6 Techniques To Embrace Body Neutrality
Every new year brings with it a tsunami of resolutions focused on self-improvement. Some people plan to pick up a new hobby — for instance, learning a language. Others resolve to break certain habits, such as spending too much time on social media or not traveling enough.
However, many resolutions center around improving physical health. This could include eating more greens, getting more sleep, or practicing mindfulness. I won't lie — my 2022 resolutions are similar. This is the "make it or break it" year for me! But there's a catch.
Being Not So Body Positive
Despite making several lifestyle changes to lose weight and get in shape, I still don't particularly love looking at my reflection in the mirror. However, I'm not too critical about it, either.
You've probably heard a lot about body positivity. It involves loving yourself no matter how you look and can be a powerful weapon in the fight against body shaming.
However, the problem with this concept is that it can encourage people to force positive feelings about their bodies when they don’t actually feel that positivity. The good news is that you don't have to either hate or love your body to love yourself. That's where body neutrality comes in.
What Is Body Neutrality?
Body neutrality simply means accepting your body as it is. It seeks to redirect the conversation from the body being an essential aspect of self-worth to viewing the body more functionally
One of the chief aims of body neutrality is to recognize the body's needs and meet them, such as by exercising because the movement feels good.
Mindfulness is also a big part of this, as it helps you make healthy choices for the right reasons, and not because a model or an influencer said so. I realized over time that how I feel in my body matters more and that I must keep working on myself dedicatedly.
Just like body positivity, body neutrality aims to combat body shaming. However, body positivity continues to focus on the body as part of self-worth, which isn't always a solution for those accustomed to hating their bodies.
Body neutrality, by contrast, is a healthy practice for anyone who wishes to look beyond appearance and celebrate more substantial aspects of self-worth.
Body neutrality also shares tenets with the notion of Health At Every Size, which advocates choosing foods that give pleasure and nutrition, exercising for enjoyment, and respecting one's own body and those of others without criticizing. If you're looking to start practicing body neutrality, here's what you should do:
1Drop Body Talk From Your Conversations
Avoid bringing up body-related topics when talking to people, and do the same with yourself. For instance, if a dress feels too tight, simply pick something more comfortable to wear rather than reproaching yourself for not being thin enough.
Whenever possible, talk about thoughts, feelings, and experiences rather than appearance in conversations.
3Eat the Foods You Want To Eat
Desserts and other treats have a home in every diet. Choose treats at intervals, and enjoy them mindfully — without any negative thoughts. Of course, you should still control your portion sizes and eat healthy foods as much as possible.
4Listen To Your Body
If you feel tired, hungry, or emotionally low, it's okay to pause your workout and take care of yourself. When choosing workouts, moreover, choose enjoyable activities rather than ones that you feel like you 'have' to do. You'll be more likely to keep coming back to them.
5Perform Self-Love Activities Only When You Want To
Body positivity advocates emphasize practicing affirmations like “I am beautiful.” However, if you do not feel beautiful in your body, such affirmations can do more harm than good by putting pressure on you to feel a certain way. The truth is that nobody loves or hates their body all the time, so it's perfectly okay and even desirable not to think about it.
6Give Yourself Time
It can be hard to break out of the mentality of criticizing your body or forcing yourself to love it. When you have these thoughts, simply acknowledge them and focus on your body's functional qualities, such as how it moves and adapts. Remember that media content is mainly centered on body shaming or body positivity, so be patient.
We all get just one body in this lifetime, so it's essential to take good care of it. While body positivity has made a lot of progress in this regard, body neutrality enables a more inclusive conversation by bringing in people of all sizes, ethnicities, and ability levels, and preaching that everyone deserves a voice. Practice behaviors and affirmations that make you feel good, and always remember that you are so much more than just your body.