Lately, I’ve started to actually investigate things instead of just reacting to what everybody else is saying. It’s why I actually picked up a copy of “50 Shades of Grey.” I mean, sure, I could have just run with what was being opined by people whose tastes and thoughts I trusted, but I wanted to form an opinion based on my own experience (if you’re curious, I made it through seven pages of “50 Shades.” I think I would rather go to seven hours straight of Pilates rather than finish that book, but if you liked it, please feel free to tell me why in the comments of this post. No, seriously. I’m curious, because I just could not get into it).
Anyways, my point is that I’m late to the whole Maria Kang hate-fest. I saw it explode on my Facebook feed, and if I’d just gone with what I saw there, I would have decried Kang as some fitness zealot out to shame anybody whose body was not like hers. Actually, that’s not true, because at the time, I couldn’t care less. That’s how I’ve pretty much rolled my entire life: “Blah blah you have an opinion about what I should be doing. Well, I don’t want to do it, and I am the Queen of my existence, so my opinion is better than yours. Neener neener!”
So, I glanced at the photo of Kang in her workout gear and framed by her children, suppressed that part of me that is perpetually an insecure 17-year-old who wanted to belittle her hard work to deflect attention from my lack of effort, and rose above it all by thinking, “What’s my excuse? Haha! Whatever. You can’t tell or shame me into doing anything, so I don’t need to answer to you!”
I didn’t think much about it until last night when I was bored and couldn’t fall asleep. I decided to Google “Maria Kang” and see what came up.
Was this what ticked off everybody?
To be fair, that would have ticked me off about ten years ago, too. I would have been wondering who was she to ask me what’s my excuse? I would have ranted to my closest friends about my excuses and how Kang sucked for implying that they were just excuses. I would have mocked everything she’d done and tried to dig up (or make up) things that must be wrong with her for wanting the body that she has. In short, I’d make her a scapegoat for my own insecurities.
That’s just me, though, because I know my body and I know my habits. I could have a body like Maria Kang’s, but I don’t want to swap out my white rice for brown (or quinoa or any other grain but white rice). I don’t want to give up sugar. I don’t want to count calories, pay attention to the kinds of carbs I eat, and whether I’m training properly. And, really, when she asks, “What’s your excuse?” I think she is addressing people like me: the ones who can’t be bothered to make an effort, want to continue with their less-than-stellar food choices, and don’t want to really push themselves as far as exercise is concerned – but who will complain about their bodies, or make snide remarks about people who did put in all the aforementioned efforts. She’s confronting people like me who might want to look like her, but are throwing up reasons we supposedly can’t.
So, you know what? I’m going to seriously address her question and list my excuses, and what I plan to do about them:
1. “I don’t have time.”
I couldn’t type that without laughing, because I was called out on this a few years ago. My first personal trainer asked me about my fitness goals and why I was coming to see her. I answered along the lines of, “I want to get back to my pre-baby weight, but I don’t have time.” She gave me this look that said, “BS” while actually saying in a slow and calm voice, “Well, we all get 24 hours in a day. Decide how you want to use them.”
I’m going to start working out in the morning again – really workout. I’ll set my alarm so that I can get in an hour of cardio and strength. There. Time found.
2. “I don’t want to change my diet.”
A few years ago, a friend mentioned her frustration with a family member who was always complaining about her body but never wanted to take steps to do anything about it. I remember laughing and saying, “Yeah. I can feel her on wanting to look different, but I own my choices and can honestly say that, right now, a ripped body is not more important than this bag of Doritos. Someday, my priorities will change, but until that day? I’m not going to beat myself up over – oh, my gosh. I have Pringles, too! Those are my favorites. Want some? No? Cool. More for me. Yeah, I’m going to eat the whole canister! Did you not hear me say that they’re my favorite?”
I’m unwilling to completely give up sugar. The tablespoon that I put into my one cup of coffee in the morning makes me really happy. It’s that tipping point where I will be at least a little miserable, no matter how awesome my body looks, because I want sugar in my coffee! Don’t tell me about substitutes, because they all have some sort of aftertaste.
I am, however, willing to give up rice and find a way to get the majority of my carbs through plant sources.
If any of my goals are upsetting you (I hope they aren’t, but you never know), I hope you’ll stop and ask yourself why. I don’t expect anybody else to make these changes with me. I’m not going to judge somebody if they don’t want to be ripped, or if they aren’t a size two. All I’ve stated is what I want for myself and how I plan to accomplish it. Why would anybody feel the need to try and stop me, or criticize me for this choice?
Find comfort and contentment within yourself. Once you have that, nothing anybody else says can really rattle you, and if you haven’t made that peace with yourself? Silencing somebody like Maria Kang isn’t going to truly make you feel any better.