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Maria Kang, the 'Facebook fit mum', is back.

Maria Kang
Maria Kang

Remember Maria Kang?

She’s the mum-of-three you can see in that picture on the left, which went viral on the internet after she uploaded it to her Facebook page, resulting in it being viewed over 16 million times.

Well, she’s not quite finished. Kang has capitalised on the attention brought by that Facebook post (she has appeared on CNN, as well as done a stack of appearances and interviews since the photo’s release) and decided to start her own movement.

The ‘No Excuse Moms Movement’.

The movement involves more than 700 local groups of mums across the US, encouraging them to get together for free, regular workouts in public spaces.

Speaking about how her controversial photo allowed her to get the movement started, Kang told Yahoo! Shine:

I feel like all the backlash was worth it.

I feel like my original image and message sparked an international dialogue that woke people up and made them question their excuses.

The announcement of Kang’s new campaign on Facebook was accompanied by this – familiar looking? – photo:

Maria Kang

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The picture attracted controversy (surprise), primarily because of the excessive Photoshop used.

But in an interview with local news station KXTV, Kang denied the use of Photoshop, attributing her airbrushed look to “lighting correction”.

“It is absolutely the real me,” Kang said. “What we’ve become accustomed to are images where they’ve taken inches off a person, and they look longer and taller.”

She points to the visible stretch marks she has from giving birth to three children. But she admits the picture was airbrushed.

“When you look at the before and after, you’re going to see that there’s a little bit of lighting manipulation, if there’s anything, it’s lighting. But you’re not going to see my waist getting thinner or my legs getting thinner,” Kang said.

So, yeah. The picture is photoshopped.

The last time Kang and her ‘no excuses’ attitude to fitness and motherhood hit made headlines, Mamamia’s Body Image Blogger Taryn Brumfitt had this to say:

Dear Maria – what’s my excuse for not having a body like yours?

Taryn training
Taryn training hard for her sports figure competition.

OMG, It’s book week celebrations at school tomorrow and I’ve not made a costume for Oliver and Cruz. Hun, could you go & grab a yiros for dinner?” and “Just can’t be bothered going to the gym tonight, think I might stay in and watch The Bachelor” are just two excuses that spring to mind.

I’ve got a long list of the excuses that I could give Maria Kang for not looking like she does but really I don’t want to be accountable to her judgements (I don’t answer to her, I only answer to me) so instead of rambling off all my excuses I’d rather take the opportunity to set the record straight on a few things.

I’ve had the (near) perfect body and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Last May I competed in a sports figure competition, it was a big part of my body image (wait for it, the word that makes me want vomit in my own mouth) “journey”. It was a challenge that I set for myself to see how far I could push my body; it was my own personal experiment.

How would I feel about my body if I lost a lot of weight and toned up? What does it feel like to wear a bikini? It took 15 weeks of very hard training (much like an athlete) and 100% discipline with my diet, but I did it, I lost a lot of weight, I got up on that stage and strutted around in my glittery bikini and porno shoes.

I went from this …

Taryn (before)

 

To this:

Taryn (after)

And of course people just focused on how good I looked, and how inspirational I was and completely glossed over the fact that there was a heap of blood, sweat and tears (and not just my own tears) to get to that position. It became apparent that no one truly understood the level of commitment it takes to look like I did (or Maria does for that matter).

And that is why I take great exception to Maria’s comments.

To look like she does is (for most people) completely doable, if you are willing to sacrifice most of the things that you love. And I wasn’t willing to do that. I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy hanging out with my kids, sleeping in on the weekends, eating what I want and when I want and having the occasional night out with the girls.

Now don’t get me wrong, before all you health nuts have a crack at me for promoting obesity. I’ve heard your arguments when I posted my non-traditional before and after photo:

Taryn's non-traditional before & after photo.

 

I AM a health advocate.  I run, I lift weights, I eat healthily but I also have a cookie with my soy latte and knock back the odd burger or yiros when I feel like it. It’s called balance. And whilst I am getting on my soap box (I’ll just be here for another minute) health is not dictated by your looks. Health is physical, emotional and spiritual and so much more that is not visible and not always obvious to others.

And here is something else to consider: A golden oldie…”You can’t judge a book by its cover”. That old chestnut couldn’t ring truer in my case for my bikini body. Whilst on the surface it was all smiles, razzle and dazzle, on the inside I was pining for some balance in my life.

Taryn eating broccoli for breakfast
Taryn eating broccoli for breakfast

In particular, I felt I was a selfish mother. In those 12 weeks the kids heard a LOT of “I’ll be there in a minute” (but never being there in a minute) or “I can’t come” or “I don’t have time”.

Training like a beast means less time for the kids (or when I wasn’t training I was meal prepping or more to the point meal OBSESSING).

Stinky boiled eggs on buses, obsessive weighing, arguments with my husband (I did get a bit snitchy when I couldn’t eat chocolate), way too much hair washing, boiled chicken in a bowl at Chinese banquets, dry retching while eating broccoli, fish and chips at the beach sans the fish and the chips.

There is darker, untold side to having a body like Maria’s – she’s hiding it (I know), it’s just behind her razzle and dazzle.

So when you see a poster like Maria’s ” What’s your excuse?” please don’t feel threatened or annoyed but rather be content in the knowledge that having the ‘perfect’ body isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

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So, ‘Maria Kang: The Movement’. Thoughts?

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