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“What’s Your Excuse”- The Maria Kang Molehill Controversy

If you have a Facebook feed or any fleeting interest in the seemingly constant parade of “my-outrage-must-be-known!!” controversies du jour (aka- Miley Cyrus, pregnant Moms lifting weights, To-MAY-to vs. To-MAH-to, etc.), you’ve probably run across the latest mountain of outrage birthed from the “why is this so dramatic?” molehill: Maria Kang.

You know, the fitness pro who’s also a mom of three and recently posted a picture to her Facebook feed asking “What’s Your Excuse?”:

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As you might expect she’s received written high fives and comments of  “You rock!” and “Inspiration!” She’s also received a fair share of critical remarks usually centered around “You made me feel bad!”, “You’re shaming me and my fat!” or the well traveled High School go-to: “You’re being conceited!”

To be honest, I see both sides of the argument… to a point.

Both Sides… To A Point

On one side, Maria Kang IS an inspiration. She HAS worked hard. She DOES deserve to have some admiration, set herself up as a positive example and, in fact, point out that she could have used any number of legitimate and accepted excuses to thwart her ultimate goal of defining herself through getting fit.

On the other side, I understand how “What’s Your Excuse?” could be offensive to some. “Excuse” is a “hard” word. The message might have been easier for all audiences to swallow with an affirmative “You Can Too!” instead.

But I don’t think that was the point– sometimes “harder” (aka- tough love) statements are what get us thinking and I believe any taken “offense” might have more to do with missing the intended mark of the comment and inflicting self-criticism in the process.

For example… I’d add this image to the conversation with a special note to notice her “tummy”:1375109_659943487369943_2009820870_n

Maria Kang has stretch marks.

She has excess skin.

And guess what… surgery aside, those parts of her body aren’t changing. But what did change was her approach: she got fit in line with HER potential, stretch marks be damned.

When Maria rhetorically asks “What’s Your Excuse?” and you look at her will-lit and apparently “flawless” picture, it’s easy to respond with “You’re judging me” and leave it at that.  But looking at her in the beach image above, do you really think she’s demanding all women have a six pack (and for the record, she doesn’t have one) or be “fat-shamed”?

No. She’s asking for introspection.

To her credit on the contrary, she’s unashamedly documented her pregnancy’s undisputed BADGE OF HONOR– the vestigial changes carrying a child for 9 months can leave behind– and in no uncertain terms challenging other women to revisit the excuses that may be keeping them from happiness, confidence, longevity and health after giving birth.

What’s YOUR Excuse?

Perhaps “What’s Your Excuse?” was the rallying cry that motivated Maria Kang on her worthy journey- one she felt would do the same for others. If it didn’t, does it matter?

The heart of Maria’s “Excuse” comment is truth- too many times we offer up excuses to our detriment in the long run- whether it’s fitness or any other goal or dream in life.

The point is not “What’s YOUR excuse for not looking like me, Losers!?” The point is “What can YOU accomplish when YOU set aside YOUR excuses and allow YOURSELF to be the BEST YOU?”

I’d hope Maria’s success doesn’t make anyone feel bad. I’d hope her comment to examine excuses doesn’t make anyone feel bad. But as humans and social creatures, that goes with the territory doesn’t it? We measure ourselves up against others and let our image of others act as negative judgement on ourselves when in fact that measuring stick we’re using against them is best used as introspection: who we are, who we were and for the personal benefit of the AWESOME potential of who we can become.

The Point

Getting fit is about MORE THAN AESTHETICS and it’s the aesthetics people seem to be focusing on in this “faux-troversy”. Sure, making your bathing suit look good is a nice byproduct but fitness in life is about more than looking like you jumped off the cover of “Fitness” magazine. It’s about being around and living a life to its full potential.

The point is, don’t excuse yourself to a life of preventable disease, poor confidence and lethargy when you can break those excuses over your knee and show others positive change, no matter what your obstacles, are possible. 

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