Body neutrality is on the rise! You might already have heard of the Body Positivity movement, which began in the 1960’s as an association to promote fat acceptance. It championed the rights of plus sized individuals in a culture which values slimness. In the following years, this led to a wider movement, with a mantra of ‘body self-love’ and acceptance.
However, is it possible to love your body all the time? Don’t we all have parts of our bodies that we struggle to embrace? With a drum roll, welcome to the Body Neutrality movement. This movement aims to detach ourselves completely from the relentless focus on our appearance and our bodies. Body Neutrality asks us to focus on what our bodies can do rather than what they look like and is the perfect middle ground between loving and loathing your body!
Our bodies are an incredible blend of cells and organs, which also house a mind and spirit which creates a unique identity and personality. Should n’t we be focusing on valuing our abilities and non-physical characteristics over our appearance?! While we continue to live in a world which values physical appearance, it is within our power to change this narrative. Our appearance does not determine our self-value.
Body neutrality is the perfect antidote as our lives begin to get back to normal, following the stress and uncertainty of these last two years. Let us be grateful to our bodies for getting us through these challenging times! We do not have to worship our bodies, but we certainly do not have to hate them (body negativity), so let us aim to be neutral about them!
Examples to highlight the body neutrality:
Body Positivity: I love my thighs
Body Neutrality: I appreciate how my thighs allow me to walk
Body Negativity: I hate my body, I need to lose 10 kg
Body Neutrality: I could be slimmer, but honestly, I am just pleased my body enables me to do all the things I want to do.
It is worth highlighting that while the body positivity movement tends to insist on not changing your body, (so in theory no dieting!), body neutrality can go hand in hand with a weight loss diet. But, removing the focus on appearance and weight should mean that there is much less emotional attachment (and stress!) in terms of strict targets. There is no putting your life on hold or getting fixated on a particular weight goal. The aim is to be a weight which allows you to do everything you want to do, a weight which feels right for you!
There is also a natural link between body neutrality and mindfulness, as there is a strong focus on how you feel. You will be more naturally inclined to eat food which makes you feel good and listen to what your body needs!