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'Fit Mom,' 3 years later: I gained weight, struggle with motivation to work out

Three years after her provocative "what's your excuse" photo, 'Fit Mom' Maria Kang has discovered that fitness can't always be a priority.
/ Source: TODAY

Remember “Fit Mom”? You may also know her as “What's your excuse” mom, or possibly just, “Ughhhh, THAT mom.”

Maria Kang grabbed national attention three years ago when she posted a photo of herself in a sports bra and tiny shorts, proudly showing off a skinny and toned body, posed next to her three children with the caption “What’s your excuse?”

If you looked at that and thought, “Karma’ll catch up to her,” well, you were right.

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No excuses mom has had a tough year, apparently. She told People magazine that she’s gained 10 whole pounds!

Before you play the world’s tiniest violin for Fit Mom, read what else she told People:

“I stopped feeling beautiful. Like most moms, my hair is always in a bun, my life is always on the go and my fitness goals are always one of my last priorities. I struggled with motivation, I’ve gained some weight and am experiencing difficult marital challenges. I let the world consume me this last year. I let events, people and things influence my perception of myself and I literally felt broken.”

That’s hard. It sounds like a perfectly reasonable explanation — excuse, even — for why maintaining toned abs would not be one’s highest priority.

It’s too bad she had to experience this sort of struggle before she could imagine it. It’s too bad that personal experience had to precede understanding.

And yes, she still looks like that. But nice-looking bikini photos don't protect you from pain. While schadenfreude is so tempting, I am sorry she is unhappy. Ten pounds is nothing, but that feeling like you’ve lost yourself or are broken — many of us know it. And if you don’t, life is long: Maybe you will.

When it happens to you, hopefully, you find your way back. You struggle and you work and you fall down and you get back up and you take tiny steps every day toward finding the unbroken version of yourself that makes you feel proud and happy again. If you’re lucky, you have people who help and who inspire the true you, not the picture-perfect façade you post online.

I hope Fit Mom finds her way back to happiness. And I hope she can be kind to herself in the meantime. For all of us, it’s a reminder that there’s always more to a story than meets the eye. And not being kind to each other? There’s no excuse for that.

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Rebecca Dube is the editor of TODAY Parents and the TODAY Parenting Team. As a busy mother of two, she likes to multitask by doing crunches while folding laundry. Just kidding, she multitasks by eating cupcakes while reading email.