We all know about the “fat shaming” photo. It’s the one on the left, the one of Maria Kang looking fit and perky, surrounded by her three young children. If you want to know, read up on it. My first thought when I saw the photo: Damn. She looks good. I wasn’t bothered by the “What’s your excuse?” line above her head. I wasn’t lamenting over her fantastic genes. I saw the comments and reactions from various individuals, and I tried very hard to understand the people who were offended by Kang’s tag line.
My conclusion: I still don’t get it.
I don’t feel Kang is eluding that people have to “look” like her, or that she’s “fat-shaming”. Let’s be honest: no one can look like Kang. Kang looks like Kang because she’s genetically predisposed to look the way she does. Throw in a lot of work out routines and gym time- well, you get my point. She doesn’t expect anyone to look like her. She’s merely asking (with three kids very close in age, mind you): “What’s your excuse for not working out?” I don’t know about any of you, but I’m proud of the way I look. I work out. I work hard, but I will never, ever, EVER look like Kang. I blame my mother. No matter how many squats and leg lunges I do, I will always have big thighs and a rotund ass, but you know what? I don’t mind. For me, it’s about being healthy. I want to be the healthiest Sara that Sara can be, and that’s what I took from this photo. What’s your excuse for not taking better care of yourself, and your health?
So, what is your excuse? I’ve read a lot of Kang hater comments, and what’s often cited is how there are a lot of people who can’t exercise due to health constraints. I don’t agree. There are work outs for almost everyone (I get that there are some of you on bed rest or have been told to steer clear of exercise). You’ve got a chronic condition? Talk to your doctor. Chances are, he or she has recommended a routine in order to keep you healthy. I had a guest blogger earlier this year who contributed a fantastic article re: cancer patients, and exercise. Whether you are old, young, have physical limitations, mental health issues or constraints, exercise is beneficial, when done correctly and following a program tailored to fit your needs. I am always reminded of a fantastic man I met in June, a man who couldn’t walk. Yet, this man with the help of a friend dragged a special-made spin bike into my dad’s spin class at the local gym, and used his arms to pedal the bike. For the entire hour, that man worked out the best way he could, the best way that worked for him, and really, that’s what it’s all about. Doing what works for you.
So, you’ve got time constraints? A lot of us do. When asked what she does for a living, Kang responds on her personal website: “I am a freelance writer, fitness blogger and director of a fitness non profit organization. I also manage residential care home facilities and recently built my very own!” Sounds like she’s pretty busy to me. When I was employed full-time, I would exercise before work, or during my lunch hour. When I worked part-time, I did the same thing. I was one of the crazies who would use the fitness room on her break, and I’d lift weights or do stomach crunches. I am a stay-at-home mom right now, and often wait until my little guy is napping. Sometimes it doesn’t pan out. I wake up super early in the mornings when I’m training for marathons, in order to get a run in. It’s before my boys or my husband are up for the day. We’ll go on bike rides as a family. I’ll pull the little guy in a Burley. So many health studies have concluded that exercise has no limits. If you can fit in a work out for 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there, that’s better than nothing! While watching t.v., do some sit ups or push ups. I’ll often do a fitness blender work out, while watching a show on t.v. Another thing- no one is mentioning the foods we put into our body. It matters. I am told it’s “80% diet, 20% exercise” and I believe that. I’ve seen it with my own body. When I eat healthy, I not only feel healthier, but I look healthier. That doesn’t mean I won’t splurge on ice cream and candy. I love sweets, but I’m not going to point a finger at Kang. What I choose to eat has nothing to do with her.
I don’t know why everyone is hung up on the way Kang looks. The woman pictured above, on the right- the one who just had a baby. She looks fantastic. If she’s satisfied with the way she looks, kudos to her. It’s not about Kang’s judgement, or anyone else’s. It’s about the self-esteem and the self-worth you have for yourself, and how you feel when you look in the mirror. As I mentioned before, I will never look like Kang. Clothes hide my imperfections well, but I’ve come to view those “imperfections” as the make-up of who I am. I don’t want, or strive, to look like anyone else, not even Kang, which is why Kang’s statement doesn’t bother me. I am healthy, inside and out, and that’s what matters most to me.
So, what are your thoughts on the fat-shaming photo?