Taryn Brumfitt – How to EMBRACE body positivity
You’ve heard of EMBRACE – but what is it (and how do you DO it)? Today’s episode features probably the biggest name in body image today – the inspiring, authentic, sparkly powerhouse and Director of the Embrace Documentary Taryn Brumfitt. Taryn vulnerably shares her personal story, we explore the often missed “how-tos” of developing an authentically positive body image, and dive deep into the relationship between body image, eating, exercise and weight management.
In this special conversation Taryn and I discuss:
✔︎ That we are over hating our bodies.
✔︎ How health professionals are as ready for change as their clients!
✔︎ Taryn’s viral “Reverse Before-and-After” shot that “broke people’s brains”
✔︎ How you can Embrace the miracle of your body.
✔︎ Why we need to share our personal body image stories
✔︎ Using our social media for the power of GOOD!
✔︎ How to become AUTHENTICALLY body positive.
✔︎ Judging less and loving more.
✔︎ Having conversations with people we DON’T agree with!
✔︎ Why it’s important to be vulnerable.
✔︎ How to “find your tribe” of supportive friends and health professionals!
✔︎ Can you lose weight in a loving way?
✔︎ Accepting your body when others around you don’t.
✔︎ Creating space for elevated conversations around bodies.
✔︎ Dealing with parents and grandparents fat shaming your kids.
✔︎ Taryn’s advice for people who feel weight is stopping them finding a partner.
I created this podcast for people just like you.
If you found it valuable, please help me share it with them!
If you’d like to see the interview, please follow the links below!
Please support Taryn raise funds for the Embrace Kids Campaign.
Links from Podcast:
Follow Taryn on Instagram
Follow Glenn on Instagram
“If Not Dieting, Then What?” Book
“Health at Every Size” Book
Watch “Embrace” Documentary
Taryn’s Viral “Before & After” Shot
Embrace Yourself Book
Dr Emma Johnston
[04:49] Introducing Taryn and Taryn’s background.
[11:15] That we are over hating our bodies.
[11:48] How health professionals are as ready for change as their clients!
[15:00] Taryn’s viral “Reverse Before-and-After” shot that “broke people’s brains”
[18:00] How you can Embrace the miracle of your body.
[20:00] Why we need to share our personal body image stories
[20:58] Using our social media for the power of GOOD!
[25:44] How to become AUTHENTICALLY body positive.
[30:40] Judging less and loving more.
[33:40] Having conversations with people we DON’T agree with!
[39:00] Why it’s important to be vulnerable.
[41:18] How to “find your tribe” of supportive friends and health professionals!
[52:02] Can you lose weight in a loving way?
[1:11:52] Accepting your body when others around you don’t.
[1:12:50] Creating space for elevated conversations around bodies.
[1:15:10] Dealing with parents and grandparents fat shaming your kids.
[1:18:00] Taryn’s advice for people who feel weight is stopping them finding a partner.
Welcome to the Glenn Macintosh show where we talk everything psychology of eating physical movement weight and body image and speaking of body image we have the one the only Taryn Brumfitt. Now, Taryn is a best-selling author and director of the social change documentary Embrace. If you haven’t seen it you need to see it. Honestly when I’m doing body image work it does half my therapy for me. Taryn’s global crusade to end body dissatisfaction has seen her recognised by the United Nations Women, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls and the Geena Davis Institute.
Whether it’s motivating the next generation at Google HQ or becoming General Electric’s highest-rated speaker
Taryn’s determination to shift the way the world thinks about themselves and their bodies has the support of high-profile personalities like Rosie O’Donnell Ricki Lake and Ashton Kutcher named alongside Beyonce and Emma Watson in Bridget’s magazines Woman of the Year. Taryn’s powerful message has reached over 100
million people by the likes of The Washington Post The Doctors Good Morning America and the Today Show. Taryn lives in Adelaide with her husband Matthew three children one dog one turtle and ten fish and you can find out all about this if you follows if you follow Taryn’s Instagram account its Body Image Movement. Taryn, I love your Instagram account it is one of the few that every time you have a post I look to it so guys if you if you want to do yourselves a favour check out Taryn’s Instagram it’s so warm such great messages on there but it’s a lot of fun. So without further ado Taryn thank you so much for being with us!
Oh thanks for having me, you’re making me quite nervous with that intro!
Well that’s okay because we are really nervous to have you!
Well and you know the turtle ate three fish so I need to update that, there’s only seven left!
It’s so interesting you should say that because I was actually thinking I wonder in my family if we could actually keep a like a tally on our fish I know that we had some guinea pigs and mum left my twin brother alone with both of them and…
Not so good?
Yeah it wasn’t too good.
But anyway we’re not here to talk about that we’ve just put back my therapy a couple of years! What we are here to talk about is body image and honestly Taryn I can’t think of a better person to talk about than this than you so we’re going to spend some time and we’re going to talk about Taryn’s personal journey because you’ve got a really powerful personal story.
Now you can see a lot about that in Embrace documentary you can read a lot about it and Embrace Yourself your new book but I think it’s important that we talk about it, then what we’re going to do is turns agreed to spend some time with us and really look at some of the how to’s of a positive body image I think that due to the work of Taryn and some other wonderful body positive advocates people are ready to become body positive it’s something we’re becoming familiar with but then we have to ask that question of how do I actually do it and Taryn’s work it has some great how to’s that I really want to take you guys through. Of course you know my guys are really interested in white a lot of the guys I work with live in larger bodies so we’re gonna talk about how does body positivity kind of relate to eating and and physical activity and your weight because I think there’s a lot of barriers around weight and becoming body positive and then we might finish up with… Taryn you through your work have just been exposed to all of these amazing body positive advocates so we might let people know how they can join this community and get the benefits from that and what are some kind of next steps for sure sounds like a plan yeah so alright let’s get into it. We’ll start off with the documentary.
So like I said guys, if you haven’t watched this documentary you really have to so Taryn for me if I’m doing safe I’m doing intuitive eating work with people one of the first go to’s is I recommend Rick Kausman book “If Not Dieting, Then What?” or our friend Linda Bacon’s book “Health At Every Size” and then if I’m doing body image work with any of my clients you are one of the to go to’s so the first thing I do is I ask people to do is a social media declutter get rid of all the stuff that makes them feel kind of ‘less than’ or like they need to change their bodies or all those thin ideal images and then I just ask them to go and see Embrace.
Nice, thank you!
My favourite stat on Embrace which I actually read in your book is that fifty two thousand people watched this in one night in Germany.
Mm-hmm, it was quite unreal actually because I don’t think anyone saw that coming we released it in cinema we were up against… not that I even knew this at the time, I just want people to come and watch Embrace in Germany… but on that same night King Arthur was releasing King Arthur 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy and sure enough Embrace went Number 1 in the box office! But you know what it says I think it just says that we are all so ready to come together to talk about how we’ve felt and look at solutions how we can move forward because we’re just kind of done with hating our bodies and 52,000 people coming to see Embrace and start a fresh conversation that was what that was.
The world is really ready for it and that’s what I see Embrace as. I see it as a turning point in the way that we talk and think and feel and act and interact around our bodies.
Yeah, it’s a conversation starter and I think because of the characters in Embrace who are so open and so vulnerable with their own stories it gives permission for other people to feel the same and share their stories and I think that’s it’s a question that comes up for me a lot in the media is how I feel about the mission of in global change. And you know, do you think that can be done like doesn’t that make you feel stressed, and I’m like maybe it does why are you asking me this question, but you know what? What I know is from traveling to many many countries around the world and speaking to hundreds of thousands of people is that we mostly feel the same way we don’t want to be at war with our body anymore we don’t want to see that some of the things that we see the women being objectified young girl was being sexualized we don’t want to be preyed upon you know the weight loss industry cosmetic industry the diet industry there’s a lot of stuff that’s going on that just doesn’t feel good and we want an alternative.
And I think speaking as a health professional when you say that I think even health like health professional sometimes you could point the finger at us as propagating bias and stigma and discrimination around bodies especially people who live in larger bodies but I think when I talk to health professionals I think we’re ready for it.
I think so too.
This came up in a recent conversation, just going how are we all going to change the world and I’m like I just think we’re almost ready because you’re right more and more health professionals are talking about Health At Every Size that would have been very, very radical ten years ago, but now this is a this is part of the conversation and people are starting to get a little bit curious in the health industry and I think that’s really exciting.
Absolutely exciting, absolutely exciting, and but this all started Taryn with you and your personal experience it’s just amazing that this whole global change started with you.
When did you first realize that being thin and being really fit looking wasn’t your golden ticket to health and happiness and success?
Mm-hmm, so for those people who are listening who don’t know my story basically I hated my body and I wanted to have the perfect bikini body so I set out on a mission to lose the weight and tone up and in 15 weeks lost 15 kilos and I got ‘there’ I got I got into a bikini which I hadn’t done ever in my entire life and it was in the moment that I was… I actually entered a bodybuilding competition, like, a fitness competition… never say never let me say that because I…
You weren’t planning to?
Are you serious? No! Walking on a stage in like a teeny tiny bikini you know, in high heels in front of 900 people. No, not my thing but anyway never say never! But walking across that stage I realized that to have the body – to have that perfect bikini body – was such a battle for me it took so much obsession about food and cutting food up and putting it into tiny plastic containers – like that’s empowering and feels good – it doesn’t!
Because you talk about that in your book it’s like you had tried to pretend like all of that food prep was fun and eating that very kind of limited planned food was fun.
Yeah, no sauce seriously what is food without sauce give me some sauce. Yeah and I think just the obsession about what was going into my body what I weighed on the scales it was just it was no life it was not sustainable actually having that bikini body made me miserable.
It’s really the opposite of the thin ideal.
Yeah I was really surprised to get there and going oh no I want to go back.
So it surprised you?
Yeah of course it did you I thought I would be it would make me really happy you know to have that body that I dreamed about and I’d seen in magazines and on billboards and on TV I got there and I wasn’t happy.
And then you did something really interesting, you posted a very different kind of before and after shot so tell us about that well before photos you always see a woman before and she’s really sad and overweight and then she loses weight and miraculously she becomes happy and just that’s not the case.
And very tanned.
And very very tanned.
And it’s just not the case. So I swapped mine around, the before was on stage in that perfect bikini body the after was naked but you couldn’t see anything but you could certainly see the rolls and the folds and the rest and yeah I posted it on social media and it went crazy.
It went absolutely nuts didn’t it?
It was headline news everywhere, you know, in France in Germany in the U.S. in Japan – everywhere. I mean it was on the in-flight news on Qantas. A friend of mine got off a flight and was like, you were just on the Qantas in-flight news. I’m like, wow!
Pretty much naked.
That’s right this is really broken people’s brains hasn’t it. I mean even that this is how ludicrous – the fact that it went viral, which I’m really grateful for now because it’s given me a platform to speak about this and help people but how crazy to think that a reverse before and after photograph – a woman loving her body after is somehow headline news.
Well that’s the… this seems the ludicrous thing, because you look at that photo and we will post a link to that photo I’m sure you can see it on your website.
We’ll post a link to the photo but you just look I supposed to me like just a normal person and I think for me that’s why this message is so important because the world’s brains just kind of went into a tizz because here was a normal-looking person who didn’t hate her body and that was so unusual and so hard for people to kind of comprehend.
Yeah that’s right yeah. The only way I can describe is that it broke people’s brains.
Yeah it really broke people’s brains, like how’s this normal person…
Because you know we were talking about this before that in psychology… psychologists talk about a normative discontent with the way that you look which means it’s you know it actually doesn’t really matter what shape or size we are we don’t like our bodies you know we’re sitting here in what is my office most of the time and I see people who live in really really large bodies maybe a couple hundred kilos or more who don’t like them and then I see people who live in bodies that are 42 kilos. It’s a real myth that you have to you know becoming thin is the way to feel good about yourself.
Yeah and it’s such a shame because there’s so many wasted lives people are wasting so much time battling against their own miracle. You know, the body is a miracle the things that our bodies you know it can do… It’s a little bit sad… But you know what now we’re having these conversations and now there is an alternative and we have a choice and I think that’s what people are learning. It’s like, oh I don’t have to hate my body and feel this crap I can learn to love and embrace it no matter what it looks like.
And that’s a really really powerful message isn’t it, Taryn because we kind of… I think that for a lot of people and you know I’m a psychologist I work in body image, eating, weight movement and I think that people actually a lot of people they’d love to love their bodies more but they actually don’t think that it’s achievable and what you’re showing people – women especially – is that it’s doable.
So tell us about you know that the documentary is called Embrace the book is Embrace Yourself, what does Embrace mean to you because I read in your book you kind of describe it like getting a golden ticket to life.
Yeah I mean that’s one way I describe it because it just feels so free I think that’s the word really just free and joyous I feel really liberated, life just feels extra sparkly and fun and I just feel light just like just yeah and people often asked me like where do you get all your energy from and I’m and I didn’t used to have this much energy but it’s because you know all of that body hating and all those conversations that used to fill up my head they’re just no longer there.
Because it’s so time-consuming isn’t it? So much energy so many thoughts so many emotions people are fighting against when they’re fighting the body that they’re living in.
Yeah, it’s hard work hating your body and I think you know when we talk about change and wanting to… you know people out there who want to change but don’t know how to change I think there’s a lot of fear around that will like be able to embrace you know this is a question will I ever be able to love my body and I think what’s really important and what’s happening and has been happening over the last few years is more and more people are telling their stories and that’s really inspiring it’s nice to know that you’re not alone and that before-and-after photograph I receive seven thousand emails she doesn’t email that’s a lot of emails do you know someone says to me other day like oh my inbox I like got 50 emails – try seven thousand!
Em who runs the office probably deal with a couple hundred a day at least? It’s like… well seven thousand… that’s another level above.
It was a lot but you know what it said was we all have stories no matter who we are no matter what everybody’s look like no matter what size they are and a lot of us have been struggling behind closed doors about how we feel about our bodies but and I’m really grateful for social media that it’s enabled us to connect with strangers around the world and share this is important to talk about it.
It’s absolutely powerful because we sort of I suppose that you know we live in a society where it’s not so friendly to people who don’t look like that perfect thin ideal and so it’s so important for people to connect with like a subculture it’s growing that kind of embraces the fact that we don’t all look the same and we’re not all supposed to look the same.
That’s right and I always talk about the row of babies – a friend of mine Dr. Emma Johnson talks about this that if we lined up a row of six-month-old babies like here – you’d hear this, they’re really noisy, but look at the diversity in all those babies! You know some have got these chunky thighs that you just love and want to squig and you know some are smaller some are larger, some are brown, some are black, some ware white… all this rich diversity! What happens when we grow up that what we have to all conform to the same.
Look at that diversity then. It doesn’t change. We need to embrace that.
And that’s one of what we need to be seeing then… like you say in social media is so good for people to be seeing and if you look at the people that you recommend that people connect with in the book what you’re seeing is a diversity of shapes and sizes just like we see in real life.
Absolutely and attitudes towards their bodies like I love my social media feed I love my Instagram in the people that I follow because I never know what I’m gonna get. And it’s exciting to see you know BodyPosiPanda over in the UK posting a jiggle dance that she does like it just brings joy to my life yeah and I guess that’s why I have such a positive relationship with social media because like what you were saying earlier about a declutter?
Yeah, decluttering or spring cleaning.
I love that, so we encourage people to follow/unfollow. Who are you gonna unfollow who can you follow. And it’s amazing how many people allow toxic messages and toxic people and ideals into their life and they think it’s okay because it’s on their phone. You would never let that happen in real life you’d never let a friend into your circle your girl gang or your boy going who’s mean and nasty but or says things that doesn’t feel good or doesn’t serve you so why do we allow this on our phones.
Yeah it’s an amazing thing isn’t it that we sort of – we’re so used to the media and now social media sending us these messages that are really toxic and harmful that sometimes we just kind of brush it off. So give it to us then Taryn who are some people that that are people that we should follow in the body-positive space because what I’ve done is I’m almost finished your book I have just gone through your book and in the book one of the things I love is you actually have like little mini chapters from some of these people that are just beautiful yeah and I think that you know body positivity is kind of like learning a new language you need different teachers you need waves of similar information said in lots of different ways and that’s part of what I think the books so great but I’ve just literally gone through and just followed everyone on there I knew quite a few of them.
Louise Greene who’s in there yeah she actually was the first person on the Glenn Macintosh show.
Amazing I think I did see that somewhere that you had connected with her.
She’s great we met in Vancouver a few years ago.
I just love what she brings to this space. So yeah look Louise Green, BodyPosiPanda, Jade Beall, Renee Airya, Style Me Sunday, Michaela Skilney… There’s small hand full.
There’s a few for you and we will provide some links to those guys so you can get all connected and then join that community.
Well Taryn thank you so much for talking about your personal journey and we know that the world is ready for it and I just think it’s absolutely amazing that from your personal journey you’ve sparked a worldwide change. Now I know that that everyone listening is gonna want this golden ticket, so let’s get on to some of the how to’s and some of the barriers that people are going to face in this journey to really authentically embracing.
Glenn: Taryn, I’m so excited to have this conversation with you because I think that the world is ready to become body-positive, but psychologists, we often believe that the most powerful question is how. In the Freudian days, we used to think why was a really important question. It’s like, “Why am I this way,” but psychologists, we tend to be more focused on solutions these days. I think the most powerful question is how do I actually change? I think as well as all of your public work, you’ve had a personal experience with this. You’ve gotten through to the other side yourself, and your book is really a how-to, and that’s what I love about that. It’s the, “I’ve got the idea. I know why, but how do I actually do it?”
A big thing for me that comes out in all of your work is your level of self-expression. You are a very self-expressed person. I even find that I would consider myself generally pretty self-expressed, but I think as I’ve gotten a little bit older, maybe gotten some negative feedback at times. I’m in a public space now as a professional. I sometimes shrink back into myself.
Taryn: Oh, please, stop. Don’t do that, Glenn. That’s a crime.
Glenn: Well, I actually, you were helping me realise this. Remember it, and I find myself asking, “What would Taryn do?”
Taryn: Oh, nice.
Glenn: My favourite example of this, so this is just a really weird little situation was, you might remember a few weeks ago, I posted on my Instagram. I was getting up, and I was going to the gym. It was really early, and I’ve got this ridiculous tiger-striped dressing gown. My hair was all messy, and I thought, “This is a good message to share with people. Sometimes, it’s important to get up even if it’s early, even if you don’t want to go and move your body. I found myself debating whether I should post it or not because I looked like rubbish. I decided, “What would Taryn do?” I had your little spirit inside my head, and I posted it, and the first person to get back to me was you saying, “Glenn, I look like that in the morning.”
Taryn: Yeah, I was like, “Hmm, fellow spirit animal in the morning.”
Glenn: We should say, you and I both do wear more than our fair share of leopard.
Taryn: We do.
Glenn: Tell me why it’s so important for us to be self-expressed.
Taryn: Well, I think the opposite of it is living by rules because that’s what we’re defining when you think, “Oh, I shouldn’t do this because I’m a professional now, and I have a public personality.” By saying, “No, I won’t express myself in these ways,” whatever they mean to you, whether it’s wearing a crazy suit or colourful clothes or leopard print or wearing your hair in pigtails, whatever it is.
Glenn: Have you been through my Instagram again?
Taryn: I have. It’s my favourite. The one with the pigtails is great, but if you stop doing that, then you are just … You’re playing by someone else’s rules. Who says how you should behave? You are free to express yourself just like I am. I brought my crimper along to Brisbane. Crimping my hair or putting blue eyeliner on or wearing the clothes I want to wear. There is such a senses of freedom and joy that it brings me to do those things. It doesn’t mean it has to be always loud and crazy. It’s just how do I feel? It’s that whole conversation around even just make-up with women going, “Well, you wear make-up.” I’m like, “Yeah, sometimes I do, but sometimes, I don’t.” I just don’t play by anyone’s rules. I’ve walked on a red carpet before in LA, no make-up.
Taryn: Just because I just didn’t feel like wearing make-up, so why should I conform to someone’s rules by saying, “I have to wear make-up to go on a red carpet,” so I didn’t on that occasion, but I’ve been to the shops before, and I’ve done a bit of orange lipstick. I mean just …
Glenn: Because that’s what you want to do-
Glenn: At the time.
Taryn: I reckon if we can just tap into that a little bit more, there’s a real sense of joy and freedom in doing that. It might be, I had someone say to me once, “I changed the colour of my bedspread. It’s been brown and beige forever.” I think it was the blue eyeliner, and she thought, “Well, if you can wear blue eyeliner like from the ’80s, I’m going to change my bedspread.” I was like, “Go, you. Amazing.” Now, she’s done that one little thing. Now, she’s curious. What other ways am I stopping myself from being authentically me in life? How do I express myself? It feels good.
Glenn: Because you talk about it in your book too that we get, before breakfast, hundreds of messages telling us what we should do, what we shouldn’t do. I’ll leave it for people to read the book, but there is so many messages that we get to behave in a certain way.
Taryn: Yeah, that’s right, and I guess no one has that right to tell me how to live my life or what clothes to wear. It’s like when fashion designers are on TV saying, “This season, the must-wear, what you should have in your wardrobe.” It’s like, what? Who are you telling me what I should have in my wardrobe? We are not sheep. We should never be following. We just do what feels good for us. That, for me, really is living. It’s really one of the biggest embraced philosophies.
Glenn: That’s a great take-home message. If you’re ever struggling, forget the rules and just listen to yourself, because it can get a bit confusing for people, can it?
Taryn: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Glenn: I know you had an argument with somebody who said that you weren’t embracing because you waxed your legs?
Taryn: Well, she assumed I waxed my legs.
Glenn: She assumed you waxed your legs.
Taryn: I’m sure that we hear it when she said that, but I had a Q&A screening of Embrace, and this woman was so angry. She just had so much venom in her. It was quite embarrassing, in fact, because it was a 300-audience filled with people who’s just seen Embrace, and we’re all in this happy space except for one person.
Taryn: There’s always one. You’re so right, buzzkill. Yeah, she just couldn’t get the message of Embrace that it means you can wear make-up or you don’t wear make-up. You can do your hair, not wear your hair. You can wear what you like. It’s like surgery. I just think that we live in a world that judges people so harshly, and we just … It sounds woo-woo, but simply, we need to love more and just judge less. Judging just doesn’t feel good. When you said comments about other people, I haven’t done it for years as in that’s not just part of who I am anymore, but I remember when I hated my body the amount of times I would say to my girl friends, say, down at the beach. I’d be justifying my own body like, “Oh, look at her body. I bet she hasn’t had three kids in three and a half years.”
Glenn: You go judging?
Taryn: Completely, to try and make myself almost feel better.
Glenn: What you’re saying is, that didn’t work.
Taryn: Of course, it didn’t work. It doesn’t feel nice, yeah.
Glenn: That’s a wonderful message because I think that there are … I feel like sometimes, in the Body Positive Movement, we run a risk of replacing old diet culture rules with new body-positive rules that now everyone has to adhere to. That almost … It’s probably better, but it limits your self-expression in just a different way.
Taryn: Absolutely, and I think this is one of the reasons why in the book, I asked a bunch of different contributors to write a few words. A few of those people in the body image, positive body image space have different views and opinions from one another. I think that’s a beautiful thing because we’re also different. You can learn many things from many different people. I spoke about Lorna Jane in my book. That was quite controversial, right, where I had a photograph taken with her, and a lot of people in my community were really upset with me for doing that. I had to explain to them to say we can talk amongst ourselves about these issues, and we’re probably not going to get anywhere. The real work, the real way forward is talking to people with different opinions from ours and allowing that space to open up in that dialogue, to learn from one another. There are no rules.
Glenn: You’re so right, Taryn. As a psychologist, we know that people don’t necessarily respond very well when they feel threatened, when they feel judged. Our conversation, if you, like some people in the fad activism movement we do it, point then finger at Lorna Jane and say, “You’re wrong.” It’s probably not going to change that much.
Taryn: No. It doesn’t mean that you can’t say, “You know what, Lorna? I don’t like the fact that you talk about inclusivity and diversity, and you don’t show it.” That’s a bit annoying. You can have that dialogue. It doesn’t have to turn into a shit fight, you know?
Glenn: It can be a respectful dialogue.
Taryn: Of course, it can be.
Taryn: You can learn from one another.
Glenn: Well, Taryn, it even comes down to like, I really appreciate you coming to talk to me today. There are a lot of people in the Body Positive Movement and Health In Every Size community that would criticise, and I totally understand their opinion, my work on the Biggest Loser. I had some reasons for going on there, and I feel like we’re able to share an introduction to some body-positive messages to a community that’s never heard them. Right or wrong, I appreciate you coming, not saying, “No. Glenn has done this work,” and I’m learning from you already today. I did a talk at Dietitians Unite, which is the big dietitians’ day run by Dietitian Connection. That’s what I spoke about there. The need for, especially with health professionals, but to move from competing to collaboration. I think in my words, that’s what you’re talking about. It’s about judging less and loving more.
Taryn: Yeah, absolutely. Look, I think if you live your life like that where it’s good or bad and it’s black and white, and you’ve done Biggest Loser. Therefore, you can’t speak positively in the body. I mean it’s crazy to even think like that. It’s not the world we live in. Us, human beings, are so incredibly complex. I feel like sometimes, I think I wrote about it in the book about being a walking contradiction about moving my body for pleasure, and yet I’ll go and run a marathon. I’ll go and run, and that’s not my favourite thing to do, but I can. That’s still okay. It still works for me.
Glenn: Yeah, because the blanket rules and the absolutism doesn’t make room for the nuances and the complexities. That is one of the things I love you sharing in your book. You’re talking about the principles of intuitive eating, body positivity and enjoyable movement. Then, you’re also sharing your real personal experience, which helps people understand the nuances. Just because you do enjoyable movement doesn’t mean that at times, you don’t smash yourself.
Taryn: Yeah, correct. Yeah, that’s right. I love that. I love what you just said about the nuances because when I talk about the complexity of being a human being, it is those little nuances that make us, us. I think that’s why we just need to share all of our opinions, and I think take what we want to take from some people, and take the things from other people. It doesn’t have to be hard and fast.
Glenn: It’s not a one-size-fits-all.
Taryn: Of course it’s not.
Glenn: Of course, it changes-
Taryn: Yeah, it does.
Glenn: For different people at different times. I think it’s interesting. We sometimes, and we say this in psychology. We get in camps. You do this. I do this. The funny thing is, we have these leaders of the camp that are like, “This is the only way.” They’re often quite adversarial towards the other kids. Then, you get all of these health practitioners who just do a bit of this, exactly like you said, and a bit of that, and of course, our clients, all the people you’re working with are the same.
Taryn: It makes sense, right? It just makes sense.
Glenn: It just makes sense.
Glenn: It just absolutely … It’s just so heartening to hear you say that. I am 100% sure that part of the reason why the Body Image Movement is gaining so much momentum because it is inclusive. You’re ready to meet people and accept people where they are and just have conversations.
Glenn: Yeah. We were talking about before, about [Melinda Baker 00:13:00], and I love that Linda and I can have a warm, friendly, professional relationship. I agree with 90% of what Linda thinks, and then on 10%, I’m like, “Linda, that’s way off. You shouldn’t have done that.” She agrees with a fair bit of what I say, but there’s a few things. She’s like, “Glenn, you cannot do this,” and that’s okay. We can have … I think us being able to have those types of conversations really leads to us actually learning because this Body Positive Movement is, it’s young, and so we need to co-create the best body-positive movement that we can.
Taryn: Yeah, absolutely.
Glenn: At the end of the day, I think a lot of this comes down to the individual, and your book is really speaking to the individual. Something that I really love about it is, you’re encouraging people to be vulnerable. Tell me why that’s such an important message, because I feel like sometimes, things are sold to us as it’s going to be simple. Just love your body, or just stop emotionally eating. Just get out there and go to the gym, and it disempowers us from creating the real change, because this is … I think you’ve had the ability to make such a heavy topic light and still keep it real, but at the end of the day, people, if they want to develop a real, authentic body positivity, it is work, isn’t it?
Taryn: Of course, it is. I always say that speaking to audience. Once they’ve seen Embrace, and I say, “Don’t expect to walk out those doors and be like, ‘Right. That’s it. I now embrace. I want to run down the street naked.'” I mean I would love that. It would be amazing. That would be my KPI. Mm-hmm (affirmative), yep.
Glenn: How many naked people did we have?
Taryn: 80% of the audience ran out naked. Excellent, I’ve done my job, but it is … We always hate this word, but it’s a journey.
Glenn: It’s a journey.
Taryn: It is a journey, right?
Taryn: You don’t just wake up one day and decide, “That’s it. I embrace my body,” but I’ll tell you what everyone can do in any given moment. That is make the commitment to embrace. That, anyone can do.
Glenn: What does that mean, making the commitment?
Taryn: Well, it means to get to, arrive at a point where you say, “What I’ve been experienced, what I’ve been feeling about my body is not serving me. It doesn’t feel great. I want to make a choice to do something different from what I’ve done.” It all comes …
Glenn: Yeah, having intention.
Taryn: Absolutely. Here I go. Then, I guess it’s about exploring for yourself. What do you need to learn to love your body? Do you want to move your body in a way that feels more pleasurable as opposed to punishment? Movement is a big part of Embrace for me because I think we’ve been given these bodies. We’ve been given them to move and enjoy. These body of ours, I talk about them being magical, but we’re here to enjoy these bodies. Is it movement? Is it eating more intuitively and more mindfully? Is it surrounding yourself with people who hold you up and make you feel? There are practical things people can do like we talked about. Unfollow, follow on social media, but I think it just starts with the commitment. It’s almost like a bit of an education. There is a thousand books out there to read. I always get everyone to start with Dr. Linda Bacon’s Health At Every Size. Start there. Just get curious about what’s out there. Find your tribe. I really think that’s a big part of it.
Taryn: The people I hang out with these days are so different from maybe 10 years ago. Gosh, I feel so loved and seen, and I think that’s a really beautiful part of this as well, is just real heart-felt connections with people that get it.
Glenn: Because it’s not … The reality is that we’re social beings. We live together. We eat together. We sleep together. We work together, and it’s a nice idea that you can develop acceptance in yourself, but it also does happen in the context of other people, doesn’t it?
Taryn: Absolutely. I think the story telling is really important.
Taryn: It’s really important to sit down with your girl friends and create a space and say, “Hey, I just want to talk about something that’s really important to me and my development as a human being. I’ve been really struggling with how I feel about my body.” Share the stories, and this is where I would like to go. How do you guys feel? Everyone could do that. You can go to a park. You can go to a café. You can go to a friend’s house and just sit down with a couple of people you trust and love, that trust and love you and just open up that dialogue. Then, at some stage, it will turn to, “Okay. This has been great, but I need some professional help.”
Taryn: Then, you find your people. We were talking earlier about doctors that aren’t serving people, that are saying really harmful and getting harmful messages across to the patient. Find a different doctor. I think we really need to just empower ourselves to change the way that we’ve been doing things because change never happens if you just continue doing the same thing over and over again, right?
Taryn: Draw a line in the sand and map out a bit of a plan. Here’s what I’m going to do.
Glenn: I love that. Making the commitment. No matter where you are, you can make the commitment to embrace, and I love that question. What do I, for me as a unique individual, what do I need to embrace? I think that’s a really powerful question that the people watching and listening can ask themselves, and then surrounding yourself personally and professionally with people who are on the same page because it is. You can’t have health professionals or people supporting you that are coming from this old paradigm.
Taryn: No, that’s right.
Glenn: You need everyone. Like you said, people have different opinions, and I talk about it in my health professionals workshops is, not everyone has to be on exactly the same page to support you, but we all have to be in the same book.
Glenn: For example, we get a lot of dietitians who follow weight loss approach, but they like the ideas of body positivity and intuitive eating and enjoyable movement. What we find is that, if people are still in that weight focus paradigm, we can’t really work with them.
Glenn: The clients just get confused. You’re telling me not to focus on the scales, but then, I come in there and they’re weighing myself. I suppose that’s an important message for people too. Find your tribe of professionals. If I had a dollar for every client who told me about a negative experience they had with their GP, then find another GP.
Taryn: This is where we need to really empower ourselves. We’re the master. We’re driving this ship. This is us. This is our life, right?
Glenn: You’re right, because it’s just like it’s easier to say, “Well, other people are affecting me,” and so, well, yeah, but what you’re doing, and there’s a lot of … In your book and in your message, there’s a lot of personal responsibility.
Glenn: It’s you that need to empower yourself to get the right tribe around you.
Taryn: Absolutely, and I think we also need to remember that no one knows us like we know us. No one knows me or knows my needs better on this planet than I do. I think that’s a connection that’s developed for me personally over the last few years because I wasn’t even connected to that person when I was hating my body. That does take some time. I find that happens through meditation or getting into nature. That’s when I’m feeling really most connected. I think the other thing I want to remember to say is about when we talk about moving our bodies, it’s finding the sparkle, the magic. I just love it when people have got … Let me start again. People are busy, right? We use the B word so often. Busy, busy, busy, we’reall bloddy busy, right?
Glenn: Yeah, we are busy.
Taryn: We’re all busy people, but I don’t want to say I’m [inaudible 00:20:59], but I have a saying and I think about it all the time. That is every breath that I take is one step closer to my last. You can spring that in a really … It actually really motivates me-
Glenn: Yeah, I totally get that.
Taryn: To go, “Oh my God. How am I almost 41 because I still feel 20.” There’s all these things I want to do. I think in our current situation in our lives, we’ve got to fin the time for fun and to do activities that just give us joy, that just reconnect us with our sense of adventure. Look, for me that just might be taking a hike with my dog in the sunshine. Sometimes, I see the world in this beautiful lens where it’s almost like I’m tripping, not that I’d know what that’s like, but I’m looking at leaves going, “Oh my gosh. The colours of those leaves on that tree is like magic.” It’s like a state of being that is … You can’t live like that all the time. I got shit to do. There’s laundry to do. I don’t want these people to be seeing it, but I can create that space in my life.
Glenn: You have those moments.
Taryn: They’re delicious.
Glenn: You have a name for these moments.
Taryn: Sparkle activities.
Glenn: Sparkle activities. I totally love that, and it’s one of the things that I think that your book is about body positivity, but this is really, for me reading it, I’m a guy. Guys tend to have less body image than girls, as you know. I’ve also done a bit of work on my body image and been exposed to some great body-positive advocates. I have a pretty positive body image. I’m reading a lot of this, and I’m thinking, “This is my client. It’s going to be so great for my clients. I get to this bit about being busy and too busy for these sparkle activities. I’m like, “Taryn is therapizing me. You’re doing” … It goes beyond body image, and your book is about that. It’s about moving into just living a great life.
Taryn: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah, having fun.
Taryn: I think we do take things way too seriously.
Glenn: Way too seriously.
Taryn: Just have a bit of fun with it. I think the more that you just go, “Ah, there are no rules. I’m just going to live life today like the way I want to. Yeah, adventure does find you too.
Glenn: It really does. Sometimes, I’ve heard you talk about this before. Sometimes, it’s really big things. “I’m going to go overseas. I’m going to buy this really expensive dress.” Sometimes, it’s a small thing like, “I’m going to pick a flower.”
Taryn: Yes. You know, I’m glad you said that because I was walking the other day, and there was these roses bouncing over this fence. I actually had such a giggle to myself because I stopped to smell the rose. I’m like-
Taryn: Taking my human being -like awesome tip today. I’ve stopped to smell the roses.
Glenn: You’re eat the apex, not that I’ve done something that the metaphor is based on. I’ve literally gone and smelled the rose.
Taryn: Correct, but it was such a small little moment. I’m like, “Wow. How simple is that?” Often, these activities that I talk about, they are free. I’m a bit fan of nature. We have access to all this radical, free, awesome things to do like climbing a mountain or go for a walk on the beach or just take your shoes off, and just walk on grass in the park. Oh, gosh, that feels delicious. Sitting under a tree. I’ll often pull my beanbag out from home, put it in the back on my car, go to a park and put my beanbag under a tree and just lie there reading a book.
Glenn: Love it.
Taryn: It feels like heaven.
Taryn: Anyone could do it anytime.
Glenn: It’s free.
Taryn: It’s free.
Glenn: Yeah. I absolutely love that. Look, there’s some beautiful take home messages, and we’re going to post this on our social media. What we want to hear is, we want to hear your sparkle activities.
Glenn: Everyone will want to hear what your sparkle activities are. Post them in the comments because like Taryn said, you’re not too busy. I’m here talking to Taryn Brumfitt, the things that she does in a day, a week, a year would almost literally blow your mind. If she can do it, we can do it.
Taryn: I can’t wait to read them. I’m going to stalk all of you, listeners. I’m going to read all your comments. I love it. You know what you’ll se in the comments, is everyone’s idea of what a sparkle activity might be. They’re so rich and diverse. It doesn’t have to be big and loud. It could be, my goodness, learning how to knit. That could feel sparkly.
Glenn: I remember knitting was in your book. I think knit, yeah, fantastic.
Taryn: Yeah, so anyway, yay.
Glenn: Love it, love it. Well, okay, some take home messages from this. I’m getting be yourself, forget the rules, just be yourself. Take the time fro the sparkle moments, and let’s all judge a little less and love a little more. Let’s get onto now a topic that’s really important for almost everyone that I see. How this affects, how body positivity relates to weight, eating and physical activity.
Glenn: Taryn, I’m so happy to have you here for this conversation. And I’m really interested to hear what you’ve got to say. A lot of our audience, a lot of my clients, even our online clients … probably 90% of them are women.
Taryn: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Glenn: And a lot of our listeners are living in larger bodies. So I wanted to talk to you about body positivity and embrace and how that relates to taking care of yourself with physical movement, eating, and how it relates to weight and weight loss.
Taryn: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Glenn: So I think a big question … I could think of a million clients that have this question is … People say to me, “Yeah Glenn, I kind of get that. But to embrace I need to lose weight.” What do you say to people like that?
Taryn: Yeah. Well no, not at all. I mean, embracing … it’s a philosophy about how you love and respect and have endless gratitude for your body. It’s got nothing to do with weight loss, weight gain, a number on a scale. It’s finding what feels good for you. And we know a lot of people who have come on the embrace journey and have actually lost weight, and it’s just been a bit of a byproduct of living their best life. You know, for a better word … just getting out there and enjoying their bodies and eating foods intuitively and mindfully and then they happen to lose weight. And if that feels good for them, great. But again, there’s really no rules around weight loss, weight gain, and embracing. It’s just do what feels good for you.
Look, I’ve had people also come to me and say, “I want to lose weight. I embrace or I’m learning to embrace, but I want to lose weight.”
Glenn: And so do a lot of our people.
Taryn: Yeah, and I think that it’s okay to have that motivation as long as you are loving in that process.
Taryn: I think that’s the real key difference. You know, we spoke about it before say with me and sugar and diabetes. I think it’s the exact kind of example, you know? I’m mindful of how much sugar eat because there’s diabetes in my family and I love chocolate so much.
But I sometimes go, “Okay Taryn, that’s enough. Put the chocolate down. You’ve had enough.” I think it’s the same thing with weight loss and embracing. You can do it in a loving way. Not in a fearful way.
Glenn: Yep. It’s so interesting you should say that because I think that we talk about dieting versus intuitive eating. And often people will come to me and say, “Glenn, what is this? What’s a meal plan? Is a meal plan or preparing my food … is that dieting or is that intuitive eating?”
And I think the more that I learn about intuitive eating the more I understand it is actually about the why. If I’m limiting my sugar intake because sugar’s a bad food and it’s gonna make me gain weight, then I’m kind of in a diet head space.
Glenn: But if I’m limiting my sugar because like you, there’s a family history of diabetes and you know that a lot of sugar’s not gonna be really good for your body, then it’s intuitive eating.
Taryn: Yeah, and it’s respectful. That’s the key difference is I’m disrespecting what I know. I’m respecting the knowledge that I have and I’m also respecting how my body feels. I certainly know when I eat ridiculous amounts of chocolate, when I’ve not been mindfully eating that chocolate. I know I go on this crazy high and then this awful low. So, yeah.
Glenn: You don’t have necessarily a problem with that motivation that a lot of people do have that, “Hey I do wanna lose some weight?” But you would say it’s about the process that they go through.
And I think one thing that we’ve got to be mindful of is that sometimes there is sort of diet behaviour and there is exercise that is a punishment and we can sort of veil that like it’s self love. So we’ve gotta be sure that people are not just saying that they’re doing something different, that they’re actually fundamentally doing something different. Because I get this a lot of the time in my sessions.
Taryn: Yeah, for sure.
Glenn: Clients will be doing like a 1,200 calorie meal plan and smashing themselves at the gym six days a week and they kind of try to fool me.
Taryn: Yeah, sure.
Glenn: They’re like, “This is body loving.” I’m like, “Oh, I don’t know that it kind of is.”
Taryn: Yeah, that’s right. Do your clients then know? Do they know when you call them out on that?
Glenn: They know.
Taryn: Are they like, “Okay, yes it is.”
Glenn: No … Yeah.
Taryn: And isn’t it nice for them to have someone just to remind them of that? I bet they kind of go, “Yeah, that doesn’t actually feel good,” because it’s the treadmill all over again, right? It’s just the weight cycling that they’re on but is doing it in a way that-
Glenn: In a different way.
Taryn: … doesn’t appear to be a diet.
Glenn: Absolutely, because there are so many diets that aren’t sold as diets. You know, the dieting industry’s got smart enough now that they sell diets as non-diets. And if we look at it from a psychologist’s language … When you’re making a food choice, if the number one focus is how’s this food choice going to affect my weight, then you’re dieting. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a detox or a 12-week programme or a cleanse or however you call it. You’re dieting.
Taryn: Yep. I think what we need to get people to keep coming back to is how they feel in their bodies. So you know when you’re talking about weight loss and someone says, “Look, I want to lose weight because I felt better a few years ago.” I’m not sure … I certainly wouldn’t get anyone to focus on the weight loss and the kilos and what’s been lost, but maybe what they were doing back then. You know, what was your lifestyle like back then? Were you just moving for pleasure and going for walks and eating more intuitively and more mindfully? Probably. Because we know that our bodies … they’re pretty clever, right?
I mean, I think we sort of over complicate it with all of these ways that we can-
Glenn: They’re trying to regulate it with all the rules.
Taryn: Correct. And it just doesn’t … Our bodies will just do what our bodies want to do all day long.
Glenn: It’s amazing. I know Linda Bacon is in your book, and she’s in ‘Embrace,’ the documentary. I think she says it beautifully. They’re big words, but you know us health professionals, we like big words.
Taryn: Go for it.
Glenn: She talks about your body being an amazing self-regulator. It’s like you don’t really have to calculate, “Well, I’ve exercised this much, so I should eat this much.” If you listen to your body’s natural cues, it’ll do all of the maths through the ghrelin and the leptin, the hunger and fullness hormones. It all calculate that out for you and it’ll just tell you because you’ll get hungry.
Taryn: And isn’t that remarkable? That is the miracle of the body, right?
Glenn: It is the miracle.
Taryn: Everybody relax. Relax! Your body’s got you. Your body’s got you back.
This reminds me … This is digressing, but I went to a hairdresser once. I was in LA and I needed to get my hair done for TV. I was really worried about going to a random hairdresser. I thought, “What could I end up with? [crosstalk 00:07:27] Am I going to walk out like Shirley Temple?” I just want a casual curl for TV.
And she just put her hand on my shoulder and she goes, “Don’t worry. I’ve got you.” And I was like, “Man, the level of comfort I felt just in those words …”
Glenn: The trust.
Taryn: The trust! And this is the trust we need to have in ourselves and our bodies.
Glenn: And I think that is a real [inaudible 00:07:45]. I remember I did a workshop down at FILEX, the fitness convention. And I was talking about intuitive eating and enjoyable exercise. I presented what to me was like the good story of someone who had nailed it. It’s this person who was listening to their hunger and fullness, their weight had stabilised so they were happy about that, they were enjoying food for the first time in ages. They were enjoying movement.
And I said, “How do you guys feel about this?” And there was few people like, “This is really great.” There was one guy right up the front who was a smart guy, he’s like, “Oh my God, I’d be so worried for that client.” And he said, “What are they going to do without all of the rules?”
Glenn: It kind of highlighted this point to me that I think that … for us as health professionals, we need to be incredibly trusting of our clients’ ability and they have to be incredibly trusting of their own bodies. There’s a real element of learning to trust your own body.
If I don’t regulate my eating with some type of rules, or if I don’t weigh myself, or if I don’t have a set number of exercise sessions I don’t have to do for said amount of time, will my body actually take care of me?
Taryn: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And we know the data says, “Yes it will,” right?
Taryn: So yeah. I think that’s the message we really need to get out, and maybe that’s what everyone can take from this is that your body knows exactly what to do. Stop getting in the way of what your body wants.
Glenn: And Taryn, can you tell us a little bit about what’s been your personal experience with this? Because in your background, you’ve done the dieting, you’ve lost the 15 kilos, you’ve had the fitness body and everything following all of the rules. You know that that’s not the right path for you like it’s not for hardly anyone probably.
But what was that journey like for you? And it’s sort of happened through your own exploration and through the documentary, and it seems like you’ve gotten to this absolutely wonderful place now where … I’ve heard you say before that you really don’t have down days about your body. Reading your book, you’ve gotten more into the how-tos of how do the intuitive eating and enjoy more movement.
What has that been like for you to take that journey? And how hard or easy has it been to learn to trust yourself?
Taryn: Look, I think it’s been, what, four or five years since I stepped off that stage? Maybe five years, my gosh. Where does time go?
So yeah. I’m in this place now where I never have a bad day ever about my body. I just … I’m so in awe of it and I’m so grateful for it. I feel really blessed. Yeah, I just have a very different perspective on it now.
But in the early days, I guess it was a bit of an exploration of, “Hmm, there’s another way to think.” And it was just really … I guess educating myself and finding what are all the alternatives out there to being on this diet lifestyle? And wanting to lose the last five kilos.
I mean, my entire life was dedicated to losing the last five kilos. None of that felt good, so I guess it was just finding the alternatives that did feel good. Yeah. I mean, my body now is probably the largest it’s ever been but it’s really the healthiest it’s ever been. I have more energy. I’m just really happy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want anyone to think, “Oh my God, she’s always happy and full of energy.”
‘Cause I have my shit days or I have my shit times. I say that just because of that whole-
Glenn: I think it’s important for people to know.
Glenn: Because people see you and you are so vibrant. And you’re so full of life and that’s obviously … it’s authentic. It’s real, it’s you.
Glenn: But that doesn’t mean that that’s you 100% of the time.
Taryn: No. I think last Monday I had to go, “Okay, I need to get under the dunes and watch a horror movie.” I just need to get myself some … Like yeah, I just needed to check out. And that’s okay too.
Glenn: So guys, if Taryn Brumfitt has bad days you are allowed. This is your permission.
Taryn: Thanks. Yeah, awesome.
Glenn: I even had clients that said the same to me. They’re like, “Oh Glenn, I had this really terrible experience or this down week.” And they’re like, “You wouldn’t have that.”
I’m like, “Well, why?”
Taryn: Yeah, that’s right.
Glenn: Because even when you get this stuff it doesn’t stop you from being a human.
Taryn: No, that’s right. But I think the difference is that when you are really connected to your body and to you when you have those moments, you allow them to unfold. You’re not giving yourself a hard time for having a bad day. You sit, you go, “Oh, okay. Something’s going on.”
I took myself to the beach last year. I got out of the office, I went, “I’m done for the day.” Took myself to the beach, and then when I drove home I was a different person. [crosstalk 00:12:49] That’s my-
Glenn: Like Superman changing in the booth.
Taryn: I was! It was just my body was craving just to be outside. My body was craving some vitamin D. I just needed to feel free. I got that and off I went.
Glenn: So there’s a real element, Taryn, here of listening. Whether it’s about food, or your physical movement, or just caring for yourself is actually listening to yourself.
Taryn: Yeah. I think self love and loving yourself, there is no greater love in your life than the one that you have with yourself. You know? Loving you and being your own best friend, and backing yourself, and being kind to yourself … That is key. That needs to come first above anyone else on the planet is looking after you.
And I think it’s also just having that talk of, “What do I need to do to pull myself out of this funk?” Or, “What do I need to do just to feel good?” [inaudible 00:13:44] or whatever it is. Having that talk, we all need it.
Glenn: Yeah. And I think it’s interesting that you’ve been on this journey and in your book there are so many people who are living in all different sizes of bodies who have made this transition at some stage. And you see in the book at various stages in their life to really almost forget about the scales and embrace the skin that they’re in.
I think those stories are so important because they … Your story, the other people in the book and in the documentary, they show people that it really is possible. Because it’s like you said before, people do get on this dieting treadmill but they really see that as the only option. People don’t necessarily know that there is another way and they need people like you who show them there is another way but that they can actually get there.
Glenn: And it’s not dependent on being a certain number on the scales.
Taryn: That’s right. But I think it’s also … This conversation reminds me just a little bit about the disconnect that people are feeling. When we talk about backing ourselves and believing in ourselves, no one knows our bodies like we know our bodies.
We’ve just got to empower ourselves a little bit more that we know what to do. It doesn’t mean that we can’t get guidance here and there. But the classic example for me is when I … there’s a run. It’s more of a walk because it’s very uphill … in Adelaide up to the top of Mount Lofty. It takes about an hour to get up there. It’s pretty strenuous.
When I get to the top I’m like, “I made it. I’m alive.”
Glenn: Top of the world!
Taryn: Totally. That’s in my head. Because you can’t do that. Well, you could.
But I always see … I’m surrounded by people who are getting up to the top and checking their watches. And they’re like, click click. And checking how many calories they’ve burnt.
Taryn: Look, I’m not saying that those watches and those Fitbits are all bad. I’m not saying that. But I do think that we’ve gone a little bit far down the road of rather than getting to the top of that mountain and looking at the view and just going, “How awesome,” just sitting in those endorphins and enjoying that moment … we’re all of a sudden checking to see how many calories we’ve lost.
Glenn: It’s like-
Taryn: That’s a real disconnect, I think, that people are feeling.
Glenn: Yeah, it’s huge. Really reducing physical movement which your body is designed to do. It’s a way of loving your body and honouring it’s ability to do whatever it can into, “Oh, this is just how many calories I’ve expended.”
Taryn: Correct. I saw an eight year old the other day going onto a netball court have an absolute tantrum because her mom was trying to take the Fitbit off her to go on the netball court. And I thought, “Oh my gosh, here we go.” How is that young girl going to go out on the netball court and just enjoy herself and be in that moment? It’s a big, big problem.
Look, I run. And yeah, I try to keep up to a certain pace otherwise I’m like, “Taryn, that’s a fast walk.” So I have no problems with it. I’m just saying let’s have some balance around the use of Fitbits and technology.
Glenn: I love that. That’s a great how-to for our listeners because I know they’ll be a lot of people … ’cause when I have these discussions with clients they’re like, “Yes Glenn,” but there’s always this understanding of, “Well you don’t know my body. I can’t trust my body. Every time I’ve trusted my body in the past or let go of the rules, then I’ve just spiralled out of control.”
But I think that’s a really good how-to. Say with your physical activities, let’s forget about calories out, let’s forget about how many minutes you’ve done, and just focus on the experience and how good it feels.
Taryn: Yeah. To be really present, right?
Glenn: Yeah. Really to be really present. Because that’s where you develop the trust. You’re really listening to the body. And I think it’s the same with your eating. I know that before Taryn got here, she said, “Hey Glenn, can we pop into somewhere that will have some food? Because the options for brekky at the hotel weren’t that great. And it was you just listening to your body.
And you thinking about having to deal with me and all these conversations, and you needed energy and-
Taryn: I needed a banana.
Taryn: I needed a banana.
Glenn: But you didn’t have to have a rule book or a nutritionist or a dietician. You were just listening to the body and knowing that I need some of this particular type of nutrition is going to help me feel good. There are no rules.
Taryn: Yeah, that’s right. Just listening. It really is quite simple.
Glenn: We do over complicate it, though.
Taryn: We do.
Glenn: Yeah. So I think that’s a great take home message for people is whether it’s your eating or your physical activity, to just start to listen to yourself. Forget the rules, listen to yourself, and trust your body because it is an amazing self-regulator. And it will figure out …
I say to clients, “You don’t have to worry about your ideal weight is because your body will just do it all for you.”
Taryn: Yeah. Relax.
Glenn: You just eat well. I remember you saying in one of your Instagram posts like, “Your ideal weight,” and correct me if I’m wrong, but something like, “Your ideal weight is the weight you are when you’re living your life that you’re happy with.”
Taryn: Yeah, great. Easy, simple. And can I just … sorry. I had one more thing just about the activity and people moving their bodies.
I meet so many people that go to the gym and hate going to the gym. And they just go over, and over, and over again. How is that empowering? How is that making one feel good?
Glenn: It’s like a punishment for being too unfit or too fat. Yeah.
Taryn: Yeah! And I just think we need to remind ourselves there are a thousand ways that we can move our bodies.
Taryn: And there are sometimes … I love to lift lots of weights and that feels good because that’s where my head space is at. There are other times where I just … I need to be gentle. You know? The schedule might be crazy and I need to give myself some extra nourishment and I might choose to do yoga.
I think this is one of the things that people go, “Ah, I can do anything at any time?” Yes you can! Go learn how to hip hop tonight, and then next week lift some weights. Then dive in the ocean, climb a mountain, dance at home. We can all dance at home.
Glenn: I’m totally on the same page as you. But it’s weird for people.
Glenn: People are like, “I’ve been to the gym twice this week,” and people are like, “So often do you go to the gym?” And I’m like, “Well, sometimes zero. Sometimes three or four.” And they’re like, “But what’s your schedule?” I’m like, “Well, there kind of is no schedule.”
Taryn: Yes. And there’s the freedom right there.
Glenn: Yeah. The self expression.
Glenn: Yeah. Now let me ask you this, Taryn. Because something that’s come to my mind is that one of the things that pulls us out of listening to ourselves and loving ourselves are other people’s opinions. So even if people kind of get this stuff for them, how do you be body positive? How do you embrace? How do you listen to yourself when you’ve got professional people sometimes? And even people in your personal life who don’t necessarily feel the same way … who aren’t embracing the diversity of shapes and sizes that we all live in.
Taryn: Yeah. Well, I think we’re really lucky. 10 years ago, finding a GP or anyone as a health professional who understands and believes in health in every size would have been near impossible. Correct?
Taryn: There are more and more popping up everywhere across Australia and that is really exciting. So maybe 10 years ago … not sure what to do, you have a choice now. Seek them out. They are out there.
So that’s in terms of the professionals.
Glenn: Love that.
Taryn: When it comes to friends and relatives … and I always ask people to make a pact with their friends. And it’s not just you’re at dinner and you start going, “Oh hey,” talking about body image and then you have a little conversation. Create a space with your friends, “Let’s catch up for a coffee. I want to talk to you about something that’s really important to me.”
Glenn: So sit down conversation.
Taryn: That’s right. But it’s creating the space, it’s not just like we’re catching up for dinner on Friday night and I’m just going to raise it then. Because it’s not then elevated. If you call your friends and go, “I have something I want to talk to you about and it’s really important to me,” they’re probably like, “What is she going to talk about?”
All of a sudden it sort of elevates and creates this space for something really dynamic to happen.
Taryn: And talk to your friends about the journey that you’ve been on, where you want to go. Some of the conversations that you have and have had over the years that perhaps don’t feel good anymore.
And ask them, “Do you think that we could maybe, I don’t know, put a ban on fat shaming? And body shaming?” I’ve done that with a bunch of my friends and it’s really funny and fascinating what happens.
Because we’ve been so programmed to make a judgement and to say something about other people.
Glenn: Yeah, it’s just …
Taryn: Or about ourselves. It just rolls off our tongue, right?
A friend of mine … we were going to [00:22:59] Barley’s a couple of years of go and she was talking about bather’s and she immediately went, “Oh my God, I’ve got to go bather shopping. I hate my body.” Whatever she said.
And someone else called her out and went, “That’s not very embracing.” And she’s like, “Oh, yeah. It’s not. Oops.” And then we just carried on. We do forget because we are so programmed.
So having a pact with your friends-
Glenn: I love that.
Taryn: … to start kind of removing the conversations that aren’t helpful.
Glenn: We call that, with our clients, a no-fact talk.
Taryn: Yeah, nice.
Glenn: Yeah. But it is … it’s not just a blanket rule. It’s about having the conversation and figuring out what works for you. Because it’s like we were talking about before. It’s not a one size fits all, you know? It’s up to you as a group to figure out, “Well, there are these common ways we do to kind of hate on our bodies and judge other people’s bodies.” And that’s not a great thing for us. So what do we want to do differently?
Taryn: Yeah. And get really proactive. It’s like calling a meeting. It feels really odd.
Taryn: But if you want to do something and actually do it and not just have it as a passing conversation. Then create the space. Creating the space is important. It’s like relatives … it’s something that I suggest to many parents who their parents, the grandparents of the kids, say really unhelpful things.
Glenn: Ah, yes.
Taryn: It’s like, “Ouch.” You know? The whole, “Oh, you’re so pretty.” Or, “Be careful what you eat.” Just this messaging that is really bad.
Glenn: Or if it’s just like, “You’ve gained weight.” Or sometimes the grandparents just say it.
Taryn: Correct. And as a parent you just go, “Oh my gosh. How do I … ” So again, calling out that parent and saying, “I need to talk to you about something. It’s really important to me. This is really upsetting me.” And having that dialogue. Do you understand what I’m saying about how much it elevates that really important conversation?
Glenn: I think that’s such a powerful message because it’s different to just … and so many of clients in the future are going to be hearing this. It’s different to just calling someone else when it happens. You’re actually taking a pause point to say, “Let’s create a space to have a real conversation and create some real and lasting change.”
Glenn: I absolutely love that. So when it comes to health professionals, this is not … you know? 1990’s. You are going to be able to find people. And even though we have a lot of people that if they can’t find someone in a small town, there are people you can see. Dieticians, psychologists, even virtual trainers like [00:25:27] Louise Green on Skype or online.
So there are people that you could see. When it comes to your network, elevate the conversation and … You know, I love that. I think sometimes it’s important for people to have those little mechanisms and I love those words of, “I need to talk to you about something.”
Taryn: And make no mistake. It probably … it might be a little uncomfortable too. But you think about it from, say, a parent’s perspective or their child speaking to the grandparents. Would you rather just have 10, 15 minute conversations that’s a little bit uncomfortable? Or rather than having your child grow up battle with their body and their weight?
Same as friends. Friends and friends, friends who say unhelpful things. You’ve just got to nip it in the bum and say, “No, we’re not doing this anymore.”
Glenn: Yeah, I love that. And I often find sometimes I’ll encourage clients to have similar conversations. I’m going to do better now that we’ve had this conversation.
But sometimes even I’m surprised. And I might even have a child talking to her parent about this and I think, “Oh jeez, the parent’s pretty strong. Pretty militant in their diet and it’s not going to go well.” And they’ve had a proper conversation and have been surprised with the result.
Because of course a lot of those people, they are sort of shaming the person without knowing it. Or they’re trying to help. So the people do want to help, it’s just about helping them understand what’s really going to help and support that person.
Glenn: So the last thing I want to ask … and you’ve actually answered all of our audience’s questions from our Facebook group.
Glenn: But one I’m going to ask because I have so many clients and no one’s been brave enough to ask it … is specifically for women and specifically for single women. I see a lot of single women who feel like their bodies are getting in the way of them kind of finding the right partner.
Taryn: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Glenn: And some of them will kind of have actually had sort of feedback from people. It’s like, “You’ve got a really pretty face,” or “I think you’re really lovely, but this weight thing is a thing for me.” When I hear them, I’m like, “Oh, you dickhead.”
But then I kind of … I’m sort of trying to grapple with the reality that these people are struggling. So what would you say to somebody who’s worried about how the way that they look is going to affect their dating life and their ability to find a partner?
Taryn: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, this has come up in quite a few times for me too. I’ve had people ask this question.
Taryn: And I always throw it back and say, “Would you want to be with somebody who puts the focus on your weight gain or your weight loss? Is that really what you want as a foundation of your relationship?” And of course the answer is no.
You know, we want to connect and be with people because of who they are the things that they do, and the times and the joy that you spend, and common interests, and all of that’s what makes a relationship. [crosstalk 00:28:30]
Glenn: I love that. It’s not would you want me? But would I want someone who is going to make that a focal point of the relationship?
Taryn: Correct. Yeah.
Glenn: That’s so interesting and it’s a great point, Taryn. It speaks to this … You know, I see a lot of people … probably most of the people that I see are in a relationship. And they’re often worried that their bodies change of time. Will my partner accept my body?
I kind of say, “Well, if your partner’s still with you and they’re happy with you then it provides that safety net.” But of course people don’t want to be with someone that I’ve got to be a certain size, or shape, or have this certain look for you to accept me.
Taryn: It’s pretty shallow, isn’t it? To think that you would marry someone or want to be with someone just because of how they look?
Glenn: It’s amazing-
Taryn: Think about [inaudible 00:29:16] in the film. You know how she changed [inaudible 00:29:20]? How much her body and her face and every part of her changed? And Michael loves her because he loves her, not because he loves her body. And the size of her body.
Glenn: And Matt, you know. You’ve been all shapes of sizes and he’s supported you the whole time. So interesting that you should say it’s very shallow and very superficial.
One of my mentors, a guy named [00:29:40] George Blair-West, he’s a psychiatrist and he specialises in weight and relationships. And he says … it’s so similar to what you’ve just said. He said, “So if you want to find a partner and just look your very best to find a partner and that be the basis of the relationship, you’re going to get really good at selecting really shallow, superficial people who are going to be terrible relationship partners.” It’s a great way to find a terrible relationship.
Taryn: Yes. Absolutely it is. Yeah. It’s setting you up for disaster and divorce if you’re gonna …
So find someone that loves you and loves your spirit and loves the time that you spend together.
Glenn: I absolutely love that.
Taryn, thank you so much for spending this time with us. The messages I’m getting out of this is learn to trust your body, forget the rules because your body can take care of itself, and in that context of trusting your body … get the right people around you. Whether it’s professionals, whether it’s your social network by making those pacts, and having those elevated conversations.
And also that extends to the new people that you choose to accept or not accept into your life.
Glenn: Now I do want to just quickly talk about your book because by the time that people get to this conversation, the book will be out. So much of the stuff we’ve talked about today is in the book in a lot of detail.
I want to encourage everyone to go out there and read it. It’s a brilliant how-to and I love that. You’re getting into … like what we’ve done today, some of the real nitty gritty. And a lot of the things that we’ve talked about today are covered in the book in a lot more detail.
There are some things that we haven’t talked about which I’m so happy we don’t have time to talk about. Boobs, and sex, and there’s stuff about vulvas in the book. It’s so terribly shameful that we don’t have time to talk about that.
Taryn: Boobs, sex, and vulvas. I love that that [inaudible 00:31:54].
Everyone’s going to be like, “I need to go get that book.”
Glenn: “Ooh, okay.”
They’ll be going, “No, it’s just for the body positive stuff.” Wink.
Glenn: Taryn, thank you so much for being with us and coming on the show. I hope everyone reaches out to you if they haven’t. If they’ve been sort of lying under a rock for a few years, they have to watch ‘Embrace.’ We’ll definitely provide all the links for ‘Embrace Yourselves.’ Beautiful book.
Glenn: So thank you. And thank you for all of the beautiful work you do.
Taryn: Aw, thank you for having me. It’s such a pleasure.