The women in the picture above is called Maria Kang and she became the object of intense media scrutiny, both good and bad, roughly this time last year. She posted the following picture on her Facebook page and it didn't take it long for it to go viral:
Nor did it take long for the backlash to begin and for the gloves to come off. A whole lot of people were royally pissed off with Maria and took her "What's your excuse?" message as though it was aimed at them personally: "obnoxious", "arrogant", "a fat shaming bully" were just some of the names thrown her way.
Kang was stunned by the sheer volume of negative attention she received. She tried to assure her many critics that her objective was never to offend but to motivate:
‘I wanted to inspire people. I wanted to say, “I know you think you don’t have time if you have kids. But if I can do it, you can do it, too." '
When those words failed to reassure and calm the media storm Maria took off her own gloves:
'I'm sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way. I won't go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two business', have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer. I won't even mention how I didn't give into cravings for ice cream, french fries or chocolate while pregnant or use my growing belly as an excuse to be inactive. What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It's Yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. Maybe it's time we stop tip-toeing around people's feelings and get to the point.'
Harsh words. Or are they?
Personally, I didn't feel even the slightest bit offended by Maria's photo nor the accompanying words despite the fact that it is highly unlikely I will ever boast a smoking hot body like hers with or without kids, mainly because I just don't possess the levels of discipline and hard-work required. But she does, she put them into action and she yielded - and deserves - the results.
As for my weight, I've always had a few extra pounds on my freckly body, particularly around my middle. That's my pesky, perpetual problem area and oh how I have bemoaned my thick waist over the years amidst tears and tantrums! But here's the thing: I HAVE NO-ONE TO BLAME BUT MYSELF. Not my parents, not my genetics, not even clever and cunning food advertisements, just little old Ginger Warrior ME. You see, I have spent years putting the wrong foods in my mouth.I wasn't forced to ingest the abundance of cakes and chocolate and sweets and biscuits that have made their way past my lips. I picked them up and put them right on in there being fully aware of the consequences, i.e. that I would put on weight. It's a case of cause and effect, it really is as simple as that so I'm not even going to try and conjure up any excuses for myself. And I place the emphasis on the word MYSELF because this is my own personal situation and consequently my own personal interpretation of Maria's message which is this: if you want something badly enough then you'll find the time and make the necessary changes.
That being said, due to my current status as a woman sans enfants I recognise that I do not have the same responsibilities, financial ties and time constraints as many of you. Some of you are juggling a serious amount of balls and I take my hat off to you. I honestly don't know how you do it! With such great demands on your time it could well be that hitting the gym is the last item on a seemingly never ending list of priorities and as such you may feel that Kang was way out of line, out of touch with reality for the vast majority and uses a tone that is punishing rather than encouraging.
So this is my question to you today, Warriors, particularly to all you busy mums out there:
What do you get from Maria's message? Is this fitness fanatic and mum of three an inspiration or a self-righteous irritation?
Over to you, Warriors.