Try to imagine a world where you don’t think about your appearance.
You don’t spend your days looking in the mirror, honing in on those thighs you wish were smaller or torturing yourself about the size of your waist and curves.
Nor do you waste your energy wishing you were thinner, more toned and defined, or pounding the gym to alter your shape.
You just wholeheartedly accept your body for what it is – no love or hate.
Welcome to body neutrality!
Believed to have started in 2015 by a US fitness instructor, it is fast gaining traction around the world with more fans now than ever. Just look up #bodyneutrality on Instagram and you will find over 100,000 posts encouraging this incredible new way of being.
At its core, body neutrality aims to encourage you to fully accept your body for its achievements as opposed to its appearance. The overall goal is to reduce the enormous focus on physical attractiveness in our looks-obsessed society and remove the idea that beauty has a bearing on a person’s worth.
So how is it different from body positivity?
Body neutrality challenges the constant ‘feel-good’, I-love-my-body movement that some people find too difficult to adopt.
Whilst it’s great that some sectors of society love the skin they’re in and flaunt their assets all over social media (I’m looking at you, Kardashians), sadly we’re not all in that extrovert headspace. That’s why this new mindset exists to counteract the hype of body positivity – the concept of loving your body no matter what it looks like.
The term ‘body positivity’ was originally coined by a group of self-confessed ‘fat-acceptance’ campaigners, who joined to promote the idea that all bodies, not just slim stereotypically attractive ones, are beautiful.
Body positive followers traditionally encourage conversations around unapologetic weight gain and celebrate plus-size individuals whilst opposing the unhealthy ‘thinspiration’ body image notion often championed by the media.
Body neutrality, in contrast to all of this, values the facts of what your body does on a functional level for you over how it looks.
How do you do it?
It’s all about altering the way you think about yourself.
Somebody who is body positive would say:
“I feel good about myself because I know that I look good.”
Whereas, a person who strives for body neutrality believes:
“My appearance has nothing to do with how I feel about myself.”
There are many ways you can try and adopt this approach, starting with self-talk and reflection.
Ask yourself some of the following questions to get a picture of your character and values, unrelated to appearance:
Am I a good friend?
Am I kind to others?
Am I driven and ambitious?
What are my strengths?
What do I enjoy most in life?
How would my nearest and dearest describe my personality?
Once you can build a narrative around your answers you will probably see that your appearance is one of the least interesting things about you and what’s on the inside is much more important.