Elk Grove mom Maria Kang asked the question in 2012, “What’s Your Excuse?” after posting a picture of her sculpted figure, eight months after giving birth to her third child.
Some called the picture flattering and inspiring, others insulting and overly revealing, but Kang’s photo went viral. Media outlets from California to London have covered the controversy. She endured and founded the No Excuse Mom movement and became a nationally known fitness advocate and blogger.
Is her message changing?
In a series of Instagram posts this week, Kang delves into recent challenges in her life, including separating from her husband, a slight weight gain, and dealing with depression. In one post she, says: “I know we all strive to be “ready” for events, vacations or just feel good enough to wear a swimsuit or take a photo! Sometimes we will mentally never be where we think we should be, so just show up! Just do it! Just be proud of where you are in your life’s journey!”
“I didn’t exercise for 4 days prior and was tired after a day working and being with my kids. AND I am 10lbs up since I shot that “What’s Your Excuse” photo! So here I am,” she writes in another post.
I usually have several rituals before I do a photoshoot: - If I'm not within my desired weight range I would diet 10-12 weeks prior - Two weeks before I shoot I would up my cardio and decrease my carbs - A week prior I would start prepping my clothes, applying facial masks and doing a manicure - The day of I would try to eliminate extra water from my body, ensure I was shooting in the morning (before I ate and was refreshed). HOWEVER - in the last several months I've been over-traveling, over-stressed and over "it" as I'm undergoing many life challenges and changes. While my sister n law, @brittenphoto in town, I decided just a couple hours before she had to leave on a plane to do an impromptu photoshoot. It's been over a year since I could get in front of a professional camera because I never felt 'ready enough'. There were constantly events, children, stress and even some depression, that prevented me from following through on my quarterly goals. Despite how 'unready' I felt, I thought about all the women I encourage to be proud of how far they've come and to celebrate their body at every stage of progression. I am in no way out of shape, but I am definitely and admittedly hard on myself because I rarely see extra skin, cellulite, muscles or a size greater than a 2 on a magazine cover. I rarely see Asians in the media! (that's a different topic!) So I have all those things. I shot this in the afternoon after eating a donut (thanks to my bff who owns a shop!) I didn't exercise for 4 days prior and was tired after a day working and being with my kids. AND I am 10lbs up since I shot that "What's Your Excuse" photo! So here I am. This is a raw photo with absolutely no retouching, no preparation and no shame. I'm finding my beauty again, I'm discovering my strength again and I'm relearning what it means to be brave, bold and unapologetic about where I am in my life's journey. #noexcusemom #mariakang #brittenphoto
“I’ve gained 10 lbs. since my ‘What’s Your Excuse’ photo and I’m not hiding from that fact. I want to empower others to step in front of the camera and be unapologetic, thankful and proud of where they are today. Beauty is in our minds and is reflected in the eyes of the people who truly love you. It doesn’t matter if you are skinny, fit, overweight or obese, if you don’t live in gratitude, you will never see what you truly have and who you truly are.” - Maria Kang via @people Not living in gratitude stems from focusing on things outside your world, including looking at the past and seeking towards the future. I haven't been PRESENT these last several months and I know this more fully today. My mind was continuously clouded by emotions and events that influenced me to feel bitter, resentful, pain and grief. I felt like a robot, going through the motions but not smelling, seeing, tasting or feeling anything. I'm awake now. I'm still fighting this spiritual fight. There is a powerful negative energy that seeks to destruct, deceive and destroy relationships, people, places and things. "It" wants you to feel insecure, unattractive, unhappy and worthless, and like every human, I fight to stay positive, prayerful, progressive, motivated and inspired - especially when I feel under spiritual attack. Today (and every day) I'm clawing my way back to me...to the little girl who wrote 'make a difference' after each diary entry for years, to the young woman who founded a nonprofit Fitness without Borders, to the hopeful bride who married an injured Marine wanting to build a family together, to the @Noexcusemoms I've popularly become today - someone who has relentlessly spoke a positive message about prioritizing health and celebrating yourself wherever you stand in this journey. I may be a bit softer, rounder and heavier, but that was never my point. My point is to make fitness a priority. Sometimes I can avoid chocolate, recently I can't. Sometimes I can train 6 days a week, recently I can't. But, it doesn't mean I stopped. I'm still going! So Keep Going and embrace your spirit every step of the way. Thank you @brittenphoto for capturing this beautiful image.
Months ago I separated from my husband. Every day since, my moods have been volatile, colorful and constantly changing. I’m either up or down, angry or ok, upset or calm, tearful or solemn. Like my life this past year, I feel like I’m just trying to stay above water, trying to hold things together while breaking slowly apart. In these last several months, I began to wail – a deep, weeping cry that travels deep into one’s soul. I remember swimming far out into the ocean in Mexico, and wailing while my stepdaughters swam farther behind. I remember running up the hills in Hawaii, and wailing after every 4 blocks. I have laid in bed staring at the wall hours on end, replaying tragic events, reciting broken vows and revisiting every action that led to this single moment… I don’t know what to do. And yet I do.... FULL BLOG IN MY BIO and on my website: MariaKang.com
Earlier this year, Kang survived four episodes on Fox’s “American Grit” reality show before being eliminated. The show featured men and women facing a variety of military-based and survival-themed challenges in the wilderness. The show featured WWE star John Cena. Contestants attempted to win $1 million.