What is Body Neutrality?
Unlike the well-known concept of body positivity, which encourages us to love and celebrate our physical forms, body neutrality takes a different approach. It asks us to be neutral, to acknowledge our bodies for their functionality and existence, without attaching any judgements, positive or negative. This is actually incredibly hard for most of us to do, as we have mostly grown up in a culture that constantly assesses bodies, especially women's bodies. We are universally encouraged to decide someone's value based on what their body looks like and what the prevailing attitudes are about size and health.
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Imagine you've just looked at yourself in the mirror and thought, "I look fat today." Body neutrality would encourage you to reframe that thought to something more like, "my body has carried me through countless experiences in life. It's a source of strength, resilience, and endless possibilities, and I am focusing on its health and well-being rather than any arbitrary standards. My worth is not defined by my weight." A lot of words, I know, but hopefully you get the point. Focusing on what your body does for you rather than how it looks is the key.Try it next time you are standing in front of the mirror and see what arguments your mind wants to immediately have with you about it. We have all been indoctrinated and it takes work to undo that, but the result is the prospect of a much better relationship with our own bodies, and much less self loathing, yo-yo dieting, and beating ourselves up. Sounds worthwhile to me!
Why is Body Neutrality Important in Wellness?
You might ask, "why aim for neutrality when I could aim for love?" That's a valid question. The truth is, loving your body can be a tall order, especially when we're bombarded with societal standards of beauty and ideal body weight. Body neutrality offers a more attainable and emotionally balanced alternative. In addition, body neutrality leads us closer to a world in which focusing on the way we LOOK is less important than who we ARE and what we DO. As a woman I feel keenly the double standard that we hold towards paying attention to men vs. women in the world, and I can only begin to imagine the energy woman would have left to apply to so much else if the way they looked wasn't taking up much of it on a daily basis.
The Weight Conversation and Body Neutrality
When it comes to discussing weight, the dialogue is often polarised. You're either pro-diet and fitness, or you're against it. Body neutrality allows us to find a middle ground. It encourages us to approach weight as just another aspect of our bodies, deserving neither excessive celebration nor undue criticism.
In addition, there is a growing body of scientific literature challenging the oversimplified notion that being skinny equates to health, while being fat inevitably leads to poor health outcomes. This paradigm shift in the field of health and wellness recognises the complexity of human bodies and the multifaceted factors that contribute to overall well-being.
Some scientific articles have explored the concept of "metabolically healthy obesity," wherein individuals classified as obese may exhibit favourable metabolic profiles and lower risk factors for certain diseases than expected. These studies emphasise that health should not be solely defined by body size or weight but should consider other crucial factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and metabolic health. While the research is ongoing, these findings encourage a more nuanced and individualised approach to health that goes beyond the traditional "skinny equals healthy" narrative, highlighting the importance of holistic well-being and personalised healthcare strategies.
The Mental Health Benefits of Body Neutrality
The weight conversation isn't just about physical health; it's intrinsically linked to mental health. Whether it's the anxiety from stepping on a scale or the guilt from eating dessert, our emotional well-being often takes a backseat. Body neutrality promotes mental wellness by offering a balanced, judgement-free perspective on weight and body image.
Ready to boost your self-image and embrace body neutrality? Try our 'Feel Comfortable in Your Own Skin' hypnotherapy session today and start your journey towards a healthier relationship with your body.
How to Practise Body Neutrality for Better Wellness
- Mindfulness: Be aware of your self-talk. Replace judgmental thoughts with neutral observations.
- Gratitude: Focus on your body's capabilities rather than its appearance. Appreciate that it allows you to walk, dance, and breathe.
- Set Functional Goals: Aim for wellness milestones like better stamina, improved sleep, or lower stress levels, rather than fixating on weight loss or muscle gain.
- Seek Balance: It's okay to want to change your body, but it's also okay to be content with where you are. The key is balance.
Final Thoughts on Body Neutrality and Wellness
Body neutrality offers a refreshing and balanced perspective in a world obsessed with body image and weight loss. It allows us to be kinder to ourselves and, by extension, to others.
Unfortunately, achieving body neutrality can be challenging. We're constantly bombarded with society's unrealistic beauty ideals, and our inner critic doesn't help either.
But here's where hypnotherapy, like the Feel Comfortable in Your Own Skin session can really make a difference. It reaches deep into your subconscious, helping you rewire negative body thoughts that might have been with you for years. By promoting self-love and a positive self-image, hypnotherapy becomes a valuable tool on the path to body neutrality. It can really help you embrace your actual body, instead of wishing it was different in a hundred little (or big) ways, which ultimately improves your overall well-being.
So, if you're looking for a way to shift your perspective and feel more at ease in your own skin, give it a try and see if you can begin to really appreciate your body for what it does, rather than how it looks. Wouldn't that be a relief?