Body

Why this woman believes losing weight won’t make you happy

Would you really be happier if you dropped a few dress sizes? The answer might surprise you.

Taryn Brumfitt spent most of her adult life convinced that if she just lost that extra weight, she would finally be happy – so one day, she decided do it.
After weeks of early morning gym sessions, not seeing her children and eating little more than lettuce, Taryn was finally in possession of the holy grail – a “perfect” bikini body. So perfect, in fact, that she decided to enter a swimsuit competition.
But standing up there on stage, Taryn had an unexpected epiphany.
“It just wasn’t what it was cracked up to be,” she tells the Weekly. “I finally had the perfect body but I was no happier than I was when I was overweight.
“It just wasn’t worth it – being a slave to the gym, 5am starts, calorie counting, getting no joy out of food, never seeing your children. Life just wasn’t any fun and despite all that effort, I still hated my body and all the other ‘perfect’ women up there on stage felt the same way. They looked incredible but they weren’t happy.”
That revelation led Taryn to post the viral “before and after” image that made her famous. The “before” image showed her onstage in a bikini while the “after” showed off her “imperfect” post-baby body in all its glory.
Taryn's famous "before and after" image.
“The idea that women are unhappy until they lose weight and then all of a sudden life is fantastic – it’s just not true,” she says. “It suits a lot of people and a lot of companies for that message to be true because it sells their pills and diets and lotions, but it’s just not.”
Instead, Taryn, who is the founder of the Body Image Movement and director of new documentary, Embrace, says the secret to being happy is something both simpler, and more difficult to achieve.
“How you feel about yourself all in your mind,” she says. “And that’s actually the most exciting thing. No matter what shape or size you are, you can flick that switch and make the choice today to end the battle and move forward.
“Sometimes you have to fake it until you make it. Our bodies evolve and change and that’s the beauty of life. Ageing is a privilege that is denied to many. Why should we be battling the natural evolution of a human being?”
Taryn Brumfitt’s documentary film Embrace will screen at the New Zealand International Film Festival on July 30, followed by a Q+A with Taryn. Watch the trailer below.