions upon her, when you don’t want her to make assumptions about others (ie their excuses). How is that not the same thing? My impression (and I could be wrong as I didn’t look that closely), is that she does an hour a day. None of us needs a trainer to do that. And she doesn’t watch TV – think of how many hours that frees up to do other things? Instead of an hour on some show, it’s spent doing something positive, like exercise or other things with her family. Her communication was a bit heavy-handed, but the point is true. It can be done.

  20. Jen says:

    It’s really crazy the amount of media attention this picture has gotten. I think it’s because it stirs up so many emotions for women – pride and triumph but also hopelessness, shame about their own bodies, and, of course, envy.

    I’m two months postpartum with my third boy and, like Maria, I hold fitness in high regard. But I would never ever use those words to other women with young children. Because I know what it’s like. I don’t think you have children Molly, but when you do you may look back on this time and say “what was she thinking?” It’s a very raw time for women emotionally and physically. Hormones aside (but they also come into play!), we suddenly have these bodies that are unrecognizable and there’s a ton of pressure to “get back into shape.” So as many of us are already feeling body shame, I think we least expect a fellow mother to make us feel further ashamed. It’s stings the most coming from someone who should have the greatest compassion and understanding. That’s how I felt anyways.

    Many women’s bodies change from pregnancy. Mine did, each and every pregnancy has changed my body. I’ll never look how I did pre-children so my journey is to start appreciating my new body for what it’s accomplished and for what it can do! The journey is not just a physical one, it’s emotional too. We have to learn to love our new bodies and love ourselves too. It’s not always a black and white issue of “you do it or you use excuses not to do it.” You need support. You need the time. You need the knowledge. You need the self worth. Many of us don’t have one or all of those. And that is why a more positive and encouraging message is needed.

    For Jeff, the man that commented about people’s “level of ignorance” – this coming from a man who’s trained for thirty plus years. You are the ignorant one Jeff. The problem isn’t with the people! Its the industry and the products and the marketing tactics… A woman who’s just had a baby and is potentially starting her first ever weight loss journey…. She is bombarded with (mis)information about nutrition and fitness, diets, fitspo pictures, ridiculous YouTube workouts, ETC… Until she doesn’t even know which way is up anymore. I don’t think these people are ignorant. I feel sorry for them. They’re struggling to find truth in an industry that is 80% full of crap.

  21. Kate says:

    My problem with the picture is that it’s not realistic. If you have three babies in three years-ish as it seems she has, 99.9% of women are going to have stomach skin issues that cannot be resolved by any amount of exercise (no matter how smart or well trained), clean eating or self-care. Either she is in that 0.1%, (in which case she is a genetic freak, and talking about other people’s ‘excuses’ is like someone who is 7 foot 7 asking about other people’s excuses for not being in the NBA), or she has had a tummy tuck with her last birth/caesar.
    A stomach like she has cannot be achieved by the vast majority of women who have had even one child no matter what they do short of surgery. Not to say women with kids can’t be fit, strong and kick-arse. I know plenty that are, and I’m working on being one myself. But no woman with three kids needs an ‘excuse’ not to have a stomach that looks like that!

    • Shells says:

      I don’t think she said we have to have her stomach. She’s just showing that she’s fit – she didn’t say we need to be identical. It’s not great communication, but it’s about the best you are, in your own body. And if healthy includes a round tummy, so be it! Nothing wrong with it.

    • Kyle says:

      Shells wrote,

      “She’s just showing that she’s fit”

      Is she fit? Or just lean?

      What’s her 5km run time? How much can she deadlift? Can she do a chinup? What’s her 40 yard sprint time? By what measure is she “fit”, and how is this discernible through her photograph?

    • Emmi says:

      So because she has good genetics and worked her ass off, she has no right to post this pic because we can’t all look like that? Maybe she should hide inside tent clothing so that unfit ladies don’t get offended by her beauty?

      Where in this picture does she blame you for not looking like her? Is there a caption that says “if you don’t have a stomach like this you’re a shitty mum”? Don’t get so worked up over it. If you look carefully you can see she does have marks on her stomach and the photo has obviously been retouched in Photoshop too. AND WHO CARES IF SHE DOES. She looks fit, happy and healthy, and that’s what matters, not marks or saggy boobs or whatever it is that pregnancy does to most women’s bodies.

  22. Mandy says:

    The “what’s your excuse” is just obnoxious. She looks awesome and I am happy to give her kudos for getting there, while raising 3 littles. But I don’t need an “excuse” to not look like her. Maybe my mom was killed by a drunk driver last year and I’m still dealing with grief. Maybe I was just diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Maybe I’m the CEO of an international corporation and literally do not have the time to do anything beyond work and sleep. (these are all made up!!) None of those are excuses! They are reasons, and good ones. I much prefer something like “I did it, and you can too.” Inspiring, not accusing.

  23. Personally I kinda liked it but have seen a lot of the backlash, a lot of it coming from people who like other commenters have said aren’t ready to own their choices. I saw a lot of people listing reasons why they can’t which to me are excuses. If someone is happy with their life and where they are at then no need to become defensive about it, however if you aren’t happy where you are at you can become defensive when someone is calling you out on it. I myself have three children ages 7, 4, 2 and I had always been quite overweight, until I decided to do something about it and lost 95lbs, and that started two months after my youngest was born. I agree too that there is tons of misinformation out there which is one of my goals of my site, trying to show the healthy and sustainable way of doing things. I agree with Kate too in that it is unrealistic in terms of skin left from pregnancy, I wonder how it would have gone over had she been wearing a tight t-shirt as opposed to the bra top, but again that didn’t bother me because I usually wear my girl panties when I read anything on the internet, and I DO own my health and fitness choices. A lot of great comments on this blog post that I really enjoyed reading.

  24. Kat says:

    This was stated absolutely perfectly. I couldn’t agree more. While I’m sure her intentions are good, she went about it in the wrong way.

  25. Annette says:

    She is nothing but a trophy wife, afraid her husband would leave her if she does not maintain a HOT body. My husband loves me regardless and we are happy – that’s what matters most.

  26. saskia says:

    Still feel that people that dislike the picture need to think about their mind statement first. Cause I think it is a great picture cause I know the hard work and dedication behind those 2jobs and perhaps there is another job too. I for sure do not look like that and I work out as well, have 2 boys myself and an office job but I have a lot of respect for her and am not offended

  27. Emmi says:

    People are mistaking “a real actual reason why I cannot look like an Asian fitness model” with “excuse, not a real obstacle as to why I am not aspiring to be healthy and trying to keep active”.

    She’s not judging, she’s just saying it can be done, if you stop coming up with excuses. There is no “YOU CAN LOOK LIKE THIS IF YOU TRY!” headline on the pic, so why is everyone assuming she’s implying her’s is the only acceptable perfect body and we should all look like that? Haters and over-sensitive people are assuming WAAAAYY TOO MUCH and not even bothering to check her background.

    If you have real reasons, then you have REAL REASONS why you cannot look like a fitness model, and no one will think less of you. Then there are people who use any old excuse to explain why they treat their body like shit.

    People on the internet are so sensitive these days. It’s ridiculous. Jeez.

    • Bridget says:

      I totally agree with Emmi! I saw it as motivational. I think people who want to keep up with their excuses for why they can’t take care of themselves will turn it into fat shaming because then it’s okay to continue with their bad habits. If you are a reasonable person, I don’t think you look at her picture and say ” I could never look like that, she’s making me feel bad.” If you’re reasonable, you probably think ” hey, I can do that too and look pretty darn good myself if I just put some effort into it.” So people who want to Continue making bad choices are always going to be the complainers on an issue like this. But I think she looks great, and she’s worked hard and she deserves to feel good about that.

  28. Jill says:

    I totally agree with you. If you read between the lines it says “I’m a busy mom and was able to decide that I wanted to find the time to work hard and look – it paid off!” People need to remember that everyone has their challenges, that no one has it easy, and just chill out! Like you said, there’s more to this than just a picture, a picture is worth a thousand words, but if you leave it open to interpretation like this, people will make up the words they want to hear.

  29. Jennifer says:

    It all boils down to priorities. I am a mother of 2. I have always been what I refer to as pleasantly plump. Over the past 6 months I have made fitness a priority in my life. I have seen amazing results. Is Maria’s level of fitness obtainable for me or any other woman? I believe that it is. But here’s the catch, its all based on your priorities and what you are willing to trade for that level of fitness. I think Molly has talked about this in previous articles. Yes you can look like those pictures but you will have to eat a strict diet and you will have to put in quite a bit of time at the gym as well. Instead of saying excuses it should say “What are your priorities?” Which would be a more accurate statement. For me personally, I am not willing to give up some things to look like this. Thats because I choose to prioritize my life differently than she does. Life is all about give and take. Each person has to find their own balance. 6 months ago after some evaluation, I chose to make fitness more of a priority in my life. That meant that I had to move other things down to make room for fitness. Always remember that anything is achievable. What matters is how much time/energy/hard work are you willing to give to reach that goal?

  30. Lauren says:

    My personal stance on this is that it’s half motivation, and half shaming.

    You nailed my issue with it in the addendum. I have a ten month old. I DO take care of myself as best that I can while taking care of my family, and working 45+ hours a week. I eat well most of the time (no one is perfect), and I manage to fit in three strength training sessions each week.

    I’m proud of the balance that I have struck. I have a 10 month old and I am no where near looking like that. Weight loss has never been easy for me and this time is no different. I’m working on transitioning to a primal eating style to see if that helps.

    I personally would have preferred to see her doing something physical/active/awesome, instead of just posing. That for me would have helped swing it to even more positive/motivational.

  31. Anna says:

    I think what makes me upset is not everyone wants to look like a fitness model!! And not everyone should!

    Getting exercise? So important.
    Eating well? Necessary.
    Having >15% body fat and washboard abs? Get over yourself.

    So whats my excuse? I don’t want to look like YOU. I want to be happy being ME.

  32. Viorica says:

    “First and foremost, women seek to be understood. If you can validate a woman’s feelings first, your message will be infinitely more effective in the long-run.”

    While I agree (sadly) this statement is probably true, it’s probably true of most people, men or women. And, I agree we need to extend our actions to always try to understand people. However, I think this points to the bigger issue, whereby individuals seek external validation to gloss over their general feelings of inadequacy/ self-esteem issues. A person who is truly confident in themselves is not immediately threatened by a poster of someone showcasing their achievements. Any meaning extracted from its relatively ambiguous tone is a direct reflection of these individual’s inner voice, and nothing else as far as I’m concerned.

    Rather than promote the attitude of requiring external validation, it would be even better to encourage a kind of self-love on the more fundamental level. Maybe then people will choose not to be so offended by everyone and everything, and can celebrate all the positive things in theirs and other peoples lives, as well as make the necessary changes to live up to any internal goals.

  33. Gina says:

    I think if she changed her headline to – I did it it with 3 kids and you can too – would have been much more motivating and inspirational than – what’s your excuse? That came across so negative.
    I have 2 kids and bounced back into shape.
    It’s not so easy for some women who get PPD or have no family support or God knows the lack of sleep is overwhelming ! My nearly 3 yr old STILL doesn’t always sleep thru the night. I have to pick to work out instead of sleeping but I can understand why someone would do the opposite.
    She mentioned in her article that she does not have good genetics – clearly not true she has no stretch marks.
    I work my butt off to look good, I also have damn good genetics and I’m perfectly willing to admit it.
    She could’ve been so much more inspirational if she wasn’t so demeaning- IMHO.

  34. LG says:

    I wish that she also promoted how she got there – how long it took from her 8 mo old being born, how much time away from her babies, energy, eating clean etc. She didn’t wake up the next morning after having the baby with those abs. For some women who have had a C-section, she may never have those abs again. Or maybe even use the opportunity to promote what being healthy is while pregnant – that it’s not a license to eat whatever you want and never exercise! Or that she was a fit pregnant mom and that helped her get back to pre-baby body. There are so many more positive ways she could have taken this picture. I also think that this just reiterates the fact that we are not men, and women are not necessarily motivated in the same ways. Just my 2 cents! Thanks for posting this Molly!

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