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“I want my daughter to grow up in a world where women celebrate their uniqueness. If my journey to self-love can at the very least help my daughter to embrace who she is, that’s a win in my books.” - Taryn Brumfitt.

We live in a world where stretch marks and cellulite are plastered all over magazine covers as imperfections we should be ashamed of. Where our weight dictates whether or not we are considered beautiful. And a place where often, we can only love our bodies if they fit into a predefined standard set by society. For one woman, this simply wasn’t good enough.

Fernwood ambassador and founder of the Body Image Movement Taryn Brumfitt took a stand against society’s expectations of what constitutes ‘beautiful’. Extreme dieting, intense fitness routines and constant self-criticism plagued Taryn’s existence for years and years. She found herself down a path saturated in criticism and self-loathing, that was masquerading as healthy living.

With a daughter and two young sons in tow, Taryn didn’t want her children to grow up feeling like they had failed if they didn’t look a certain way – the same feeling she had lived with for most of her life. She took a leap of faith and landed on a completely new path – one structured with the type of integrity she was looking for. It was new territory for Taryn, but it felt like the right way forward.

We sat down with Taryn to talk self-love, self-acceptance and letting go of society’s unrealistic expectations of who we, as women, should be.

What inspired your self-love and embrace journey?

“It was really my daughter that started this whole change. I wanted to be a positive role model for her, which meant I needed to sort out my own body issues. She was at a very informative age, and was starting to absorb my behaviour and my relationship with my body, and I knew it was my responsibility to send the right messages to her and my boys about self-love.”

Self-love can be difficult for a lot of women, was it tough for you?

“Self-love is part of who I am now, but before I learnt to embrace my body and who I am, it was really difficult. But the time came where enough was enough, and hating myself and constantly striving for perfection was just so utterly exhausting!

“If you want to get the most out of this life and your relationships and reach your goals and dreams, you must treat your body with every ounce of respect and give it enormous amounts of self-love. This is the foundation of embrace. If you want to reach your full potential, it starts with loving you.”

Wellness is so important for women. You'll want to read this interview with Taryn about embracing wellness.

Is self-love something you need to work on regularly?

“Part of the journey has been about figuring out who I am and who I want to be, and I’ve never felt better. Since embracing, I have never had a ‘bad body day’, but that comes from work. It doesn’t just happen. You don’t learn to embrace, and then the journey ends there.

“In life there are ups and downs and circumstances change; we age and our bodies alter. We’re always evolving. Therefore, we must always be working on ourselves and accepting who we are at every stage of our lives.”

What advice would you give to women struggling to embrace?

“I want all women to know that they weren’t born into this world hating their bodies. This is a learned behavior that we now need to unlearn. And it’s very possible. I know how it feels to hate your body, and I’ve spent more years of my life hating my body than loving my body. But now I’ve embraced, it’s a whole new world.

“You all have access to this very rich, abundant, fun, joyful and adventurous life when you make the time to learn to embrace. You need to want it and own it and go after it.”

Looking for even more inspiration from the Fernwood fam? Check out Fernwood ambassador Melanie's story on making a change in her life.