Maria Kang did something that most proud moms do from time to time: She posted a photo on Facebook of herself and her kids.
However, there is one thing that's vastly different from the usual family photo. Kang is wearing a fitness bra and shorts and proudly shows off a beautiful physique, with her sons flanking her. Above that, the caption read "What's Your Excuse?"
Since posting the photo, it's garnered over 21,000 shares and 33,000 comments. They range from "You go, girl!" to "You're fat-shaming the rest of us." It's also made the rounds on the internet, sparking a variety of conversations about "healthy" fitness. Many commenters have also accused Kang of being a "bad" mother, saying that she couldn't have a such a fit body and also take proper care of her children.
After the reaction, Kang posted what she calls her "first and final apology" on the pic on Facebook, saying the negative perception about her photo is just that: A personal reaction.
"I'm sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way," the update read.
"What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It's Yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn't create them. You created them. So if you want to continue 'hating' this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life. You can either blame, complain or obtain a new level of thought by challenging the negative words that come out of your own brain."
Maria also answered a variety of questions from people on her own website, such as 'Do you work?" and "How did you lose weight?"
Kang said on CNN's New Day Saturday that she intended for the photo to be inspiring, not shaming.
"A lot of people have a lot of excuses about why they're overweight," Kang said. "It was an open-ended, thought-provoking question to inspire others to work out."
Kang has had an online following since 2005. In the past, she worked as a model and now owns her own business. On her website, she explains her fitness evolution in detail, explaining that learning to take care of her body was a long process.
"There's a big fallacy about being healthy," Kang says. "I don't know what's going on with other people's lives. I'm saying do what you can to be a role model for your kids. I'm a good mom. I'm choosing to be healthy for my kids. I won't say 'I'm overweight because I give everything to my kids and I don't make myself a priority.' That shouldn't be the message we should be sending America or our family."