"I Could Have the Perfect Toned Body -- But I'd Rather Live My Life"

Thirty five-year-old Taryn Brumfitt, on a global “quest to redefine and rewrite the ideals of beauty,” has been getting a lot of attention for her response to a viral photo that asked mothers “What’s your excuse?” for not being toned after childbirth.

The original photo belongs to fit mom Maria Kang, and features a toned Kang in a sports bra with her three young children. Brumfitt, who is also a mother of three children, said in ablog post, that her “excuse” is the desire to live a well-balanced life. “I’ve had the (near) perfect body and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be,” she wrote.

After giving birth, Brumfitt experienced the common desire to get her pre-baby body back, even going so far as to sign up for plastic surgery. But at the last minute, Brumfitt had “an epiphany,” she writes on her site. “If I go through with this, what am I saying to my daughter about body image? How will I teach her to love her body?”

After that, she enrolled in a 15-week intensive fitness competition to get her body back. But she learned that even that comes with an unseen cost:

To look like [Kang] does is (for most people) completely doable, if you are willing to sacrifice most of the things that you love. And I wasn’t willing to do that. I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy hanging out with my kids, sleeping in on the weekends, eating what I want and when I want and having the occasional night out with the girls.

Brumfitt doesn’t advocate obesity — rather, balance, moderation and emotional health in addition to physical:

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 whilst I am getting on my soap box (I’ll just be here for another minute) 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 founded the Body Image Movement to combat the feelings of shame women associate with their bodies, and posted the above “before” and “after” picture in response to Kang’s. Just like Kang’s, it went viral, with almost 4 million “likes” in just two weeks.

“I’m on a quest to redefine and rewrite the ideals of beauty. Women have been brainwashed into thinking fat, wrinkles and cellulite are bad. They’re not. It’s just a part of being a human being,” she told the Daily Mail.

“If what you value is your health then you’ll treat your body like a vehicle, not an ornament,” she said.

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