maria-kang-whats-your-world

Which World Do You Belong To?

 

maria-kang-whats-your-world, don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse, mindful fitness,

I recently saw this Image

maria-kang-whats-your-world, don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse, mindful fitness,

And then I read about the controversy that surrounded it.

The thing I took away was that for some people there exists two worlds.

The Two Worlds

The first world:

is made up of people that look like this

#BP  Sexy Guy don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse, mindful fitness,

And This

#BP  Sexy Guy don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse, mindful fitness,

And They Eat Things Like This:

#Blog Fruit Maxey, , don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse, mindful fitness,

And This

#BP cottage Cheese, don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse, mindful fitness,

And They Post Things On Their Facebook Pages Like This:

Sexy Abs don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse, mindful fitness,

 

And This

 

That's Not Sweat It's fat Crying, Sexy Abs don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse, mindful fitness,

The Second World

is made up of people that look like this

don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And They Eat Things Like This:

don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And They Post Things On Their Facebook Pages Like This:

#BP Cake dulcie, don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse, mindful fitness,

And This

#BP man vs food DeepBluC don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse, mindful fitness,

If you read the internet then you probably think

This is what the first world thinks about themselves:

  • I worked hard to get this body and I’m proud of it.
  • I’m sexy and people like that, how could that be wrong.
  • Life is about staying focused, being successful, and looking good.

This is what the second world thinks about themselves:

  • It’s not my fault I’m overweight. It’s bad genetics, it’s McDonalds, it’s my kids etc.
  • I hate that I’m fat, but I can’t change it.
  • I look awful and feel awful about myself
  • or
  • I’m proud to be fat and I don’t give a crap what you think.

This is what the first world thinks about the second:

  • Stop making excuses and start getting in shape.
  • You have no one to blame for your weight but you. If you worked as hard as I do you could look as good as me.
  • It sucks that people bully you, but what do you expect. If you really want to shut them up pick up a barbell and put down that fork.

This is what the second world thinks about the first:

  • Those fitness models probably all have eating disorders.
  • Fit people have OCD and they are all about shaming fat people.
  • Those bodies aren’t realistic and they are causing people to hate themselves.

Well I’m here to tell you that all of this is:

BULLSHIT

We all live in one world where people look like this:

bnilsen don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This
gebaladon't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.
And This

don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

eGuide Travel2don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

eguidetraveldon't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

sfjdon't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

 don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

 don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse. 李思明 SML2

And This

 don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.e 李思明 SML

And This

 don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

 don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

 don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

 don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

 don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.pes

And This

 don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And They Eat Things Like This:

don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

 don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And They Post Things On Their Facebook Pages Like This:

don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

 don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

 don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.

And This

#BP Status Up date Brett Jordan,  don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse, mindful fitness,

And This

don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.Rule

The One World

The world is complicated and diverse. But there is one of it.

So I encourage you to not put yourself in one group or another, but to see that we all long to be more whole, to be more connected, to be more wise, and to be more loving.

The problem with images like this

don't hate maria kang, i hate maria kang, maria kang, maria kang facebook, maria kang response, maria-kang-whats-your-excuse, mindfitmove, mindful exercise, mindful fitness, mindfulness and fitness, mindfulness based fitness, responding to maria kang, sane fitness, two worlds, what's your excuse.Rule

Is that they divide the world into two.

Those that make excuses and those that don’t

Those that work hard and those that don’t

Those that look like this and those that don’t.

But there aren’t two worlds, there aren’t two moons, and there aren’t two you’s.

The you who you are and you who could be.

There is only you perfect and whole just as you are.

And everything you are, or have been, or will be is right there in the center of your chest.

Whenever you forget this –

Close your eyes

And say to yourself

May I be free from fear and anxiety

May I be at ease

May I be happy

Repeat this whenever you need a moment to love who you are right here right now


Thanks for reading! Please subscribe this blog to join hundreds of people who want to honor their lives and create amazing lasting change. Plus get your free guide A Sexy Guide to Your Sexy Mind just for signing up.)


If you liked this post you might also like these posts:

How NOT to Suck at Dieting

Why Being Perfect Sucks

Minimalist Health: 5 Unbelievably Easy Ways To Live Healthier

Mind Fit Food – 5 Tips for Keeping a Mindful Fitness Journal

Or Subscribe and Never Miss a Post Again!

Photo Credits

 

196 thoughts on “Which World Do You Belong To?

  1. I LOVE this post! Thanks for putting it together!!! I totally agree with you… there is one world.. be happy with you and only you… not compared to anyone else or anyone else’s rules!

  2. This is a great post! You cannot find true happiness until you look within and feel good about yourself and ONLY yourself. I too am a PDX health/fitness blogger and would love to follow your blog:)

  3. Wow! That was nice. Came across your blog for the first time and the way you described your views is awesome. I couldn’t help myself but to read it till the end. And yep, you are right. we need to free ourselves from becoming parts of those two separate worlds. But also, I feel that the people who are still unsatisfied with their life, do have a chance to make themselves satisfied. And they have two ways – either to accept what they are and be satisfied or to change and then be satisfied. What do you think about that?

    • I would say that true happiness requires both. You have to accept where you are and choose to make a change. Many people set goals achieve them and set new ones. They always think if they just were a little better or had a little more then they will be happy. Happiness starts where you are right now. And ironically learning to be happy with who you are right now is one of the best ways to make a change.

      When you are happy you make better choices, you are kinder, and you take better care of yourself. So I would say happiness is not the consequence of changing your life happiness is a precedent for real transformation.

      I think it’s easy to confuse acceptance and resignation. We must accept where we are to know where we are going.

      • When I first saw the Maria Kang post, I assumed that she had great genetics and wonderfully well behaved children. One of my defining moments was when I gave up exercising when my toddler insisted climbing on me when I was trying to do situps (my age gives this away, as now they are crunches!). Also, having children when being on the poorer end of society, helped with my food choices. Ultimately, I have struggled with my weight for years, but am currently struggling about 40 lbs. under my all time high weight. My toddler from way back when is my worst critic. Oh well, what can I do, but keep on plugging along and try to laugh at myself the most! Thanks for your post. :)

        • Candace stories like yours always inspire me. Making change in your life can be tough and I really appreciate your attitude and your willingness to share your struggle with others. I’m so glad you liked the post and please let me know if there is anything I can do to support on your journey.

  4. I myself am a healthy and fitness freak and thought this post was leaning towards healthy motivation. However, I LOVED what you did with this post. I dedicate a lot of time and effort to my health and I have a lot of willpower. It is not an easy thing and I do not think everyone could or should do it. It is a life choice that I made myself but I encourage people to live however they want to.

  5. I don’t like it, sorry. This post (probably inadvertently) invalidates a healthy, fit body as a strong, positive ideal. Particularly this passage: “The problem with images like this Is that they divide the world into two. Those that make excuses and those that don’t. Those that work hard and those that don’t. Those that look like this and those that don’t.” Mindfulness doesn’t mean that we have to reject values. This post throws out the baby with the bath water. The point I would have made is that the only problem with that image is the problem we might create with our reaction. That picture shows a healthy, fit, recent mother whose job it is to motivate people to a healthier life. This is an unquestionably positive thing and setting aside that truth for the sake of your generally valid but tangential point is a travesty. If someone is upset by this image then that reaction in itself is unhealthy and that’s where we ought to focus our comments.

    • Ben thanks so much for your comment. It was really well reasoned. I would agree that mindfulness doesn’t mean we have to reject values or discernment. And I do think that we should encourage people to live healthy lives.

      I especially think your point on reactivity is an excellent one. I wrote the sections that discuss what people in each world think about each other with the intention to address the reactive projections we put onto people we don’t understand. But I thought your explanation of it was really descriptive and eloquent.

      My issue with the photo is that it doesn’t say, “I’ve worked hard to be healthy and you can too.” It doesn’t say, “I wouldn’t let child birth keep me from being healthy” Instead the caption puts the impetus on the viewer. It says “What’s your excuse?” It assumes that the viewer is making excuses and implies that those who don’t look like this, must make excuses for they way they look.*

      I think people make choices about how to spend their lives. Some people choose to invest time in exercise, which is awesome esp if they share that love with others. Some people choose to spend more time with their families, or working with the poor, or sitting in meditation. I don’t think that we can say which of these choices is the best, nor do I think its our place. But I do think these choices are much more complex than the picture makes them out to be.

      Taken alone this picture might not communicate all this meaning, but because the picture exists within the context of many other captioned photos like the ones in my post, a greater meaning is implied. Taken as a body of work these photos offer a narrative of two worlds and imply the superiority of the ‘fit’ world. They communicate that the ‘fit’ world exerts self control, has determination, and doesn’t make excuses. But in saying this what are they saying about those who fall outside of this very narrow normative body image?

      I just don’t see the world as being that simple and I don’t think we can say whether working out all day and engaging in lots of exercise is necessarily healthy. If I have an eating disorder is it healthy? If I do it so that people will pay attention to my looks at expense of my inherent qualities as a human being, is that healthy?

      Finally, I would challenge your assertion that, “That picture shows a healthy, fit, recent mother whose job it is to motivate people to a healthier life. This is an unquestionably positive thing.” I don’t think we can know if it is an unquestionably positive thing. I also don’t think that Ms. King is a evil or nefarious person. Nor do I think she is aware or responsible for the world view she is supporting. In addition I know a lot of very ‘healthy’ people by most medical standards who simply don’t look like this.

      When this photo came out I watched for over a week as different opinions arose on this subject and the thing that bothered me the most is that both sides seemed to just want the other to honor and respect their choices. The intention I had with my post was to point out that the world is not divided into fit or lazy, healthy or unhealthy, and those who do or don’t make excuses. And that we would all do ourselves a favor if we were just to acknowledge that the world is complex and that we should honor our differences instead of using them to divide or categorize us.

      I think that we all should work towards living balanced lives. But I also believe that if we want to change we need to love and accept who we are right now. Because in my personal experience it’s only from a place of acceptance that real change can occur.

      Finally I want to thank your for you comment again. It forced me to look more deeply into what I wanted to say and find a new way to express it. And because of that I’m really grateful for your input.

      *(I apologize for my philosophy majoring geekiness here)
      The argument that the Maria Kang photo makes is a well known logical fallacy called a complex question fallacy. You can read about it here.
      http://www.logicalfallacies.info/presumption/complex-question/

      • Thanks for the response. I’m not sure I can address it all so I’ll focus on the few points that jumped out at me. First, (and feel free to correct me if you think this is mistaken) Ms. King’s primary purpose was not to judge but rather to motivate a specific audience of people who want and respond well to this kind of motivation. Personally I’ve considered this self-evident since my first viewing of that photo. Now, motivation is a complex topic and I’m not personally of the mind that a helping hand will always be a gentle hand. Let me put it this way – in terms of body image/fitness, if someone has hit and become stuck at rock-bottom are your helping them more by: a) making rock-bottom a more comfortable place through positive encouragement or b) making rock-bottom so inhospitable that they are forced to move from their current position in the only direction rock-bottom allows – UP! In fact, there is a time and place for both strategies. Some people will respond well to positive encouragement while others will respond better to the harsh light of their current reality and we ought to make room for the validity of any approach that is effective in helping people. Which brings me back to the point I made in my first response – the only problem I see with that picture was all those defensive reactions themselves. Anyone of us has the right to look at that image as say “nah, not for me” but what right has anyone to try to shout down a motivational message that has the potential to help many others? For the record, I don’t think your post is in any way attempting to shout down Ms. King however I can’t say as much for the thousands of social media users who went on the warpath when that image first went viral. I suppose the reason for my initial response is that (whether intentional or not) your post was actually used as cover by a lot of people who were on that warpath.

        As for whether or not Ms. King’s physique and fitness is “unquestionably positive” I maintain that it is and I’d further like to suggest that perhaps you and Ms. King’s detractors may be falling into what I’ll call a “thought trap.” By saying that Ms. King’s physique is unquestionably positive, notice that I’m NOT saying that her’s is the ONLY positive body type. If I were to say that the Eames Lounge chair is an unquestionably beautiful design I am not implying that Mies’ Barcelona Chair is not (with apologies for my own brand of geekieness). As a matter of fact, where women are concerned I personally prefer bigger, taller curvier types yet I believe everyone can and should recognize the intrinsic positivity of Ms. King’s physique. Her critics seem to miss this and that may be the crux of my whole argument.

      • “Some people choose to invest time in exercise, which is awesome esp if they share that love with others. Some people choose to spend more time with their families, or working with the poor, or sitting in meditation.”

        I really dislike what you said here. It implies that anyone who invests time in exercise is choosing it over working with the poor or spending time with their family. I get up at 4:00 AM to work out to make sure I have time for the things I value in life. That’s the point of her picture. No excuse not to work out.

        One of my favorite quotes is, “If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse.”

        I once ‘didn’t have time’ to work out because of I volunteered to serve another person from my church. I got in my running clothes and ran to their house to do the service rather than drive there.

        • Tiffany I think your drive is admirable. My intention with that comment wasn’t to say that any of the choices were mutually exclusive. I choose to exercise as well as do alot of other things. But there are only so many things I can do and live my life in a balanced way. But other people have different priorities and different choices and I don’t think we should call those choices excuses if they aren’t. There is no one right way to live and I want to honor your choice to exercise along with people who don’t make it a priority. Thanks again for your comment.

    • I agree with you on that. The phrase she used is the same message on many fitness and motivational posts. I don’t see anybody slamming the man who is missing half his leg, still fit and the message says, “Tell me again what your excuse is.” No, they went after her because she is a woman who is fit even after having kids. Many people use having kids as an excuse to their weight problems and they are afraid now that people won’t buy it. Women are harsh toward each other and can’t accept that somebody else can work their behind off to get not only the body, but the life they want.

      I agree that this post was not presented very well. To me it’s like validating them being bullies to her simply because she posted an inspirational photo on Her page for the people who follow her and see it as motivational.

    • Thank you Ben – I agree with you totally, and could not have worded such a good response. I too believe that the “divide” is how people react. Well said.

  6. While inspiring, I must say that there absolutely are many people who make excuses for themselves. I know people who do this.

    Granted, it may be mean-spirited to get in shape, and then to immediately turn around and shame people for not preceding you or copying you, but please don’t use this to argue that everyone’s perfect and we can just brush aside all problems that we make excuses for. That won’t motivate people to fix their problems.

  7. This brought tears to my eyes. THANK YOU. You hit the nail on the head precisely and provided a thoughtful response that really struck a chord.
    You can say that I am lazy, or that I make excuses, but the reality is that my goal is not to have 6 pack abs, be a size 0 and bench my own weight. My goal is to be able to be moderately active without discomfort, eat healthy sometimes and eat really rich things at other times, enjoy my life while I have it, stay healthy and be there for my children as long as I can. We have such a strong association with fitness and health, but the truth is that extremely fit people are often plagued with physical problems of their own (my grandfather ate only the MOST healthy, organic, unprocessed foods, ran a few miles every day, and dropped dead of a heart attack during one of his runs. He was not all that old and was a picture of health). People who are overweight often have perfect cholesterol, blood pressure, heart, lungs, etc. And you can NOT tell me that, if exercise and diet ONLY meant being healthy, not being thin, that all these people would be doing it. People do it to look ATTRACTIVE. To feel the rush of accomplishment. Not JUST to live an extra 5 years, as much as we like to tell ourselves that. If that was the case, this woman would have posted a picture with her kids and her blood pressure numbers and cholesterol. People need to realize that what someone looks like is NOT an indicator of their health, and that someone else’s health is not any of their business.
    I like being fit, I feel better when I work out, but I also realize that sometimes life gets in the way. I will always have a spare tire, stretch marks, and a flat chest. I could work out until I am blue in the face and none of that will ever change. I do not deserve to feel like I am less of a human being for it. No one does.

      • I have noticed in my middle years that fat prejudice is one of the worst in life. Perhaps not as bad as race, but much worse than most as far as hiring, friendship, opinion of talent, health etc. I first noticed it when I started working as an R.N. in a large hospital. The prejudice against overweight patients by the medical staff was horrible and snide comments were made openly. I was middle aged and of normal weight at that time but I was shocked by the lack of empathy..
        BTW there is more to being fat than modern science and health knows at the present time..

    • Its true that what you look like is not the best indicator of health, but at the same time I can tell you that only one out a thousand patients that I see getting checked out for heart issues, stress fractures, gallbladder problems, and breathing problems every months look like the mom from the picture,the rest not so much. I have lost over 30 pounds in the last year, but it was not easy. I HAD to change certain things in my life, things that at first did not seem easy or even possible. My blood pressure came back to normal, my sleep has improved and yes I got few positive remarks on my looks, a winner on all accounts, So as much as you want to cry over the blog post here, please understand that there are some of us that look up to that mom of three that looks good, and she did help me find my EXCUSES.

  8. What a fantastic post, thank you! The woman in the picture looks lovely, and I applaud her efforts. Still, I see no reason to imply that her results are possible or desirable for everyone, or that if we don’t look like her after having kids, we’re making excuses.

    I have two kids, ages eight and six. I have a c-section scar, excess skin on my stomach, and stretch marks. My belly will never look like hers. I used to be on medications that made me gain weight. I’ve lost much of it, but unless I give up my (sedentary) job to work out and cook specific foods, I will never look like that. I do what I can. I do pilates because it helps the back pain that kept me from exercising for so long. I walk the dog every day because it makes me feel good and helps my depression. I don’t push myself to weigh 110 lbs, because that’s not my priority.

    I’m taking better care of my body now than I used to, but it’s because I’ve learned to accept it for what it is, flaws and all. I’m slowly learning to love it, even though some people might say I have no excuse for having thighs and a bit of a belly.

    If I use my three “kids in school” hours a day to write instead of to exercise, that’s not an excuse. That’s me living my life. I have no hate for this woman, but I also don’t like being told I could look like her if I tried harder. Or that I should want to. It should be enough that I look like me, and that I’m happy.

    Following your blog now. I love your attitude!

      • I love this point of view. Also, I saw something else. I was looking at the children. When I am sure most are looking at the mother. I am proud of her, but there is so much to consider. I know what it takes to maintain a chiseled physique, lots of hard work, been there. After I had my son, I CHOSE to be happy with 30 minutes of cardio a day, so that I could spend more quality time with him. I am a healthy weight. No abs, but normal BMI. My point is, one doesn’t have to put in hours at the gym to be healthy. I absolutely condone healthy, clean living. However, when I see this, I see children being portrayed as burden. I am of course not implying that every fit mom is lacking in the mothering arena. I just KNOW, that for ME, if I wanted to look like Jillian Michaels; I would have to sacrifice a lot more time with my baby. And that’s not an option for me. I loved your statement, something to the effect of -… is it more important for me to look good so people will notice me, at the expense of my inherent qualities as a human being? :) enough said.

  9. My fave post here so far. :-) Some spontaneous thoughts:
    - In general, it doesn’t make sense to compare yourself to someone else.
    - Sometimes people want to work, train for a triathlon or whatever, but they have a condition that won’t let them. It’s fine to run a marathon if you’re not born with a bum leg or foot.
    - Maybe the mom with the 3 kids has a lot of time on her hands that someone else does not have, because of many potential reasons: money, less need for sleep, other values, someone else takes care of the kids while she’s at the gym, she lives in the right place at the right time, not in a slump in a poor country …
    - Like you say: it’s not black and white.

  10. It all comes down to the fact that human beings, in general, are very judgmental of one another- and we need to STOP IT. It is not up to us to tell anyone else how they “have to” look (i.e. “You’re too skinny.” or “You’re too fat.”) unless the person’s life is in danger because of their condition.

    Some people LOVE working out, and some people HATE working out. SO WHAT?? Why can’t we just let others make whatever decision they want to and continue on with our lives??

    I completely agree that we are all human and we are all part of this world, it’s just sad that some people (on both sides) feel it necessary to pass harsh judgments where they are not needed.

    • @Sairah Haight, at what point does letting people make “whatever decision” they want show a lack of love for the individual? At first glance, it may seem that you love them more, by being accepting, but accepting bad behavior doesn’t help that person. It doesn’t mean you can judge, it only means if you truly love someone, then you want that person to be the best they can be. That might be to inspire someone to exercise more, or to inspire someone to exercise less to stay at home and be a MOTHER to her kids. I think there is a view that we should just let people make their own decisions and let them live their lives. Love motivates us to help others – it doesn’t motivate us to judge others. I liked your comment because we need to stop being judgemental, but we also need to work on inspiring others to change.

      That is awfully hard to do, and if you have any tips, I’ll take them, because you can’t inspire someone by pointing out their faults!! And you can’t inspire someone if they don’t feel like what they are doing is bad.

      • Thanks for both of your comments they both show alot of insight. Neal I think that we do need to help people discern what is serving them and what isn’t but in my experience labeling something as bad doesn’t help someone change it just makes them feel bad. And shame often leads to more self destructive tendencies.

  11. Excellent article. We do have a tendency to judge though, no matter how unbiased we try to be. I think the only way to truly overcome this is to see people as people–emotional beings who have the need to be accepted and loved no matter our outward appearance.

  12. Love this post – I too kept reading it till the end! each of us has our own goals and they aren’t always centered around how we look – My goal (to be the best person I can be) means to be helpful, supportive and kind, to share with others what I have (time, money, knowledge) and to give my children room to be who they want to be.

    I live by this quote I heard a long time ago “What final words do you want people to say at the end of your life?”

  13. Reblogged this on Learning to Live and commented:
    I like what the article is trying to say, though I disagree with the meaning behind the original photo. I think the mother was just trying to say that even with so many kids, she had time to work out and stay healthy, so you can do it, too. It’s meant to be positive motivation. It doesn’t divide anyone into two worlds, rather she’s trying to unite everyone into one.

    • I agree that this is what she’s trying to say, but I think people who post images like this fail to understand that it’s not motivational to most people who don’t have the lean sculpted body. The backlash over the whole thing kind of exposes that, if nothing else. I am a fitness fanatic, I exercise 6-10 hours per week and I try to limit my caloric intake and eat healthy foods, and I don’t look like that and never will (stretch marks, higher body fat percentage, etc). When I see photos like that, I feel like crap. Like a loser. I feel bad about myself. And one thing the photo doesn’t do is make me feel motivated to exercise more. People who look like that or think they can look like that feel motivated by it, but everyone else feels crummy. So anyway, regardless of her intent, the effect is generally not increased motivation, but rather increased guilt or shame or low self-esteem. And it would be really great if the people who have amazing bodies would realize that and appropriately frame their wording to send less guilt-inducing messages. The same photo with different words could be so much more effective.

      • Yes, exactly! I do not find her message motivational in the least. If anything it would make me want to throw in the towel. I work hard to maintain a healthy weight, but I do not look like the woman in the photo, nor will I ever unless I undergo painful and expensive plastic surgery (tummy tuck).

  14. I love this post…

    The best advice I have ever received was, “Accept where you are, high or low, and make the decision to change it or accept it. But don’t blame anyone because you refuse to make that choice.”

    You must come from the same school of thought as my friend. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Just strive to be the best you that you can be every day and be as healthy as you can ,both for yourself and for the ones that you love and those that love you and you never know ,you may look like that to yourself and that select roup of people that you really care what they think. As for the rest of them WHO CARES WHAT THEY THINK !!

  16. There is no problem with a “photo like that”, the problem only exists within the minds of the individual. Just as I cannot “make” you happy or sad or take an action, a photo cannot “make” you feel shame or feel alone or divided.

    Photos are about self expression (expression of the subject and or expression of the photographer). In this photo she is expressing pride in who and what she is. Will a photo like this have an effect? Absolutely. Those who are already proud or ashamed will be reminded of that. I fail to see how that is the fault of an inanimate object.

    • Thanks for your comment Reid. I think that the photo exist in the context of a much larger dialogue that’s going on in the world of fitness about what is healthy and because of that it conveys a meaning beyond simple self expression.

      However I love the idea you express that a photo can’t make anyone happy or sad. And I totally agree that you have to own your reaction. The photo itself didn’t give me as strong a reaction as the conversation that happened afterwards and the larger context the photo exists in. Thanks again for your thoughts. Your voice brings more wisdom to this dialogue.

  17. This is probably one of the worst nonsensical responses I have seen to the photo of Maria. For someone who doesn’t want people to fall into a category you’re sure an expert on determining which people fall Into based on what they post on their Facebook pages. Gotta love a hypocritical holier than art thou. Is there a category for that?Maybe you can come to my blog and tell me I’m not part of the world and let me know what category I fall into. You do realize by drawing these ignorant conclusions of people you are the problem. I like how you know what people are thinking about eachother too. Have you very heard of self projection? Nice try fluffing it up with pictures of the elderly and sushi though.

    • Hey ashley thanks for you comment. I can tell it really struck a nerve. I’m guessing that you felt judged by my post and felt angry because I wasn’t honoring your authentic desire for health.

      I’m sorry that what you got from the post was that I think I can decide what category people fall into based on what they post on facebook. My intention was to say the exact opposite that we shouldn’t categorize people based on what they post or for that matter how they look. We should do our best to meet people where they are at.

      I checked out your blog and your story inspired me. I esp liked this post where you said :

      Then i realized, the only way i was going to succeed was if i was doing it for the right reasons. My reasons were all different this time than the first two attempts. This time was about recreating myself, it was about being better everyday,not only for myself but for my family and my kids. It was about being a strong and positive role model for my daughter, it was about being positive and supportive for my husband in the best way i could be. It was about beating my depression and breaking the chains inside my own head that limited me from being a happy woman

      I’m so glad that you use movement as a tool to make your life better. I’m sure that you will be a huge inspiration to your daughter. Please keep writing and sharing your story. And feel free to stop by my blog anytime. Even if we don’t always agree I’d be happy to have you as a reader.

      • I have to say, I really enjoyed this article, but I am completely blown away by your responses in the comments section. It is RARE to see a comments section with such civil disagreements that do not devolve into name-calling and personal attacks. You met the rude, attacking posts with consideration and kindness, and i have to commend you for that. I wish more people responded to angry, hurtful comments like you. Wouldn’t the online community be a nicer place? Thank you for your example.

      • I find it best not to interact with people who jump to conclusions, and destroy something that wasn’t meant to offend or belittle. I understood what you meant by this article 100% it’s a lot like how I feel about politics. They aren’t really essential to run a government, and further more they just serve to divide a country. Religion could fit into that category to. Considering that they say all people are gods children. Yet a lot of the time more controversy is inspired than unity. It’s because people with such closed minds, and diverse opinions and ways of handling things that unity is the hardest thing to achieve. It’s only once something that threatens all of our existence that we realize we need to stick together. One day… I hope for a better world.

  18. I do not agree with all of your post. I do think that people are divirse however you are (just my opinion anyway) that all fit people look down on fat people. I do not think that is the case. I am not skinny, I am not super overweight I fall right in the middle and guess what? I wish I could look like that mom of 3 that says what is your excuse and she does have a valid point if she were talking to ME.

    I have friends that are super fit and compete in fittness model compititions,and body building competitions. I have friends that are scary obese that do not see a problem with it. I have friends that are like me not skinny, not obese right in the middle. I love all these people the same. They are all people like me that have similar wants and desires, they hurt when people are mean to them they cry, the laugh and they feel and they come in all different races and sexual preferences and once again I love them all because of who they are and who they are not.

    Fat, skinny, fit, muscular, black, white, brown, red, yellow gay, straight WHO CARES love people for who they are.

    Once again the mom of 3 that says what is your excuse may not be for you, but for some people she does speak to them. Like me I looked at myself and said ya what is your excuse? Right for me wrong for others. Really doesnt matter now does it?

    • Thanks for your comment Tracie. I don’t think that all fit people look down on all fat people either and I’m sorry if you got that from the post. My intention with the post was to say that we so quickly divide the world into us and them. Skinny and fat. Excuse makers and non excuse makers. And I think this doesn’t help us see each other as human. Like you said I think we have to start from a place of “WHO CARES love people for who they are” Thank you again for sharing you thoughts. I’m honored to have you as a reader!

      • Come on now – I think you did a good job of dividing people into your own categories. I thought it was rather judgmental of you actually. I am sure your intentions are kind but I too felt that you are judging the Mom of three who used a caption that has been used over and over again in fitness pictures etc. She is not saying that she expects people to “look” like her- she is simply asking – What’s your excuse?”. She is not responsible for people’s interpretations. The divide is created by people who are judging her for how she looks. I read the most hateful comments to her post which I will never understand. Why not accept her too? She is real – in the one real world. Please correct me if I am wrong in assuming your intentions.

        • Thanks for your comment Kate. You are right that my intentions were kind. And I also didn’t understand the hateful comments she received and I really appreciate your message of acceptance.

          I would like to clarify that I wasn’t judging her for how she looks. I think her desire to make health a priority in her life and help others is great. Having said that the world view she expressed with her picture is problematic, because it takes a complex subject and over simplifies it. (Of course you could probably say the same about my post.)

          Because I work in the fitness industry I felt like it was important for me to offer an alternative and inclusive narrative. I don’t think Ms. Kang is evil, or that people should hate her. In fact my intention was to move the conversation away from whether she is a good person or not and onto what is it about this photo and others that causes such a strong reaction.

          My wish is that me, Ms. Kang, and others in my industry can work together to create an industry where her choices are honored, but that also honors other choices. I don’t think she is responsible for others interpretation, but I think everyone who works in the fitness industry does have a responsibility for the message our industry sends to the public. I hope that helps you understand where I’m coming from a little better, but whether or not we agree I appreciate you taking the time to read the post and consider your response.

  19. What a ridiculous article. It is jammed full of hypocrisy and very unoriginal. We’ve heard this a million times, of course everyone is different. I am a major health and fitness freak and not once have I judged someone for being over weight.

  20. I think I got your message loud and clear and I found myself shocked to see some negative responses. I aspire to be mindful in my daily life and I enjoy reading your posts as they help me keep that connection between my emotional health and physical fitness real.
    I had some pretty strong defensive reactions to the photo which likely speaks to which world I identify with more closely…I have many excuses for being who I am and someday I will stop apologizing for that.
    I have listened to fit and not so fit people categorize people into these two worlds exactly as described. While I don’t believe EVERYONE does that, I know it has shaped my reactions to this discussion.

    I once took a conflict resolution course where the facilitator suggested that in order to find out what roots people in their positions, we must “get curious”. Why not get curious and find out what motivates or holds someone back? Here’s a thought…why not instead of killing it at the gym to maintain your physique offer to help someone who can’t afford a personal trainer and is intimidated by the idea of stepping into a gym where they feel as if everyone is judging? Why not find out what someone who is super fit has accomplished and what it took to get there (it’s not an easy road for everyone) see what they are proud of and be happy for them. The world will always be a better place with communication (which implies understanding I believe).
    Thanks for posting and keeping it real.

  21. Thank you for this powerful post. We are all truly beautiful, unique, and important. If each of us understood this about ourselves and about each other then the world would be a better place.

  22. The problem I have with this photo is that while she is using her own children as props she is targeting every mother with kids to live up to her standards. She is simply living by societies rules disregarding what mothers really mean to us and how super they can be under completely different circumstances without the luxuries she has. Speaking as a mother’s son who will never be ‘out of shape’ to her son’s eyes and even if she was there would be a lot more mom for me to hug. My mother would never judge other mother’s or use me and my sister as a prop for some photo opp. This photo just goes to show me how amazing my mother is and how much of the world I meant and still mean to her that societies rule may not need apply when it came to mothering us. A mother who worked her butt off after a divorce. A mother who has never once stepped foot in a gym yet still looks about the same size as this woman and has for many years. What was my mom’s excuse? She didn’t have one, She had us!”

  23. indeed, though note that you could give credit where its due, as you’ve quoted the metta phrases (May I be free from fear and anxiety; May I be at ease; May I be happy) which are 2,500 years old and have an author, called The Buddha (they’re from the Metta Sutta).

  24. I had my ‘red pen’ out ready for my comments, because I was ready to hate this article. You turned me around .Thanks for making us see the broader picture and remind us not to pigeonhole ourselves into limited ideals. Very good piece. Effective.

    • I’m over 60 and have been struggling with body issues since I was 9. Every now and then I reach a state of serenity in which I remember that people come in all shapes and sizes and ages, some are beautiful and some look interesting, and that’s OK. Thank you for the affirmation of this blog and all the comments. I’m currently at a for-me relatively healthy weight: but I’ve lost hundreds of pounds over my lifetime and they’ve always found me again. Send a wish my way that THIS time I’ll be able to keep them off!!

  25. I think the whole I work out and look amazing this is stupid and there were moments in my life when I would work out 4+ hours a day. I was a light weight rower in college and once weighed in at 139 pounds and still didnt have six pack abs now I’m a father of two and addicted to running and eating and I once again I dont have six pack abs and I dont care. I can run circles, 10 mile long circles around people who build their bodies for looks and thats not eve the bright side. the bright side is I play out doors and eat whatever the hell I want and even though I have a gut I go shirtless with confidence because I’m a dad and I’ve got that manly father figure. If you’ve got body fat then you’ve got the confidence to enjoy lunch even if its half a pan of brownies!

      • Yes! Yes! Yes! I couldn’t agree more, Roland. This last year I worked hard and lost 40 pounds. Now at 135 lbs., I could stand to lose another 10 pounds of what I call “vanity weight” but I rather maintain where I am. One hour a day at the gym is enough for me. And I like to enjoy a variety of good food with my family. So I’ll never be a bikini model, and you know what? That is just fine with me.

  26. I think you may have misinterpreted the message. It was meant to be inspirational, not dividing. It did not come from ego, nor from conceit. Nor did it come from a need to insult, ridicule or debase others. It was not meant to separate, judge or condemn people for a certain way of living or weight. It was not meant to glorify the skinny and ridicule the overweight. The message I took from it is one can achieve any goal one sets one’s mind to. It is about overcoming obstacles. It is about not letting a failing attitude rule one’s life and ambitions. It had nothing to do with weight control. It had to do with attitude control and striving for personal greatness, whatever one perceives that greatness to be, and to not let anything stop you. That is a positive message.

  27. good article when you get the to point of it – that the world is made up of wonderfully different people and we’re all in this together. But your gross generalizations of the two groups at the beginniing is a little rude. not all “buff” people are OCD freaks who look down their noses at fat people. and not all fat people hate themselves and like to wallow in their fatness and are lazy. I think in order to achieve that utopic world that you tout at the end, people need to stop separating others into groups with gross exaggerations.

  28. Thank you for this post. I am on my own journey to better health having lost 40 lbs in the last six months and the original photo controversy confused me because I didn’t have a strong reaction either way.

    The message you convey applies to many of life’s black and white stances on complex issues, especially politics. The amount of hate I see between groups of opposed opinions is very disconcerting. How can you hate someone you have never met? How can you judge others by how they appear without understanding much more about them than what is presented? Athiesm vs. Religion. Republicans vs. Democrats. Fit vs. fat. These are all pidgeon holes we want to stuff each other into to legitimize and rationalize our own views. We all do it to some extent. I wish we didn’t.

    When I feel myself judging others, I think about a few words from a Michael Franti song and remember that this big world is made up of individual people sharing what the cosmos have provided to us, regardless of our lots in life.

    One love, one blood
    One heart, one soul
    One drum and only one rhythm
    One song and all of us singing

    This is a great post. You have a new follower!

  29. An absolute realistic post…we are all UNIQUE and THAT is what makes us all different! If we are not happy with something about ourselves then it is up to us to change it. Never change for someone else and how they want you to be. Never look down on someone else unless you have a hand outreached to them, helping them up! My favorite saying is…This above all, to thine own self be true and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou can’t not then be false to any man…William Shakespeare….That includes ourselves!!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful post :)

  30. Certainly, it is my fault that I had a bad reaction to this, but as a person that likes to weigh variables and see gray areas, my reaction was:

    The woman in the picture and I share one obvious similarity. We both have three kids. The most obvious variable would be height (a person that weighs 120 at 5’8″ will look very different from a person that weighs 120 at 5’1″) but I’m not all that concerned about that.

    I’m really wondering though: Were her kids delivered vaginally or via c-section? If c-section, was her third child dying during delivery, forcing the delivering doctor to perform the surgery and delivery a little more brutally than he would have otherwise? Did her incision then become infected for months, rendering any exercise dangerous? Was her child born with a genetic condition resulting in frequent hospitalizations and open heart surgery at two months old? Was she able to breastfeed the third child (breastfeeding aids in postpartum weight loss?) Does she suffer from diastasis recti which, according to a professional trainer, means crunches and other typical stomach exercises are dangerous and which, according to a doctor, can only be repaired with surgery?

    Does she suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which changes the way her body processes sugars and carbs, resulting in belly fat and insulin resistance?

    Does her husband work in the middle east, meaning she is pretty much a single mother, also working full-time with no one to assist with childcare while she spends time at the gym? If her youngest child is disabled, how does she handle the extra responsibilities and stress? How does she handle that some day cares do not even want him there because of his special needs?

    Are these my EXCUSES for not looking like her? Before the three c-sections, before the final horrific c-section, before the infection, before the disabled child, before the 2 hour long drive out of state every day to spend time with my child at the children’s hospital, before the cysts formed on my ovaries as I’ve gotten older, and before my husband took a job in the middle east to pay for our son’s extra healthcare needs, I was a very fit size one. At 5’1″, I was perfect BMI, perfect weight. I looked amazing and spent a lot of time exercising.

    Do I sound bitter? Really, I’m not. This is my life and I find plenty of love and happiness in it. Put implying other people’s lives amount to “excuses” is not inspirational. It is patronizing and points to a lack of knowledge of both health and personal circumstances.

    Know what? More power to her. She looks great and I’m happy for her. Perhaps she should be happy that my son survived and is home with us, my infection cleared, we can pay our medical bills, and I’m finally coming to terms with the body I can’t change much more than I already have, at least not without surgery. Perhaps she can kiss my “excuses’” bum. Variables, people, variables.

    • This was great holly. Thanks for sharing your story. Indeed its all about variables, categories make life simpler, but we lose so much when we try to simplify those around us. Thanks for sharing how complex some of this can be. I’m glad things are going better, but if there is anything I can do to support you or your family please shoot me an email.

      • Thanks so much. We are doing quite well now. Things can be rough but life is what it is. We live it the best we can.

        I’ve thought more on this issue and really, it all boils down to the usage of the word “excuse” to me. It implies lying to oneself and being lazy. It has a negative connotation.

        Certainly, some people make excuses but just as certain, some don’t. Real life isn’t so black and white as “this works for me so if it doesn’t work for you, you are simply making excuses.”

        With all that said, I would never go to her fb or blog and attack the woman.

  31. The problem with blogs like this is that they divide the world into those that see division and those that don’t. If I were trying to encourage a lack of division, I wouldn’t encourage divisiveness and judgment to do it. I’ve noticed that most people that find this image divisive are those that either a) don’t understand it’s context or b) create a context to suit their worldview. Me, I just see someone that was encouraging her fans, since that’s what they come to her for.

    • Thanks for your comment. Your point made me think. I feel that the fact that the original picture caused so much controversy proves that there is a greater context the picture played into. I don’t begrudge Ms. King her self expression, my desire was to look at the context in which the controversy arose. In truth it could have been any picture that sparked the controversy it’s just that hers happened to do so. I agree that we shouldn’t try to create division when there is none, but I also don’t think it serves to pretend that there isn’t this larger conversation about body image that has been and is still occurring in the fitness industry. Whether or not we agree I appreciate you taking the time to weigh in.

  32. Thank you for this post.
    I once was very slim. I caught the eye of admirers wherever I went.
    I never had to think too hard about what to wear, everything looked great on me.
    It was effortless for me to be strong, active and slim.
    I judged the fat people, thinking them beneath me for some reason. I don’t know why I felt that way, but I remember that I used the fact of their fatness to disminish their value to me as a person. I didn’t quite judge them the way you summarized in your post, but almost.
    Two worlds.
    And I was happy in the first world, oblivious to the struggles people face in the second world.
    Then karma happened.
    Life happened.
    I developed an illness that left me constantly exhausted and in pain.
    With very little energy, I had to choose what mattered most to me and use my energy for that.
    What mattered most was relationships with my spouse, my children, my friends.
    What mattered most was time, creativity, further learning, discovery.
    What mattered most was being helpful and kind.
    What mattered most was meditation and peace. Learning to accept.
    The exhausting illness has doubled my weight.
    I am now fat. And sore. And exhausted. And content, creative, loved and loving.
    I now walk into a room and I no longer catch the admiring eye of others…at least not the same kind of person who used to notice me. (But, happily, I can usually find someone who has already learned to look past the surface, or who is attracted by my vibrant flair of style.)
    I meet an old friend or relative or acquaintance and they are shocked at what has “become of me”.
    Some people want to coach me back to slimness. I know I do not have the time or energy for that.
    And some people use the fact of my size to dismiss me, the same way I used to dismiss people who are fat. This reaction I recognize, as it is what I had once done. I understand, and I forgive.
    I have lived in both worlds.
    I am learning to not judge; I would not have bothered to learn this if I had stayed slim.
    I am learning that there are not two worlds, that people are too complex to be divided that neatly.
    You are right, there is but one world and people are diverse.
    I am learning that we are one.
    Be blessed, and thank you.

    • I’m in the same boat with you. I was thin, attractive and in fantastic shape. Then I got sick. At 38 y/o I first got cervical cancer and had a radical hysterectomy with my ovaries removed throwing me into surgical menopause. I wasn’t even healed from that surgery when I got a parasitic bone infection in my jaw, in which was misdiagnosed by over 70 different healthcare providers. I was on IV antibiotics several times and oral antibiotics for most of 4 years. And the the toxins from the bone infection draining into my mouth nearly perpetually caused my gallbladder to fail from the perpetual bombardment of toxins. I’m still fighting the parasitic infection in my jaw. I’m now on several supplements to fight parasites as well as to restore my good bacteria levels in my gut. I continue to work, but have little energy for anything else. I am a healthcare provider, I have taught weight loss programs, I’m now 45 y/o. I exercise regularly, I eat healthy and most days take in less than 1000 calories a day with most being from vegetables and protein, but the weight stays on. I get judged and criticized regularly by people who don’t know how ill I am. It’s so easy to be cruel to your fellow man without having walked in their shoes…

      • Thank you Danielle. I’m sorry to read that you’re in a similar situation, yet glad to know I’m not alone in this. I eat a lot like you do. People assume fat people are eating a lot of junk, but I eat healthier and with more care than most people I know. Like you said, it’s so easy to be cruel….but it’s so much better for everyone when we choose to be accepting instead. I wish you well as you care for your body in the best way you can.

      • I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had to work through so much Danielle. I was really surprised when you said you only ate 1000 calories a day. I don’t know your situation, but I’d be worried you didn’t have enough energy to fight off your infection. I’m curious if you have the nutritional advice and support you need. If not I’d be happy to refer you to someone who could help. Or if I could help in anyway please don’t hesitate to ask.

  33. I disagree with this post on many levels. It seems to me that the two camps are people who accept their mortal shell and do the best they can to maintain it, and people who do not accept their mortal shell. Some, but not all of the people in the first camp look as good as Maria Kang, but most do not and that does not bother them. Those in the second camp include the extremes (a) over-obsessives who judge others and (z) self-destructives who don’t care anymore.. Neither extreme is healthy. Encouraging people to repeat happy little mantras when they feel stressed is no more helpful to them then telling them to stick their head in the sand. Encouraging people to just close their eyes and whisper self-loving bromides is no way to mitigate bad choices. Let’s focus on changing what we can, accepting what we cannot change, and helping our neighbors do the same for themselves.

    • I like the last line of your comment “Let’s focus on changing what we can, accepting what we cannot change, and helping our neighbors do the same for themselves.” I think that is very wise. As for your assertion that repeating “happy little mantras” doesn’t help, I think you might look to Buddhist monks and practitioners who have used these practices to help them live more calm, peaceful, and healthy lives for many thousands of years. These mantras have certainly helped me and my clients. I would agree that they aren’t the whole answer, but they are often more powerful then even I give them credit for.

      • I agree with you mindful!… Positive words always help. They give you positive energy and clearly give your mind a set to start the day!… nothing wrong with that if the individual needs words of courage

      • I never knew how powerful meditation could be until I tried it! We can readily agree on the benefits of mindfulness and gratitude and positive thinking.

        Here is what I am kicking back about: happy little mantras as I call them, such as “I am good enough, and gosh darn it, people like me!” You’ll not find those words in any Buddhist prayer book, but they are prevalent in the kinds of Western self-help books Jack Handy satirizes.

        Suppose I am offended or hurt by Maria Kang’s comment. Suppose I address my hurt feelings by blaming Maria Kang for making me feel bad. Or, suppose I soothe my hurt feelings by repeating some positive thinking mumbo-jumbo. My point is that neither of these things address the basic point, which is that Maria Kang did nothing wrong. My negative reaction to her positive message and example is the issue.

        Glossing over my negative reaction by closing my eyes and thinking happy thoughts doesn’t change the root cause of my discomfort, it merely deadens my reaction to it and dodges the issue. That is not mindfulness as I understand it.

        I am neutral on Maria Kang’s comments. I am neutral on the character of a person who appears to be in better or worse shape than me because I do not know their journey and I have my hands full managing my own health. I am not neutral when someone hurts themselves by under eating or over training. I am not neutral when someone gives up on themselves.

        I agree with your point that the divide between uber fit and ultra slob is a bullshit divide, and that community, harmony, togetherness, and mutual understanding will erase this unhelpful divide. However, as we move together to mindful fitness, we should recognize another divide–the one between people who are happy living in their own skin (and therefore taking the best possible care of their minds and bodies) vs those who either (a) obsess or (z) couldn’t care less. Let’s promote mindful fitness to reinforce the healthy behaviors _and_ eliminate the unhealthy ones.

        The way forward to better health is not to gloss over such divides as may be perceived, but to look deeply and honestly at ourselves, to make whatever improvements we are capable of making, and to help others do the same.

        • Thanks for your reply. I love this line – “The way forward to better health is not to gloss over such divides as may be perceived, but to look deeply and honestly at ourselves, to make whatever improvements we are capable of making, and to help others do the same.” I couldn’t agree more.

          I think it’s essential that people take a hard look at who they are, but I also think shame isn’t a good motivation to do this. Although I believe strongly in the message of this post it can’t capture my full perspective on the subject of how people make real change. But I do think being willing to accept yourself as you are is a crucial first step.

          As for the lines, they are from the metta sutta which funnily enough is actually a buddhist prayer book. What makes them different then self help material, (which I won’t make a blanket judgement about), is that they invoke our minds ability to find calm in any situation. They were taught to me by my teacher who was the abbot at the zen monastery I was lived at and I still find them to be a valuable tool. They can’t be the only thing that I use to create change in my life, but I find that they helped me create the space I need to look more deeply at myself.

          Thank you again for your long and well thought response.

          • I am enjoying the exchange and I have also enjoyed reading through other comments on this post and other post you have made before and since this one. I think I’ll be visiting often.

            We are very close to a meeting of minds. I agree that shame is a poor motivator. Who looks at Maria Kang’s photo and feels shame? If I look at Maria Kang’s photo and feel shame when there is no indication that she intended to shame me, then I have a problem, not Maria Kang. At that point, I need to find self awareness and self acceptance before I can love myself enough to re-balance my life. I think we agree on all of the above.

            I do not understand the argument that Maria Kang is dividing the world into the fit and the fat. I do not believe that this division is a reaction she caused or intended to cause. Attributing harmful intent to her as some have done is unhelpful.

            I do not understand the argument that if I tend to feel shame due to a lack of self-love, I need to tune that shame out. To the contrary, I need to pay attention to the shame, find the root cause of it, deal with it, heal and grow from it, and help others do the same. Perhaps we also agree here, but I am not as certain.

            I did not mean to disparage the Metta Sutta or all self-help books, but I do mean to say that there are some self-help books out there (again, such as the ones Jack Handey hilariously skewers) which offer only a coping strategy rather than a productive, action-oriented change strategy.

      • FOAMFAN: The line on Maria’s picture that says “What’s your excuse” is what people are taking issue with. If she had framed it as “This is possible! Don’t give up!” or “You can do it too!” I highly doubt that there would be such a controversy. It was her combative language, not her photo that made people feel shame.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. All the original post seems to do is support Apathy. Thank you for your refreshing and eloquently stated response.

      • Apathy to do what. I have no desire to work out because I have a girlfriend and I don’t really care I think I look fine and so does she, and I think she looks fine she isn’t super skinny but she is healthy, she isn’t model status but she is healthy and happy and that is fine for me. I actually like girls with meat on their bones you know, that’s sexy, but if she was super skinny like waif status okay, whatever. I’m sure I would still be attracted to her you know she is super funny and outgoing and has goals in her life and dreams, she works hard she’s just not in the gym all day she prefers to actually go to school and be an Honor roll student and work 30 hours a week at the same time. And I work 20 and am in clubs at school and taking 5 classes and honors and do volunteer hours. So I’m saying though, it’s about priorities. Some people see physical image as one. I prefer making money and spending time doing things I love. If I have time I spend it with her or if she’s busy I read and get ahead on my school work. So I’m saying, that’s apathy?

        • That’s and interesting point raymond. It sounds like you a very full life and you value your partner for who she is and you value you’re own life as well. Thanks for sharing how you approach life with this calm sense of who you are. It’s very refreshing.

    • Foamfan: Happy little mantras are stupid.
      Author: I actually like mantras. Meditation is very helpful.
      Foamfan: No, sure, I love meditation. I just mean, like, that stupid affirmation in your post. No Buddhist would say that.
      Author: Actually, that affirmation came from a Buddhist prayer book. My point is that shame is a poor motivator.
      Foamfan: Oh, sure, I hate shame too! But Maria Kang isn’t trying to shame anyone!
      Other Commenter: How is “What’s your excuse [, fatso]?” not shaming?
      Foamfan: [convenient radio silence]

      Let’s just go back to your original comment, before all your backpedaling:

      “It seems to me that the two camps are people who accept their mortal shell and do the best they can to maintain it, and people who do not accept their mortal shell.”

      So, right off the bat, you’re admitting you completely missed the entire point: THERE ARE NOT TWO CAMPS.

      “Some, but not all of the people in the first camp look as good as Maria Kang, but most do not and that does not bother them.”

      This just sounds like random rambling that you think sounds like a point. What is your point here? There is a camp, but some people in the camp aren’t really that much in the camp but they’re still definitely not the other camp so.. you’re proving that it’s not that easy to lump people into two camps!

      “Encouraging people to just close their eyes and whisper self-loving bromides is no way to mitigate bad choices.”

      Can you prove that?

      You are exactly the type of person this entire post was talking about: oversimplifying something so that you can more easily have an opinion on the internet isn’t any kind of solution to anything.

      And who is the arbiter of what is and isn’t a “good decision” or “bad decision”? Do you have the official scale measurements for what is absolutely too much or too little weight? Can you go up to an individual, and look at them, and say “if you weighed three pounds less (or more), you would then be ‘perfect’?” Of course not.

      Spend a little more time thinking before you write something the entire world can see, and you won’t have to spend so much time writing follow up comments where you try to save yourself from looking like a COMPLETE idiot. I shudder to think that anyone might have read the original post, started to feel like “Yeah, maybe he’s right! Maybe I don’t have to hate myself for being overweight!” and then they got to your comment and thought “No, Foamfan is right, I’m weak and stupid.”

      You say we should accept what we cannot change. Why don’t you lead by example?

      • One of the fundamental disagreements I have shared about the post is the claim that Maria Kang’s image divides the world into two camps: the winners who work hard, eat right, and look good, and those excuse-making losers who don’t, won’t, and can’t.

        I do not believe that Maria Kang’s intent was to divide or shame at all. I proposed instead that if there are two camps, they consist of people who are comfortable in their own skin in one, and those who are not in the other. A person who deliberately over-trains or under-eats at the expense of maintaining a healthy life-balance is off-center on one extreme, and a person who has given up maintaining himself altogether is on the other extreme.

        The author’s point is that shame is an unproductive motivator to bring people toward a healthier choices, and instead of dividing the world with harshness, we should heal it with unity. That sounds nice, but I disagree slightly with that as well.
        I further posited that soothing the apathetic with bromides will not work. What I explicitly said was that coping mechanisms merely excuse the excuse-makers and provide no traction for action.

        The author has come back to clarify that a person must love themselves into action. Being able to accept ourselves as we are is crucial first step. I completely agree. I never said that meditation was ineffective or that the Metta Sutta was a bromide. “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like me.” That, sir, is a bromide. People who buy in to the “Stuart Smalley solution” do so because they’d prefer to feel better than do better.

        I am unclear as to your motive for commenting. Did it make you feel better? Are you interested in adding something productive to the discussion, or merely attempting to make yourself look good at someone else’s expense?

        Prediction: In 10 years’ time, I will still be comfortable with what I have shared here, Hopefully by then you will have moved beyond the tendency to be a smug and arrogant guttersnipe.

      • ‘What’s your excuse?’ With a killer body and 3 kids below her is not meant to encourage. I think here it is important to point out that her ‘physique’ in this instance has a lot to do wither genetics. All bare in mind she made a career out of fitness. The average person doesn’t have anywhere near the time she has to ‘devote’ to their fitness. Asking Any other person with 3 kids working full time (youd have to to support them) what their excuse is is retarded (for lack of a better word). Furthermore it goes to further illustrate the authors point above. Two worlds instead of recognizing that every person is in a different situation, what you may see as an excuse from an outside perspective is anything but for the person living it!

        Don’t get me wrong, there is no limit to the power of positive thinking and nothing builds character like adversity. I just think before making advertising like the picture above or stepping up to defend it a couple steps back doesn’t hurt.

        It’s not just the image either, if it was just the picture, you could try and argue the phrase to, but when website is the kicker. She used the image as a marketing ploy deliberately to drum up publicity. At the very least she is guilty of gros negligence in that she didn’t have the foresight to see how this marketing campaign ‘could’ be perceived.

        Believe all you want, the reality is the internetz have deemed this image to create 2 worlds. Otherwise there’d be no controversy, nowhatimmasayinnnnn

      • I think what FOAMFAN is saying is that he understood the original picture differently than the critics. I do realize now that it could have been intended one of two ways. My original interpretation (and the critics’ interpretation) was: “What’s your excuse for not getting in shape after having 3 kids? If you aren’t in shape you’re just making excuses.” After reading FOAMFAN’s comments, I realized that there was a possible alternate message: “Look how I achieved my goals. Stop making excuses for not achieving your goals.” (In this case, she is not talking about fitness, but achieving goals generally.)

        Having heard both arguments, I would probably want to get some clarification from her about her intentions. She may have made a poor choice in her words about did not convey most clearly what she wanted to.

        To be clear, my post does not attempt to suggest what she is saying, but to point out that these two (and maybe more) possibilities exist, and clarification is needed.

        • Hm that’s an interesting interpretation. I appreciate your desire to bring clarity to the discussion. I’d agree that her intention may not have been to shame people, in fact I’m pretty sure she intended to encourage people. But what struck me was the world view the message exists within. Thanks for commenting

  34. When you only look on the outside you are missing so much of the entire picture. THere might be genetic or health issues or it might be that a overweight person is so busy working to put food on the table or taking care of their family that they really don’t have the time to take care of themselves. Too much judging. I’m so happy for the woman in the picture can adjust her life to spend so much time on her body. Many people don’t have so much time to think of themselves.

    • People make time for what’s important to them. One hour away from your kids won’t harm them, gyms have daycare. Thinking of yourself is not selfish. Giving your kids a mom who can run around & play easily is a great gift. Fitness comes in all shapes & sizes. I just watched a documentary that included a professional dancer who was a size 18-20. She was cardiovascularly fit. Awesome. I wouldn’t feel comfortable in a body that size, so for ME, I have a different idea of fitness, again for ME, I need to be smaller than that. I would never want someone to hate themselves for being “overweight”. But please don’t use the excuse of : “I don’t have time” . In reality it’s that you “didn’t make time” for exercise. Everyone loves fatty & sugary foods, some people CHOOSE to eat them. Some CHOOSE to eat them a lot & some people only eat those things once in a while or not at all. It’s a choice like everything else.

  35. LOL to all the too busy people… I’ll call it what it is, it isn’t genetic or health… the simple FACT is you take in too many calories you will gain weight, It has nothing to do with genes or health. If you are consuming more than your body burns AND the consumption is highly processed wheat and sugar (stuff that converts easily to fat) guess what. you are going to be FAT. I’m 44 years old. I have been morbidly obese for the past 15 years of my life. I thought I was bullet proof. I have always been strong and pretty healthy. I looked in the mirror and decided I was through with the extra tonnage. I have dropped 43 pounds in the last 4 months. I am not exercising I have done it through eating modification alone. REDUCE the amount you eat, CUT OUT white foods. I never thought I would/could lose the weight I have lost. No it isn’t easy, yes you have to sacrifice but it doesn’t take time away from any of my activities or my friends and family all of those complaints are BS… whaa whaa whaa… I can say it because I was a fatty for so long. There is no excuse to be overweight.

    • Actually, genetics play a large role in the way a person looks. I am 36 years old, never exercise and eat mostly unhealthy, fatty foods. I am 5’8 and way about 160 lbs. the only reason I’m not fat is genetics I honestly don’t care what I look like and if I get fat my excuse will be that I don’t care and I don’t want to live until I’m 90. Genetics do play a major role in what you look like as well as your health.

    • M, good for you for losing the weight. I sincerely hope you enjoy a healthy lifestyle and are able to maintain your weight loss.

      Many people are NOT able to maintain it. Many people have dieted every bit as stringently as you have, AND exercised, and rejoiced in being svelte… only to see the weight creep back on. We are also seeing some rather bizarre things in lab animals gaining weight over the past few decades, even though their calorie and exercise levels haven’t changed. Others have gained and lost weight due ENTIRELY to medical conditions.

      There’s simply a lot we don’t know yet about why people – and animals get fat, but we do know 1) It’s not always due to overeating and/or being too lazy to exercise
      2) Fat-shaming, or self-hate about being over (or under) weight doesn’t help; in fact, it often has the opposite effect, and 3) The goal should never be size X or ab definition, but rather, trying each day to be as healthy as we can be.

      Good luck in your journey.

    • I think you missed the point. The point is that there are not just “people who look awesome” and “people who don’t,” and it’s not helpful to think about people in those terms. Glad you feel good about your weight loss. But there’s no need to project your life story – what worked for you, what is important to you, how your appearance changed, how your feelings have changed – on anyone else.

  36. May I add that while I agree with the articel in general, over weight is a serious health issue costing billions a year. I do get the msg in the article but maybe the post helped at least one person to join a gym

    • No it IS NOT costing billions a year. Actually read something about it instead of being fed crap from Facebook posts. Being over weight is not YOUR problem unless it is YOU who you are dealing with. Stop the non-sense. Just because it is important to you doesn’t mean it should be for everyone else. Accept people for who they are, stop your judgments, and concern yourself with yourself only.

      • Health costs are shared by everyone in a society. So, the more quadruple bypass heart surgeries there are, the more expensive health insurance, health procedures, malpractice insurance, etc., becomes. So yes, smokers cost the society money, obese people cost the society money, alcoholics cost the society money. Additionally, there are economic concerns with obesity as well. Productivity can go down for people who are obese, and that costs companies money too, which in turn is trickled down to the consumer in the form of higher costs too.

      • I will have to respectfully disagree with you Bloopster, I have done extensive research on this as a medical student and the weight of the nation goes far beyond individual judgments and/or prejudges. If you took the time to do any scholarly research on the topic you would learn that being even mildly overweight all the way to obese is far from just an individual’s problem. The health issues that arise from being over weight such as Hypertension (high blood pressure) Diabetes, Coronary Artery Disease, Respiratory disorders, Musculoskeletal disorders Skin disorders just to name a few, contribute to an overall reduction in individual productivity and higher insurance claims over all, these not only impact an employers ability to make a profit but what benefits are offered at what cost, not to mention the accommodations that must be made ie: bigger chairs, bigger desks, bigger restroom stalls, wider parking stalls…ect. (and while you may argue that they already make these accommodations for the disabled, the difference is that someone confined to a wheelchair due to past injury or from birth cant change their situation regardless the motivation, and obesity is a disease that is self inflicted and alterable) Additionally, the cost the public health care system has to contend with if/when these people are in need of healthcare and don’t have insurance and the accommodations needed to treat them Ie: bigger beds, specialized equipment, specialized transport, and additional staff needed to treat that patient. In your research you would also find that among the nations poor (a category that is ever expanding in today’s economy), obesity, along with its secondary diseases, is an epidemic and because private hospitals can turn away the poor/uninsured, the costs incurred by the County Hospitals from treating an indigent patient get passed on to tax payers and higher overall medical cost for the ones who do have insurance thus the cost to treat these people in need IS indeed costing our nation Billions annually. I agree that changing obesity goes beyond the simple mantra “move more-eat less” and covers many aspects of life that have to be dealt with in order to achieve good health (note I didn’t say to be thin or muscular or to look good to others – but rather GOOD HEALTH which means no secondary disease processes due to excess weight), but to say it is just an individual problem and doesn’t cost the nation anything so you should just accept it and move on, is quite simply naive.

      • In contrast to your emotionally driven response, it actually is costing everyone. The dramatic increase in health problems associated with obesity does cost all of us even if you’re solely looking at the health industry and nothing else. All Nicole was saying is that if the article helped someone join a gym then maybe it was worth the challenging language. She didn’t state anything regarding judgement toward anyone either, you just made that assumption because you are used to interpreting these comments in a derogatory way even though she simply said she hoped for 1 person to increase their health through this.

        Quit making yourself the victim because there isn’t one here. “Concern yourself with yourself only”… Yeah the problem with that is it sounds nice, but the fact is you’re on this earth with 7 billion other humans so at some point people are going to be concerned and want to help each other. And she wasn’t saying turn that 1 person into an abercrombie model, but just to take basic health

      • Thanks for this perspective on the societal cost of obesity. I think the economic argument is a complex one. The question that lingers for me is how many people feel discourage and never start exercising because of posts like these? I don’t know the answer but I think it’s worth considering.

  37. Interesting article, let me say first off that I agree that there is no need for someone two think of the world as “two groups”, and what is more, people should always be encouraging. Perhaps my greatest pet peeves is when someone makes fun of a fat person who is exercising, as that person is putting in the time and effort to better themselves, it doesn’t matter what they have eaten earlier that week or what they will eat later, because in that moment, they are bettering themselves. I do however, greatly disagree with much of what else you say. An example: “But there aren’t two worlds, there aren’t two moons, and there aren’t two you’s. The you who you are and you who could be. There is only you perfect and whole just as you are. And everything you are, or have been, or will be is right there in the center of your chest.” The truth of the matter is that there are exactly two you’s. You make decisions every minute of every day, and those decisions make you into who you are. If you decide to eat unhealthy food for every meal, you are deciding to make yourself fat and unhealthy. No, you are not the “perfect you”, you are a lesser version of what you could be. If you have a desire to be something, to studying something, to work somewhere, and you never try because you are too afraid or too lazy, then you are choosing to not live up to your potential, to be a lesser version of yourself. Telling people that they are who they are and that that is perfect is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard. The truth is that people do make excuses. Look on the internet and you will see people participating in obstacle races without arms and legs, running marathons with diabetes, working hard and losing hundreds of pounds. These are not fairy tales, these are real people with real physical problems that decided to change their lives, and with hard work, failure, and commitment were able to indeed change their lives. You can always be better, you can always do more and try harder, and you can always look and feel better. Sorry friends but there is a version of you that can be better, it won’t happen overnight, but it most certainly can happen. So next time you look down at that mcdonalds meal or bowl of ice cream right in front of your overweight body, instead of thinking “may I be free from fear, at ease, and happy”, think, “I don’t need this, I am strong, I can do better”.

    • If you think of the possible “you’s” based on decisions you make, there are actually more than two of you – there are millions. Think of all the decisions you make! You could be at one end of the “fat” spectrum or the other, one end of the “kind” spectrum or the other, one end of the “productive” spectrum or the other, or infinitely many places in between infinitely many spectrums, Are you “better” for ending up farther to the right or left on the “Fat” spectrum? I think the point is, who cares? There are a lot of things people are and can be.

  38. I liked this article except for the parts I didn’t like. LOL. I love things that motivate me, but I also believe in accepting people (including the person in the mirror) for who they are, but I don’t like when people make excuses or bash on people who work out assuming the person couldn’t do it and be a good mom/wife/whatever. I looked up that girl (in the photo)’s blog (over a month ago) and she actually seems like a really nice/normal person who genuinely wanted to inspire others. I think the main thing people (cough, cough, women) need to do is just cheer each other on and stop judging one another. Which was the main idea of the post, but I do feel like the author bashed on the woman in the photo/people with her mindset which takes away from the overall idea.

    • Thanks Tiffany. I love the honesty of your comment. You gave a very nuanced critique. I’m sorry that you got that I was bashing Ms. Kang from the post. That certainly wasn’t my intention, but I guess I can see why you might think that. Instead my intention was to critique the world view she was espousing. I’ve checked out her blog and I think she really did have good intentions, but I think that her message fell victim to a prevalent perspective in the fitness world. But in either case thanks for reading and for commenting. I’m really impressed by the intelligence and thoughtfulness readers put into their responses.

  39. You are so right on with how people are thinking in both groups! I love that right after having my baby I look still like the women in the picture with her babies. Everyone was amazed that I looked so good 3 months after having a baby and I say it is because I think like the people in group one!
    I have even made it easy for people to learn how to do it also on my youtube channel!
    Carrollskitchen on youtube!
    Look me up if you want some advice!
    I love helping people get healthy, skinny, and sexy!
    Love and Peace!

  40. Bottom line is – society divides us, fashion divides us, the media divides us, common-sense divides us, the health services divide us, we divide us [and others] the list continues ….. if you open that fridge door too many times, then expect to be judged, we all know what happens when we shove too many calories down our throats and so everyone has a choice whether to indulge .. or not – pseudo-idealistic articles like this do nothing to confront self-induced obesity in any constructive way, all it does is make cheap points at the expense of a very real need to educate.
    Highlighting social responses that knee-jerk with a first-glance judgement will never stop, and never will – we are psychologically wired up that way, it’s just the way we are folks, and no amount of rather pompous rhetoric spewing forth clichés like ‘be yourself’ blah blah blah ..will change one damn thing.
    Nobody is perfect, but in true Orwellian style, ‘some people are less perfect than others’ … being fat sucks, and if you are obese, eat less and exercise coz this ‘article’ ain’t gonna help one bit.

    • Thanks for you comment pete. I agree with you that dealing with weight requires that people make different food choices and do more activity, but where we differ is the most effective way to motivate people to change. I think that if education, judgement, or no nonsense lets confront this problem with harsh expressions worked we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic. We’ve had plenty of that over the last few decades and yet the problem has just grown. So many wise teachers from the Buddha, to Christ, to Ghandi, to Martin Luther King, have shown the world the power of acceptance and meeting people as they are. My intention was to bring forward some small part of that wisdom in this post.

      I’m sorry the article didn’t resonate with you, but I really appreciate your willingness to express yourself so openly. I think the more perspectives we have on this issue the more wisdom we can access. Thanks for taking the time to read the post and give your feedback.

      • Thank-you for such a courteous reply, I’m not so sure I’d be so polite if I had received a similar post.
        I don’t doubt your motives in authoring this for one second, I suppose I’m trying to make a point that indulging in platitudes isn’t the way forward, and ironically, education has been proven not to work either.
        People may start a specific weight-loss program but the weak link isn’t the treatment, it’s people’s lack of resolve to see the job through.
        I doubt there’s one person in the western world that doesn’t know fat is caused by eating too much …end of!!!
        It’s not a matter of education, dense bones, parent’s genes or whatever, it’s all about making a choice, self-control and determination.
        Any and every excuse is used to try and justify people’s obesity, far too many obese people will not accept responsibility for their problem.
        It’s invariably someone else’s fault, never their own.
        The fatter they get, the less they exercise but it still comes down to the opening and closing of the fridge door.
        Pandering to obese people’s sensibilities in terms of well-meaning advice will never work because the negative loop they are in is inextricably linked to a flaw in their character, they are either born lazy or they get lazy, and lazy people don’t want to work.
        And if you need to lose weight because of your previous excesses then that means you need to work to get it down .. and they can’t be bothered, they’d rather have surgical intervention that either hoovers out the fat or reduces their stomach .. either way, it’s the easy way out for them.
        And of course, if that doesn’t work, it’s the surgeon’s fault … :/
        Thanks for replying anyway, you seem a good man with good intentions but maybe a little, incey-bitsy naive but that’s your nature I think, you don’t like offending people.
        I can understand and appreciate that !!
        Peace out !

  41. I actually think that this article would call by as an excuse. One year ago (November 2012) I weighed 360 lbs. In December I was diagnosed with type two diabetes. It was then that I realized that I no longer had the luxury of excuses. In one year I have lost 80 lbs. and I’m working on the last 120 lbs. I can’t wait till I can post my “Maria Kang” picture. No more excuses!

  42. good article but one thing i wanted to point out. you didnt talk about those people who have medical conditions that either caused the weight gain, or medical conditions that make it harder for heavy people to lose the weight . there are people out there who are so quick to judge others that they dont stop to think or are just total jerks and dont care about others, that a heavy person may have some sort of illness or medical condition where that is the reason they are heavy to start with.

    • That’s a great point Jim. I completely agree we can never understand someone until we walk a mile in their shoes. You are right it is something I didn’t talk about explicitly and it’s something everyone should consider before they sit in judgement of someone else. Do you have any experience with that yourself? And if so would you be willing to share that experience here or maybe even in a post. I’d love to share that perspective with others.

      • I have personal experience with this. I gained 60 lbs. in two months when I started taking steroids to shrink a tumor before starting chemo. My doctor specifically told me NOT to diet, even knowing that I would gain weight from the medication, because fighting cancer requires energy and you can only get that energy from eating. I would bet that a number of posters on this thread would refuse to believe me, and just assume that I was fat because I’m lazy and have no self-control. As if a life-threatening disease isn’t bad enough, I have to deal with idiots like these people adding insult to injury.

  43. I Love this soooo much! You perfectly expressed something I’ve always felt so strongly about. I’ve always wanted to express it but haven’t dared b/c I would have done it way less classy and more snarky. But you totally bypassed that and made a beautiful, gentle point that there is a moderate and were all in this together. There is a normal. I have seen this polarization so many times, mainly from my overweight friends who think the only way to get thin is by being obsessed and I don’t blame them b/c those are the only example we get on social media. They see that kind of lifestyle and are immediately turned off. But all the while there is this middleground majority who just happen to not be filling up our newsfeeds up with their running stats or diet tips, but who are the moderate ones, the ones who accept themselves for who they are, eat well, but not extreme and are happy healthy individuals. Anyway, perfectly written post! Well done!

    • Thanks Eliza for your comment. I’m glad you saw the other side of this. Some people have only seen how to post encourages us not to judge those who struggle with their weight. My intention was to also encourage people not to judge people who value activity and work hard to stay trim. I appreciate you restating this idea so clearly in your comment. Thank you for taking the time to read the post.

  44. I believe FIRST you have to love your self..being skinny with bones or being fat does not give u inner peace…my motto:

    Love who u are…spread the happiness you have, to others..LIVE LIFE!!
    Everything else will fall in to its place

  45. OMG – Oh My Goodness, I must have completely missed the point. I thought she was showing how you can be fit and still have all the babies you create, instead of disposing of them, or avoiding them! I was like, good for her, showing how many beautiful children, and for her, sons, a busy person can have and still be working!

  46. This is an interesting discussion. BSN (who posted November 13, 2013 at 10:51 am) clearly stated the impact of a substantial percentage of people being overweight or obese; it is a REAL problem. While not everyone can make the commitment to look like Maria Kang or a male-equivalent, our society seems to have a high level of ignorance about how eating and lifestyle affect health, fitness, and weight. The problem is compounded by the production of unhealthy foods produced and sold by greed-driven big corporations. I am 67 years old. When I attend a community holiday event with several high school marching bands, I see a lot of kids who are overweight. When I was in high school and played in marching band, we did not have this. Two years or so ago, my mother visited my niece and her husband and two kids when they lived in Montreal, Canada. Sometime afterward, mom and I were talking about the weight problem we have in the U.S. and she commented that she noticed in Montreal that supermarkets allocated much less shelf space to candy than supermarkets here in the U.S. The local Kroger store has an entire long isle just for candy. In Montreal, mom saw a much smaller display of candies in the stores. She also noticed more people there walking and biking. We really have a society problem here. Ignorance seems to be a significant part of the problem. I would bet that many of the overweight people I see in the supermarket never read the labels on products to look for such elements as high fructose corn syrup, high amounts of sodium, partially hydrogenated oils, saturated fat content, etc. Again, ignorance seems to be a serious part of the problem. People need to wake up and use their brains.

  47. u know sometimes it is the genes, and the body type u posess. My cousin gains weight in her stomach, i gain weight all over. She had to work her ass off night and day to lose hella weight, i was on the depression diet. She lost 5 less pounds than i, she was 150 still looked big, but way healthier, i was 155 and looked skinny. Were the same height, but different body types. Not everyone can have 3 kids with no stretch marks and no loose skin. Yes sometimes it is genetics. We come from a family of large ppl and we both been battling weight problemsssince we were little. To this day im healthier cuz i exercise but i only eat like maybe 600 calories a day and stuck at 160. I haven’t been below 150 since 7th grade, no matter how hard i work, the exercising the healthy eating, the switch ups in workout time, im stuck at 160. Mind u people think and say i look 130 lbs. Genetics is part of it please believe. Stretch marks r even genetic.

  48. haha their is so much ignorance in this post. First their are infinite universes with infinite versions of you and infinite without you. In some you are fat some you are skinny some you are a murder or a terrorist but they all exist. every decision you make spawns another universe parallel and different from the one we live in. So in this world there is one of you but in another there are two. If you are skinny now that doesn’t mean you are in all of them and the opposite holds true and every degree in between.. Just my two cents.

  49. You can’t make an article that states live in 1 world with multiple types of people and then shame one of those types of people (the fit crowd). Maria Kang has never tried to say you NEED to be as fit as her. She just tries to be a role model for those that feel they want to improve themselves but don’t have the time. She doesn’t “fat shame” or bully she just tried to inspire motivation. There is a difference between being fit and being skinny. We all must love ourselves for who we are as people and what we look like but we must also try to keep ourselves mentally and physically healthy. The moral of this article is love everyone which is a point I think she fails to come to when she isn’t loving everyone.

  50. Thank you for this article. I totally agreed with what you said. It was a fresh breath of air. Too often we put people in categories because, I suppose, it’s human nature to divide people into “camps”, in order to make one feel superior over the other, or other reasons I don’t quite know. I appreciate your article and fully support it.
    It was also fun too- to read some very to-the -point, educational and very thought-provoking posts, and some others that were just, spiteful, to say the least.
    Many Thanks!!! =)

  51. So, this means I can do whatever I want and that’s cool? That’s just… me? Has society fully embraced my hedonistic tendencies as my one true self? Finally! My identity crisis is over. I had once used a tarnished self-image, public shaming and a general sense of malcontent as an improvement mechanism. Now, a renewed, liberated me, will turn over a new leaf. I’ll avail myself to life’s pure pleasure potential – a world of plenty at my disposal – and exclude myself from this petty rivalry. There is no spoon – just doing whatever I feel like because it’s none of your business and it makes me feel good.

    No… I’m not really that dense. We all have a personal continuum of achievement. Happiness doesn’t come from being unique or futilely accepting pretty much anything… it comes from doing enough. I don’t need a picture to convey that. No one else even has to know what it means to you. Do enough, and you’ll know you’re doing it. If you don’t do enough, you’ll know what that feels like too. If you’re unhappy, then do more of what makes you happy. If doing more makes you worse off, then do more to figure out what you should be doing. That’s it. I can’t deny the valuable dialogues generated by pictures of the fit mom and kids. I don’t care about her agenda. I care about it’s cause and effect. People are doing more of what they need to be doing because of it. I have never heard that a picture of a marshmallow covered donut, drizzled with chocolate and toasted to perfection truly inspired someone. Well, it may have inspired me to eat one… but I’m not going to tell anyone about it.

    • Interesting point. I think it’s hard to know if the picture was effective motivation or not. I certainly caused a reaction, but for my part I’m very uncertain of it’s effect.

      If pictures like this were good motivation then why do we have some an obesity problem in the US? These kinds of pictures are all over the place. But if you look at say the 50′s the body image was much more realistic and obesity was less of an issue.

      I’m not saying that I know for sure there is a causal link, but I think to suggest that this picture is inspiring requires information we currently don’t have.

      My intention to the post was to express the effect it had on me and in that sense I’m grateful for the picture because it challenged me to look at something that is seen as so solid in the fitness industry. And I also appreciate your comment because it made me think about what cause and effect has to do with this kind of image.

    • Great Question! I think that there is a difference between dividing people with arbitrary lines and making some discernment about what is skillful and what is not. My intention was to point out these lines and why they don’t tell the whole story and at the same time show why the picture has caused so much reactivity.

      Of course our intentions don’t always come out perfect and I’m sorry if the post struck you the wrong way.

  52. I enjoyed reading the banter between the people that posted on this blog. There seems to be two camps… Those the believe it and those that don’t… Oh wait,there’s three camps… Those that go back on forth in their posts saying they believe in one but then support the other. Well… there is actually four camps… Those that don’t care… People seem to NEED to put people in boxes, into camps, to label them, to sort them. To find out where they are against everyone else. The blog banter is ultimately wrong because there aren’t two camps, three camps, four camps, fifty camps, etc… We are millions of individuals in our own little worlds. Millions of camps? We are complex and will never be sorted. Our choices define us and everyone is going to be different. How do we change this? We don’t. We will never come together as one world because it’s not possible. After thousands of years of human history we still can’t get along. That says something. Sadly we will need a super plague or a major accident to wipe us out to put this to rest. Where are the zombies when you need them???

    As to the picture? Doesn’t really affect me. Whoever wants to workout for 4 years of their life to gain 2 extra years… Go for it. I’ll be sitting back enjoying my bacon! Peace out!!

    • It’s so true that we get comfort from putting people into boxes. I think there is a very strong and ancient tribe mentality at play. Though I’m not sure I would go so far as to say the human race is beyond hope. Sure there isn’t peace, but we’ve come a long way from slavery and the feudal system. I still have hope that people can create alot of joy in the world.

      In either case thanks for commenting!

  53. I’ve been in both worlds as well. I started life as a normal healthy child then horrible things started happening to me and I was too afraid to tell anyone. I thought things would get better when the bad person died but I didn’t know that I was damaged forever. I ate anything and everything and got fatter and fatter. It didn’t help at all that my parents started ignoring me like I didn’t exist. Finally, when I was 16 I became anorexic. I lost 70 pounds and thought things would be wonderful because I was in the other world. Sadly, it doesn’t work like that. It took decades and lots of therapy to finally realize that it doesn’t matter what your weight is. What matters is that you are a kind person who is kind to others.

  54. People do not seem to realize that it is just a picture of a proud mother with her family and that is all it is , if you read something else into it then it is your own fault . So people take it for what it is not what you think it is!!!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply