The Body Image Movement: Taryn Brumfitt


I recently had a chat with body love advocate Taryn Brumfitt of the Body Image Movement about why we should love our bodies no matter what stage of life we are at and how to love ourselves more.

Taryn, tell us how your journey to begin the Body Image movement began:
The Body Image Movement began because I wanted to share with other women the strategies I implemented to overcome my body image issues.

Loathing your body is very consuming, I felt like I was in a big hole and everything I did, including the relationships I had with people around me was affected by the mental theatre in my head. It was no way to live, so once I had transformed (eek that word!) from a body hater to a body lover I wanted other women to feel the goodness that I felt.

We love your Before and After photos can you explain the message behind these images?
Oh the before and after photo! What a stir this photo created! I remember distinctly the moment I posted this photo on facebook, it was Sunday night 9.18pm and I was ‘fluffing’ as I call it around on the computer. Within minutes of posting it had hundreds of likes. I knew immediately it was going to get a good response but never did I anticipate what would happen next. Over 3.5 million views, over 50,000 likes 18,000 shares, thousands of comments and an invite on to the TODAY show to discuss the reaction on live TV – woah baby!

The message behind the photos is very simple, you can love your body no matter what it looks like. Women have been brainwashed into thinking that you can only love your body when it is in “perfect” condition. My message and the message behind the photos is that it doesn’t matter what your body looks like you are capable of loving your body in any condition, overweight, underweight, tall, slim, with or without surgery, hey it doesn’t matter if your pink with purple polka dots – LOVE YOUR BODY at every stage at every age.

You’re all about being healthy as opposed to being ‘perfect’ can you explain what that means in real terms?
I think too often the emphasis of being perfect and looking a certain way is valued more than our health. My focus is to be the best I can be with what I have got. I treat and respect my body as a vehicle and not an ornament. I truly don’t give a rats (BEEP) about my wrinkles, cellulite or stretch marks. What I do care about is being here for a long time, and giving my body the best opportunity to do just that comes in the form of prioritising health over beauty. As for perfection, well pfft there is no such thing!

How do you achieve being healthy amongst all of the other demands of your busy family life?
Well it’s not always easy and I don’t always do it well but I do try and make it a priority in my life. Firstly let me say that I think women can be incredibly hard on themselves. We do such an amazing job at juggling one million things at the same time I don’t think we need to give ourselves a hard time about not getting it right 100% of the time. (speaking of juggling, I am currently typing these words out on my laptop, driving on the I15 freeway to Las Vegas whilst directing my husband to take the next exit and telling the 3 kids in the back to stop fighting. The little ones have become accustomed to a DVD player in the back of the car and trips are usually silent and peaceful but this hire car has no DVD player, so it’s on like donkey kong back there) Anyway, where was I? Rant over! Oh that’s right, us women are freaking fabulous!
Here are my top 3 tips on how to maintain good health amongst the chaos of a busy family life.
Preparation is key. One skill that I learnt from my short stint in body building was preparation and organisation is the key to success when it comes to healthy eating. I usually spend a large chunk of one day in the week, chopping, cutting and preparing food for the following week. As I drink a green smoothie every day I like to have all the spinach washed, cut and bagged (snap locked in individual bags) in the freezer. I also make large batches of sandwiches for the kids and freeze them, I pull them out each day as required. I also cut up fruit and leave it in the fridge for a couple of days and use as required. ( snacks, school/kindy lunch boxes)

Prioritise your needs first. You know when you’re on a plane and told to in an emergency to put your mask on before you help infants, well same applies for you in your everyday life. Women and mothers in particular need to start putting themselves first, without any guilt. Think about a time when you’ve been sick and the impact that it has had on your family, huge – right? Imagine if you became very sick ( a nasty disease or illness) imagine how your family would cope without you. We need to be very accountable to our health, our roles are so vital. To do this, we need to prioritise time for ourselves, time to engage in physical activity, time to spend in the kitchen making nutritious meals and snacks and time to breathe, meditate or whatever activity you do to relax.

Get out of bed just a teeny bit earlier and start your day off on a good note by eating a healthy balanced breakfast. Breakfast is KEY to good health and I don’t just mean grabbing a bowl of sugar laden boxed cereal. At least 3 mornings a week I scramble some eggs and enjoy with a slice of toast and avocado. Other mornings it might be oat and chia pancakes and when I am really pushed for time I grab a bowl of homemade muesli. People often say to me “ I don’t have time to make myself eggs for breakfast” , my response to that is this “ It takes no more than 5 minutes, I know this because I have timed it myself, you pop a piece of toast in the toaster, you slice some avocado, and you scramble a couple of eggs like a mad women on a mission, throw it in the pan, cook and eat. If you can’t invest 5 minutes in your own health to start the day positively then you need to look at your priorities.” Harsh but true.

You recently travelled with your kids to Disneyland did you find being ‘healthy’ challenging while travelling, how did you address this?
Yes at times I found it challenging because when we stayed in Anaheim we didn’t have a car which meant that we were a little stranded. I had really good intentions to hit the “Wholefoods” supermarket the day that we arrived in L.A so I could be prepared with lots of fresh and healthy snacks, but it didn’t happen. Instead I had to grab goodness wherever and however I found it. For example the corner 711 supermarket sold bags of raw nuts, I found some green barley grass powder at the supermarket, Disneyland had (overpriced) but delicious fruit and most of the diners that we ate in were very accommodating for our specific dietary needs. ( my sisters daughter has Coeliac Disease)
One of the great aspects of eating in America ( as a result of their tipping system) is that you can almost ask for anything on the menu but prepared the way you want it. As an example, for breakfast I would mix and match about 5 different menu items to make up my perfect breakfast. On many occasions I ordered scrambled egg whites with spring onions and avocado, a side of mushrooms strawberries and blueberries. The servers might look at you in a certain way but trust me they don’t care if you ordered pickles and ice-cream, for as long as you tip them well!
I think the key to healthy eating is being organised so that you are always armed with healthy options. One thing we did do each day was pack a little backpack of healthy foods (fruit, nuts and muesli bars) and lots of water. At least then we weren’t always at the mercy of the sugar filled, colourful and quite often scary treats that were on offer – EVERYWHERE we looked! ( or so it seemed!)

What tips do you have for Mums wanting to start living a more healthy lifestyle?
The first thing I want Mums to know is that you have the power to change your life. If there is an aspect of your life that you are not happy about, then you CAN do something about it. (and by golly I don’t want to alarm you but NOW is the time to do it, life is tick tick ticking away!)
Here is an activity that you can do with yourself. (you might feel a little loopy doing it at first but trust me, it can be a very powerful tool to tap into).
So find some quiet time and a cuppa and have a conversation with yourself. If you are not where you want to be in terms of your wellness, lifestyle and health, ask yourself why and what it is that’s missing. (for example, it might be exercise, or time to yourself) From there you need to “road map” the steps you need to take to get to your goal. Don’t overcomplicate it, keep it really simple. On the subject of goal setting and achieving outcomes, as important as it is to have a detailed step by step plan it is as crucial to know where and how you might become unstuck along the way. Work out your pressure points, explore parts of the plan that are a little weak and ensure there is always good support and a back up strategy.
Ok so you can probably tell I am big fan of goal setting and it is something I LOVE to talk about in my presentations and workshops but I know you are after some real life practical ways to a healthier lifestyle, so in no particular order here is a bunch of my favourite tips:

Drink green smoothies ( check out my favourite recipe on the BIM website)
Eat protein for breakfast and throughout the day.
Make time for yourself, don’t be a martyr, you DESERVE it!
Have a good laugh – don’t take life too seriously, we are only here for such a short time, so let go and enjoy the ride.
Get 8 hours sleep a night. (Pfft yeah right! No I am serious, do try! I am constantly working on this one!)
Move that body – exercise regularly.
Eat Clean – ditch the processed foods.
Hydrate your body by drinking lots of water.
Be kind to yourself. You are what you are, you have what you have, now go and be the best version of yourself that you can be!

What tips do you have for other mums who are struggling with their self-image?
The first thing I want to say to Mums is that you are not alone and STOP being so hard on yourselves and START being kind to yourself. We live in a world that constantly tells us that we aren’t good enough, that we should look a certain way, that happiness comes from looking like a supermodel, that ageing is offensive and so on and so on. It comes as no surprise to me that so many women struggle with their body image given the pressures that society, media and advertising put us under.
On the Body Image Movement website I have prepared my top 10 tips for a positive body image, click here for more details

You’ve recently released an ebook on body image and self love, what can we expect from this guide?
Quite simply the Body Lovin’ Guide is a booked filled with helpful hints on learning to love your body from the inside out.
I put together the ebook because I wanted to provide a “quick and easy to read guide” for all the people that wrote to me, called me and messaged me saying “ I want to love my body but I don’t know how!” I wanted to attack the body image issue with a multi disciplinary approach, the mind and the body, so I invited Dr Emma Johnston – Clinical Psychologist and Sonia Osborne – Food and Nutrition Coach to contribute to the book.
The guide is 50 pages long, it’s easy to read, (it’s pretty with lots of photos) and it’s had an overwhelmingly positive response from the women that have purchased it. Some women have written to me and said the book was life changing. (That made my heart swell!)
With the purchase of the Body Lovin’ Guide (BLG) you are given access to a private Facebook group called the BLG community. This is a safe, friendly and supportive space where women can share their goals, discuss their issues, share recipes and best of all ( said with a cheeky smile) get support and advice from Emma, Sonia and myself.
I LOVE the community we are building and the positive stories that are shared amongst the group are inspiring. The women in the BLG community are from all over the world, which makes it’s all the more interesting.

Where can we find out more about you and your story? Website?

You can find out more about my story by visiting the Body Image Movement website and keep up to date with the movement through Facebook. On the website you can read about My Journey, from Bright Lights and Porno Shoes to Suppository’s and Sanitary Pads – there’s never a dull moment!
I ask and encourage all of you to help me in this movement because I can’t do it alone and god only knows a movement is what women of the world need right now. (and especially our daughters) Please LIKE the Facebook page, sign up to the movement on the website, purchase the Body Lovin’ Guide, be kind to yourselves and love your body…starting right….NOW!

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