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Dear Maria Kang…this is my excuse!

Dear Maria Kang…this is my excuse!
Taryn Brumfitt

Dear Maria – what’s my excuse for not having a body like yours?

“OMG, It’s book week celebrations at school tomorrow and I’ve not made a costume for Oliver and Cruz. Hun, could you go & grab a yiros for dinner?”

and

“Just can’t be bothered going to the gym tonight, think I might stay in and watch a movie” are just two excuses that spring to mind.

Dear Maria Kang, THIS is my excuse for not having a body like yours.

I’ve got a long list of the excuses that I could give Maria Kang for not looking like she does but really I don’t want to be accountable to her judgements (I don’t answer to her, I only answer to me) so instead of rambling off all my excuses I’d rather take the opportunity to set the record straight on a few things.

I’ve had the (near) perfect body and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Last May I competed in a sports figure competition, it was a big part of my body image (wait for it, the word that makes me want vomit in my own mouth) “journey”. It was a challenge that I set for myself to see how far I could push my body; it was my own personal experiment.

How would I feel about my body if I lost a lot of weight and toned up? What does it feel like to wear a bikini? It took 15 weeks of very hard training (much like an athlete) and 100% discipline with my diet, but I did it, I lost a lot of weight, I got up on that stage and strutted around in my glittery bikini and porno shoes.

I went from this …

Before Selfie complete with a dirty nappy  on floor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To this:

_0029511

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course people just focused on how good I looked, and how inspirational I was and completely glossed over the fact that there was a heap of blood, sweat and tears (and not just my own tears) to get to that position. It became apparent that no one truly understood the level of commitment it takes to look like I did (or Maria does for that matter).

And that is why I take great exception to Maria’s comments.

To look like she does is (for most people) completely doable, if you are willing to sacrifice most of the things that you love. And I wasn’t willing to do that. I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy hanging out with my kids, sleeping in on the weekends, eating what I want and when I want and having the occasional night out with the girls.

Now don’t get me wrong, before all you health nuts have a crack at me for promoting obesity. I’ve heard your arguments when I posted my non-traditional before and after photo:

Before after high res
 

I AM a health advocate. I run, I lift weights, I eat healthily but I also have a cookie with my soy latte and knock back the odd burger or yiros when I feel like it. It’s called balance. And whilst I am getting on my soap box (I’ll just be here for another minute) health is not dictated by your looks. Health is physical, emotional and spiritual and so much more that is not visible and not always obvious to others.

And here is something else to consider: A golden oldie…”You can’t judge a book by its cover”. That old chestnut couldn’t ring truer in my case for my bikini body. Whilst on the surface it was all smiles, razzle and dazzle, on the inside I was pining for some balance in my life.

In particular, I felt I was a selfish mother. In those 12 weeks the kids heard a LOT of “I’ll be there in a minute” (but never being there in a minute) or “I can’t come” or “I don’t have time”.

Training like a beast means less time for the kids (or when I wasn’t training I was meal prepping or more to the point meal OBSESSING).

Stinky boiled eggs on buses, obsessive weighing, arguments with my husband (I did get a bit snitchy when I couldn’t eat chocolate), way too much hair washing, boiled chicken in a bowl at Chinese banquets, dry retching while eating broccoli, fish and chips at the beach sans the fish and the chips.

There is darker, untold side to having a body like Maria’s – she’s hiding it (I know), it’s just behind her razzle and dazzle.

So when you see a poster like Maria’s ” What’s your excuse?” please don’t feel threatened or annoyed but rather be content in the knowledge that having the ‘perfect’ body isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Liked this post then you’ll love “I pooped my pants”…I know I know disgusting, but true. Read more HERE

Comments

  1. Great post Taryn! People need to remember that fitness is a continuum, not a dichotomy, and you don’t have to take it to a crazy extreme to benefit. You’re going to have most of the same issues in your life at 11 percent bodyfat as you will at 16 or 17. As for Maria Kang, she’s just the latest in a long line of attention-seeking nuts that have been enabled by social media.

    • Trish

      Thanks for the article and following comment. I saw a show on that MK lady and felt like she must have been not very popular in HS and she doesnt realize her 5 min. of fame has come and gone.

  2. Great post Taryn! We need to remember that fitness is a continuum, not a dichotomy. We don’t need to go to a crazy extreme to benefit. As for Maria Kang, she is just another in a line of attention-seeking nuts whom social media has enabled to draw attention to herself.

  3. Brooke

    Thankyou

    • maria

      dito…Thanks you.

  4. Vanessa

    “Health is physical, emotional and spiritual and so much more that is not visible and not always obvious to others.”

    What a great way to put it. LOVE your post. LOVE LOVE LOVE! You’re an inspiration! :)

  5. What do you think ladies? Isn’t it time you love yourselves for whom you are instead of comparing yourself to idealized media images that are so often airbrushed and fleeting and often at a cost that is often publicly disclosed?

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2013/12/taryn-brumfitt-hits-back-fit-mom-promoting-unhealthy-beauty-ideals/

  6. carly

    I just want to say thankyou so much for being you. I have 3 amazing beautiful perfect kids (who I had all within 3 years) and my body has taken a battering, but thanks to you I have realised that my body, even though it looks nothing like it used to, is amazing and beautiful. I gained a lot of weight having my kids so close together but in the last 18 months have managed to lose 40 kilos and even though im saggy and droopy in places I couldn’t be happier. its awesome for mums like me to have someone so real and honest let everyone know that what they see in the media is bullshit.

    • Carolyn

      Hi, I really appreciate this blog post. Before I had kids I was bulimic and always obsessed about my body. I exercised compulsively, abused laxatives and was driven to be thin which I equated to being a success. If I had been as driven about other goals as I was about my food/body obsessions I think I would have far better successes under my belt right now! At any rate, being pregnant made it too scary to continue on in my destructive ways which started when I was 16 and I had my first child at 35, so a lot of years of beating up myself mentally and physically.
      After my second child was born I lost a good amount of weight pretty easily but over the years the weight has crept up along with the added complication of menopause,so at 54 I am definitely out of shape and overweight. I want to change this but would like to finally do it in a healthy way! I will say I am thankful my obsessions have slipped away for good and have not cost me time with my kids who are my pride and joy and favorite people on this planet. I would like to be healthier now to show a good example, to feel better and to increase my odds of sticking around a while. I would also like to feel better about how I look BUT agree it is important to balance mind, body and spirit, they go hand in hand! Lastly, as a precautionary tale, there are times I worry all that obsession and abuse of my body has done damage to my heart and possibly other physical damage. That scares me sometimes and all I can say is I’m working to show love and appreciation for this body that went through quite a bit of torment yet it nurtured two amazing human beings. We need to give ourselves a break, balance really is the key.

  7. I admit, I do not have the class that you do, and did respond to Maria Kang’s question.. and wanted to share with you and your readers.: “let’s see… what’ is my excuse… ummmmm maybe it’s my profession is not in the fitness industry.. maybe it’s my ego isn’t so inflated I obsess about my appearance. Maybe it’s because I am capable of seeing self worth in myself and others that is not attached to physical appearance. Maybe it’s traveling the world and seeing healthy in many shapes and sizes.. sure.. that may not fall into your narrow category of “fit” but I find healthy a much more happy, peaceful and accepting place… oh, shit.. maybe it’s just because I love food and wine and sharing those things with the people I love… No, I know.. it’s all of these things… Thank you for letting me explore my deep rooted beliefs..”

    • Katherine

      Thank you! Very well said!

    • Yvonne

      Amen!! I agree with all this, and I too once had a fabulous fitness magazine cover body… but I did not have a family and many of my friends we in the sports that I participated in. IT IS a lifestyle… one that many of us have found is of less quality that the ones we have moved on to!

    • Naomi

      Yep. Me too. :)

  8. christy reynolds

    Thank you for saying it loud and proud! I completely agree that having “the perfect body” comes at a sacrifice of time with your kids and sends them the wrong message. Thank you for your bravery:)

  9. Amy Brown

    Thank you! Thank you! I took Maria to ‘task’ on FB over promoting image more than health, since I too believe they are totally unrelated! I’ve overcome eating disorders, but to say I’m totally okay with who I am now would be a ginormous untruth. I’ve never ever had a weight problem yet I allowed myself to be persuaded by some ridiculous comments. And the subsequent damage to my psyche and my body are long lasting. Therapy and a healthy ‘trainer’ friend saved my life. I was athletic before, and never looked overweight! Even as I struggled to get healthy again, fitness was important, I became a power lifter and body builder (and yes still struggled with imagery, if you will.) But for the last 10 years I’ve taught yoga. A completely different manner of ‘fitness’ I think. I don’t love my body every day as much as I should, but I forgive myself for that, because I have other things to focus on. A job, a family, my yoga students. I wish all women and girls (and even men) knew that we are all magnificent creatures made in all shapes and sizes who have great worth well beyond our pant size. Good luck!! I’m with you 110%.

  10. Mayra Hernandez

    OMG!!! I just love you for this! You are absolutely right!!! almost 2 years ago i was almost 200 lbs and felt horrible. I began my weight loss “journey”. In 6ths I went from a 16 to a size 8. I felt great and everyone “ooooohed and ahhhhh’ed” but what they didnt hear is how I totally changed my lifestyle. How I worked out 6 days a week 90 mins those days and stopped eating all the foods I adored. For a working married mother of 4 ages , 5, 7 &12)…it is hard work! With kids who are all involved in sports, a husband who is a teacher/coach and me being a true hands on mother with NO help. Yes its doable but you do miss out. I would have to tell my kids “hold on” “wait”. These are years i will never get back! I have now gained about 10 lbs and work out maybe 3 times a week and I also do not feel guilty for going to Olive Garden or my fav Pizza Hut. I will not kill myself to look visually appealing to the world. If you see me, yes i have a muffin top but can run a 5k in 30 mins or less and at times 6 miles in 1 hr and hey…i think thats pretty damn fit. So Im sorry I dont look like Maria (who looks great by the way) but I also dont miss out on the things I love the most…and that means more to me than the worlds opinion on my non existent abs and cellulite thighs. Thank you for this!

  11. Carrie

    I like the before pic #1. awesome job getting to pic #2-huge work for that!, but i feel you look loveliest in #3! and that is my honest opinion!

    • Roxie

      Yes I agree. Pic #3 is really nice, natural and your happiness outshines! And that to me equals beauty. Reminds me of portraits of English women from the late 18th century and how natural they all looked. Well done :)

  12. Jaime

    Thank you so much for this post. While I am not a mother, I found it completely and totally relatable. I’ve been a runner/cyclist/triathlete pretty much my entire life and have always pretty fit, but have still struggled with body image, as many women do. Many of my friends and family – graciously – tell me how great I look. While I appreciate that more than they will ever know, what can be frustrating is that they think it comes easy for me, that I just look like this. Here’s the thing – and here’s what I related to in your post – it’s not easy! It’s so hard. Like you said, there’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears that goes into having a great body, and it’s constant work. Work in the gym and work on not eating all of those things you want to eat. Missing out on social gatherings, time that could be spent doing something else, etc. In the end, my love for the sports I do always wins out and I am satisfied and proud of the choices I’ve made, but thank you for telling the truth about how much work it takes!

  13. Jennifer

    I actually find this post more offensive than I ever would a picture and quote like Maria’s. Maybe it’s because you make the same assumptions about her and others that you say that she’s making about others (“excuses”). You talk about your experience like it’s the only experience.

    Because here’s the thing: I work out 3-4 times a week, at least one of those times is after my kids are dropped off at school. I eat mostly clean and so do my husband and kids. I lift, I run, I train. I am not miserable, there is no dark side for me, and when I want a cookie or a bowl of ice cream, I have it. I mean I wish I had the time to sleep in, but I don’t because of the little faces that wake me early. I ride bikes with my kids, go swimming and hiking with them, bake cookies and cupcakes with them, playing “horsies” and read stories with them.

    I am lean and toned and part of that is certainly genetics. But I also work out with people who do not look like me, and that’s ok too. Why? Because they are making their health a priority, for themselves and for their children and they are fit, whether they look it or not. It’s not about looking like Maria or not, it’s about making “excuses” (yep, there’s that word) for why parents don’t make their health a priority through healthy diet and an active lifestyle. I learned awhile ago that when it came to how I felt about my body and my energy level, and my general physical health, I could either make time or make excuses, and I chose to make time without sacrificing my family.

    I’m sorry you took your training too far, but you don’t know anything about this women’s daily routines other than what’s been supplied through the media.

    • shoua

      Thanks for this message! Exactly how I feel about this post!

    • Lee

      Great post Jennifer! Exactly what is was thinking while reading this thread.

    • Louise

      Great post Jennifer, exactly what I was thinking. It’s all about personal choice, why is a woman who prioritises staying lean and feeling good about herself seen as selfish whereas someone who is inactive and promotes a poor body image/poor diet to their kids is seen as a good mother? I find this post much more offensive than anything Maria Kang has ever posted.

    • Liz

      So well put! No, we can’t all look like celebrity moms. The woman on the front of Shape magazine is airbrushed to the max and even she doesn’t look like that picture of her.

      But Taryn is taking it too far the other way. We are the sickest and fattest nation in the world. We also eat the most unhealthy processed foods too. It’s a no brainer. No, we can’t all look like Giselle Bunchden or Taryn at the peak of her fitness, but why she would encourage anyone to eat garbage fast food such as McDonald’s or Pizza Hut is beyond me. Even once a month is too much. We have an all time high of heart disease and diabetes and cancer and obesity in this nation. So, yes, by all means let’s encourage the unhealthy and overweight to stay that way and add to the statistics. We wouldn’t want to encourage organic, GMO free, fresh, raw fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, and protein. Sure, obsessing about our appearance is a problem too, and we shouldn’t obsess for perfection cause it doesn’t exist. However, we should strive for a healthy weight.

  14. Gina

    If moms stopping focusing on themselves, maybe this world would be a happier place. Ps: if a man is unhappy he will always find something wrong even with the perfect body.

  15. Jenny

    I am the mother of 4 beautiful girls I had within 3 years. Yes i do have twins!!! My twins were born exactly one month before my oldest’s third birthday. And they are beautiful!!! But, I too have looked in the mirror and said there is no way my husband thinks I’m sexy anymore. The pressure to look like a celebrity mom ( I never looked like one to begin with btw) combine with postpartum depression this has been a very trying experience for me. But,I too have the desire to be healthy and feel good about myself! I have a dear loving husband who does indeed not just think I am sexy but knows that I am sexy!!! And he tells me I’m beautiful everyday! Who can’t believe the man of your dreams when he says that to you everyday. He has been a blessing in my life and is right there with me getting healthy. We go to the gym 3 times a week but not to “loose weight” but to get us to a place where we can run with our kids and go on lots of adventures and make tons of memories!!! Thank you for showing us we aren’t alone!!!!

  16. George C

    I don’t think that there is anything particularly healthy about people feeling the need to get in their swimsuits and strut for a trophy, but I think you’re creating a false dilemma.

    The whole idea that someone needs to go on some uber strict diet and exercise regime to get the results you got for your competition is simply not true. If you want to do it in 15 weeks, sure, but that’s not healthy on any level.

    Obviously genetic differences make comparisons of what each person will actually look like rather sketchy, but there are lots of folks who “enjoy hanging out with my kids, sleeping in on the weekends, eating what I want and when I want [within reason] and having the occasional night out with the girls” and look like the obsessive, unhealthy person that you were for 15 weeks before your competition without being one.

    There’s no need to paint Maria Kang as some neurotic freak. She was likely looked fitter before she got pregnant that you were during your competition and bouncing back to that over the course of 8 months is not really such a big deal for her.

    The mistake that you (and possibly Maria) seem to be making is that it happens on some ridiculous time frame or requires some sort of iron will. Neither is true.

  17. anonymous

    I am a mother of two and its been a tough road.I’ve yo-yo’ed from as much as 220 to add little as 135. I’ve suffered from bulimia and laxative abuse for just over 10 years. I say I suffer like I don’t do it to myself I know I do and I’ve tried many times to stop but the weight gain always gets me to go back. I hope one day I can learn to love myself exactly the way I am. Your blog is inspirational to start on that path.

  18. Bravo!!

  19. Thank you for what you’re doing out here. I’m turning 50 next month, have two beautiful adult children, a successful career in which I have a great self image, a decent enough husband of 27 years—-and a horrible body image. It’s ridiculous. And my gorgeous 26 year old daughter managed to learn it from me. Not because of what I said to her but because during the entirety of her growing up years she watched what I said to myself. I’m glad that you’re wiser than I at your young age and more so that you’re trying to make a difference in the world. I’m guessing every person’s difficulties are complicated and based in whatever mess they may have gotten from childhood or boys or mean girls but the point is that the story we tell ourselves is often so much worse than anything anyone else could say. So as I hit the treadmill every morning and watch what I eat and do a bit of yoga every week–I’m also going to work on telling myself a different story that includes loving the physical me. Your emails and website will be good reminders of that to me. A giant, massive thank you–keep up the good work and happy holidays!

  20. I am not a mother and haven’t had any major body transformation, but it is really refreshing to see women who are just proud of the body they have and the story it tells. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Thank you for writing this! I’ve spent a good majority of my life striving for that perfect body and the “what’s your excuse” line has always made me feel even worse about myself (like I didn’t already feel bad enough). I appreciate your honesty and advocacy for healthy body images. I want to be the same light for the issues as well!

  22. Demi

    It is very possible to have a balanced life, workout an hour a day, and have a body like Maria’s. I’ve lost 60 lbs working out 30 min a day and eating delicious nutritious food 80% of the time. I allow room to have pizza and chocolate. I also am married and have 2 kids and do everything with them. And yep I do have a flat tummy and 18% body fat. If you haven’t found your balance yet-don’t bash others who have found it. Health is number 1 priority so you can be a better spouse and parent. I hope you find your balance one day so you don’t feel the need to explain yourself to someone you don’t even know. I DO know her and she is the sweetest gal. Great mom and wife too. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body and she just wants to inspire ppl. Anyway-Merry Christmas.

    • MrsS

      Demi,

      I had never heard of Maria Kang until about 10-15 minutes ago. I read a few of her posts and don’t think that she’s a fat-shaming ogre; however, I feel that she is being judgmental.

      Congratulations on your success with losing weight. I hope that you are able to continue.

    • shoua

      Thanks for this message!

    • Liz

      Beautifully put, Demi!

  23. Alice from France

    Thank you so much ! Merci beaucoup !
    You are bringing self-esteem and pride to women all around the world !
    Again, MERCI BEAUCOUP !

  24. Brian

    I like this post, and Maria’s post….dare I say. I probably need to re-read Maria’s post, but what she did made me proud. We live in a society of extreme obesity, poor health, extreme fast paced, etc. etc….

    We need more people like Maria and this poster to stand up and be proud. I don’t recall Maria saying she is sacrificing time with her kids, or internally is struggling despite a healthy physique. FACT: You are more likely to be healthy; Personaly, physically, financially, etc if you are in good physical shape. You are more likely to be a better parent and role model to your children. Why do obese parents have obese children? Why do parents who cut the sugar intake of their children have children that are progressing further in school, academically and socially? A picture of health is something to be celebrated not ridiculed.

    Nothing I have said above is a blanket statement. Of course there are obese parents that have skinny children. Of course there are kids that eat junk food all day, yet still excel in school.

    Everywhere I turn, when walking with my children, I see multiple extrememly obese people. I would prefer them to see someone like this poster and Maria, versus an obese person. If that’s mean-spirited, so what. I would never allow my children to judge or say anything negative, but as most of you are aware (as parents), kids are sponges. They will begin to question. And, if going by looks, I wanted my daughter to be like someone, I would choose based on looks, Carrie and Maria, over an obese woman.

    I don’t think anyone should take Maria’s post as an insult, but more as someone who is throwing a picture of health out there, and she is very proud. And we, as a society, should be ok with that in my opinion. There is so much ugly in the world, someone proud of what they have been able to accomplish should be celebrated.

    I am a father of 3, and very hands on father of 3. And over the past few years, the unbelievable decline of our nations health has begun to bother me as my children get older and become more aware.

    I don’t mean to offend, just giving 2 cents…

    • shoua

      Love this message! Thanks for encouraging health

    • Jo

      I wish ppl would stop and think about what they are saying. I am obese. I walk/run over 10k steps everyday and i strength train different parts of my body each day. I also eat as healthy as I can buying wholefoods and making things from scratch as well as growing my own vegetables. I don’t count calories but when I do I am always under what I need – I don’t pig out, I gave that up long ago when I stopped restricting calories to an unsustainable level. Now I am not losing weight. I’m not bothered, what I care about is being healthy. BUT I’m not gaining weight either. I gained the most amount of weight when I was dieting – restricting too much calories and losing control and pigging out. I would eat less than 800 calories a day, pig out once a week – lose weight and then gain it all back and more when I ate at a more normal level. When my dieting got so bad that I got anemic, I put on even more weight due to lack of energy. It took 3 months to get my iron levels back up to normal. But the damage was already done, I had been anemic for 2 years and was obese. So no more dieting. I’m eating healthy, doing over 10k steps, boxing, cycling, weight training and I love it. I’m not giving up. But what I hate, what I really really hate… is that I still look like I sit on my ass all day and eat fast food – and ppl judge me as if that’s what I do when they know nothing about me. Next time you see an ‘obese’ person you want to judge. Think of their fat body dripping with sweat bouncing around for hours a day. Coz you know what, that’s what I see in the mirror every day when I’m working out and this type of judgement makes me really mad. I don’t care that you think you’re surrounded by obese ppl who don’t exercise, I one of those that does, and I love it. I’m not losing weight but so what. There’s more to life than looking thin and acceptable to everyone else becasue of their small mindedness.

  25. Lori Connors

    THIS IS FABULOUS! THANK YOU! My husband and my children don’t care if my belly has stretch marks so why do I? Like you, I run and eat healthy most of the time. I don’t feel bad when I have a cookie (or 10)!

  26. Julia

    Love this! I also believe that a LOT of men would be drawn to your first before picture and your second after picture. I am 5’4″ and weigh 168 pounds, have had three children as well and my guy LOVES my “baby fat”.

  27. Kara Wilson

    I love you….this sums it up perfectly. Life is all about balance and if I don’t want to look like Maria Kang that is my choice-it doesn’t mean I am unhealthy (I am obese, but working to not be that way) or lazy.

  28. phaedra

    Thank you. Really, thank you. I have not had children, but I have definitely been at different extremes of fitness or not, either being crazy obsessed with calories, working out, or not at all, and I’ve seen my weight fluctuate accordingly. And you’re so right–health is about taking care of one’s self, all aspects of one’s self. I am happy for your daughter–she has an excellent role model.
    phaedra

  29. Bravo. If only everyone could see the beauty.

  30. Cheryl

    Hi, So I have a question, because the dates for the story aren’t clear, you went from regular, normal, I gave birth three times mom(picture 1, appx. Jan. 2013) to super fit mom(picture 2 porno shoes appx. May 2013) and then you lost all your muscle, fitness, healthy eating habits, and exercising, to go to someone who now weighs more than picture 1(appx. Nov. 2013)? I don’t get how this is healthy? You just did a crash diet and exercise program to be super fit(which is super unhealthy) and then you went the opposite direction of a couch potato?(which again, is super unhealthy) How is this a better example of body image than Maria Kang? All she was saying, and what we have seriously blown out of proportion, is that it is possible to have multiple children(close together, too!!!)eat healthy, exercise,(which she does with her children) and have a fit and strong body……THAT is what positive body image is! I really believe that she WAS NOT bashing anybody, simply making a statement and saying that we need to stop making excuses(work, kids, housework, yardwork, TV, internet, ect….) and start moving and making better choices in our food. I applaud both of you for being comfortable in your skins….whatever condition they may be…..but we really need to stop bashing people who work hard for what they have and we need to step back, take a breath, and think before we speak. There is an Olympic female weightlifter, Holly Mangold, she is currently weighing around 250lbs…….she is STRONG, a person I am in awe of, not because of how she looks, but because of how hard she works to be that strong. And if we really want to be accepting of our bodies and to promote positive body images, then we need to stop wearing supportive undergarments that make our outer clothes look “nicer”, we need to go without make-up, we need to embrace our natural hair color, we need to stop shaving for the sake of vanity….ect…. Personally, I do think you look fine in all three photos. :)

  31. Michelle

    This whole movement really has given me a grin. I am a full time mother of 4 who also cares for 5 other children and my ill father. I volunteer in the community almost daily and keep house like Martha Stewart. My two youngest children are my step children who we have custody of. There mother likes to refer to me as “the fat cow”. (5′ 5 and 155pnds). She takes part in fitness competitions and is dating a trainer. She is also suspended from her job and has been for 3 years with pay. So what’s my excuse for being a real woman? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s because I work full time and I’m raising the two children you can’t. While I’m busy teaching children morals and self worth. (She also calls our eldest fat and instead of letting her go to classes like her sibling at the local y. She makes her run the treadmill) your busy posing half nude on the internet. Unlike like her I work twelve hours a day in my job and 24 hours a day as a mom. Forgive me if I don’t have time to pee alone let alone work out 4 hours a day. As one poster said. You can’t judge a book by its cover. That’s so true. Maybe people should make an effort to read the contents before hand. Thank you for this positive inspiring dialogue.

  32. Vanessa

    You are really inspirational. From a women who had an eating disorder for 5 years before having a child. I overcame that disease for the sake of my pregnancy. When on mat leave I hit the gym 4 times a week which was the best time of my life. But for a working mom, when the hell is there time to go to the gym… after the kids are in bed or before they wake up? Pfft… Im not that crazy. I have always strugglef with my weight. Fighting with myself to eat that or not to eat that. To work out or spend time with the family. I think to myself… was I really that much happier when I was ‘Skinny’? So I felt more conforatable with my body which made me think that my fiance loved me more because I looked skinnier and sexier.
    After going through a rough year and putting on 15-20 pounds, I went HOLY MAN WHAT DID I DO!
    All while I was working out 3 days a week and eating ‘healthy’ Wow did I do my self no favours there!
    I have now joined weight watchers and I could not be happier! (This is not a weight watchers ad btw!!) I feel like I am totally in control. If I lose weight or not, I have the tools to stay on track. MY WAY!
    I think inside we all want to be skinny, but I know that when I am dying, it will be the last thing on my mind. I will remember the time spent with the family and regret that time spent trying to be someone else.
    Thank you for sharing your gorgeous photos :)

  33. Ashley Apodaca

    I am a 25 yr old mom of 4 girls. I dont have the time or money to do some of the things other women do to be skinny. I also have medical issues that make weight lose a whole lot harder. Thank you. Thank you so much! What you are doing is wonderful. Women should know that it is a okay to not be a freakin bean pole. I hope all of my girls will find a strong, opininated woman who is proud of her body to look up too. I dont want them to think the need to weigh 120lbs to be beautiful. Thank you for showing young girls and women that you should love yourself no matter what you look like.

  34. David

    I can’t unsee that before after pic. And the soap in my eyes is stinging. It’s fine that you’re comfortable with your average or whatever term you’d like to use body, and I’m glad you are because I want you to be happy and emanate self-worth, but please don’t go lauding it as “beautiful” such that impressionable females begin to believe that it’s equivalent to earning that label. Healthy, fit women are beautiful. It doesn’t take much sacrifice or giving up things you love, it takes self-control and mindfulness of your intake and habits. Please by all means feel fantastic and satisfied with how you look, you should, but please don’t try to paint your body as of the same aesthetic value as women that actually achieve it. It’s not fair to them, and to the men ( and lesbians ) that work equally hard to do the same. Thanks bud!

    • kristin

      Lol ……D-bag

  35. Susan

    You go, girl — you look great in #1, more predictable and trying hard to conform to an external image of beauty for women in #2 (which takes a lot of determination and discipline, I know) and positively radiant and gorgeous in #3. I think this message is so important for us as women — society is hard on us, and we are too hard on ourselves. We have to claim our right to be real people. This is very inspirational. We are in your debt.

  36. Stephanie Smith

    Taryn, if u do get chance to read this please understand how important your message has spoken to me. I have a 4yr old daughter and twin 1yr olds Ella & James. I was always a health conscious eater who didn’t need to do much exercise if I eat a balanced diet. After my first weighing 7lb a few months later I was back into my skinny size 10 (uk) jeans with a small mummy tummy and some stretch marks but now looking back I know I was very lucky. Then 3.5yrs later I had my twins. Ella was born at 6lbs 15oz and James 7lb 8oz, I was HUGE, strangers would stop me in the street and say ‘there must be two in there’. Now a year on my muscles are still torn apart my skin is looser than I could have ever imagined and I still look pregnant. My only hope for the future has been surgery. Then my worsted nightmare I started felling pure depression towards my body for a few months after polite comments of family and friends, (i think cos I’ve always been slim it’s a big shock). Everyday I feel like an alien inside a strangers body, though I’m fighting and coming back into the light. That’s why your message has been so inspiring, my husband has seen me naked twice since and I wear a support costume daily so my tummy doesn’t jiggle as much or pop out. Though knowing I’m not ALONE in this helps immensely and I’m trying to change my own judgement to love instead of hate. Thank you and please continue all your hard work.

    Steph Smith

  37. Heather

    It’s unfortunate that people are misunderstanding Maria’s message so much. Working out and staying fit does not mean that you sacrifice everything else in life. To be honest, I take much more offense to your post that somehow I am a bad wife and mother for trying to take time for myself to be healthy and relieve stress. (For clarification, my workouts are 3-4 times a week for about an hour. Just a run. Typically, nothing more than that.)

    In this day and age, people lash out so easily and everything is black and white. She is not calling you fat and unhealthy if you don’t devote 3 hours a day to working out and that you must only eat broccoli and boiled chicken.

    Further, you CHOSE to become a fitness model. I assume no one held a gun to your head and made you work out that hard or eat only boiled food.

    Maria’s message was positive. Taking it as a negative says more about the person interpreting the message, than it does the person saying it.

  38. What a fabulous message – written by a mum who knows both sides. Most of us are shamed for not having the perfect body. But I have to work to support my family, and in the evenings I have the choice of either going to the gym or being with my children. I choose the latter.

  39. Sally

    What makes you think Maria doesn’t sleep in on the weekends and hang out with her three kids as often as you hang out with yours?

  40. Mary

    Thank you for this post! As a athletic mother of four, you have expressed exactly what I wanted to say about that horrible Maria. Well done!

  41. Your body looks great. Let the skinny obsessives drive themselves crazy. They are their own punishment, and you are your own reward. ‘Nuff said!

  42. I love this blog. There’s a lot of criticism about arguing that obsessing about appearance means promoting obesity and it’s rubbish. As mums we must show our daughters that life is about balance with regards to eating, exercise, beauty and academia. This is a great response to Maria Kang who must be making untold family and personal sacrifices that I, personally, am not prepared to make. And that is my (perfectly reasonable) excuse.

  43. I think there is a fine line between what Maria Kang posted and obesity. Both are extremes, and neither one is necessarily healthy. If you have to sacrifice everything to have six pack abs, including overtraining and deprivation, in my opinion, that’s simply not healthy and will lead to more damage in the long run. By the way, I don’t have a six pack because I love cheese. I’m good with it and yes I am healthy.
    On the flip side, if you use a busy and sometimes overwhelming, although I’m sure wonderful, lifestyle (I don’t have children so I can only offer empathy here to the amount of time and work that goes into motherhood) to be a constant reason you can’t get some exercise or need to swing through the McDonald’s drive through yet again, well that’s not healthy either.
    I agree with your message. It is about more than physical healthy and balance needs to be a major factor. Being healthy to me means balance, ingesting lots of good whole foods with a side of (preferably chemical free) sweets. I applaud you for writing this post and including these pictures. You’re a great example of a real and healthy woman. Thank you.

  44. Christine

    Thank you. As someone who had a stroke last year at age 42, I have been working on eating healthier and exercising but you are so right about balance. After my experience, I have a different perspective on life and health…I am trying to be healthy so I can enjoy the things like family and friends. You SO get it!

  45. I love love love this. Thanks for lingering on your soap box. You are beautiful. I’m freeeeee!

  46. Abbi

    Thank you Taryn for your post. While, yes, it is important to be healthy and comfortable in one’s own skin, the idolization of “perfection” for a woman’s appearance is a sickness. Last year, I went through one of the darkest times in my life, and fought through major depression. As a result I lost about 45 lbs and was quite underweight for my 5’10 frame. However, people would constantly comment on “how good I looked” “how beautiful” and “my what great bones I had………………” All the while I was dead on the inside. Thankfully, over the past year, I have recovered and realized that food tastes good again. I’ve gained back those 45 lbs and now I hear, “Oh, you’ve put on some pounds” and inquiries on whether or not I’m with child…….. Anyway, thank you for shedding light on what’s behind “perfection” and being an example of a healthy woman. If more people, like yourself, celebrate and acknowledge what healthy looks like (and that is different for each person) then perhaps the sick expectation of “perfection” will be seen for what it really is. Thank you!

  47. Wonderful post and the initiative! I’ve been following Maria’s blunder for a while with a heavy heart. I’m one of those people who have to eat like a bird and train 2 hours, 7 days a week to be size 8, while naturally I’m more like a 4-16. I spent my entire youth striving for that size 8, with the help of bulimia, anorexia, obsessive exercise, smoking, self-shaming, just basically living a pitiful existence, all so that I can look good enough to avoid being abused by other’s judgements.

    And then, when I was 33 I suffered lung clots due to undiagnosed blood clotting disorder, which left me with severe asthma, on steroids, home bound, unable to have children. I dare not say how much I weigh now, and my body is riddled with stretchmarks, from neck to ankles. I am slowly regaining my health, but I weep every time when I see what helthy women have to put up with, and do to themselves, in the name of ‘fitness’. When people assumed I was at my most fit, I was an anorexic living in a nightmare, and I kept doing it to myself because everyone encouraged me to ‘stay just as I am’. Being a doctor myself, I know for a fact that an awful lot of women are in similar situations, when they are trying to conform to this unrealistic ‘one size fits all’ body image.

  48. Patrick Harrigan

    Your “Before” picture is wonder. Your “After” picture is beautiful. It shows something…a glow…a self confidence…something special. People call is an inter beauty. That inter beauty shines through to the exterior. You like pretty in both pictures but the realy question is are you healthy and happy? I see it in the second.

  49. Thank you, thank you!

    I felt horrible reading what Maria Kang wrote. As a mom of three my body is, well its not the way it used to be. Now tack on my ex husband who said he loved my body no matter what but I found out after we separated that he was lying.

    I felt Maria Kang was being unfair. I was 150lbs of curvy woman (and I was healthy) when I got pregnant with my first. I gained 70lbs. After a year I was back to 160lbs and felt a lot better. Then I got pregnant with my second and gained it all back. I struggled to lose weight and found out 6 months after his birth that I had hypothyroidism. A few years later I had my third child and gained 10 lbs during that pregnancy. I’ve been on medication for years now to help with the thyroid issues. I rarely eat out. I eat healthy, exercise as much as I can and have only lost 15 lbs in the last 6 months. My youngest is now 3.5 years old.

    What Maria Kang fails to talk about is that not everyone can lose weight. I work my butt off trying and only recently stop fretting over it. Thank you for posting this.

  50. Nikki

    for all the Maria Kangs of the world: my excuse is to enjoy life. Yes, I workout, run, cook and eat healthy. Also, I refuse to do lipo.

  51. Laura

    You obviously missed the point of Maria’s picture when she asked “what’s your excuse?”. She never said people have to look like her, she’s simply encouraging people to be healthy. She never said moms (or any woman for that matter) should have a perfect super model body and she has shown on repeated occasions the flaws of her bodies, the stretch marks after all her pregnancies.

    When she asks what’s your excuse? She was trying to motivate people, cause here there is this woman busy with three children who could easily just gain weight be unhealthy and she would have the perfect excuse to do it: she’s a busy mother of three. But she chose not to. I believe her message is simply that people can achieve a change if they really want to, if they commit to it. And her message wasn’t directed towards moms, it was directed to anyone who wants to make a change and just uses excuses such as “I don’t have time”, “I have too much work to do”, etc. Cause it’s easy to hide under excuses and not just to get fit, but in every aspect of your life.

  52. Riva

    I’m sad to see such hatred expressed in these comments by some of the posters. You don’t like her lifestyle? Wait… You know nothing about her life. Just keep walking. You are proud of yourself and your food choices great. Be proud. Just keep walking. The fact that the author took her own brag shots means she knows what it is like to be so proud of such hard work (deservingly proud by the way!)… Maybe just maybe, it’s possible that this Maria was too. Maybe the overwhelming defensive backlash against her, wasn’t expected, and this whole thing has spiraled into ridiculousness. Who knows? Both sides of the fence unfortunately look just like each other, spewing insults and vitriol over the fence. Honestly it doesn’t matter. You make your choices for your life. The end.

    Why am I commenting on here? I was just going to share this on FB, but I realized this is not the first declaration post by this woman, yet again, in response to Maria. Since the author posts publicly and leaves the comments open she must want discussion. So, to the author, *why are you responding yet again? You do realize there is no actual argument seeing as how you aren’t actually communicating with Maria? You don’t know anything about her life despite what you may assume based off of you’re own. You’re just talking to a bunch of people who felt as defensive as you did about it. You don’t have a right viewpoint and neither does she.

    You raise great points indeed. I applaud you for making your choices about your life and loudly, publicly proclaiming them and proclaiming why you think the other viewpoints are very wrong. I gotta tell you, I am overweight and a slightly overwhelmed single mom of two at times. I’m nowhere near your fitness nor hers. But when I read Maria’s photo caption, it didn’t even occur to me to be offended. I just realized that I was making some different choices and the results were quite obvious. I smiled and nodded. Good on her. Maybe I’ll get motivated a little towards my own happy goal of my own choosing.

  53. sheri

    I loved your blog. Read it with my 15 year old daughter. THANK YOU for your natural and peaceful insight…it certainly gave her a true perspective of what a woman should love within herself. Thank you for sharing.

  54. Mike salvietti

    Please excuse me if my comment isn’t as informative or complete as it could be. I’m typing this on my phone.

    I enjoyed the overall message of lifestyle balance in this post and agree with it, but have to disagree with you on the message of, “having the “perfect” body is not all it’s cracked up to be.”

    I don’t doubt that any of your claims are true about how miserable the process was for you to get to the shape you got to. I actually empathize with you in the matter. But here’s where the problem lies in your post.

    *you followed a shitty “path” on your “journey” to getting in shape*

    I don’t blame you because it’s the most common path followed by most. Your comparing your 15 weeks to Maria’s years and years (maybe over a decade) of consistency.

    That’s comparing a sprint to a marathon. Your hormonal environments and metabolisms are so vastly different it’s like comparing an egg to an apple. They are not even in the same category.

    But I’m getting side tracked. Let’s focus on what we both agree on. The plan you followed was unbalanced and total shit.

    - you only gave yourself 15 weeks to try and remove fat that took you years to put on.
    *lesson to be learned: now that you are happy with your body, if you want to reach the same level of fitness as before with half or even a third of the heartache, don’t give yourself a stupid deadline. Follow a more balanced steady approach.

    - you actually sacrificed health for looks. In a mad dash to lose weight, you definitely over restricted your calorie intake and carb intake to a point that caused (to a slight degree) metabolic damage and to a great degree, a loss in weight from lean tissue and water (and not a whole lot of fat).

    I could honestly teach you how to get to your “stage body” with much more flexibility and less restriction. I do it all the time. In 2013 my 137 clients collectively lost over 2,300 pounds without eliminating entire foods or OVER restricting calories.

    Since I’m typing this on my phone I apologize if my post seems incomplete but I am more than happy to go deeper. Overall I’m happy that you have found balance and are happy with the way you look and feel, But you are incorrect in assuming that improving your body composition requires you to follow a miserable plan like you did. That’s not the case for my clients and probably not the case for maria, but her circumstance are different than yours. Like I said before she’s been at it for years.

    Don’t pick up a basketball and instantly compare yourself to Michael Jordan, you’ll get discouraged.

  55. John Campbell

    Just as you don’t like people to judge you for not looking the way they want, then don’t judge people who like to look the way they want. Just like you get a kick out of eating chocolate cake and watching tv, other people get a kick out of feeling good and reaching a goal through exercise and fitness. You obviously would like to look like she does or you wouldn’t make such a big deal of making articles like this. You’ve made your choice of how you want to live and she’s made hers. She probably likes cookies too but she likes her image more. It’s what you choose.

  56. Sarah

    Thank you so much for this! It’s so refreshing to hear people stand up for what REAL beauty is. It’s so easily forgotten! Even by me. You are such a beautiful lady in both your before and after pictures! And thank you very much for sharing them with us! You are inspiring!

  57. Okay, I had a baby 6wks ago and I’ve been getting the “you don’t look like you just had a baby.” I don’t workout much. I am very busy and do a lot of house and yard work and I have 3 kids. I maybe workout 20 minutes 3 times a week (but not since 7mo. pregnant). We do eat pretty healthy. Not lowfat but whole foods and lots of fruit and vegetables and few processed foods. Not all mom’s who look great (although I am not as toned as you were or Maria is) are neglecting our kids. I’m just too busy to put on pounds but not because I’m sculpting a perfect body.

  58. Kari

    While I applaud your journey to self discovery and completely appreciate a well-balanced life, I’d like to point out that you’re balanced life will inevitably contain the types of activities, foods, and surroundings that are very specific to your preferences. After my own, ongoing journey to self discovery, I also have come to value my own version of balance that has me looking the way I do too. It looks a lot like yoga two days a week, weight training three days a week, school, work, experimenting with gluten-free foods and counting calories. To you, this might look like sacrifice; but that’s why its the life I’m living, not you. It is also a strong preference of mine to have a fit, lean body. I could give you a dozen reasons why a lean body is “better” than a not-so-lean body, but at the end of the day it all boils down to pure preference, regardless of anyone’s facts or reasons. While you and I might lead different lives and have different bodies, I can support you on your journey while still having preferences of my own that differ. I don’t condemn your way as “wrong” any more than I could start a movement to promote mine as “right.” Encouraging women to be more accepting of who they are is one thing; saying that way is the only way to live is another.

    The point? Respectfully, I think you’ve got it backwards. It’s not the look that makes the life, its the life that makes the look. Your self-image can only be an extension of who you are – who you are is nothing to be ashamed of, but nor is it grounds for condemning others their own.

  59. Michael Carver

    I am a GUY and I DO NOT FIND the “Madison Avenue,” “Hollywood-starlet,” “glamour girl figure” to be AT ALL ATTRACTIVE – ESPECIALLY IN THE BEDROOM where, FOR ME, it REALLY, REALLY COUNTS! By FAR AND AWAY, I find the NATURAL, NON-SVELTE, perhaps somewhat-pudgy with a “tummy,” (BUT NOT OBESE!) POST-BIRTH FIGURE of mom to be INFINITELY MORE ATTRACTIVE!!! Furthermore, I am TOTALLY IN LOVE with a woman’s “natural” body hair as well! O.K.??? There! I’ve had MY SAY regarding a subject which I’ve been WANTING to get “off my chest” FOR YEARS!!!

  60. Sam

    I am so down with you about the dark side of having the ‘perfect body’. Totally right! You have something to pay, like not having time to spend off with your kids, enjoying them.
    Really interesting post!!!

  61. Jay Ore

    You are a very beautiful person, and that has nothing to do with your pre or post kids body. It’s your attitude, your spirit. I am going to forward this to my wife and a few other people. Thanks for sharing your views.

  62. Julies

    Thank you.

  63. Chantal

    Taryn, I found the link to your blog on BUST. The before and after compelled me to come read. I wanted to take a moment to tell you that I found your B/A picture so moving; the before I find nearly cold and fake (and I get the sense from your blog you did too). Your after picture is so full of warmth, peace and radiates far more beauty to me. I want to thank you for the courage to share all that you have.

  64. That guy

    You can season your food and make it taste fine, its not that hard thats why she says “whats your excuse”. It takes 1 hour a day to stay in good physical shape, go to bed an hour earlier and wake up an hour earlier. If your excuse is your kids, go to bed when they do wake up before them and work out then, its part of being a mature adult and making sacrifices. Food prep for healthy food takes less time than making unhealthy food, such as stuffed burgers. Boiling a chicken in broth with some good brine seasoning isnt hard. Take 30 minutes once a week while your kids are at school and plan hour meals for the week. you have no excuse besides your lazy or immature. If you say its work, you better be working 60 hours a week because I work 50 hours a week and go to school full time (16 credit hrs) and have time to keep in great shape, with only 1 hour of hard exercise a day. Oh look I just solved all of your excuses. STOP BITCHING BECAUSE YOUR LAZY!

  65. Arjay

    Personally, I find the first pic (blue stripes) and the “after” pic much more attractive than the other two. You look sexy and wonderful, and have a great attitude and understanding of healthy body image! All the best!

  66. Brian

    RIVA…Agree Agree Agree (See my post above if you haven’t). I’ve read a lot of the comments, one person even said ‘She’s not telling us about her sacrifices of personal time with kids’…. How do you know? How in the world would you/could you know that? don’t you feel that’s a dangerous assumption. My wife is beautiful, mother of 3. She wants to be in better shape than she is. I tell her she looks great EVERYDAY! she wants to be in better shape. She wants our kids to live a healthy lifestyle. I am in pretty good shape, I work hard and eat right. Do I sacrifice time with my kids? nope. For the most part, I work out during my lunch hours, and on the weekends, I will take my kids to a local highschool football field where we play various games as a family that are fun, bonding and active! And, during the days when I can’t take a lunch break (which is often), I do a 30 min run after they go to bed.

    Maria is RIGHT! There is no EXCUSE!!!!! However, if it’s not important to you, then it shouldn’t matter! She is talking to people who give excuses as to why they can’t stay in shape.

    Here are some that I hear all the time.

    I work full time. Me too. I carve time out of my day when my kids are not looking for me…usually before they wake up, or after they go to bed.

    I don’t feel safe running when it’s dark. – I have a treadmill (my wife doesn’t feel safe running at night).

    I can’t afford a treadmill – Cable television has about 5 million free programs to view ‘on-demand’

    These are just a few that I hear.

    Again, if you are happy with your lifestyle, whatever your lifestyle is…GREAT… but I don’t think Maria is talking to you.

    • Bon

      Hey Brian,

      I get what you’re saying. Being healthy and active is important and worth making time for. But I think you’re completely missing the point of this post.

      What makes you so sure that Tarryn and many other people commenting here don’t work out, eat healthily and exercise just as much as you and your wife do? You yourself say you’re in “pretty good shape”… but don’t you think that Tarryn looks in pretty good shape for a mother of young kids leading a busy, healthy and balanced life? I sure do!

      What exactly do you mean by “pretty good shape”? Do you look like an iron man or olympic swimmer (ie, the male equivalent of Maria Kang’s body type)? If not, then WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE????????

      Why can’t we accept and be happy for mothers with small children who are in “pretty good shape” yet do not like supermodels, ballerinas and olympic gymnasts?

      And more to the point, why does anyone need to make excuses for exercise not being their number one, all-consuming passion in life? (Don’t try to tell me that the average person can achieve Maria’s body by jogging half an hour on weekdays and playing sports with their kids on the weekend!) I admire Maria Kang for having that passion and working hard for it, but imagine how boring and inefficient the world would be if everyone was the same as her?

      • Brian

        You are the one who is completely missing the point. I do not think that Maria is talking to anyone who is happy with who they are. I’m in pretty good shape, for my standards. I can make it work if i wanted to be in better shape, but I enjoy beer and BBQ too. I’ve said numerous times on this whole thread, be happy with who you are and how you look. I took Maria’s original post as ‘I’m in great shape and healthy, if I can do it, you can do it’. The backlash has been ‘Well, she neglects her family’. I don’t agree with that at all, how in the world does anyone know that.

        • Bon

          Not everyone who doesn’t like Maria Kang’s ad is assuming that she is neglecting her family, and I for one don’t think there’s anything wrong at all with the way she lives her life with health and fitness as her driving passion. On the contrary, I think that’s fantastic!

          When I said you’re missing the point, I meant the point made in the article… so now you’re missing my point as well.

          Noone here would disagree with you that health and fitness are important for living well and are well worth putting in the effort to maintain, or that obesity and sedintary lifestyles are a major issue. That is not the conversation we are having and so is completely beside the point.

          What we have a problem with (and what we are ACTUALLY talking about) is the WAY MARIA IS PRESENTING HER MESSAGE ABOUT HEALTH, when considered in the context of the unhealthy and damaging pressures our society places on girls and women, and in particular mothers.

          Women and girls are bombarded with too many messages from advertising and society at large making us feel like our looks and bodies are valued more than any other aspect of our person, and that we are not good enough as people unless we live up to a physical ideal that only a small minority can achieve without making huge, quality of life-consuming sacrifices. These messages are so insidious and damaging for the very reason that they are often packaged in with positive messages about being healthy and living well.

          Too many otherwise positive messages about being health and fitness are made to be all about beauty, sex, image and social status. It’s all about what health and vitality looks like instead of what it feels like. And THAT is what is wrong with Maria’s ad.

          In the photo she is not pictured running around in the park or playing netball or out in the ocean body boarding with her kids, or even lifting weights in the gym. If she were, then we could interpret “what’s your excuse?” to mean “what’s your excuse for not looking after yourself and making your health a priority so that you can live well and be happy?”, and Tarryn would have no reason to write this article.

          Instead Maria is standing there (with her three small children playing at her feet, to show that she is talking to mothers), with her stripped-free-of-all-fat limbs and chiselled abs, oiled up and on display. So her message becomes, “WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE FOR NOT LOOKING LIKE THIS?”.

    • MrsS

      Okay, but couldn’t she have done it in a less “in-your-face,” more sensitive manner and still get her message across?

      I am not fat and am way past the point where a photo of a pretty woman in a bathing suit would upset or annoy me, yet I found the photo be be off-putting. I know myself well enough to know that I would not have cared for that photo even if I had not read this blog prior to seeing it.

  67. You look beautiful in all photos. Kudos for having the courage to express your thoughts so openly.

  68. Lilly

    What is my excuse? Dancing 9 hours a day for my job, running, starving, taking pills and doing 1200 ab exercises a night never gave me a stomach like hers and the body I wanted. I finally figured out two things: 1. I actually needed ab repair from a botched pediatric kidney surgery and 2. My body image issues are in my head and I would never be satisfied anyway. A serious accident and paralysis got me to realize that the adjustment needed to be internal. Still working on it. Now I am lucky to be walking and doing rehab for my exercise program. Learn humility and gratitude before life kicks your ass.

  69. Lilly

    …and thank you, Taryn, for being a public voice for sanity instead of crazy exercise bulimia and diet mentality (especially at this time of year). It is good to have sensible reassurance and direction on body, moderation in exercise and aging. Happy New Year!

  70. Claudio Luco

    Taryn Buenos días, que tengas junto a tu familia y personas queridas un gran año 2014.

    Tus palabras contienen gran profundidad, ojala cada uno de nosotros pudiésemos encontrar el equilibrio para nuestras vidas.
    La obsesión daña pero es parte de nosotros, ojala logremos saber cómo hacernos amigos del equilibrio para mitigar lo absurdo.

    Saludos desde la austral República de Chile

  71. Eduardo

    Pure excuses, gain weight to loose, fat is BAD, no benefits of any kind, shortens life …. my wife is 45, works 45 hours a week, we have 1 daughter, run 4 times a week do not neglect anything no one, we run with our daughter every weekend and during the week we took turns running.
    Fat parents, fat children
    Parents athletes, healthy children

    YOUR EXCUSE is no excuse is laziness

  72. Marc

    i think what u say is fair, in the end u can either choose to eat or not that hamburger, i don’t see the point in telling anyone the opposite, is like having an argument about religion or politics.

    but i would like to say something on my behalf, i don’t eat sugars, i don’t eat burgers, i have a healthy lifestyle and i love it, my wife do the same, and please believe me she looks pretty much the same as ms. kang, without having that dark side u mention, just discipline, which i don’t hate at all, in fact started to notice how noxious is to eat sugary or fatty food.

    there’s nothing writen about tastes, i love your courage for what you said, and i think is really fair, but i don’t like other people who go bitching others who pick a different lifestyle, not you. .others that ‘ve read around

  73. Valentina Arriagada

    Pero que gran respuesta!!!! Me encanto!

  74. Yeny

    First time that a woman is trying to show us that is possible to have 3 babies and still keeping fit and healthy is attacked for bitter people, and worst than that create polemic with personal comments against her to get popularity for their own benefit like you do with maria Kang. If you want to promote normal women life I agree, you can do it,and please do it, but why you need to create controversial comments about other lifestyle. Each one can have and decide what lifestyle match their interests, without all this polemic, for me replaying to her in this way doesnt make you a better person than her.

  75. Miche

    Realmente me encanto tu respuesta, la vida es mucho mas allá que el peso, la vida es disfrutar de las cosas simples, tener valores, formar lazos, amar, ser amado, entre tantas otras cosas. Estoy feliz que exista gente como tu, te felicito, hace que uno tenga esperanza.

  76. Thank you. I got into ‘fitness’ after a breast cancer diagnosis. I had bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction, so my body will never look perfect again. I love reading fitness blogs, love seeing those cut abs, thinking about having the body of our collective dreams, but I too am focused more on my total being than the external picture. One day I may lean out and go for ‘those abs”, but I will do it because I can, because I want to, not for shame. Balance is key. Having a burger now and again is good. Learning to accept the consequence of eating and food and the actions necessary to maintain a comfortable weight is key.

  77. Maria

    I think your story is the best since you´ve lived through both a “fake” and perfect body life and a normal healthy life. I have struggled with my body image forever, and when I´ve been fittest and everyone tells me how great I look I always feel sad thinking “Gosh, I actually looked so terrible before…” I´ve done the harsh dieting, Ive been through eating disorders and missing out on so much because of trying to acchieve this perfection…

    I still have body image problems, right now Im not liking myself that much, but I know I have to be stronger than that…and Im trying…

    Thank you for your strength, and your constant reminders of what it is to be happy and beautiful…

  78. Tricia

    There was a bit of harsh assumption on your part for Maria. There are plenty of people who are flying high working out all the time, it is not a drudge time suck for everyone. Our lives are greatly inactive compared to how we were a hundred years ago. It’s not wrong to pursue a balance against the lifestyle of our culture. Our culture isn’t just fit fit fit, it’s also fat fat fat in an unhealthy way! I have four children and working out is my self care that enables me to be energetic and happy in my life. I will never stop eating cookies and such, but first and for most I ensure good nutrition. Why was your working out taking you away all day every day? That is not necessary to achieve Maria’s results! When my kids were her kids ages they played all over me while I worked out, only made it funner and harder and stronger all around! You are against a certain mold for everyone but say that because you were unbalanced in that mold everyone is??? Think again!

  79. Angela

    When I first saw this picture, I thought, “How awesome, she is showing love for before and after competition body”. Many competitors don’t love their bodies off-season as I do. As I read further, though, it seemed your message was more putting down the competition lifestyle. Competitors don’t have to all be eating-disorded-children-neglecting terrible parents. Fitness competitions can draw people with unhealthy body images, but it doesn’t always.

    When I prepare for a contest, I do my cardio before the children wake up or after they go to bed; I lift after I drop my boys off to school. Competing allows me to travel the country with my family and I hope to go international to further broaden their experiences. I prep my food for the week on Sundays the same as prepping their lunches for the week; I am teaching them planning to eat healthy when you have a busy schedule, not strict portion control. Yes it takes balance to be a competitor, work full-time, and be an available mother. I have a full-time medical practice, compete yearly, yet still go to pinewood derbys, lacrosse meets, and music recitals. I don’t post duck-faced gym selflies all over the place or throw my lifestyle in people’s faces nor shame people for not being active. My friends come in all shapes, sizes, colors, backgrounds and that’s why I love them.

    I wish the take-home message of this post was for women to love each other and support each other no matter what choices we make. PS- All of your pictures are lovely.

  80. Sarah

    I have to say as a mother of four currently training for a fitness comp I have to question your training and food approach. I train five days a week for no more than an hour a day. For that hour I train hard and push myself but once it’s done I have the rest of the day free. Did you have a good coach that can safely train you to the stage, sounds to me like like that may not have been the case. Did you rush your goal by than sacrificing yourself and your family?? Is that not your responsibility to set realistic time frames??
    I follow a program food wise that does take a little extra time but allows me to eat whatever I like as long as it fits within my macros- if I want chocolate I can and will have chocolate. IIFYM, look it up people and develop a healthy and realistic relationship with food and diet that isn’t about denial.
    Rather than people (women particularly) hating on one another why can’t we except our differences and move on. If you didn’t like the message from Maria scroll past. I took it as motivation but that’s me. We are have different goals, wants and needs in life. That’s what makes us unique. But want this society is lacking is acceptance and respect for one another.

  81. K

    I’m a mom of one and I try to eat healthy, and work outs 3 or 4 times a week. I run outside and have weights at home. I think marias is achievable if you commit yourself. But it definitely takes away I don’t care what anyone says, if you commit yourself to something it will take away from the rest of your life. It is difficult having to cook your kids burgers or mashed potatoes and gravy while cooking yourself a stir fry chicken and green beans. More work, more temptations too! I sneak in a work out once hubby comes home from work, but I’d much rather be welcoming him home with a meal and talking him about his day while watching our son play.

    But anyway,
    As a woman in general, whatever shape, she looks better in the after photo.
    There’s an aura that tanning lotion can’t achieve.
    And a smile that’s warm without sweating your ass off for.
    I bet t
    Overall, I think she physically looks better in the after photo.
    That’s what the blog is really about anyway.

  82. Maggie

    Thank you, Taryn!

  83. Sarah

    I think i just got a girl crush;) (thats a joke) Great story, keep up your good work mama:)

    • Taryn Brumfitt

      Girl crush! Haha, just tell all your friends and lets create this movement together! x

  84. Ryan

    Your article made me laugh. First of all, even in your competition, you look terribly unhealthy… and flabby. It’s obvious your plan was excess cardio and a severe low calorie diet. Of course that was destined for failure. So now, you’ve decided to wrap everybody else who’s in shape into the same boat? Uh ok… Fact is, you absolutely DO NOT need to sacrifice to the level that you describe.

    That’s simply your experience and belief.

    It’s sad that so many people have this belief – even those who are in support of getting lean. You should look up Layne Norton and Joe Donnelly, or maybe not, as that would shatter your beliefs.

    You absolutely can be in elite shape without counting calories and severe low calorie diets and without hours of cardio. But yeah, have fun justifying mediocrity, I can see how your message resonates would resonate with the average person. Keyword: “average”.

    • Eva

      Haha!!! So true Ryan!! Well said!!

  85. Fiona

    Really unsure why women need to ‘verbally bash’ other women for their choices??? Everyone’s ideal health and balance is very different, and each to their own! many women can be healthy and look great without yelling at their kids or being selfish. a balanced approach to healthy living does not involve extremes or being on stage in a bikini. A pursuit of ‘extreme’ health so often leads to extreme unhealth. Our united approach should be to find self love. This, for most, will also involve a healthy lifestyle with conscious eating and exercise and no one should be crucified for that. We all need to stop judging, excuses and bashing others and ourselves. Peace ladies!! Xx

  86. jack

    http://viralious.com/2013/12/18/the-skinny-truth-we-are-making-ourselves-fat/
    ok then.. hate on her for being healthy because you can’t… keep promoting bad health, this is why women aren’t treated seriously as role models, and now you have created an army of unhealthy zombies, keep contributing to society

  87. Isabel

    Wow … thank you so much for this post. I couldn’t have put it more eloquently myself. I was annoyed by Maria’s post, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why. Was it jealousy? Was it the fact that I couldn’t come to terms with why I don’t look like her. I love what you’ve written here, because it states everything I couldn’t bring to the surface. Thank you for your site, and for making us realize that no matter the size we’re still beautiful. :)

  88. SANDRA

    :D you´ve spoken the truth!

  89. Arianna Russell

    This week i have been really down on myself, harder on myself than i have ever been. My mom made a comment to me that i have a belly. That has been chewing away at my thoughts, self-confident and my self-image. I cannot say that your page and your movement has taken that all away but it has helped tremendously. I am an 18 year old, i am constantly around guys at school who talk about how gorgeous girls are and how skinny they are. I dont usually pay any mind to it, but this week i have been noticing it more and more. My graduation is in exactly one week and they will be having a pool/picnic day for the seniors next week before we graduate. I have been contemplating on going or not…because i am truly insecure about my body. I dont like that my thighs touch, i dont like the fact that my legs are bigger, and i am not the thinnest, but i have decided that however scary it may be that i am going to go. I deserve to celebrate that i am graduating and i need to remember that the outer appearance is not everything. I will willingly hold my head up high and go to that pool party with my thick legs, my belly and not toned arms. Thank you for some encouragement and some sunshine to brighten my day. I hope i can come to love myself because i cant really expect someone to love me when i cannot learn to love me for me, BODY and all. Thanks Again.

  90. Ashley

    I’m more than content to exercise when I get the time or energy, but I also love food. All kinds of food. And I don’t beat myself up over that fact. I also adore my children, whom I homeschool. Go to the gym? HA! When the fitness industry actually starts CARING about fitness….they’ll offer free childcare while you workout. I know there are some places that do that, but it’s a VERY small amount…and their “free” childcare comes packaged along with a HUGE monthly enrollment fee (i.e. not actually FREE)

    Thank you for your post. :)

  91. J

    Thank you for this message. I love your comment on how health can not always be judged be how you look. In the body building world there are many individuals who have unhealthy lifestyles and attitudes despite there ‘winning’ bodies. The book “Sugar Nation” by Jeff O’Connell is a great example of this and I encourage everybody to read it as it provides some great insight on the struggles of an individual in the health and fitness world. Thanks again!

  92. Cristiana

    Reading your post and seeing your website really hits it home. I am a mom of 2, a four year old boy and a 10 month old baby girl. After having my girl, my body has changed completely. Reading this really gives the emotional support and courage to really accept what my body for what it is. I now really see your point that enjoying my time with my family and having a hectic life is what will count. Thank you as you have given me something that I had lost.

  93. Sasya

    I was never skinny. I was born chubby and always are bubbly chubby! I am happy I love myself I love to eat… as I get older I participate myself in a pageants because that’s my passion. I make sure I work out to lose weight. Its not pressure. I was doing alright. But then when I join another beauty pageant I was pressured by the organizer. I have never felt as low esteemed as I was when he treat me like im a big fat pig when I am on my normal BMI! I am healthy I am fit and he keep on mentioning I am still too fat. Back in my country the pageant wont go to an international level and I am short I am just 5’2 but I have a high dream and its one of my passion let’s just try and see how it goes. From 55kg to 48kg in just 3 weeks. That much I was pressured! And since that day I realized why do I need the society to told me off! Why do I need to care about what society think of my body weight. I like wearing shorts I wear it. I like wearing bikini I dont care I wear it. Because I know I am body beautiful and no one no one deserved to be pressured like that and everyone need to love their body. Not because youre skinny youre beautiful!

  94. Anna

    Thank you for reminding me <3 you are the best

  95. Kat

    Taryn, You completely nailed it. Thank you for posting this because it’s exactly how I feel only I have been feeling guilty about it thanks to American media hyping the perfect body all the time. Like you, my time with my kids is so much more important to me right now. Best wishes to you. I hope you get your funds for your film, I’d love to see it!

  96. Hi….yes…it is true…just because you are thin, in shape, hair like lion, eyes lashes for days, glossy smile and clean golden skin doesn’t mean life is just peachy. I went from 140 to 185 when I became an entrepreneur. My life was not about my family is was about my business. Then my business soon started to take over my life and health. My kids missed their active mother. Now after 3.5 years later I realize that if your spiritual healthiness is not in check…then your physical life won’t be either and everything else after that. So, now I’m back to my 138 weight and staying focused on my health and family. My family is everything to me. It is okay to be fit, a business owner, mom and have a happy marriage. To have this there is a ton of sacrifice. I might not make all of the business events and meetings. I got used to saying “no” and/or thinking of creative ways to make the event and include family. It is about balance. Everything in life is. I always thought once I got back in shape….a flood of happiness would fill me but nope….that wasn’t the case. I had to find what my soul needed and what it needed was “me time” and “genuine family time”. I don’t want to be perfect….GOD no!! I want to be imperfect. There is too much stress today to be the perfect mom, with the perfect body, perfect job, perfect kids, perfect house….you get it. I live in San Diego and everyone is near perfect here. Haha!!! I’m good and I am happy with what I have….a healthy family.

  97. Trish

    Thank you for your article.
    Ive only seen Maria Kang on a show where she flew out of state to follow some average mom’s around their day. Her attitude was a lot like a popular teenager in HS. I see her followers posting opinions on her behalf, and I can’t imagine why. I won’t ever bother to read about her because her body language spoke volumes.

  98. Hi- loved your post. The body thing truly does take time and commitment, and its not really that important in the grand scheme of things. I do work on my fitness and diet as part of my modeling hobby- the same as I would commit to fitness and diet if I was really into skiing or marathon running, its just part of the activity. The body and doing things with it is a fun past time. I don’t have kids so I have the luxury of this time to spend. But ultimately I know that the important things in life are far beyond the body. I’m so glad to see you doing this work, because the body really isn’t that important, happiness and value to the world is. Thank you for the inspiration.

  99. stevetundra

    As a guy, I have to be quite blunt and say I prefer your AFTER image as opposed to the perfect body look. Not only is it more natural looking which I think is sexier but it allows you to have a better peace of mind. Obsessing about anything simply leads to problems. You’ve made the right choice. And if there aren’t any takers I would certainly be the first in line! Best of luck!

  100. Jennifer Razo

    I can see where both ladies are coming from here, but let’s be honest. Maria isn’t rocking her healthy cholesterol scores, bp or blood glucose numbers in her pics. She is rocking her hot bod, and the underlying implication is that the rest of us are doing something wrong if we don’t look that good. I have nothing against Maria. I follow her on FB, and find a great deal of what she says to be beneficial. But I have a decent self image. Many women don’t. It is dishonest to suggest that Maria isn’t perpetuating a level of dysfunction. And yes, as a public figure, she is responsible for the effect she has on others. If Maria lives her life a certain way, and claims happiness, it is not up to me to dispute that, but Maria crossed the line into confrontational and arrogant.

  101. 3boyhappychaos@gmail.com

    Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful. I feel so encouraged. That picture really bothered me because I have 3 precious boys and in Maria’s picture, her boys seemed to be secondary to her body. In my life, my boys are center stage. When you become a mother, part of the beauty is how you can finally give your life in service to something greater. My body (and myself) still matters. I don’t want to be unhealthy and I want to be beautiful. I just think it is different than people think before they are mothers. People who are not changed completely by motherhood and want to shame others make me sad. Thank you, Taryn, for giving us a voice. Xoxo

  102. ashlinnc

    Awesome post Taryn. And the truth is that’s the reality. Being bullied into the perfect weight by celebs, media, etc becomes an obsession and you are not happy anymore.

  103. Marla del Carmen Alvarado

    Let’s not all miss the whole picture here please!! Mujeres, women of the world, whether you are a mother, a grandmother, daughter, aunt, sister, have one breast or none, this is about LOVE and TRANSFORMATION. Let’s not all get into replying to each post, offensive or no, at the end offense is a personal endeavor like all things. Rise above that and share our experiences, generously, openly, without critics and complaints. THE PURPOSE OF THIS IS to be UPLIFTED and LIBERATED from old agreements and walls we have built up for ourselves as women. True beauty and transformation comes from women arguing about what one other said or did? No. It comes from women working together, loving one another,their children and themselves without need to have a value placed upon them. Our ancestors did not pray and dance and sing so that one day women would be the same as men, competing with one another, coming from a place of ego, of judgement, they prayed so that women might be the saviors of the world we live in. Only we are given the gift that is shared only with the Earth, to give life! Squabbling does not elevate us it feeds the long standing belief that women are catty and jealous. YOU ARE ALL AMAZING. Realize that now, you are a work of art in motion, every moment, every breath.

  104. Sabrina Alfaro

    Maria defiantly could have worded that better. Yes, short and sweet usually is best for motivation but in this case it can do just as much harm as good to a woman/teen desperate to figure out was is the socially expectable and expected “healthy” body image or a mother inspecting what hope their is for her body and I won’t even go into what a woman would mentally go through if she repeated those words to herself after really trying and doing every but it didn’t work as sometime our bodies can’t bounce back to their former glory. A woman’s mind is a dangerous thing sometimes. Ultimately don’t work out to fit a pants size work out to be healthy, and healthy is many different shapes and sizes. I’m 4’11 and 165 pounds but no one believes me until I step on a scale, my body type is small curvy and muscular. I can lift well over my own weight without trying, all because of my genetics. I won’t ever have a thigh gap but I can ride and train horses all day and that’s way better in my opinion.

  105. Kayleigh

    But that’s it, isn’t it? You feel balanced. You have found comfort in your self. You don’t feel you need to make excuses to anyone. But that’s just you. The acceptance in yourself you have found is wonderful and you are inspirational. But you’ve been to the other side and you found that it wasn’t for you. Self confidence can only be self learned. No matter what you do, you cannot help someone love themselves. Woman find it in themselves to do that. I think Maria is an inspiration. She made it to that side and she liked it. And I feel her picture was meant to be more inspirational then insulting. She also trying to tell woman…’Hey, you can do this if you really want to.’ And I think a lot of people need to hear that. At at the end of they day. They can decide if it’s for them or not.

  106. Theresa M

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

    I know EXACTLY what you are talking about Taryn…I have done 3 of the body figure competitions and now am back to what I call “normal”. I obsessed at not being able to maintain this perfect bikini figure and it ate at me so much that I eventually developed an eating disorder and hated myself.
    It took me a couple years to come to the conclusion you have stated in this blog. I have to love myself how I am and that spending all that time in the gym, planning and prepping meals, and obsessing is taking me away from what really matters…my kids.
    Showing my daughter that to love myself the way I am, and so what if I don’t have that bikini body anymore, I am proud of who I am now and that is a better message to send to her than to constantly be obsessed about that other body I had.
    I want my daughter to grow up with a healthy image of herself and not a negative one where she has to conform to what society says.

    Love this!! You rock lady :)

  107. Dharmakaya

    Great post. Indeed, it’s all about balance ! Kang is way too artificial!

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