It’s been awhile since my last blog and I’ve been waiting for something to inspire me. Oddly enough, my inspiration came from what has now become a national news story. I’m sure by now most or all of you have seen or read the story about Maria Kang. Ironically she is the sister-in-law of one of my oldest friends. Before I go any further, I’d like to add a disclaimer: The beauty of having my own blog is that I can write whatever I want. As a reader, you are more than welcome to agree OR disagree. Or just not read this. Maria posted the follow picture over a year ago:
For some reason, this picture has only recently gone viral. She received thousands of comments, mostly from women (shocker), who called her a “bully”, told her she was “fat shaming” and even went so far as to call her a “bad mother” because as one comment stated, “Those precious things need their mommy more than they need you to have glamorous muscles.” Is this a joke? So…. she’s literally being “bullied” (even though they’re calling HER a bully) because she’s physically fit?
She posted the following to her Facebook page after receiving all of the media attention and negative comments: “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?”
Bravo Maria! I couldn’t have said it better myself. As a mother, this hit home. I have never been one to lie about the fact that I was deathly afraid to be pregnant because I didn’t want to gain weight. I was scared I wouldn’t lose it once the baby came. I wanted it to magically go away like it seems to for celebrity mom’s (my husband had to remind me numerous times that we do not have a personal chef/trainer/nutritionist and that our job doesn’t pay us to “look good”). And what happened? I gained 57 lbs. – most of which was water weight. Because of that I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight in less than a month. I have nothing to complain about in that respect. It’s also true I’ve never been over-weight. But people forget that not being over-weight doesn’t equal healthy.
A few months after I had Q, I started to gain some weight. Probably not enough to be noticeable to anyone but myself and my husband (Truth: He’s my husband so… he’s seen me naked. Cover your ears kids….), but it started to bother me. A LOT. I finally asked Jared if he noticed. The thing I love about him is he didn’t give me the “good husband answer” (basically he didn’t lie). He told me the truth. He said yes. He immediately followed it up with, “Then do something about it. Go back to the gym.” And he was right. Some women might take offense to that if anyone said that, let alone their husband. But I didn’t hear “You’re ugly” or “You need to lose weight”. I heard, “If you’re not happy with yourself, do something about it. Don’t just sit there and complain.” It’s the same way I didn’t look at Maria’s picture and think, “If I don’t look EXACTLY like her, I’m a fat failure!”. I saw motivation… no excuses…. put health and family first.
When I was growing up my parents never had liquor in our house. In fact, I never remember my parents drinking when I was growing up. I used to think that was weird because all of my friends’ parents drank or had alcohol in the house. Looking back, some of them were just like Mrs. George in “Mean Girls” – “I’m not like regular mom. I’m a cool mom!” When I was in college one year I went home for the weekend. I almost passed out when I saw a bottle of Vodka and Bailey’s in the fridge. I literally looked at my mom like, “So… you’re drinking now?” as if she had some massive problem all of a sudden. She said, “We are of age you know” which sparked the “Why did you never have alcohol in the house before” conversation. She said, “How could we as parents tell you to NOT drink/party if you saw us doing it at home?” I realize not all parents agree with this tactic. My 2 1/2 year old already knows what beer is and that it’s for “big people”. But I correlate that story to the point of this blog. How can I tell my kid to be healthy and make good choices if I’m not practicing what I preach?
I’d also like to make it clear that I know health and fitness means something different to everyone. And the great thing about living in a free society is that it’s YOUR life. Maybe healthy means cutting out soda, or only have chocolate a couple times a week or trying to go for a walk when it’s nice out. And maybe it’s just not important to you. But that’s your choice. If you don’t want people to criticize you for your choices, then don’t complain about those who decide to live like Maria.
It is my opinion that people weren’t upset with Maria because of the caption on the photo or the fact that she’s fit and beautiful. A friend of mine summed it up well yesterday: “People are offended because she’s right! No one wants to be faced with that, but she’s 100% right. You don’t have to look exactly like her, but there’s NO excuse for people to not take their health seriously. People should suck it up and face the reality that most of them are just too lazy to care about their bodies. You don’t need to be a fitness model, but you can certainly learn to eat better…They just don’t want to be reminded of that!” – Amen sister. The backlash of my opinion and opinions like Maria’s would be, “You have no idea how much I’ve struggled with trying to lose weight!” or “Do you know what it’s like to have ______ physical ailment that prevents me from exercising?”, etc. My advice: Take “weight” out and insert “health” instead.
It’s not fun to get up at 5:45 every morning just so I can get to the gym before work and then come home to a husband, 2 1/2 year old and super annoying dog. But it’s a choice and a choice I’m proud of. It doesn’t make me better than you. But it’s something that I should be able to say out loud without worrying that I’m “offending” someone who doesn’t make the same decision. I could use every excuse in the book – “I’m tired”, “I have to clean the house/make dinner/do the laundry/run errands”, “I just had a kid… give me a break”, etc. But then I see a story like this and I think, “What’s Your Excuse?”
PS – This is as “serious” of a blog as you’ll see from me folks 😉