Taryn Brumfitt was once a sleek body builder with hopes to undergo plastic surgery, but now she’s gained weight back and chosen to undertake a documentary project that will help women accept the way they look, and reject the picture-perfect magazine body.
The 35-year-old mother of three had always struggled with body appearance, believing she was “fat” and “disgusting” whenever she looked in the mirror. Even when she had the “near-perfect” body during her bodybuilding days, she was still unhappy with herself — her body dysmorphic issues even spurred her to consider plastic surgery. Now, Brumfitt has undergone a transformation, and is somewhat of an “anti-Maria Kang” — aiming to inspire women to learn to love themselves, understand the pains and self-sacrifices of the impossible Photoshop body by explaining her own experience in weight loss, and exploring self-love and the beauty of women all over the world. Maria Kang, meanwhile, is the “No Excuse” mother who has become internet-famous for promoting a strictly-regulated lifestyle that leads to a perfect tummy and bikini body.
In an online letter to Maria Kang, Brumfitt argues that image isn’t the same thing as health: “I AM a health advocate. I run, I lift weights, I eat healthily but I also have a cookie with my soy latte and knock back the odd burger or yiros when I feel like it. It’s called balance. And…health is not dictated by your looks. Health is physical, emotional and spiritual and so much more that is not visible and not always obvious to others.” She’s raising money for a documentary called “Embrace,” and her Kickstarter page has already raised about $120,000 of her $200,000 wish.
Brumfitt’s journey began after an epiphany that made her realize her actions would have an effect on her young daughter. “I’m sitting on the couch thinking about my impending surgery (boob job and tummy tuck) and I am watching my daughter play on the ground in front of me when, BOOM, I have an epiphany,” Brumfitt wrote on her website. “How am I ever going to teach Mikaela to love her body as it is if her Mummy can’t do the same? …If I go ahead with the surgery am I setting my daughter up for a future of body-hating and self-loathing?”