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How Taryn Stopped Hating Her Body and Created 'Embrace'

Studies suggest that 91 percent of women hate some aspect of their own bodies. A new documentary aims to challenge the messages women receive about themselves and the importance of beauty.

Filmmaker Taryn Brumfitt was inspired to make “Embrace” after her own experience with body hatred. “After my three children, I started to hate my body,” she recounts. “So I trained hard for a year, and I’m standing there in my perfect body, and you know what? I wasn’t happy!” She realized that the time, obsession, and sacrifice hadn’t been worth it to her.

Taryn talked to women in all walks of life for the documentary, and also founded the Body Image Movement to empower women to confront beauty standards and their own senses of self-worth.

Watch: How Do People Really Feel About Their Bodies?

Taryn’s journey began with a trip to the plastic surgeon because she hated the way her body looked. “He agreed that it needed to be fixed,” she said, and recommended multiple procedures. “A few weeks after that initial appointment, I was watching my daughter Mikaela play and I had this epiphany – how can I teach Mikaela to love her body, if I can’t love my body?”

“You made the decision that it’s not right for you,” says Plastic Surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon. “But for so many women, their bodies after kids have permanently changed. No amount of diet and exercise, no matter how many sit-ups they do, they say ‘I’ve done that, but I’m not happy.’ … I have to say that the Mommy Makeover is one of the best things we do.”

“What I’m trying to do with ‘Embrace,’ the documentary, is put out into the world that there is a choice.” Taryn responds. “What I’m trying to say to women is that you don’t need to be in battle to your body.”

Watch: Is Body Positivity Encouraging Obesity?

“When you were in the bikini competitions, you may have had the perfect body, but you weren’t happy,” says ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork. “It’s quite troubling to me that people kept coming up to me and saying, ‘Wow, you’re the mum of three – look at your body, you are so inspirational!” Taryn replies. “Really? Does it make me an inspirational person to spend hours at the gym, to weigh my food, to calorie-count everything that’s going in and out of my body?”

“Did you question yourself when you got a negative response?” Rosie Mercado wants to know. “No, not at all,” says Taryn. “Because I made the commitment years ago to embrace my body and not treat it like an ornament, but like it’s a vehicle through life.” She adds, “I don’t want to climb a mountain and get to the top and check my watch to see if I’ve expelled enough calories. I want to get the top of the mountain and check out the view!”

“Healthy and happy, those are the two key terms,” concludes Dr. Ordon. “And you are both of them!”

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