Maria Kang is the mum-of-three who inspired controversy by posting a boastful Facebook update asking mothers, “What’s your excuse” for not having a body like hers. Now, for the first time, she has revealed the real reason she felt the need to wag her finger at others.
The fitness blogger sparked outrage when she posted the photo. She received angry responses such as this one:
You are . . . hurtful to women and think way too much of yourself. Disgusting is what you are!
And this one…
I have two kids and both have caused my skin to stretch soo bad my stomach, from my rib cage straight down the the middle of my vaginal area, look like the U.S. road atlas.
People like you who post pictures like this make people like me cry because I know that without surgery to lose the extra skin I will never look like you.
It turns out Kang suffered from an eating disorder and chronic body insecurity. The 32-year-old from California in the US says her new body didn’t come easily and she spent most of life struggling with being overweight, battling diabetes and high blood pressure.
“I used disordered eating to fill an empty void. It was worse when I was feeling anxious,” she told the Daily Mail. “People often call bulimia the “good girl drug” because we don’t do drugs or drink alcohol we just abuse food.”
She revealed it was meeting her husband David Casler in 2007 and pregnancy that forced her to accept her body and stop abusing it.
“I had to let go of being perfect,’ she said. ‘When I became pregnant with my first child I was like “Wow this is what my body is really made for.”‘
She told the Daily Mail, "If I can make health a priority as a working mom of three kids who has struggled with bulimia and weight issues, then you can too!"
Part of the problem is women in general and society-imposed standards of beauty most of find impossible to meet. It's much easier to just give up and focus on things that are more meaningful, like work and raising our children.
When I saw Maria's Facebook post I saw a body I'd love to have but I know myself well enough to know how I like to spend my free time. I'm not willing to put in the hours it would take to get her body then spend the rest of my life trying to maintain it. I settle for reasonable health and small amounts of regular exercise.
I felt challenged by her post and resentful of the perception that her choices should be mine.
Now that I know more about her, I share her pride in what she has overcome. Watching a friend suffer from an eating disorder to the point where her life was at risk was shocking. I've never felt more helpless.
If my friend managed to overcome her eating disorder by embracing health I'd be her biggest fan.
When I first saw Maria Kang I made a series of assumptions. I assumed she was naturally thin, had never struggled with her weight and that I could never get a body like hers.
She is more real to me now, more relatable. I'm more inclined to say, "Good on her". Most of her 256,000 Facebook followers feel the same.
I think that we’re obviously struggling as a nation with our weight and it’s a sensitive issue. My issue is that people are often push body image before health. Right now, I’m talking about health. I work to be a role model. It's important to love yourself and remember to strive to be better physically, professionally and personally.
How do you feel about Maria Kang now?
Images courtesy of Maria Kang Facebook page