In 2013 Maria Kang, founder of No Excuse Mom went viral for a controversial photo showing off her toned body with her three sons, with a heading that read, “What’s your excuse?”
Since then, the viral fit mom has been repeatedly accused of setting unrealistic body expectations for women and supposedly “fat-shaming” curvy mothers with her fitness photos. To this, Kang responded that her message was not directed at shaming anyone and that the backlash she received calling her a “shame to women” was essentially “fit-shaming.”
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After you address your Excuse, you need to find your Reason. 5 years later I’m still seeking the hard route, after all, in a country where you are the Healthy minority you must #dodifferent You need to find your reason, your WHY for prioritizing your health. You are who you surround yourself with so if everyone is starting an extreme diet, be balanced. If everyone is sitting watching TV shows, get up and move. If everyone is ordering high-calorie meals and drinking sugary drinks, choose otherwise! You know what’s right, just don’t follow the habits and lifestyle of the majority of overweight/obese people who do it wrong. Many asked for a side-by-side so here you go! What’s Your Reason? Plant it and GROW 🌱 #whatsyourreason #whatsyourexcuse #mariakang
“All I’ve tried to imply is that my body is representative of what health looks like. Of course, there are different ways to look healthy,” Kang told ABC News in a 2013 interview.
“The problem is, we are normalizing what people should look like; overweight and obese. We can’t normalize this and that’s my problem with it. You are sending the message that being obese is OK.”
Recently, Kang has shared another viral post with her thousands of followers, opening up about her depression, body dysmorphia, bulimia, and health struggles due to her breast augmentation, admitting that she had fallen into an “insecurity trap.”
“Immediately after my surgery, I underwent complications: from a hematoma, lack of sensation and numbness. It always felt foreign and uncomfortable to me and impeded on my ability to effectively nurse my sons,” she wrote.
“But like many – despite how I felt, I loved how I looked. Breast implants are normalized throughout the fitness industry. There was no way for me to be lean and have fatty breast tissue at the same time.”
The tough decision to explant came roughly a month ago after Kang experienced worsening health complications, “I began feeling heart palpitations, chronic fatigue, dry eyes, joint pain, and weight gain. I was perennially exhausted and finally said enough is enough,” she said.
“I explanted one month ago and since then my fatigue immediately went away. My eyes don’t feel heavy. My inflammation has declined and most of all – I feel FREE. I feel ME.”
Kang added, “I feel like I’m finally leaving the young, insecure and impressionable girl I once was and am coming into the strong and confident woman I am today.”
“I hope we all learn to love our bodies, at all sizes, in all forms, and at all stages.”
Kang spoke to NextShark about her most recent post regarding her breast implant complications and what message she’s hoping to share with other women.
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It’s taken some time for me to put my thoughts together as so much has happened these last few days. I successfully had an explant surgery with total capsulectomy and scar tissue removal on Thursday. However, on Friday (swipe left) I underwent a Hematoma and needed emergency surgery for internal bleeding (which I was awake for!) I consider today, Day Two of my healing. As many know I’ve been experiencing heart palpitations, joint pain and acne for years. Most recently the chronic fatigue and chest pressure became really unbearable to function (and stay awake throughout the day!) Some doctors will say this is all psychological and choosing to remove implants when undergoing autoimmune symptoms creates a placebo effect – after all, many feel better almost immediately after surgery. This is my take – as I’m often a very black and white person when it comes to things. Your body will fight against foreign objects, I instantly felt it years ago. Yes scar tissue builds up, yes your liver detoxes, but it is not normal or natural. Change will create change. If you are considering surgery or had your breast augmented, just do your due diligence. In my years advocating to people around me NOT to do it, 100% of them did. And I get it. We don’t think about the long term effects, the regular maintenance, the toxic chemicals in silicone or the risks going under in any surgery. We just want to feel and look more “beautiful”. As a young, impressionable girl, I got the message. Unless I had smooth skin, long legs, a proportionate physique, full breasts, a small nose, plump lips, thick hair….I had less chances of winning. I literally bought into this. We all do. Every day. Well today I am winning. I am winning for my kids, my overall health and my longevity. I am winning. Keep in mind, I don’t live an all-organic life, I am aware toxins exist everywhere – but if I can choose to not have them live in me, I choose NO. Thank you to Dr Hause in Sacramento for literally saving me on a late Friday evening. Thank you to all the DMs, texts, prayers and posts. I SEE those who care. Thank you. #noexcusemom #bii #breastimplantillness #explant #saline
“I think all women and men need to do their due diligence when it comes to any form of plastic surgery. There are many risks involved, especially with implants as they are foreign, silicone objects (even saline – which I had – is shelled with silicone),” she said.
“We put our bodies at risk all the time, whether it’s by the food we eat, how often we travel, etc. What’s most important is to weigh the costs and medical risks when engaging in any activity.”
While breast implants remain immensely popular among women who are interested in going under the knife, conversation on their health implications is not at the forefront of this discussion.
“When I had my breasts done years ago, I was never told of the risks, none of my friends were told,” Kang shared.
“In fact, I’ve had friends who implanted a few months ago and tell me they were told the implants were ‘lifetime guaranteed’ (I hear this statement often btw). That is completely false. The majority of women get their implants replaced or removed within the first 10 years. Ruptures, leakage, capsular contracture, and cancer are all possibilities!”
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Last year I started having rapid heart palpitations. Alongside chest pain, I decided to book an explant consultation with a local plastic surgeon recommended by a good friend who also explanted with him. I explained that since my surgery in 2003, I’ve had numbness, swelling and pain. The chest pressure had become uncomfortable for months and I wanted to discuss options. We talked about explanting. We talked about risks and the reality of being left with small, deflated breasts when I awoke from surgery. I sat there nervous, anxious, ready-but-not-ready to see this through. When my husband and I left the doctor’s office, we sat in the car and I started to cry. In the past he jokingly said my implants would need to be replaced one day (and I should go bigger!) He also discussed possibilities of upgrading to ‘better implants’ that were ‘lifetime guaranteed’ (both are not possible). I was mad. I was mad because I felt my pain didn’t matter. I was mad because I never encouraged him to mutilate his body to satisfy my attraction to him. I was mad because when the surgeon said he could drain my implants that day, suddenly my courage subsided. I was scared. As much as I didn’t like getting a breast augmentation (for competitive purposes) years ago, as much pain they caused me or how uncomfortable it made me feel – they had become a part of me. I was scared of the change, scared of my husband finding me unattractive, scared of my swimsuits not fitting and scared of the risks involved in any surgery. So I waited. I saw a physical therapist who massaged my scar tissue, which relieved my immediate chest pain. I filmed a LIVE video talking about breast implant illness with my good friend @sassfitness , while denying I had any present symptoms of it myself. For years I dealt with joint pain, chronic fatigue, adult acne, unexplained weight gain and brain fog. For years I wrapped my tender wrists while training or attributed my ankle and shoulder pain to muscle imbalances from an old injury in my twenties. Every month I added to my list of food intolerances and even created a belly ball to overcome my bloating and digestive issues….(cont below👇🏼)
In addition to commenting on her present self, she revisited the controversy of her “What’s Your Excuse?” photo six years later.
“I’ve always loved the ‘What’s Your Excuse?’ photo and stand strongly behind my intentions behind it,” Kang insisted. “I know a lot of people were inspired by that fitspiration post and because of the conversation and controversy, I was able to inspire thousands of moms to join No Excuse Mom communities where they workout in the parks for free.”
“However, I also understood the backlash and why there was criticism behind it as there IS a lot of pressure to be fit, especially after childbirth. Considering my youngest was 8 months at the time and I was not promoting (to myself) an unrealistic weight, I didn’t think it was an outrageous image.”
Despite the previous backlash, Kang says her platform is a space built for building other women up and spreading body positivity. “My platform has always been used as a space for sharing my thoughts, workouts, challenges, etc. I was one of the first ‘fit moms’ who showed her stretchmarks and excess skin, I think I’m one of the only fitness book covers that have stretch marks on the cover!” she explained.
“Body Positivity has always been my focus. Even with getting implants, most people didn’t know I had them – until I told them!”
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In 2003, I made a swift decision to receive a breast augmentation for competitive reasons. At the time I was slated to compete in a national competition in the Philippines and had aspirations to be a fitness model. I LOVED looking at magazines back then and noticed the ONE thing between my lean and proportionate physique and the bodies I admired, were the fake boobs gracing nearly every cover of each magazine. I got 225cc saline implants underneath the chest muscle. I was very lean at the time and this surgery would take me from an A cup to a full B cup (my normal size before I lost weight for competing). Immediately after my surgery, I had tightness and heaviness in my left chest. I thought I was going to die! I discovered I had a hematoma and needed another operation for internal bleeding. I felt awful. I lost sensation. But, man did I look good. I would go on to win Miss Bikini CA (new category then) and placed top 5 in both Model and Bikini America Nationals. I looked good. But I didn’t feel good. I felt incredibly disconnected to my body. I objectified it to receive outside approval, attract men and collect crowns. And after all that was over…. I was still very very unhappy. Boob jobs is just like any goal, whether it’s a million dollars, a big house, a fancy wedding or even as simple as getting married and having kids…. Once achieved, what next? There is a karmic exchange in all actions and for years I struggled with binge eating, Bulimia and a body image disorder. And after I made peace with my past and a pact with my life’s purpose, things started to happen. I dealt with severe acne, weight gain and low libido. I attributed this to stress and hormones. Then I kept adding to my list of food intolerances, which I attributed to chemicals and gut issues. Last year I started having rapid heart palpitations and heavy chest pain, which I assumed was from built up scar tissue. Now, I’ve been dealing with chronic fatigue, which derives from low iron despite not having changed my diet very much. I normalized the pain. I’m scared, but it’s time. #explant #breastimplantillness
Between these two periods, from her first viral post to her most recent, Kang has undoubtedly grown as a person as she reflects on her past decisions. “What I am apologetic for, however, is having an unnatural physique that can only be attained through plastic surgery,” she told us.
“I always struggled with emails from mothers who asked about their breasts post children. The fact was, that mine was fine due to surgery. However, now that the implants are gone, I definitely look like I’ve nursed three kids!”
Feature Image via Facebook/@MariaMKang