Open a magazine and there’ll be a story about women and men the world over, from teenagers to athletes beating themselves up about their ‘not-quite-ideal’ body shape. Taryn Brumfitt has been there too and has decided to do something about this negativity, taking on the role of positive body image activist.
The 36-year-old Adelaide-based mother of three had an epiphany when her own negative body image led her down the cosmetic surgery path. ‘After committing to the cosmetic surgery I felt so much relief and joy, in fact I was ecstatic,’ explains Taryn. ‘I thought that having a perfect set of breasts and a flat tummy would make me happy.’
She thanks her daughter, Mikaela now aged eight, for making her realise the senselessness in trying to have the perfect body, but instead accept and love the one you have.
Through the positive Body Image Movement (BIM), and with the help of a team, she hopes to spread the message of self-love and acceptance to millions of people globally.
The premise behind the campaign is to encourage people to have a healthy relationship with their body. Taryn says that she hopes women in particular, will love and respect their bodies, feel liberated, free and joyous, irrespective of their colour, shape, size or abilities.
The movement gained recognition when Taryn posted ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of herself on her blog.
What created the deluge of comments was that the photos were reversed, unlike the ones usually posted. The ‘before’ image shows Taryn looking buff and competing in a Fitness Competition, and the ‘after’ image, of Taryn looking, well, the opposite of the former image.
‘Just because my body didn’t conform to the ‘ideal’ of what a healthy body looked like, I was judged, ridiculed and bullied,’ says Taryn. ‘I not only felt angry, I felt sad, sad that so many people were incredibly narrow minded when it came to the diversity of the human form.’
The comments, both positive and negative, created a sensation, but Taryn says she was surprised of being accused of promoting obesity and being unhealthy.
The release of her book Embrace earlier this year, enabled Taryn to tell her story with the ultimate goal to inspire others and create positive change on a global scale. ‘Writing Embrace was freeing and I was able to share so much without feeling rushed or compromised,’ she says.
Through Kickstarter, Taryn raised over $355,000 to fund a feature length documentary that aims to unite women across the globe to love their bodies. Embrace (the same name as the book) is an inspirational documentary that follows her journey from self-loathing to loving the body she’s in.
With both the book and documentary reiterating the BIM theme, the message is bound to get through!
Follow Taryn on Facebook at /bodyimagemovement
Article written by Toni Krasicki for the What’s New in Fitness Magazine – Winter 2015 Edition.