PUBLISHED: 16:54 EST, 15 October 2013 | UPDATED: 17:43 EST, 15 October 2013
An exercise-loving, mother-of-three has come under fire after posting a photograph of her toned body to Facebook, captioned ‘What’s your excuse?’
Maria Kang, 32, from Los Angeles, California, who runs an fitness-focused non-profit organization from home, appears knelt alongside her three young sons in the image, dressed in a workout bra and matching micro shorts.
While many of the 17,000-plus commentators cite her as an ‘inspiration’ some have also accused her of being ‘insulting’, ‘obnoxious’ and a ‘fat shaming bully’.
Indeed, one woman wrote: ‘You are . . . hurtful to women and think way too much of yourself. Disgusting is what you are!’
And a mother-of-two named Sarah added on Ms Kang’s website, mariakang.com: ‘I hope you realize why some people are not just offended, but also hurt by your post as well.
‘First: many of us end up with stretch marks after kids…. A LOT OF THEM! I have two kids and both have caused my skin to stretch soo bad my stomach, from my rib cage straight down the the middle of my vaginal area, look like the U.S. road atlas.
‘Second: I am an avid runner. I run my two kids in a double jogger. Do I look like a runner? Nope. As a matter of fact, unless people know me, they don’t believe me. I do half and full marathons.
Keeping fit and healthy: Ms Kang said that she didn’t intend to upset people and she hoped the photo would inspire others to feel better about themselves
She concludes: ‘People like you who post pictures like this make people like me cry because I know that without surgery to lose the extra skin I will never look like you.
‘So what’s my excuse? I do not have the same great genetics you do.’
However, Ms Kang says that she did not intend to upset people and she hoped the photo would inspire others to feel better about themselves.
‘People like you who post pictures like this makeme cry because I know that without surgery I will never look like you‘
Responding to critics, she wrote on Facebook: ‘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.
Bouncing back: Ms Kang documents how she lost her pregnancy weight through a series of selfies
‘Maybe it’s time we stop tip-toeing around people’s feelings and get to the point.’
She notes that she does have stretchmarks and excess skin from three pregnancies but these ‘scars’ encourage her to ‘keep striving’ and ‘never stop’.
‘Motherhood is beautiful AND it can make you better!’ she adds.
‘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’”
The pretty brunette says that she likes to do 30 to 60 minutes of strength training and cardio every morning, five to six days a week.
On a typical day she tries to get to the gym by 6.30am and then returns home to ‘feed, clean and play’ with her sons.
She then focuses attention on the non-profit business she runs, Fitness without Borders, which promotes fitness education in schools and local communities.
According to Yahoo, her ‘what’s your excuse?’ image has received over 16 million views on Facebook, since it was posted a year ago.
She decided to re-post it to her 80,000-plus followers last month, tacking on an apology, after she noticed it was attracting dozens of negative comments.
Lots of hard work: Ms Kang says that it took years for her to get into shape after battling an eating disorder, struggling with her genetics and having three children
‘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,’” she said.
It’s not the first time a fitness-oriented mom has sparked controversy.
Just last month, eight-and-a-half-month pregnant Lea-Anne Ellison received a barrage of criticism after posting a photo of herself lifting weights during a CrossFit workout