Updated: Feb 15
I am so thrilled to learn that so many people resonate with body neutrality as I do. Some have told me that they like the idea of accepting the body they have now, instead of constantly trying to alter it. Others have told me that they want to feel less pressure to be positive all the time. Body neutrality is something that will help a lot of people so I am so excited to share it!
Photo by navanita.s_photography
Fitness has historically been sold to us as a way to transform our bodies on the outside into something that is not always realistic or healthy. The industry has repeatedly pressured us to look a certain way.
But what if I told you that working out and exercising can be fun and completely detached from your body image?
The body positive movement began to make headway in the mid-90’s and was meant to help people in marginalized bodies to feel positive about - and celebrate - their bodies. Body positivity emphasizes that all bodies are beautiful by promoting self-love and self-acceptance. It also actively celebrates physical appearance; however, when too much value is placed on our appearance, and we are constantly thinking about it, it teaches us that how we look, how we think we look, or how we feel about our looks, is the most important thing in life.
I had subscribed to body positivity for a very long time, but in recent years I started to notice the toxicity of it. When you are constantly receiving messages to love your body, what happens on the days that you don’t love your body? Are you wrong? Are your feelings invalid? The pressure to constantly be positive about your body can actually do a lot of harm, because it teaches you that what you feel naturally is incorrect. It can also take a very negative toll on you mentally because you are not free to express yourself truly and authentically.
There are two extremes: positive body image, and hating your body so much that you want to change what you look like.
Body neutrality is the middle ground between being negative about your body, and body positivity. It teaches you how to accept your body.
Being body neutral means:
Body acceptance and respect, regardless of what you look like
Celebrating what your body does for you, instead of how it looks
Allowing yourself to accept the body you have now and putting less pressure on yourself to be positive all the time. You are human, after all.
To me, body neutrality feels a lot more realistic, a lot more natural. It is similar to body positivity but the big difference is that it takes what you look like out of the equation completely. It is being okay with and accepting your body, knowing that what you look like has nothing to do with your value as a human being. You are accepting your body for everything that it does for you and has done for you. Your body is your vehicle for living, and nothing more.
You should learn to love and accept your body at your own speed, and everyone should be free to feel whatever feelings that come their way.
Jenni – Rise with Resilience™