They are both busy moms-of-three who posted photos of their body on Facebook that went viral.
But while ‘Fit Mom’ Maria Kang’s bikini shot sparked outrage for shaming women into snapping back into shape after having babies, an Australian mother’s nude picture has been applauded for promoting a more healthy, realistic image.
Taryn Brumfitt, 35, became an Internet sensation earlier this year when she posted her unique ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos on Facebook, admitting to the world that ‘having the perfect body isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.’
Taryn Brumfitt, 35, has been applauded for promoting a more healthy, realistic image; she wants women to realize that ‘having the perfect body isn’t all it’s cracked up to be’
One shot showed Ms Brumfitt — like Ms Kang — looking super-toned in a bikini, posing in a fitness competition. In the second photo she is sitting naked, one year later and 20lbs heavier, less firm, with a rounder tummy.
It was the plucky mom’s comments that led to the post being viewed 3.6million times and shared by nearly 20,000 Facebook users in two weeks.
She wrote: ‘Here is my non-traditional before and after photo…
‘I just wanted to share with you that I loved my body on the stage, prancing around in a bikini as much as I loved my body sitting butt [sic]in my girlfriend’s studio.
‘Our bodies will go through many changes in our life. Our bodies change through ageing, pregnancy, illness, weight loss, weight gain, the list goes on. One thing we must learn to do is love our bodies, before, during and after…’
Now Ms Brumfitt is wading into the media storm that was created after Ms Kang posted a Facebook photo of her svelte, bikini-clad body, surrounded by her three toddlers under the headline: ‘What’s your excuse?’
The Australian became an Internet sensation earlier this year when she posted her unique ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos on Facebook, admitting to the world that 'having the perfect body isn't all it's cracked up to be'
In a blog post about the Californian on her Body Image Movement website, the Australian mom writes: ‘To look like she does is (for most people) completely doable, if you are willing to sacrifice most of the things that you love…’
Ms Brumfitt says that to maintain the figure in her ‘before’ photo she felt like a ‘selfish mother’ who was obsessing about diet and exercise rather than spending time with her kids.
It made her realize that — as she tells her readers — ‘having the “perfect” body isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.’
Becoming comfortable with her post-pregnancy figure is something that took Ms Brumfitt years to achieve.
Before spearheading her Body Image Movement, she was so devastated by the way her appearance changed after giving birth to three children in as many years that she considered having plastic surgery.
She says: ‘I started to loathe my body after I had my first son Oliver, seven years ago. I remember having a shower after giving birth, looking down at my tummy and being horrified by how lumpy and wobbly it was. It looked like something out of The Blob.
Maria Kang, nicknamed Fit Mom, came to the public's attention last month when she posted this photo of her toned post-baby body to Facebook
‘Later, as I struggled to lose weight, I’d see photos of the Australian actress Bec Hewitt looking slim. She had a child around the same time as me but I was still holding on to the extra baby weight.
‘I’d say: “If Bec-f***ing-Hewitt can do it, why can’t I?”‘
Ms Brumfitt says she tried Weight Watchers and going to the gym to get back to her pre-pregnancy weight of 143lbs. But before she could completely lose the 44lbs she had put on while carrying her first child, she became pregnant with her second son, Cruz, who she had in July 2008.
‘I loved being pregnant, watching my growing belly,’ she says. ‘That’s when I felt sexy and good about myself. It was after my first two children were born, when I struggled to lose the baby weight, that I hated the way I looked.
‘There were times I’d be on the bathroom floor, crying or I’d look in the mirror, grab my tummy and say: “Look at this. It’s disgusting.”‘
Ms Brumfitt’s husband Mathew was supportive and encouraging, but for a time she hid her true feelings of self-loathing from even him.
By the time she got pregnant with her daughter Mikaela in 2009 she decided to use plastic surgery to get the body she wanted.
Ms Brumfitt says that to maintain the figure in her ‘before’ photo she felt like a ‘selfish mother’ who was obsessing about diet and exercise rather than spending time with her kids
Ms Brumfitt said that in order to sustain her ‘before’ body, she gave up alcohol and processed food and ate a high-protein diet of mostly chicken and broccoli, while working out six times a week – sometimes twice a day
Ms Brumfitt says: ‘I told myself: “Once she’s walking I’m going to get my boobs done and my tummy fixed.”‘
In 2012 she went to see a plastic surgeon who told her a boob lift, breast implants and a tummy tuck would cost AUS$14,000 (USD$12,000).
Initially she says she was ‘on cloud nine.’ But a week later, while watching her daughter playing, she had a change of heart.
She says: ‘I had an epiphany. I suddenly thought: “How am I ever going to teach Mikaela to love her body unconditionally if I can’t do the same?” That’s when I started making changes and decided to feel good about myself.’
She plotted her own course of self-acceptance that evolved into her Body Image Movement — a website that encourages women to embrace their bodies as they are, not try to look like airbrushed models or celebrity moms.
She says: ‘Rather than investing time worrying about things that, without surgery, I couldn’t change, I started to focus on the things that I could do — like going to the gym and eating healthily.’
It was after she decided to give up pursuing the body image ideal by getting plastic surgery that she entered a sports figure competition.
Ms Brumfitt plotted her own course of self-acceptance that evolved into her Body Image Movement — a website that encourages women to embrace their bodies, not try to look like airbrushed models or celebrity moms
Now she focuses on eating a balanced diet and exercising a few times a week. At 145lbs she is a healthy weight for her five-foot-five-inch height
In an open letter to Ms Kang posted on her website, Ms Brumfitt explained how she achieved the figure featured in her ‘before’ picture.
She wrote: ‘It was a challenge that I set for myself to see how far I could push my body; it was my own personal experiment. . . It took 15 weeks of very hard training (much like an athlete) and 100per cent discipline with my diet, but I did it.’
Ms Brumfitt tells MailOnline that she gave up alcohol and processed food and ate a high-protein diet of mostly chicken and broccoli.
She worked out six days a week — many times twice a day — using cardio and weights to get the desired physique. She entered the May 2012 contest 33lbs lighter at 125lbs.
But she gave up the rigid exercise and diet plan immediately afterwards.
‘Following the strict routine for 15 weeks wasn’t a problem,’ she says ‘But there’s no way I’d want to do that all the time. It’s not sustainable. Many times I’d be out with friends having dinner and I’d be ordering boiled chicken. There was no balance, especially for a foodie who loves dessert and chocolate.’
Now she focuses on eating a balanced diet and exercising a few times a week. At 145lbs she is a healthy weight for her five-foot-five-inch height.
‘The irony is I think I’m healthier now than I was when I was in the competition,’ she says. ‘Health encompasses your mental health too and I think people forget that.’
Ms Brumfitt says she was inspired to upload her ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos after hearing her friends say they were ‘struggling to love their bodies after putting on weight.’
She says: ‘I wanted to show them you shouldn’t have to wait until your body is in “perfect condition” to love it.
‘There is a darker, untold side to having a body like Maria’s – she’s hiding it (I know), it’s just behind her razzle and dazzle.’
Ms Brumfitt tells the MailOnline that she doesn’t want to create a ‘witch hunt’ against Ms Kang but rather to give her a ‘friendly lecture on health at every size.’
She says: ‘I’m on a quest to redefine and rewrite the ideals of beauty. Women have been brainwashed into thinking fat, wrinkles and cellulite are bad. They’re not. It’s just a part of being a human being.
‘Society only seems to celebrate one type of body. I say: “Screw the beauty and diet industries that prey on women’s insecurities, become unstoppable and learn to love your body from the inside out”.
‘If what you value is your health then you’ll treat your body like a vehicle, not an ornament.’