I bought this book, EMBRACE by Taryn Brumfitt recently. Quite some time ago, I saw a short video clip on Facebook that was floating around. It's about five minutes long, and you can find it by clicking here. It was powerful the first time I saw it. Recently I saw it had made a comeback on Facebook, so I watched it again. Then I decided to check out Taryn on other sites such as Instagram and Twitter. She's all over the place, including her main site at the Body Image Movement. I was so intrigued by her story that I ordered her book as well. Once it arrived, it was one of those books I just couldn't put down until I'd finished it. The first part had me in stitches, and I actually had to pause from reading because I was laughing too hard. It turned serious soon after though, and the whole thing really made sense to me.
"From crying in despair on the bathroom floor to stepping out in stripper heels onto a brightly lit bodybuilding stage, Taryn Brumfitt has had one hell of a journey from body loather to body lover ... and she's ready to share it in EMBRACE. After posting a less than tradition 'before' and 'after' photo on social media in 2013, not even Taryn could have anticipated the attention it would gain worldwild in the media, propelling her Body Image Movement into the hearts and homes of millions in Australia to the U.S. and every country in between. Taryn's brand of honest and witty storytelling will have you both in stitches and in tears. From losing her brother to a heroin addiction and being bullied in school, to embarrassing (yet let's face it, relatable!) toilet tales, EMBRACE will challenge you to reconsider the relationship you have with your body, but above all, will inspire you to embrace a life without boundaries, so that you too, can love the skin you're in."
Taryn Brumfitt is a mother of three and lives in Australia. Like many of us, she struggled with her weight and was unhappy by her appearance. It got so bad that she was only happy when she was pregnant because she had a reason for looking the way she did. Been there, done that! Eventually though, it began to destroy her social life, her marriage, and her family. It got bad enough that she did something radical—she entered a bodybuilding contest—and for several months she trained to get her body in shape so she could compete. And, she did it! Just watch the video. In her book she mentioned that she nearly got into a car accident on the way to the competition. Her first thought was that she was thankful the other car missed her because she wouldn't have been able to compete. It wasn't about her husband or children, and I could tell that upset her. She had become so consumed with the competition that it was all that mattered. Another thing she mentioned was that getting her body to that level of physical condition was literally a 24/7 job. It took up hours of her day, which took away from her husband and children. A lot of people won't mention that. Taryn found out the hard way that getting her body in that shape meant time away from her family. Most of us don't have that kind of time.
It made me sad to read in Taryn's book about all the people who left nasty comments on social media, claiming she was fat and had really let herself go. What many probably didn't realize was that her 'before' picture was actually after she had three kids. Usually people post before and after pictures the other way around. People were mean though, and that bothered me. I don't know why people have to be so concerned about other people and what they eat, do, or wear. Some folks just need to mind their own business. EMBRACE isn't a diet book. It's not even a book that teaches you how to love your own body. When reading the reviews, I saw quite a few people mention they wished it had more details on how she got to that place in her life. That's not what it was about. At least, that's not how I took it. It's a memoir. It's Taryn's story, not a how-to manual. No book or video is going to magically teach someone how to love their body. We have to get to there on our own, and books like this only help to inspire us.
Right before I started blogging, I came across an article online entitled Why The Body Image Movement Is Bad For Women. I don't think the author was referring to Taryn's movement specifically, but I could be wrong. If she was, she's way off in her article. She mentions how she found herself telling her daughter to love her body, but realized she's never said that to her boys. She's stereotyping that what we all do that. It's not true. I've discussed body image with my boys. She also mentions that she didn't know how to define good food from bad food. Seriously? That's sad. Maybe she didn't take Home Ec in high school, or maybe she just lives under a rock. But anyway, I'm not sure if the author of the article was referring directly to Taryn's movement or not. If she was, she certainly hasn't read the book because Taryn covered all those things the author of the article complained about. It's about loving yourself for who you are, not what you look like. It's not about letting yourself go, or eating whatever you want. It's just about acceptance. If you can't accept yourself for who you are, you certainly won't be able to accept others for who they are.