In a world full of Instagram Fit Moms, Maria Kang is the original. In 2013, her “What’s Your Excuse?” photo with her three sons went viral, and people felt it was bullying, motivating, or a mix of both. But it seems things have changed since then. In a new interview with People (who else?), Kang said she’s had a hard year and has struggled with motivation to work out. She’s also gained ten pounds since sharing the infamous photo.
“I struggled with my reflection for some time. I stopped feeling beautiful,” Kang said. “Like most moms, my hair is always in a bun, my life is always on the go and my fitness goals are always one of my last priorities. I struggled with motivation, I’ve gained some weight and am experiencing difficult marital challenges. I let the world consume me this last year. I let events, people and things influence my perception of myself and I literally felt broken.”
When her photographer sister-in-law wanted to do an impromptu photo shoot recently, Kang agreed, even though she usually spends weeks dieting and preparing. Kang thought she needed to take a bit of the body-acceptance advice she doles out to others. “Regardless if we have some cellulite, extra weight, extra skin or extra scars — be proud because we are constantly progressing, transforming and aging,” she said.
She shared some unedited photos from that shoot, the first she’d done in a year, on her Instagram account, writing “in the last several months I’ve been over-traveling, over-stressed and over ‘it’ as I’m undergoing many life challenges and changes.” Kang had a doughnut before the shoot and didn’t work out for four days prior — a far cry from the woman (rhetorically) asking other moms why they haven’t hit the gym.
What’s Maria Kang’s excuse? Real life.