My reponse to “You’re promoting obesity”..

A couple of weeks ago I appeared on Sunrise. The segment was on body confidence, celebrating diversity and loving your body from the inside out. I was returning home on Friday so Thursday night I was flying solo and took myself out for a celebratory burger at the pub.

You can find the video here.

And here’s what some people had to say:

(Imagine reading these comments whilst eating a burger!)

“A lot of fat women use having given birth to children as an excuse…. that’s the reality.”

“How attractive, fat and stretch marks, cover that up, I just ate.”

“Sorry, I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s attractive or appropriate.”

“There is clearly a fat epidemic that there never used to be. It’s from lack of exercise except when lifting hand to mouth. Stop being PC and just say it how it is… no excuses.”

“Sorry but if your (sic) overweight you don’t have curves. That’s just excess fat hanging of your body.”

“Embracing Big Macs more like it.”

 

Magazine Cover

 

 

Yep, there will always be trolls who lurk around waiting to pounce and shit on someone’s story, body or life; that’s just the way it is in this digital world we live in. And for the most part I’m ok with the trolls.

However, there is one thing that is starting to get on my goat, and I’m noticing it more and more. This comment: “You are promoting obesity, this is not healthy.” Give me “You’re a fat pig” and “You’re ugly” any day, but please please stop with the promoting obesity comments.

Let me tell you why: Firstly, NO ONE can judge a person’s health by his or her appearance. Your appearance, size or weight does not dictate your health. I always think about my brother when I talk on this subject.

 

 

This is a photo of my brother, Jason:

jason 1
Jason with Sean Penn, playing his double in the Thin Red Line.

He died of a heroin overdose 11 years ago and yet in my mind I can still see his face in the coffin like it was yesterday. In the earlier years of Jason’s addiction, most people would’ve passed him in the street and thought what a handsome, strong and healthy man he was. The reality was that he was far from healthy; his young body was suffering and he was on the road to death. But the assumptions were there; I would see them and I would hear them. Being thin isn’t always indicative of good health and it certainly wasn’t in my brother’s case.

Assumptions of someone’s health are widespread when it comes to size, age, weight and fitness. And mostly they are wrong. Let me give you another example.

A few months ago I posted this photo online and I was praised for being fit, a healthy role model and in good shape:

fit Mum

A week later, in the same physical condition, I posted this photo:

lazy fat mum

I was labelled FAT, LAZY and OVERWEIGHT! Huh, appearances are deceiving again as I was and I am the SAME PERSON! The perceptions were certainly not the reality and I took great pleasure in advising some people the photos were taken just a week apart (insert high five!)

You see, health to me means so much more than just physicality; it also encompasses spiritual and emotional health too.  Our mothers have taught us that you can’t judge a book by its cover and they are so right, we need to add to that pearl of wisdom that you cannot judge a person’s health by their appearance.

So EVERYONE please stop judging others based on their looks.It’s not our job, it’s not our place and it’s not our business. And as for you trolls, I’ll think of you next year as I take my healthy, wobbly belly across my first triathlon finish line. I’ll remember to salute you with my middle finger teamed with a positive and chirpy, “Go f*ck yourself!”

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HAVE YOU EMBRACED YET?

Ashton Kutcher has….Rosie O’Donnell has….my Dad has! See the trailer that 5.7 MILLION people have watched in under 2 weeks. We are planning on creating global change right HERE!

Embrace photo

 

 

  • Cathy S

    Great read – great post! Like most of us, I too know someone who is really thin but has no fitness or any strength whatsoever. So, you go girl – give them curry (BTW gotta love a good curry!). And I wish you all the best for your tri next year – I too am entering my fit, healthy jiggling bits in a sprint tri for the first time next year.

  • cinta

    Good on ya love your confidence and passion

  • Paulene

    Who cares about the knockers. You seriously look great.

  • Kristie Szabo

    Well said, I have always enjoyed your page…my tummy is just like yours and no matter how much I exercise it’ll always be flabbing as that’s what a 11.1pd baby did to me :-)

    • Caitlyn Beamish

      I agree you look great. I have had 2 children and I was always in shape and was in shape after both of them were born. My youngest is now 5 years old but sometimes even exercise wont change the loose skin on your lower tummy after child birth, But if I wear the right clothes you could never tell I have a tummy. I would rather have my kids any day over my pre-pregnancy body!

  • Tia Estes

    Hi Taryn, I just wanted to let you know how much you inspire me. For a long time I’ve been seeing encouragement for women that don’t fit the mold, but not necessarily for women with awful stretch marks. Mine are pretty terrible. I was diagnosed with ITP during my first pregnancy seven years ago and had to take up to 80ml a day of Prednisone. I have stretch marks EVERYWHERE. My boobs (poor things), my tummy, my outer thighs, my inner thighs, even smaller ones on my inner arms. Not to mention all the lovely loose skin that accompanied these. I’m not even overweight by much. At 5’8″ and 156 lbs I think I look pretty good except for the stretch marks and loose skin, and I have felt like I needed to hide my body by wearing loose fitting clothes and NEVER wear a bikini again. It’s hard enough for me to wear shorts! But anyway, I just really wanted to let you know that you have made me feel like none of that matters, like I am a beautiful and soon-to-be confident woman. Thank you so so much!

  • Terri morstatter

    Thank you for what you’re doing you beautiful woman!I think you are courageous,beautiful, and very funny.I’m very sorry about the loss of your brother.Cheering you on from st.Louis Missouri!YOU ROCK!

  • Genevieve Black

    You are my new hero!

  • Lorriann

    I love this post (and the one I saw earlier today with the “before and after”) which led me to your blog. I am a writer, and as I get older, I find myself focusing more on the unrealistic expectations set up for women at every stage of life. Now that I am over forty, I feel pressure to look much younger than that. I just keep asking myself why is there constant imagery telling us to be something that we are not? That what we are as women will always fall short of the mark?

  • jetta

    Just want to say i freakin love you and you rock!!!!

  • Jessica Robertson

    Right on!! ~ Jessica Robertson.. Fat and happy.. Pretty healthy for a fat girl too!

  • Candy Williams

    Eh, people are a**holes. One just has to keep their head up and keep moving forward. You’ve done a great job of doing just that!

  • I agree. For some reason in the last 10-15 years the media has decided that people have the right to judge each other based on pure physical appearances. Gone are the days when we were encouraged to seek for a person true beauty by looking under the skin. People now feel obliged to feel embarrassed for you if you are fat and treat you as if there is something bad or wrong with you.

    The fact is that a majority of people are not actually smart enough to figure out that this kind of judging is false let alone even look for the real truth of people. People seem to get their opinions from magazines and word of mouth instead of looking for facts or trusting their own experience.

    It is very sad indeed especially since it encourages people to treat people who are fat as if they are doing something wrong to society. Like they are to blame for something. As far as I can see it is now acceptable to hate on people who do not run or go to the gym or diet constantly. It is very sad indeed.

    On a positive note, I am glad that you are making the stand that you do. You are standing up for being realistic, accepting and rational. You are encouraging people to stop judging others based on the media’s version of acceptable. That in my book is not only courageous but heroic.

    Well done!

  • Sarah

    I think you and what you are doing is amazing. Of course obesity is not healthy, it stresses your body physically and emotionally, BUT a lot of overeating and unhealthy eating habits come from a shame and hate of oneself… The MOST important thing in being a healthy person is loving yourself inside and out, and if you are overweight in a way that is physically unhealthy, but you love yourself- it is way more likely you will make better choices about eating nutritiously and staying active… good diet and a healthy amount of excercie are good and important for everyone, but no matter what you’re shape or size, if you do not love you than you are not healthy.

    Thank you for not being scared of sharing your “flaws” like stretch marks and cellulite. I think you and what you are doing is beautiful :)

  • Kevin Scully

    Outstanding!! I am in my 28th year as a physical education teacher. I have professed your take on health and fitness for many years. I have seen the terrible effect that media and society in general have had on teen girls and children in general. These children have been fed a never ending message of “thin is healthy”, and the damage it inflicts on young girls and adult women is obscene!
    My beautiful wife has gained weight after mothering our two children and I have been telling her for many years now that she is more beautiful than when we were married twenty -one years ago. She howevr, does not feel desirable or sexy because of the stigma attached to the majority of less than perfect women by a man-lead world of lies.
    Taryn, you are not only beautiful, but an excellent role model for your own children and the millions of young girls and mothers in the world who suffer nedleesly at the hand of the man-controlled media machine.
    Keep sending your excellent meassage to the world-I plan to use your story to support my Human Growth and Development class this year to show my students that I am not crazy and their value is not based on the size of their clothing or the number on a scale!
    God bless you and please keep up the good fight!!

    • Fiona

      Kevin, do you have a brother?!!!!

  • Carolyn

    I just love you!!! Thank you for being brave and posting the truth.

  • Kim

    You, my dear, are awesome. Thank you!

  • kat

    I know this isn’t the point, but you’re so pretty! I’m glad more women are showing what normal, healthy bodies look like.

  • Jennifer

    You are awesome and so is your message. Thank you from all the mothers out there who would rather spend the time they do have with their children than in a gym. I work over an hour away from work most days of the week and am away from the house for 12-13 hours a day – so when I get home – the few hours I do have with my 20 month old daughter are my time with her and not to be spent in the gym. I try to fix healthy meals for her and my husband and get outside and play with her in the yard when the weather is nice – swinging or chasing a ball around the yard. I know what hard work and exercise can do for a body the healthy way. There needs to be more positive messages to our girls out there that they should be comfortable in their own skin. Its sad to see young girls who hate and obsess over their bodies at such young ages. I want my daughter to see that yes you should be healthy but its all about a balance and confidence in who you are because not everyone is the same and looks the same and you should treat everyone with respect – and most of all for them to respect their bodies and love themselves for who they are.

  • Kirsten

    I adore you! We need a website for nothing but pics like these two!! Hundreds of healthy strong Mammas showing a little perspective to the world so we can stop abusing each other. I’m an OB nurse and I gotta tell you… Birth and bodies are MAGNIFICENT!! Thank you for this

  • Sarah Tate

    I love your views on body image and health! I hope your posts continue to get attention. In my early 20’s I had a knee injury that took me away from running and other forms of exercise and my muscular strong average size body transformed to a skinny weak body. I had so many people make comments about how great I looked and even had people approach me about modeling. It was so disturbing to me! I didn’t feel beautiful. I could barely walk up a flight of stairs and couldn’t enjoy so many of the activities I loved. A few years later I joined a gym and when I sat down with a trainer, they asked me my goals. I said, “I want to be able to run 3 miles at a 6:30 pace.” And, he kept pushing me to talk about how I wanted to transform my body. People’s perception of health definitely needs to change. Keep going with your message!!

  • Katie

    I’m from the US, I’ve just discovered you, and I love you. I’m on a journey to return to a healthier weight after having 2 children. I am trying to get back on the eating healthy and exercising road. But I want to do it while respecting my current body. And respecting what it did. 2 babies grew inside of me and I nourished them with my breasts afterwards. Pretty incredible! I’m tired of hating my body because my society tells me it’s ugly. My body is awesome! I’m thankful for what it was able to do. I believe you ARE in fact promoting healthy ideals. MUCH, MUCH healthier than the ideals my society tells us should be the norm. Where women binge and vomit to feel good about themselves, and suffer from depression because they can’t measure up to the highly doctored images on magazine covers. You are awesome! Please keep doing what you’re doing!

  • You are a rare breed Taryn, and refreshing because you are a real person with nothing to sell except your reality. Well done and thank you. On the rare occasions I watch the commercial breakfast shows (7, 9, 10) I wail to my husband that all the female presenters wear skirts designed to show off their legs – even in winter. Are spray tanned to within an inch of their lives. Seem to never wear anything except sleeveless tops (again even in winter) and yet these are the devils you have to dance with to get your message through. The media, in all its forms, are a huge part of the problem. Many of them are keen to jump on board the ‘body image’ bandwagon, yet themselves sold their souls years ago. Is there anyone on tv who has not had botox, who does not wear those killer heels. I’d love you to ask them that the next time you get the opportunity. Thank you Taryn, many women are right behind you. I don’t have kids but I do have a wobbly belly and a husband who loves me. Life is so short and women and men are already under enough pressure in one way or another. Thank you for your courage and I hope in time, the tipping point will be reached and we can simply be ourselves, warts, wrinkles, fatty-layers and all! Good luck and I look forward to seeing you help us progress on this important journey – and not just pay lip-service to it, the way so many of media types do. They talk about it, but they continue to perpetuate the myth that looks are more important than substance. You go girl!

  • You go girl! How sad it is that in today’s society people still feel the need to belittle others because of their own insecurities and idea of what is the correct appearance. I don’t know anyone that’s perfect but I sure as know a lot of amazing women who are smart and beautiful. Fuck enjoy your burger and keep promoting the good body image movement. x

    PS can’t wait for you to cross the finish line.

  • Kelly

    It’s 11:21pm and I was just about to turn off the light and saw your post- it was just what I needed to read…. Loved it… All of it and then giggled to myself at your last line, perfect ending! Turn your trolls into Moles I say – it sums up all those nasty ass bitches. Double high five, keep up the great work! :-)

  • Alix Gallop

    From over here in Canada, I am also spreading your message. For those people comment that negatively, especially that you are promoting unhealthy living, hide behind a computer screen, ashamed to reveal how truly shallow and pathetic they are. Likely they realize that they are ugly on the inside and therefore focus on on their appearance. It is truly mind boggling that people would rather someone have surgery to remove the scars of carrying a child than acknowledge that those are the only traces that a mother has that she once carried her children in her body and brought them into the world.
    Being prejudice towards people who carry weight differently is not different that racism, sexism, etc… Lastly, those critical people need to realize that there is a huge difference between health and weight. Obesity is most often a result of poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle not by having a different body frame than the models do. For example, my husband has a very slim, and trim body with no fat on it and yet eats all the junk he wants and never gains a pound. I eat much better than he does and am much more active and yet I am not skinny like he is. NOTHING TO DO PROMOTING AN UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLE!! I want my daughter to learn my lifestyle (even with my “love handles and all!) rather than my husbands. Taryn, if you are what it means to be fat and lazy then I WILL CONTINUE TO BE FAT AND LAZY TOO!!

  • Lori

    Thank you for being who you are and helping me be who I am. Your words are uplifting. I am so critical of myself. Reading your words reminds me of what I value in life.

  • Veronica

    I think that individuals that are especially convinced that socially constructed ideas of beauty are the only examples of beauty may particularly offended by Taryns confidence. You are truly one of my favorite journalist/activist & i absolutely adore your sassiness :D

  • Kirsty

    Well said!! You are fantastic, inside and out.. The trolls are just jealous that you are so much more confident then they are.. Way to go.. Good luck with the triathlon

  • Emma

    Thank you for your honesty, knowledge and helping me to realise that I am ok! I have an older sister who is taller than me and very thin. She gets all the looks when we are walking down the street. I am 5ft 5 in and carry 3 kilos of extra weight around my tummy. I have had two children and my sister has had none. Unfortunately for my sister, she is a heavy smoker, drinks copious amounts if coffee and doesn’t eat much at all, yet people think she is healthy because she is slim. Me on the other hand…. I run, lift weights and eat a relatively heathy and well balanced diet. So to all you “judge a book by its cover” people out there…. “Go f**k yourself”!!!
    Keep up the good work xxxx

  • coryn smith

    wow, you are amazing, love what you are doing, i cant believe people can be so bloody mean and speak through a hole in you know what. xx

  • I love reading your blog posts and had to giggle at the burger eating reference.
    People need to hear that their bodies do not define who they are and body shaming for any shape or size is NOT okay and never has been.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Catherine

    Im so glad I came across your website when I did. Im a mum to a 21mth and 6mth (who i am breastfeeding) girls. I am having issues with my weight… even though i am pre pregnancy weight of what I was when I fell pregs the 2nd time, I put on weight after the birth of my first (no breastfeeding there) and quite frankly i feel my body is horrendous. Cant seem to lose weight even though im breastfeeding… the only time i did is when i was struck down with gastro and lost 5 kilos in 5 days… sadly they all came back.

    i’ve favourited this site and when i’m feeling down (like right now) i will come back and browse your awesome wisdom and wish it for myself.

    Thanks!! you truly are an inspiration and i look forward to reading more of your stories – they are a crackup!! :)

  • L

    I fucking love you :p

    • Taryn Brumfitt

      LOL Thanks!! x

  • Joan from Australia’s capital.

    Those who find life tough can bleat sick stuff. If only those who attack u for being ‘real’ got ‘real’ to self-heal. Asking,”Why am I driven so?” will lead them to know. Those who strive to be ‘real’ give the best deal. Bravo brave Mama.

  • Becca in Seattle

    I’m a bit late on finding this post, but AMEN!! People these days, especially women, feel some inherent obligation to talk shit to anyone (from behind a keyboard, naturally) who is ever so slightly different from themselves. It’s really a damn shame. I’m a type 1 diabetic single mother struggling with my weight as I work my way through dental hygienist school so that I can pull off welfare and support me son & myself. I hear people DAILY railing against women on welfare, single mothers, slut-shaming, and most of all, laying down the hammer on anyone with more than an inch to pinch. We’re all different! Some women snap right back to Victorias Secret shape 2 months after the baby (although I have to seriously suspect there was a well paid team of surgeons involved), some just have great genetics.

    Then there are those of us with genetics like my poor mama. After 5 kids (4 pregnancies, including one with big twins) her stomach looked like a stretched out empty sack that had been attacked by a tiger. I always knew I wouldn’t have a “bikini belly” after my pregnancy. I wound up with an emergency cesarean section delivery, and have still not been able to recover the muscle in the 3 years since. My stomach is hideous. But you know something?? I have a beautiful son, who is far more attractive of the children of those shit talkers. So, I win :D

    Truly, I couldn’t care less what other people think. However, occasionally, it really gets at me. It certainly helps when someone sees that I’m down and reminds me that I’m still a worthwhile human being. And that’s why I say, YOU GO GIRL!!!! You look freaking fantastic!! Good on ya for not succumbing to plastic surgery or anorexia to fulfill someone else’s ideals. The only opinions that should matter are those of your children, and your own. (Anyone else should really probably be more concerned with his or her own well being and that of their children.) Thank you for being real!!!

  • Cherice

    THANK YOU!

  • Bill

    The problem is you do not seem to be aware or choose not to share the health problems associated with obesity. they are real. people do not need to look like photoshopped cover models, but there is a line that people should not cross – where peoples weight puts there health and wellbeing at risk. by not acknowledging this in your articles and posts you are misleading your followers and when their problems affect their health,they won’t be thanking you for patting them on their fat back.

    • Serena

      No where do I read Taryn promoting unhealthy eating, lack of exercise or encouraging us all to become “obese”.. the message I get is for us to embrace/accept our saggy, jiggly, stretched-to-the-max-exbaby-growing-rooms, our “tiger stripes” and our milk cafes. Where does it say for us to throw away the running shoes and lie back on the couch eating a slimy pizza while watching tv? It doesnt. Healthy inside and out regardless of the extra stripes, saggier skin and wobbly bits. Seems you may have missed the intent … Which i. exactly why this movement is required! Tarryn isnt the one misleading anyone. Wishing you a happy healthy life.

    • Mel

      Actually, by promoting that women should learn to love their bodies and the skin they’re in, they are far more likely to take care of it by eating properly and getting good healthy exercise. The fact is, most obese people have gotten there, either from some health problem or, more likely, self hatred. Teach someone to care for themselves and they will take care of the whole package far more effectively

  • Krista McLean

    I think you are a beautiful woman and I love the positive message you have for everyone. I too have jiggle bits and to most people I’m sure I still look over weight and out of shape, but I have been on a two year kick of being healthy and eating better and have managed to lose 40 lbs. It certainly hasn’t been easy and I’m not at my goal just yet, but in time I’ll get there. I even entered a Spartan Race this past year and had tons of fun, it was only 5kms, but I so dislike running lol! I will be doing another 5km run in June, got suckered into that one! I think you are fabulous and wish you all the best in your triathlon :-)

  • Amazing how quickly people are to judge. It’s the courage you’ve shown, by showing your skin, that scares people. Underneath, we’re all the same. You just aren’t letting anyone eat your grapes. Haha, wait, not because I think you’re overweight and don’t share your food… It’s a new post I just wrote. I never even got any grapes. http://blendra.com/talk/whos-eating-your-grapes

    I love your blog!!

  • Geri

    It cracks me up that every time I go to the doc or go get preventative test… they always do blood pressure and glucose screening twice… like I tricked them the first time.. lol. I am very over weight ..like 100 lbs. But I eat healthy and I am as active as I can be. My glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol and stress test all come back great… just because I’m fat it doesn’t mean I’m lazy or unhealthy… it means physically I can not work off the 1000 calories I take in a day. So be nice you skinny people.. you may need my help one day. ;)

  • Amy

    Go lady!! One of my biggest pet peaves is the ‘assumption’ that you’re unfit, unhealthy and ‘lazy’ based on appearances alone. My body is half the size it used to be, and my fitness is fabulous – but my physicality doesn’t always reflect that, given my skin won’t shrink back in having been stretched the way it was. It pains me that I’m judged based on that, when someone knows NOTHING of my heartache, struggles and overcoming major weightloss ups and downs.

    I commend you for your bravery on standing up and saying our bodies are awesome “just as they are!”…. lumps, bumps, marks and muscles!!! Blow the negatives. May reality come and swiftly kick them up the bum…

    Keep going!! Your work is needed!!

    ~ Amy @ aimtochange.com.au :)

  • Thank you for being such a wonderful and brave role model for girls and women of all ages and walks of life. As a psychologist specialising in eating disorders and body image difficulties, I work by the Health At Every Size approach which essentially sounds like what you are advocating. This approach is often very foreign to my patients, but when they embrace it, their lives and relationship to their body and food changes significantly! It is great that as a community we are moving towards increased knowledge and awareness of this truth. We are grateful to have a voice like yours!

  • Enchanted

    Good on you. Toxic sodium fluoride added to our water is making people obese, it inhibits the thyroid. It’s a crime its added to our water. Huge link with cancer and hundreds of other diseases. Mixed with baby formual…my mind boggles. Cruel.
    As far as you go. Correct. What a gal. Personally I wouldn’t flaunt my belly after babies, but I have no problem with you flaunting yours. I was raised pretty modestly and I could possibly be more vain too, or too old. Regardless, rock on. We need more women like you, real women. I think any man would find you sexy, purely with that killer smile and rock n roll hair! You are a gorgeous, wonderful woman and real too :)

  • Where do these crazy trolls come from? Thank you for fighting them!! I wish they didn’t get to me.

  • Nikki

    Whoever wrote some of these messages has clearly never had a baby or worked in a maternity ward – it takes 9 months for your body to produce a baby, it’s going to take at least that long to get back to normal. What I see here in this picture IS NOT OBESITY (that made me angry too) it’s a very normal picture of a woman who has had a few kids. Do people not get that skin has to stretch when you’re carrying a little person inside you???

  • Katy

    You are amazing! I am one of those naturally skinny bitches and I hate when other women openly compare themselves to me, because well being a tiny girl is just 1.its not all its cracked up to be and 2. No matter how hard some people try they can never be 100lbs and eat whatever they want. I am a “freak” and shouldn’t be looked at like “the standard”. I feel like you do about healthy body image and truely we are all different and should embrace whatever God gave us. Keep on shining <3

  • Liz

    Have you seen this? http://asklaurenfleshman.com/2013/11/keeping-it-real/ A very similar idea.

  • Carolynn

    I think young women AND young men ought to be aware of what a woman’s body truly looks like, post-baby-making. I really had no idea, and my own insecurities after giving birth the first time nearly ended our marriage. We married very young (130lbs at 19) and had our first child 1 month after our first anniversary (at 20). While I could get back into my own jeans in a few weeks postpartum- which I was told was the “goal” after giving birth- I had this saggy, hangy, belly with red wrinkly stripes bisecting me from hips to breasts. The skin never did tighten up.

    And, since then, I’ve known many women whose skin didn’t ‘bounce back’ as we’ve all been promised it would- and I can’t seem to find a photoshopper to follow me around in real life. ;)

    I am almost 39 now, I’ve made 2 big babies (that first was 9lbs 8oz, and the second was 11lbs 5oz), and I am proud to say that I am still married to that man who loved me when we were kids. Even with the weight gain, and yes, the saggy striped belly. A number of health problems have also added to my weight. I’ll even be honest- inspired by you- and go on record saying that I now weigh 195.

    While I try not to let it define me and I’m not proud of it, it’s taken a very long time to be even just “ok” living in this body. I admire the courage it must have taken for Taryn to have literally put herself out there like this. You ARE a wonderful role model for today’s youth, who are bombarded with unreal images and expectations of “beauty”.

    Real beauty comes with LIFE. LIFE marks your body as time goes on. Each year gives your body more history. Stretch marks. Scars. Jiggly bits. Muscles. Hair in odd places. Beautiful eye crinkles. Heck, even freckles and moles. But each new thing means we’ve LIVED another year!! That is how I learned to find my own beauty, and how I finally found love of my own body, as un-beautiful as it is my American standards.

    Thank you for sharing your beauty so honestly. If no one else needed it, I surely did. Self-acceptance and a positive body image is kind of an on-going journey… some days, I can’t find it. Today, you helped me to accept me.

    Thank you, thank you.

    With the utmost respect and gratitude,
    mamaCarolynn

  • velma gilbert

    I am so pleased by this . I am considered ‘slim/delicate because I have a small bone structure…and am normally small. However, I also have a chronic illness that keeps me from gaining much….and am forever hearing things like ‘oh, you don’t have to worry – you’re always Thin and beautiful’ ….or ‘you don’t have to worry about what you eat , you’re always so tiny. I have been pregnant 4 times – and had to abort 3 because , through a lot of this – I was an Addict .I now have a wonderful daughter, And a 16 year old grandson (I Lived long enough for this to happen! :), I made it thru! Being ‘Thin’ doesn’t always mean you’re in good shape , and Lord knows what I’d give to be at least a bit bigger. I think, no I Believe the ‘stripes’ you often get from pregnancy, are Warrior’s stripes , and you and your man should be proud that you made it thru to bring another special human into this world….I don’t have much – but my daughter does! and I believe they are ‘Honor Stripes’ like the awards soldier get – for even tho we have modern medicine , its Still inherently dangerous to bring new life into the world. I honor all who have made it thru – and have the ‘Stripes to Prove it ! Namaste

  • Julie

    Thanks from a chubby, athletic girl!

  • Christina Tassell

    Hi Taryn,
    What a beautiful young woman you are, as I watch your videos I am mesmerised by your inner health, Go girl!

  • Vicki

    I think you are wonderful! I am still struggling every day with my body and coming to “terms” with it. And you are an inspiration!

  • Jennp

    You are the bomb.com! Great read.

  • Krissi

    My goodness did the tears flow watching your kickstarter campaign video. Finding your story and video was an eye opening experience. My grandmother who just beat breast cancer has been overweight all my life and it’s not from lack of trying. I watched her eat barely anything and heard all the obese comments behind her back. I think it is so unfair how everyone assumes because someone has extra weight it’s automatically lack of exercise or they just don’t care. I don’t embrace my extras weight like I should instead I hop from the shower to the bedroom avoiding all mirrors. This movement is something that needs to be done and thank you for enduring all you do for this cause. I think you are amazing!

  • Tammy Sanders

    I love the attitude and confidence in your voice. I think it is necessary for women to see other women as they truly are. We are not all young skinny girls and women newly thrust into life. Life has shaped us. Life has changed us. We have grown and adapted physically and mentally. Skinny does not equal healthy. I know this firsthand. I had lost 70 pounds over the course of a year about 4 years ago. Due to some highly stressful circumstances I gained that weight back over the course of a year. On top of that I had surgery and while recovering gained an extra 30 pounds. I had lost my physical strength during that time. It has taken me some serious time to gain back much of my strength. I’m still not where I was before losing all of the weight, but I’m determined. I am currently trying again to loose some of that weight, because it prevents me from doing the things I enjoy doing. This time I’m focused on doing it the healthy way. Eating better and exercising. I never want to lose the physical strength I had. I only want to get stronger. I want to be able to do all the things I enjoy and try new things. That takes being fit and healthy. I want that more than anything, and my body will provide that. It is indeed a wonder to be treated with love and respect. I’ll get to that point whatever size that ends up being. I have found so many things I love about my own body. I find my confidence in what I love about my mind and body. My children love me no matter my size. They just see me as mom.

    Thank you for taking the step to show us what it is to be a woman without all the trappings. To be whole as we are in whatever place we are in our own lives. We are all unique individuals. Just being who we are is what makes us all special.

  • Emily

    Thanks for posting pics of yourself. I never see anyone shaped like me and I think you are. Not a very defined waist, muscular legs, broad shoulders. I have had two wonderful babies and my tummy has never been flat. I have been unsatisfied with myself for many years, and I am beginning to get satisfied. I hate that I wasted all those years hating on myself when there was so much of life to enjoy. Who cares if I have a some tummy flab, arm fat, wrinkles and stretch marks? I can still ride a bike, run, play with my kids, jump on the trampoline until I pee my pants. It’s all ok. I know many women who would love to be able to do all those things and for whatever reasons they can’t. We need to be thankful for each healthy day we are given and enjoy it to the fullest, not hating ourselves for being imperfect!

  • Mel

    You are an inspiration Taryn. I have always struggled with my body but after my fourth baby, I joined a weight loss club and lost 45 lbs. I was thrilled with how I looked, but then I had the worst possible thing happen – I lost my second son to a disease we weren’t aware he had. Slowly my weight crept back up. While I don’t regret trying to lose the weight, I have distinct memories of shushing him or putting his needs aside because I was working out. I wasn’t working out just because it was healthy to do or because I wanted to exercise. I hated my body and desperately wanted to change it. When I saw some of your video and you asked women what word they thought of when it came to their bodies, I thought “disgusting” and then heard the word repeated over and over. I wish I could see my body like you see yours, but years of self loathing, three years of depression and grief over losing my son seem to have made it impossible. Please keep up your message… If only to prevent young girls from getting to where I am

  • Mell

    Thank you

  • Haha! You’re awesome, Taryn! I’m in the US and I just found your website yesterday. I’ve LOVED what I’ve been reading and watching. How can we get the body image movement in the US? It is such an important message. Thank you!

  • emma barnett

    Great message – I think you’re a wonderful role model. You obviously lead a healthy lifestyle and it shows. Please don’t feel discouraged by ignorant trolls, majority of people are thankful for the message you are sending and for putting yourself out there to be scrutinised. I’d like to see revealing pictures of all those trolls who are so quick to criticise.

  • Kirsty

    Well said!!
    It’s so refreshing to hear somebody speak out about this, I feel there is far far too much pressure, mostly from the media, to be thin. Body confidence starts from within and at a young age, I am very conscious of being confident about my body infront of my daughters especially, I want them to grow up confident about their shape and size, whatever that size may be, it’s about being healthy not thin!
    I’ve got stretch marks, curves and big boobs, I used to be very conscious of my stretch marks but now I see them as badges of honour from having 2 daughters.
    Be confident in your own skin ladies….life would be very boring if we all looked the same!
    You are an inspiration x

  • Frances Young

    Taryn,

    I saw the video you made asking women to give one word to describe their bodies. I’ll give you the word that came to my mind

    MINE!

    Good, bad, out of shape, in shape, pre-pregnancy, 19 years post-pregnancy, underweight, or overweight — it will always, ALWAYS be MINE!

    I’ve spent precisely half my life seriously underweight and now I’ve spent precisely half my life seriously overweight. I was me and am me both ways.

    I want to lose weight and tone up because it’s best for me health-wise and it’s certainly easier to find clothes on the smaller end of the spectrum. Yet if I never manage it, my body will still be my own.

    One perfect four-letter word — MINE

    Frances Young

  • Rachel

    This reminds me of a few things I’ve read recently….

    Firstly, the post going around Facebook with the silhouettes of different body types and advice like “get a bikini body by putting a bikini on your body”. The vile, awful comments on that post make you realise how bad society’s beliefs are. I argued for days on that thread that the Hollywood ideal is fat unhealthier than someone in the overweight BMI category. Those women are not eating normally, many will be abusing drugs, most will not be having periods, their hearts will be under stress. The women they criticise who are overweight or even obese have fat fewer health problems as a result of their weight – people talk about it like they’re needing gastric bands and a crane to get them out of the house! It’s insane and so skewed.

    Secondly, while found research recently I had the misfortune of happening across a blog for PUAs (pick up artists). Their misogyny was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. They had tests for men and women to establish their “sexual market value” – for men, it was mainly about their behaviour, income, intelligence and so on. Men got two questions relating to their appearance. Do you know how many women had? 15. Covering everything from the shape and position of your eyes, to your upper arms…. I was repulsed. There was also one statement that will always stay with me: “female fatness is the biggest indicator of the downfall of western civilisation” (alongside another diatribe about how disgusting the female genitalia of ethnic minorities are – as I mentioned, they’re repulsive people). Note, not fatness, but female fatness. Men can be fat and attractive, they can be fat and successful, they can be fat and popular. Fat women? The end is nigh!

    It’s scary enough that one man like this exists, but do you know what was most disturbing? The WOMEN commenting, posting their test result scores for approval, to a bunch of men who call them “prey” and “targets”, the women in general online who mock and berate fat women.

    I’ve always struggled – I know that many things about me are more important than the size of my body, I know it but I don’t feel it. I’ve always hated my body; even when I’ve been 6.5 stone and dangerously unhealthy and being complimented for my thinness, I’ve still not seen myself as thin or good enough. We can’t change this unless women wake up to what’s going on, start sticking together and stop turning on each other. There are enough groups out there forcing an impossible ideal on us, and the sad thing is that it’s us women who perpetuate it ourselves and criticise women who don’t live up (I still can’t get over the fact that women will buy magazines like Heat and laugh raucously at circled patches of cellulite and fat rolls – what’s wrong with people?).

    This is an awesome start – clearly some women aren’t on board, but hopefully when the majority are, they’ll come round. A recent study proved that, if 10% of the population hold a sincere belief, it will eventually always be adopted as popular opinion. 10%, that’s nothing! That’s doable. I hope it happens one day.

  • You are a legend I think you rock, thank you so much for bringing this out in the open You look fabulous and thanks because I’ve been on the same journey I used to be ultra thin, ultra un healthy, now years later through regular bikram yoga, good healthy eating, moderation and self love i am fit strong toned and love myself

    You rock, ignore the trolls Taryn they are simply wankers.

    Are you ever coming to visit us in Adelaide….????

    • Taryn Brumfitt

      Thanks for your support. We’re Adelaide based and will be lining up some more speaking engagements soon.

  • Renee Higa-Brown

    You are bringing true beauty and self-worth back into this crazy world. We “women” must love and accept ourselves as beautiful and meaningful. Out bodies will transform to a healthy state as we learn to love ourselves as we are now. Thank you for this.

  • Em Hunter

    I love what you are doing and am so grateful for your passion about this critical issue.

    You definitely inspired me…every day when I look in the mirror, I am thanking God for my body..,and you inspired me to write this.

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2014-06-12/news/bs-ed-body-image-20140612_1_hollywood-body-female-body-stress-reduction

    Keep it going!

  • Lilith

    Right, probably getting a lot of shit for this.
    First of all, those picture’s you’re showing, you are not fat. Not even close. Sure, there’s a little fat on your stomach, but that’s no reason to call you (or anyone) a fat pig.
    BUT..I am very much against the actual promoting of obese models. Again, you are not even close, real chubby/curvy women can be on covers as well, no problemo. I think Rebel Wilson is kindof on/over the edge though.
    I don’t know who here has seen Tess Munster? She’s an ‘XXXL-model’ who has managed to model her fat around, so she has an hourglass with some extra time.
    Her upper-arm is bigger than my waist, literally.
    I am a fullgrown human, not underweight and her upper-arm is bigger than my entire waist.
    People love her, say she’s an example, how she poses with food, cakes and the BBW-fetishists go nuts about her ‘plump belly’ as they call it.
    When I even súggested she might be endangering her health, I was blasted away by about 40 women, claiming that you can have a BMI that says ‘very very morbidly obese’ and still be completely healthy. “You don’t know her, she might be sporting all day’ “She says she only eats veggies and fruit all day” “Your waist is none of your business.”
    Anyone that wants to speak up, is being silenced and called judgemental. While everyone else knóws that carrying around another-full-adult-human-being-weight in fat, is plain suïcide. And we’re forced to watch and cheer them on.
    Meanwhile, I am constantly being told bad things about being skinny or ‘normal’ slim. Many overweight co-workers claim that I’m not curvy enough, I should ‘eat a sandwich’ and get more meat on my bones, because ‘only dogs go for bones’ that kindof thing. And while they (morbidly obese people) proudly announce that they are ‘real’ women, for having curves.
    But only dare to say something back about health or how you enjoy being slim shaped as well as she does being severely obese.

    Again, the woman on the picture is not fat at all. But once we come to Tess Munster, we have to open our eyes and realise we shouldn’t ‘want to be like her’ and gain another 70 kilo’s to be so.

  • mel

    Love your article, your spirit, and motivation. However your body and lifestyle DO NOT represent the majority of American women. While 40% of our population is on their way to being obese and the average dress size is the NEW 14 (so MUCH larger than it was 8, 10, 50 years ago and still getting bigger), and health issues directly related to our diet and revealed in our weight I would hope you could address those who are not as fabulous, fit, or healthy as you.
    I hope you write an article someday that says something to the effect “while you’re still beautiful and valuable– get healthy BECAUSE you’re worth it and love yourself!”

    This was meant to be a compliment and a request.
    I hope you’re still kicking ass and running,

    love,
    mel