Taryn Brumfitt wants women to love their body the way it is and the way it can be.

“Fitspiration” posts are ever-rampant on social media, implying that there are no excuses for not having six-pack abs and a tightly toned bodynot children, not a job, no excuses. So when Australian Taryn Brumfitt, founder of the love-your-body campaign Body Image Movement, shared her different kind of before-and-after photos following a “sports figure competition” in 2013, she caused a stir. Her message and testimonial was clear: You can love your body the way it is and the way it can be. You want to be healthy, and you know that doesn’t just involve the way you look, but also involves your mind and heart. Said Brumfitt in her 2013 post, “Health is physical, emotional and spiritual and so much more that is not visible and not always obvious to others.”

In her upcoming book, Embrace: My Story from Body Loather to Body Lover (June 2015), the mother of three chronicles her story from fitness competitor to new mother and all of the ups and downs she experienced with her body. She shares her journey training for a fitness competition, chronicles giving birth and even highlights her almost-was breast implantation surgery. Brumfitt also shares how she learned to accept what she couldn’t (and could) change about her body (Think: “stretch marks, boob shape”—and “nails, fitness”).

Brumfitt took the time to talk to Women’s Running and share some ways to celebrate your body—in all its uniqueness—on a regular basis.

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ACKNOWLEDGE THE FACT THAT YOUR BODY IS NOT AN ORNAMENT—IT IS THE VEHICLE TO YOUR DREAMS. “Focus on all the things your body can do, like moving, jumping, running, skipping, hugging and laughing as opposed to flawless skin, cellulite free bums and thigh gaps!”

STOP FIGHTING AND DEFYING AGE. “Despite what ‘they’ tell you, the body is designed to naturally evolve—and that is okay,” says Brumfitt. “I say to myself, ‘The lines on my face only serve to remind me that life is short and the bucket list is long!’”

APPRECIATE YOUR BODY. “I used to hate my body and in particular my breasts (there was a time that I could pick up my breasts like they were dirty tissues),” admits Brumfitt. “Now that I respect and love my body unconditionally, when I look in the mirror and look at my breasts I don’t hate how they look, but rather appreciate what they have done… just quietly they have provided over 4,000 meals to my children!”

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BE RESPONSIBLE. “Without guilt (because women don’t need to engage in that emotion any more than they do) we need to learn to embrace, if not for ourselves but the future of the next generation,” urges Brumfitt. “Our young girls and boys are suffering as eating disorders are skyrocketing, and depression and anxiety disorders are off the charts. We need to be the change we want to see in the world, and our children need us to lead by example. That means we must be accountable for the way we speak in front of children and about our bodies and the bodies of others. Less judging and more embracing please!”

GET SOME PERSPECTIVE AND BE GRATEFUL. “I’ve asked tens of the thousands of women right across the world this question—’What thoughts do you think you’ll have in your final days on earth?’ I’ve never had anyone respond, ‘My big bum, my thighs, my cellulite’,” Brumfitt says. “I am encouraging women to live in the here and now whilst they are breathing, capable and able, not wait until their final days to learn to love their body or the value of this beautiful gift that is life!”

Ashley Lauretta is a health and fitness journalist living in Austin, Texas. Assistant editor at LAVA Magazine, Ashley also regularly contributes to Women’s Running, Active.com, LIVESTRONG.com and more. Find her on Twitter at @ashley_lauretta.

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