A couple of weeks ago, I went and watched Embrace – The Documentary, a film by Australian mum Taryn Brumfitt about body acceptance. Brumfitt traversed the globe, interviewing women from all cultures, and there was one thing in common. That is the way that most women view their bodies…disgusting, as it may seem. The Body Image Movement began by accident, when Brumfitt posted a photo on her Facebook page, a before and after image that hit a nerve and received over 100 million views. But it wasn’t your normal before and after. In the before picture, Brumfitt had worked her (aptly described) arse off, shedding tons of weight to achieve the perfect body and entered a body building competition. She still wasn’t happy, and after being in the competition, she realised all the women in the comp, were not happy either with their seemingly perfect bodies. When will we be happy? She thought. The after shot, is her in her natural state, glowing and beautiful, her body showing all the signs of motherhood that she previously rejected.
Brumfitt felt compelled to act after the photo she shared online went viral, and made a documentary. The piece begins with Brumfitt’s own journey before moving onto others, discussing topics like labioplasty (yes, this is a thing), and how we criticise women, all the time. One of my favourite lines was an actress saying that her hair and make up allegedly “killed” a designer as it was so poor. I was smiling and laughing and nodding along, but secretly wishing that I could find the secret ingredient to really embrace my body.
Furthermore, I was wondering…was embracing giving up, or just not talking to yourself with hatred anymore?
I’ve been all shapes and sizes in my life, and never been perfectly happy. I’ve binged. I’ve restricted. I’ve not cared. I’ve over trained. I’ve not trained at all. I’ve always been at war with my body, one way or another. I used food as a control mechanism in my social work days. I would obsess over what I was going to eat, and then not eat anything until I added the calories first in myfitness pal with elaborate spreadsheets of how to work them off. Then, I went to therapy, and I learned to
not give a shit embrace my body. I ditched the scales. I signed up for events because I liked them, not out of guilt. I relaxed a little with food. I went on antidepressants and I relaxed some more.
Most of the time I was healthy and maintained weight for a year or two, but fast forward to now, and I’ve “embraced” so much, that I have put on 12 kilos, since I let go of my obsession. Sure, stress of The Ginger Hunk being sick for three years doesn’t help, neither do the antidepressants. My weight has crept on, my clothes have gotten tighter and tighter. I just can’t embrace it anymore. I can’t embrace the fact that my BMI is 29, and my age is showing up as 51. I’m tired and I sleep a lot. I drink to deal with stress. Running is hard and my knees hurt. So while we shouldn’t be talking about our bodies as disgusting, we shouldn’t be using the disguise of ’embracing” to abuse them either. (Nor does Brumfitt by the way, she is the picture of health and can run a freakin marathon!)
So I’ve embarked on a fitness journey again, to get back to basics. Move more, eat real food, and avoid the booze. I talked about it in my first vlog here if you missed it. But I can’t help hearing Brumfitt’s voice in my ear. I don’t want to go back to that girl, who hated her body (even though I was, on reflection in the best shape of my life).
But I don’t want to keep abusing it either as it is the only one I have.
I want to be the healthiest, best version of ME.
THAT is what I want to embrace.
Where are you with your body?
Much Love, Ashleigh