POLL: Maria Kang, the photo and the controversy: Fit mom inspiration, or fat shaming?

Maria Kang, her three children and a message.

Maria Kang, her three children and a message.

There’s a good chance you’ve seen the photo above: A young woman with an exceptional physique, pictured with her three children, all 3 years old or younger.

And the message: “What’s your excuse?”

Maria Kang is a fitness model, business owner, blogger and a mom. The photo she published on her Facebook page went viral and the reaction was strong.

Some people praised her for illustrating that you can be a busy mom and a new mom and still bounce back to peak condition.

Others accused her of “fat shaming,” or basically using her accomplishments as a negative reinforcement to motivate women who, after childbirth, have lost their pre-baby figure and don’t look anything like her.

Pregnancy and childbirth alters a woman’s physique. That much we know. We also know that every person’s physique is changeable.

However, it’s important to note that every person is different. Yes, personal choices in terms of what you eat, how you move and so forth make a difference in how fit you are. But there are other factors. Genetics can play a role. Life schedules, too. And let’s not forget, eating healthy often means spending more on foods that are good for you. If you have limited means, cheaper, less nutritious food may be your only option, and that option may not be helpful in terms of losing baby weight.

There is no such thing as a cookie-cutter formula to looking like Ms. Kang because most people’s lives vary wildly from hers.

I’ve heard the argument that the obsession with losing baby weight has, in itself, become a problem given that many mothers have enough on their plate as it is without having to worry about regaining that pre-baby body.

Lastly, the overall issue of body image comes into play.

I don’t want to dump on Maria Kang. She’s had some success in the fitness world because, I am quite sure, she has worked very hard. It takes planning, discipline and hard work to maintain a magazine cover-worthy physique. But is her photo a case of rubbing people’s noses in it?

So I ask you: Is this message inspirational, or is it fat shaming? Take the poll, and feel free to comment.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088