Personally, I’ve grappled with the physique positivity motion. Although I respect the trouble to middle marginalized our bodies whereas highlighting that every one our bodies deserve love and respect, I nonetheless really feel like we’re focusing an excessive amount of on how we glance. Then again, the rise of physique neutrality deeply resonates. As somebody who has grappled with body image, I like the thought of specializing in performance and connectedness.
Like many, physique picture has been an enormous a part of my journey. I performed high-level tennis for 15 years which resulted in a physique that incited profuse compliments from friends and opponents. Once I acquired to UVA, accidents and life hurdles ensued, in the end affecting my total well being, together with my weight. I used to be not coaching six-hour days and my teenage years have been rapidly passing me by. Nonetheless, the high-performing, radically match physique I as soon as had was clear in my thoughts. My new physique–albeit stunning–wasn’t good enough.
I’ve needed to study that my physique will change, yr to yr, each day. Furthermore, I’m not outlined by its skills, well being nor look. To go as far as to say, “I like my physique!” feels exaggerated. I choose to guide with deep appreciation and respect. I try to observe non-judgment: can’t my physique simply be? Moderately than specializing in what my physique can’t do or how my physique doesn’t look anymore; I’m selecting to be glad about the operate my physique does possess.
I sat in dialog with Claire Siegel, the founding father of Flourish and the hostess of the Nutritional Freedom podcast to debate this blooming social motion. To study extra in regards to the energy of neutrality, be a part of us under.
PHOTO: Claire Siegel Feature, Riley Reed
What is the difference between body positivity and body neutrality?
Contrary to what we see on Instagram, body positivity is a form of activism, rooted in the fat acceptance movement of the Sixties and the creation of the Nationwide Affiliation to Advance Fats Acceptance. This motion spoke out towards fatphobia and promoted physique love, no matter physique dimension.
By time, and with the arrival of social media, physique positivity has developed and, many would argue, been watered down. At this time, most consider physique positivity as a name to like your physique simply as it’s. And whereas this isn’t inherently dangerous and may actually assist individuals of all sizes scuffling with physique picture, these in marginalized our bodies proceed to be marginalized on this model of physique positivity. Ladies in smaller our bodies are sometimes praised for “bravely” posting photographs displaying their cellulite or abdomen rolls after they sit. However a fast scroll by the feedback part of a fat-positive influencer will reveal numerous fatphobic remarks.
Whereas many trendy interpretations of physique positivity conflate it with constructive physique picture, physique neutrality focuses on celebrating and appreciating one’s physique for what it will probably do, other than its look.
I like to make use of a seaside analogy. Many like to consider physique positivity as displaying as much as the seaside in your bikini, snapping selfies, and feeling stunning in your entire “imperfect” glory. Physique neutrality goes to the seaside in no matter you’re feeling good in, and appreciating the sensation of sand between your toes and salt air in your pores and skin.
What does the movement behind body neutrality look like?
Body neutrality is a much newer movement, emerging online in 2015. One of its leaders, Anne Poirier, BS, CSCS, CIEC created the Body Neutrality workshop, hosted at a wellness retreat in Vermont. Like physique positivity, the motion has been propelled by social media by thought leaders like Jameela Jamil, Lauren Leavel, Tiffany Ima, Anna Sweeney, and numerous others.
How can we lean into physique neutrality?
A fantastic place to begin with physique neutrality is by asking your self, “When do I most frequently have damaging physique ideas?” For most of the ladies we work with in Flourish, damaging physique discuss typically emerges whereas getting dressed or scrolling by social media. So we begin there, working by methods to assist generate extra impartial ideas: Clearing your closet of garments that not match. Unfollowing accounts that don’t make you’re feeling good.
With that, beginning your physique neutrality journey will possible make you conscious of simply what number of damaging physique ideas you’ve got.
One of many frequent arguments towards in the present day’s model of physique positivity is that it’s too huge of a step for somebody who’s at present scuffling with physique picture. So, as an alternative of going from, “I hate my arms,” to “I like each inch of me,” why not attempt one thing extra impartial? Maybe, “I’ve arms,” or “these are what human arms seem like.”
Research has proven that repeating constructive affirmations that you simply don’t truly imagine can depart you feeling worse for those who already wrestle with low shallowness.
How do you practice body neutrality?
For me, an easy place to start was gratitude. While I’m far more loving of my body today than I was during the decade I spent dieting, not every day is a great body image day. But even when I don’t love my thighs, I’m always grateful for what they allow me to experience.
Where does diet play a role in this?
If you feel like your brain and body are constantly in battle when it comes to food—micromanaging your intake, feeling physical discomfort after eating, or living in regret of your food choices—it may be difficult to develop body neutrality.
Food should make you feel good. It should nourish you both mentally and physically.
So skip the short-lived diets, resets, or cleanses that only cause you to “fall off the wagon” weeks or days later. Instead, as we say at Flourish, study to eat for the remainder of your life.
What are some good mantras we can live by?
How I look is the least interesting thing about me.
My body is my vehicle to experience my life.
Thank you, body.