‘No Excuse Mom’ Maria Kang Publishes Swimsuit Calendar Celebrating Moms’ Bodies

09/24/2015 at 01:40 PM ET

Maria Kang
Courtesy Maria Kang

Maria Kang wants to unite moms of all different shapes and sizes.

And with her new 2016 Fit Mom Calendar, she is doing just that.

The notion may have seemed unlikely a few years ago, given Kang’s controversial “What’s Your Excuse?” Facebook photo, which went viral in 2012.  She was accused of body-shaming other moms by showing her super-fit figure alongside her three young sons (now 6, 5 and 3).

“Do I still think there are excuses?” asks Kang, 33. “Yes. And I think many can be overcome. But my approach has become a little bit softer in terms of promoting non-judgment and progress. We need role models and people who have overcome similar challenges to get inspiration from.”

Maria Kang
Courtesy Maria Kang

Maria Kang
Courtesy Maria Kang

These days the Sacramento-based Kang is seen as a champion for moms who are taking control of their health. In addition to publishing a diet book earlier this year, Kang has created a vast network of No Excuse Mom groups, which invite moms to meet up for free workouts at least once a week. (Kids are welcome —and encouraged!) Nearly 70,000 motivated moms in 25 countries participate in these groups, says Kang.

Maria Kang
Courtesy Maria Kang

And some of these women have been spotlighted in the third annual calendar, which includes personal transformation stories, nutrition tips and workouts. It’s the first year Kang has featured the local groups.

“What I love about the calendar is that is shows everyday women,” Kang tells PEOPLE. “You’re going to see a variety of different sizes and shapes and ages. It’s inspiring. Everyone can connect with someone in this calendar. You can relate to a body type or even a story.”

RELATED: Miss America Betty Cantrell: ‘It Doesn’t Matter If You’re a Size 0 or 12, As Long As You’re Healthy’

The women, most of whom are wearing swimsuits, “want to show and represent what an everyday mother looks like,” says Kang. “We’re not all beauty queens or celebrities or athletes. Our groups are all different and come from different places. But what unites us is not only that we are mothers, but that we care about our health and our families and we want to give back to our communities.”

Maria Kang
Courtesy Maria Kang

Maria Kang
Courtesy Maria Kang

“It may seem hypocritical [to celebrate all body types] when I’ve been criticized for my stance on obesity. But I believe we should not only have very athletic role models, but also women who are medically obese, yet striving,” says Kang. “I see the [photos] they post of themselves working out. Maybe they’re not in their best shape, but they are in the process of becoming their best self. And that process should be celebrated.”

RELATED: Hungry Girl: Get Your Diet Back on Track These Healthy Eating Strategies

–Michelle Ward Trainor

FILED UNDER: Expert Tips , Fitness , Health

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goodluck on

Try working every single day and commuting out of town an hour each way and see how much time you have left for yourself after the house is taken care of, grocery shopping is done, dusting, vacuuming, cooking and dishes, etc. Then add kids after school activities….that’s real life lady. You must have a coddled life. I’m not making excuses because I do work out but it’s tough sometimes to find the time. Be realistic, not everybody has the same life as you princess.

Lauren on

Why do you have to go there and judge her? She is just a mom trying to do something good for others. She has inspired lots of other moms to become their best selves. Me included, i looked at her photo a few years ago and thought if she can do it then why can’t I? No more excuses, everyone is busy but you make the time, you buy and eat the right foods. Truthfully, it is 80/20 eating right anyways. You have to view it as an investment in yourself and your family. You just come off as a jealous female.

guest on

Goodluck has time to browse the web but doesn’t have time to exercise. I don’t know much about Maria but I thought I read that she wakes up at 4 or 5 every morning to work out. She seems determined to be healthy. Who can find fault in that? As someone who has been bordering on overweight most of my adult life I do find her inspiring. Sometimes hearing someone call you fat lights a fire under your behind to get you to move around, eat better, and get healthy.

maryhelenc on

@goodluck: I’m a single mom. I work two jobs. I have three kids. I commute an hour each way to work. I’m still at the gym three times a week, and walking as much as I can on my lunch breaks, and sometimes I work out with a DVD as late as midnight because I’m committed to teaching my kids the importance of self love, active living & practice what I preach. It IS an excuse. If you wanted to be in shape, you’d find the time. It’s hard, but I know how many body image issues I had before I started losing weight & I refuse to go back to that life.

Anonymous on

I do agree that we give excuses for our bodies and how they look. I am one of them, but after working all day and then coming home and doing my normal home/mom things I am exhausted. I’m in need a small weight loss and toning which I’m hoping to somewhat achieve before skiing season starts but it is hard. Kudos to women who work out but I wonder how many skip time with families to do so. We are working out as a family and it has been fun but I’m not going to work all day and spend some of the extra time I have with my family working out without them near.

What on

Who would buy this? None of these women are attractive enough that someone would pay to look at them and wall calendars are not current. I also love the charity, what a bunch of nonsense.

kayaker83 on

If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.

JoshDuggar on

Because what i want hanging on my wall is a calendar full of fatties

Kaycee on

So after all the fallout from her fat shaming moms, she does a calendar of fat women? Alrighty then……….

Anonymous on

So now what do all the negative Nancys have to say about her? Hopefully nothing. They should just keep their mouth shut.

wookie on

Once again, she does not see how she constantly contradicts herself. ” They might not be in their best shape.” This is what she said about obese women working out, above. Then there have been other times when she says that you can’t tell someone’s health by looking at them, but then talks about obese people and how ” unhealthy” she thinks they are. How do you know these obese people aren’t in good shape? Well, it’s because you base being in shape on looks, which you say you don’t do. Also, it’s quite sad that we should be inspired, because people work out, or look a certain way. I exercise and laugh when someone says ” you inspire” me. It makes me sad, because I’m well-educated, but I’ve never had someone say they are inspired by me getting degrees. On another note, this chick must have a great PR person, because she just has zero talent and will not go away. There are people who are better human beings, smarter and know what the hell they are talking about, who don’t get this much attention.

taradoug82 on

goodluck- we all have those same ‘excuses’. If you have weekends off, there are two days you can work out. I personally do longer workouts on those two days, and then try my hardest to fit in intense 30 minute workouts after dinner two week nights. It’s not impossible, you just have to be motivated and dedicated.

TLC. on

I think you have to understand that her fans tend to be very insecure people and in most case, not successful, or well-educated. You can see this by reading the comments they are leaving on here. You just have to feel sorry for them. It’s funny that they can be negative towards obese people, or those that don’t work out, or who they think they are superior to, but yet people who disagree with them, or call Maria out, aren’t allowed to have their opinions. They are just so sad.

Kelli on

@TLC- How on Earth can you tell from a comment board that someone isn’t well-educated or successful? I happen to be an overweight female, who is currently trying to lose weight through healthy food choices and D1 boot camp. Why is it ever sad for anyone to choose to be their best self, whatever that may be? By the way, I am an ER nurse who also holds degrees in chemistry and biology, and I’m off to medical school next year. Your comment about people being sad, unsuccessful, and not well-educated was passive-aggressiveness at its finest.

TLC. on

Kelli- Sure you are. Can you give me your full name and where you work and are going to school, so I can confirm? Since, you are telling the truth, you should not have a problem with this. It’s quite scary if you are telling the truth, which I doubt. You will be a horrible doctor. I can tell people aren’t well-educated, or even educated, but with lower IQs, because if you were smart, you would be able to see through this chick and not be inspired by someone, simply, because they work out and are not fat, or tell you how horrible it is to be fat(in your mind). Bring your best self, does not have anything to do with working out, or being a certain size. Are you saying if people don’t work out, or are obese, that they aren’t their best selves? I know quite a few obese people who are quite successful, volunteer and have done great things for this world.

Just a Duck on

Sorry, obese isn’t fit.

sdb68 on

she may be fit she remains an obnoxious and judgmental woman, and is thus quite ugly inside.

nope on

go purge yourself.

attention whoredom is not the ideal role model for any child.

her bod is tight but the mind aint right.
as soon as she yapped “whats your excuse” I tuned her message out.

and no, I have no interest in purchasing the calendar or any other project this woman is involved in/.

Just Me on

Just what we need yet again, a 33 year old whom has not aged yet saying what you should look like as a mom. There are young moms, and there are older moms. There are younger women without children and there are older women without children. Listen, no woman complains of a body at 33. At least not usually. It is when that body that bore babies starts to AGE. And right now, you are able to maintain, and exercise, but for many busy moms that cannot be obtained. Also, not sure if your pregnancies were natural but I had ONE child from a necessary c-section. it looked GREAT at 33 years old. Now at 49? Not so much. Come on, shut your mouths if you are yourself still young, and your children are not grown yet. Let’s talk later.

Linda on

@goodluck – The ladies in the calendar are just like you and do everything you just listed, yet they are doing their best to get healthy. I’m sure you could do the same thing, too.

layla on

I don’t know why people equate ” health” with eating and exercising. I know people who eat clean, exercise and are sick and I know people who have always eaten crap, never exercised and have never gotten sick. Most of my family is the latter and have made it to 90. I think people need to think they are healthy, because they think if they exercise and eat what they think is good, then they will never get sick and never die. Plus, they can feel superior to other people. I just want to add, that the lady above who says she is a nurse and becoming a doctor; you don’t know what passive- aggressive is, so here’s the definition….

“Passive-aggressive behavior is the indirect expression of hostility, such as through procrastination, stubbornness, sullenness, or deliberate or repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible.”

— As you can see, it’s not what you accused the other person of.

pancake on

TLC – insulting and arguing with fellow commenters on a people mag comment board doesn’t demonstrate high intelligence, so this seems to be a good example of the pot calling the kettle black.

TLC. on

Pancake- Is that all you can come up with? Please tell me where I’m arguing and tell me how it demonstrates” low-intelligence.” It’s funny how her fans and Maria can’t take it when people say they aren’t intelligent, but yet they think it’s perfectly find to say things about obese people, people whom they think make excuses and those that don’t exercise, or eat the way they want them to eat. Why is that? Your comment is just proving that I’m right. Hate to tell you that!

Julia on

the biggest gifts you can give yourself are sleep, happiness, and a clean diet. Exercise is great, but just walking and not living at your desk is better than worrying about getting to the gym 3 times a week. Sleeeeep. Cherish it.

Albert Luppo on

Maria Kang, keep your spirit high, as beauty is on the inside of ones body. The outer shell that we all see is an attraction G-d has given ALL women to educate ALL men how beauty works. Beauty is and always will be on the inside, and shows itself in the sharing of values you offer and share. Good Luck, G-d Bless

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