Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of seeing a documentary that is changing lives all over the world, ‘Embrace’.
I first heard of this film via Facebook when a friend tagged me in the trailer for the film knowing it would be something I would love. The trailer shows (in a nutshell) how Taryn, considered plastic surgery after having her third child because she hated her body so much. She made the decision to train to extremes and achieved a competition worthy body. On reaching this goal she realised that even the women in the body building world complained about parts of their body they hated, and she herself felt that there was more to life than this. She posted an image online where the before photo was her in her ‘perfect body’ and the after photo was her natural healthy body; one that didn’t sacrifice, didn’t obsess and didn’t loathe. She looked utterly beautiful and this inspired her to go on a mission to give other women the same perspective she felt so blessed to have experienced.
I felt compelled to reach out to Taryn. It felt meant to be that our paths had crossed and I just knew she was doing a great thing. I never expected a reply, after all her image had gone viral instantly and I did wonder if she would even read it. But nonetheless, I’ve always loved telling people when they do something great, even if it means getting nothing back. I think the world could do with more praise and less scrutiny.
A few days later, I heard from The Body Image Movement, and was asked to apply to become a global ambassador for the company. I was thrilled at the suggestion and just knew that this message was too important to sit back and do nothing about. I applied, and I was successful.
I heard Taryn was coming to the UK and once I’d finished doing a little HURRAH dance in my living room, I made the decision to host my own screening of the film. It was easy enough for me to just book the London Premiere, meet Taryn myself and use what I’d learnt to my own benefit, but I wanted everyone I knew to see it.
This weekend, my screening happened and just under 100 women (and men) attended.
Now, being involved in BIM has meant I know so much about the effect it’s had on people around the globe and a lot of what the film would consist of, but oh my goodness, the trailer doesn’t even scratch the surface of how amazing this film is.
I need to be tactful on discussing it because I urge anyone reading this to go and see the film, and I don’t want to sling in too many spoilers. But what I ADORED about this film, was how it covered everyone. So often, documentaries about body shaming can shame the thin, or focus on body issues that comes from appearance alone. This has been an ongoing battle for me as a natural size 8-10 girl when I try to motivate people to change their perceptions of themselves and learn to love the skin they are in. ‘It’s alright for you’, or ‘I’d love my body if I was your size’ are just a few comments I get and it can be really frustrating as though you can only have an opinion if you are deemed curvy.
The idea that only women above a size 10 can have body confidence issues is crazy to me, because it’s so much more than that. I can guarantee the girl you see looking a million dollars in a magazine worries as much as the next girl.
What this film highlights more than anything is the messages that are being put into our brains without us even realising, through social media, video games, mannequins, magazines and so much more. The list is truly endless.
One woman who was in the film who I must mention was a lady called Turia. Her story resonated with me on such a level that I felt like the film understood my own journey. Turia had set out on a competitive run several years ago, and found herself caught up in a bush fire causing her entire body to burn changing the way she would look for the rest of her life. Listening to her talk about herself bought me to tears. She loved every inch of her body and who she was, and even joked about how she gets why her boyfriend stayed with her because she is pretty awesome. She described her experience saying ‘could this be the best thing that ever happened or the worst? I don’t think we really know’. For me, I’ve always said this about Huntington’s Disease. I despise the disease for what it’s doing to my Mum, and spent 13 years fretting about what would happen to me, literally waiting for someone to pull the trigger. But, if I focus on that, I’d die anyway. So, I sometimes think …
How amazing that you have been through this. Look at how you can see the world from above, and remove yourself from the minor because of this major wake up call
In some crazy weird way, I often say the same thing to myself. Is this the worst of the best thing to ever happen to you?
When we go through something awful, it wakes us up to the here and now and gives us a new gratitude for the things we never knew we had. Each time we push through something difficult it shows us a resilience we never knew we had, and it makes us aware of how insignificant other things are that we spend so much of our energy worrying about.
By seeing this film, we don’t need to go through that to realise how incredible we are. Imagine, just waking up one day and no longer worrying what you could eat that day, or looking in the mirror and obsessing about things you can’t change. Imagine looking in a shop window and not comparing yourself to the women you see. The women you see don’t look like that in real life.
‘We need to share our stories so we become the new magazine’
What really matters in this life? When you lay on your death bed, waiting to take that last breath, are you going to think ‘I wish I’d resisted the cheesecake and done the diet one last time’, or are you going to think ‘I’d give anything to go for one last walk with my loved ones and to see them smile. I’d hug them tight and tell them I loved them. I’d enjoy using my body and be grateful to be alive’
Like Love Yourself Lean, Embrace is not celebrating obesity or an unhealthy lifestyle, it is ’embracing’ body diversity, and celebrating every shape, size, gender, disability, culture and ethnicity. It is championing the privilege of life and owning an incredible body that can do amazing things. This has always been a message I’ve wanted to pass on to so many people. I don’t know when, but at some point people will see that diets do not work, and they will not make you happy, and they will not bring you balance. I was surprised to see so many buy the journal following the screening. People wanted to provide themselves with a solid platform to remind them to embrace each day and I was so happy to be able to enhance the experience for many of those who came.
Embrace and LYL work on the same idea.
Exercise, but do it in a way you love. Move, stretch, be in nature, whatever feels great for you. Nourish your body with fresh, good tasting food, and BLOODY EAT THE CAKE. Life is about balance. Your mental, spiritual and emotional health are AS important as your physical health. Being healthy is directly connected to being happy. You are blessed enough to have been given this life. Take it with both hands and go and make your mark. Don’t hide away, and don’t waste such valuable time on something that is never going to make you happy… dieting. Balance, be grateful and love that incredible body that does so many incredible things for you. Even in the time you’ve been reading this, you’ve experienced your heart beating approximately 210 times. You’ve blinked around 60 times and your eyes have scanned across each word sending messages to your brain so you can digest this information. What a wonderful body you have. Let’s not just exist anymore, let’s stop wanting more. Let us live and be here right now.
I feel so moved to have shared such an incredible experience yesterday, and urge anyone who hasn’t seen this film to go, and if you have teenage daughters, or even sons, take them! They are the next generation for body image and have such power to do amazing things.
I will be supporting a friend in hosting another screening in Swindon, and there are many more popping up around the country each day. If you want to check out where your nearest screening is click here
Thanks to all that came along yesterday, and I particularly want to salute the young girl who fought for some time out from the her residential care unit for anorexia. She took action for her future despite going through what she was going through. All my love to you darling!
Happy Sunday guys. I’ve spent today enjoying pregnancy yoga, a walk in the woods and now a roast dinner….with pudding. I will truly embrace every change that occurs in this body of mine as it grows a brand new little human, because THAT is what’s incredible. I hope you are doing something as soul worthy.