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- Australian singer-songwriter
Fitness guru Ashy Bines has told the public to lay off other women's parenting in an interview about her own experience as a pregnant woman in the spotlight.
The Gold Coast trainer said people wrote to her on social media saying she deserved to 'lose her child' because she chose to exercise and diet while carrying her son Taj.
"I had one comment which really hurt which said I didn't deserve to be a mother because I was killing him because my baby was small, my belly was small."
"The other one said they hope that he has Down Syndrome, another one says they hope I have a still-birth because I don't deserve to have him."
"I am a better mum when I am active, a better mum when I start my day with a walk because I am out in the fresh air, I have got those endorphins and I feel good and he feels that."
Instagram and social media posts showing off her figure have led to accusations she’s perpetuating a dangerous body image – one that’s obsessive and potentially unhealthy.
Louise Adams is a clinical psychologist who treats women with body image issues and eating disorders.
She says women are being driven to the brink by their quest for perfection.
"I do think it's a cult of Ashy Bines. I do think this is a group of women who are very appearance focused, very competitive, and very perfectionistic and this is a diet and exercise program that is not going to work for the majority of people in the long term," Louise said.
"I'm really concerned about the damage this kind of stuff is doing to women's self-esteem."
But Ashy says her work is always focused on improving women's health and self-esteem.
"I get hundreds of messages you know on Instagram and social media of girls saying "I hate my body" or "I am pudgy here" or "I am sick of looking in the mirror" or "I don't go to the beach because I don't feel good"," she said about her huge following.
"All of those comments, they break my heart but that is why I do what I do every single day."
"Accept that you are not going to look like someone else. We are born with different shapes and different sizes and different curves and heights and looks, accept who you are.
Growing up Ashy Bines loved sport and dancing and first started entering bikini competitions as a teenager but didn’t learn about healthy eating until much later.
"[Growing up] We were very, very poor and I just don't think my parents had a lot of education to what healthy food was. Whatever we could afford was what we got."
She said she was conscious about keeping in shape which led her to personal trainer Steve Evans.
He inspired Ashy to join the fitness industry.
Seven years later and Ashy Bines is a superstar in the world of wellness and business has boomed thanks to the power of social media.
She now boasts gyms, booty tours, online diet and exercise programs and an Internet reality show.
But two years ago Ashy’s bikini body had it’s ultimate test when she fell pregnant and over the months that followed she posted photos, diet blogs and tips to stay in shape.
Ashy’s son Taj was born on October 4 2015, weighing a very healthy 3.7 kilograms and a week later Ashy was back in a bikini.
"I felt like there was a lot of pressure from women saying, "You've always been thin, it is going to be so easy for you to bounce back."
"Just because I am in the fitness industry or just because I am healthy doesn't mean that it is automatically magic,
Daegan Coyne is a close friend of Ashy's and the lawyer-slash-body builder is also about to be a mum.
She too decided to document her pregnancy online and like Ashy, Daegan was soon the target of menacing and cruel messages.
"I didn't show for quite a while in my pregnancy… it was just horrendous and people even private messaging you being like "you are so vain, you are only caring about your own body and not worrying about your baby" or "you are going to kill your baby because you're over exercising".
Though the weights are lighter Daegan hasn’t let her pregnancy get in the way of training.
I do plan on getting back into it as soon as possible and getting her outside which will be good taking her to the gym with us doing some family sessions
Mother of three Taryn Brumfitt found herself caving under the pressure to have her bikini body back in 2011 and decided to get serious about losing her baby weight.
Taryn contemplated surgery but was worried about the message it would send to her daughter, tried another approach – a 15-week intense training program for a body building competition.
"When I did the competition, everyone thought I was so healthy and yes physically I might have looked fit but emotionally I was extremely unbalanced."
"I don’t think I was a really nice person to be around. I remember my husband saying to me just go and eat some chocolate cause I was so grumpy.
"Once you’ve had children there are things that happen to your body that you can’t undo, you know your boobs …or your tummy’s stretched so much that you’ve got loose sagging skin with stretch marks."
What she discovered changed the rest of her life.
"I remember being backstage and listening to some of them say things about their bodies 'I wish I had more of this I wish I had less of that'…they have no fat they're toned — these women have that body and they were still complaining and not at peace."
Thinking she would encourage her girlfriends to seek happiness inside, Taryn posted a nontraditional take on the 'before and after' photos featured on Ashy Bines social media.
Her Facebook page quickly went viral reaching 100 million people including movie star Ashton Kutcher.
But not everyone online was as positive as Ashton, comments also appeared calling her disgusting, lazy and ugly.
But any criticism was crushed by the thousands of women who now saw Taryn as their new poster girl.
"There was about 7000 emails and messages, and, there was a certain level of responsibility that I felt that I had to do something with all of this information, and all this heart ache... there is right around the world, of people hating their bodies."
She started the Body Image Movement and crowd funded a ground-breaking documentary called Embrace which asks the question – why do we hate our bodies?
"I'm proud that it's inspiring women to take positive change and positive steps in their lives cause so many brilliant minds and brilliant women are being anchored down by thought they have about their bodies."
"Bodies they're actually not ornaments they're vehicles they drive us in life."
The response to Taryn’s message has been overwhelming – her movie a worldwide hit. Instead of flocking to booty events to change their bodies, these women are celebrating acceptance.
"It is lovely to see that conversation start happening because the shame associated with being a female and saying, "you know what, I'm okay with my body'," Psychologist Louise Adams said.
"We're given this message that having the most important part of having a baby is what you look like afterwards and it's not."
"I feel for women - we already hate ourselves. Nine out of 10 already hate ourselves, and then we get pregnant and our bodies get even bigger and then they kind of get unrecognisable after birth."
Louise is encouraging less perfection from the role models on social media and more reality from women like Taryn.
"I think that's an extreme way of saying it. I think that there needs to be a movement towards her looking like a human being, not necessarily bedraggled but like a human being. If science is showing us that we have skyrocketing levels of eating disorders, body dissatisfaction in almost every living human woman, we need to do something about it," she said.
"We're given this message that the most important part of having a baby is what you look like afterwards and it's not. We need to focus back on having a baby is a life changing experience and asking celebrity new mums for example, "how's it going? What's it like to have a baby? How are you bonding?"
"Looking after yourself is just as important as looking after your baby."
Ashy Bines's career as a personal trainer started with one small boot camp in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast.
Seven years later, it's grown into a global hot pink empire and the fitness phenomenon has four million followers on social media.
Ashy's online programs include the 28-Day Booty Challenge, which includes exercise and nutrition guides enabling women to tailor their own workouts. There's also the original Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge (ABBBC), a 12-week group training program held at more than 70 locations in Australia and New Zealand.
Find more information about Ashy, her programs and world booty tour.
Filmmaker and author Taryn Brumfitt is an internationally recognised body image activist and the creator behind social impact documentary Embrace. Taryn's message has reached over 100 million people worldwide ... and counting.
Embrace, which explores the issue of body image, was supported by nearly 9000 Kickstarter pledgers who responded to a fundraising trailer Taryn released in 2014. She was inspired to make the film after posting an unconventional
before-and-after image on the internet in 2013 that sparked a media frenzy.
Taryn is on a quest to redefine and rewrite the ideals of beauty. The Body Image Movement (BIM) is an internationally recognised crusade that recognises the importance of body diversity by encouraging people to be more accepting of who they are, to use positive language regarding their bodies and others, and to prioritise health before beauty.
Embrace sees Taryn traverse the globe talking to experts, women in the street and well-known personalities about the alarming rates of body image issues that are seen in people of all body types. Taryn bares all (literally) to explore the factors contributing to this problem and seeks to find solutions.
And for more information about the Body Image Movement: www.bodyimagemovement.com
Daegan Coyne is a fitness and health advocate and Body Science sponsored athlete.
Her husband is Joseph Coyne, Australia's only exercise physiologist, sports nutritionist and full body ART practitioner. He is also currently the Performance Manager for EXOS & the Chinese Olympic Committee national teams in Beijing, China. Daegan trains out of Joseph's centre on the Gold Coast.
Coyne Sports Injury & Performance Clinic + CrossFit Caesar is a multi-disciplinary clinic located in Burleigh Heads. The clinic offers chiropractic, exercise physiology, naturopathy and strength and conditioning services. They also have a holistic performance orientated personal training and nutrition service that caters for people who want to lose body fat, rehabilitate injuries and athletes that want to take their performance to the next level.
Together, Daegan and Joseph say they eat clean, stay active, and train hard, while maintaining a positive and healthy lifestyle in every shape and form.
To learn more:
Clinical psychologist and author Louise Adams believes that our culture's obsession with physical perfection is feeding an epidemic of disordered eating and body dissatisfaction.
Louise is determined to make a difference in changing our society's messaging about dieting, weight loss, and body image. Louise promotes health practices for their own sake rather than to achieve appearance change. She is pro body diversity and believes that people can be happy and experience health improvements at a range of sizes.
Louise is the director of Treat Yourself Well Sydney, a specialist psychology clinic for health and wellbeing. Louise and her team use an evidence based non-diet approach to help empower people to live healthier, happier and more meaningful lives.
Find out more about Treat Yourself Well Sydney.