Health & Fitness:Nutrition
Ep 170 - What is body neutrality?
Hi I'm Jenna Free and this is Lauren McAulay, we are intuitive eating counsellors here to help you heal your relationship with food and your body.
Welcome to this week’s episode of How to Love Your Body.
Today we are talking about weight neutrality and body neutrality, what is it, when is it useful and how can you use it to start feeling better about your body?
The weight-neutral approach acknowledges that body weight is determined by a complex set of genetic, metabolic, physiological, cultural, social, and behavioral determinants, many of which individuals cannot change. Instead of focusing on a weight-oriented outcome, participants in weight-neutral programs are taught to take charge of the factors they can, such as thoughts and behaviors, which ultimately lead to improved well-being, regardless of weight.
Body neutrality is rooted in acknowledging what your body does, not how it appears. Your body allows you to exercise, travel the world and experience new cultures. Your body gives you the ability to hold hands or hug someone you love. Your body gets you from point A to point B. Body neutrality is about seeing your body as a vehicle that, when treated with care, can help you move about the world in a way that brings you joy. That’s it. No thinking about how you look, either good or bad.
Both weight neutrality and body neutrality can be so beneficial for all people, especially those struggling with body image issues.
Weight neutrality is a powerful way to approach healing your relationship with food and your body, it’s a way to take care of your body without it leading back down the diet culture rabbit hole.
With a weight neutral approach, since you aren’t seeing weight loss or weight gain as either good or bad you can then make choices that best serve your body PERIOD.
For instance, perhaps moving your body more regularly feels really good and that is something you are working on participating in more often (ideally in a way you enjoy and in a manner that is relaxed and flexible, not rigid and full of rules) - if you are coming from a weight neutral approach you can continue to prioritize movement without deeming it to be “working” or “not working” depending on if you’re losing or not losing weight.
This outcome won’t matter - the movement itself is a win and this will lead you to being more consistent with it as well as it being sustainable long term.
When you are making choices regarding your health moving forward you can think “ok how would I come at this from a weight neutral approach”. This will lead you to becoming an intuitive eater and undieter much faster than if you get stuck focusing on weight.
Body neutrality is more about body image and the way you THINK about your body.
This is an amazing mindset to come at body image from particularly if you are not at all in the place where you feel you are happy about the way your body looks (that’s ok! Because the way you look is the least interesting thing about you).
When you are getting sucked into negative thoughts about the way your body looks, remind yourself to bring things back to neutral. The way you look isn’t either good or bad, it’s honestly somewhat irrelevant. Shift to thoughts of what your body can do, it’s function and purpose.
This will allow you to intertwine some gratitude and perspective when it comes to body image without forcing yourself to think something that you just cannot get behind (fake it til you make it doesn’t always work here).
As you continue on your journey to becoming an undieter remind yourself of these two mindset shifts:
When I’m making “health” choices are they weight neutral?
When I’m thinking about my body, is it body neutral?
Let us know if these shifts make a difference for you! You can DM us on instagram @thebodylovesociety! We always love to hear from you.
And if you liked today’s episode please share it with a friend, that makes a huge difference in getting this message out there!
See you next week!
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