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Body neutrality

Hey everyone!

In light of this weeks GR about Body Image I wanted to make a post about body neutrality. The idea behind body neutrality is the middle ground between negative body image and positive body image.

 

I know it can be really difficult to be in a position of wanting to change your mindset of hating your body towards a more positive view of yourself, but feeling frustrated when it comes to people who talk about how much they love their body without really saying how they do it.  Often activities that are mentioned can be things like replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations or making a list of things you like about yourself. But I know that when I first started this journey I just didn't even know how to do these 2 seemingly simple and easy things.

 

Some tasks that might help you if you are experiencing the same frustration I first felt could be:

  • Wearing clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body. 
  • Following people on instagram that have the same body shape as you so that you can begin to normalise your body. (No matter what shape you are! The more you look at something/ are shown something, the more you begin to feel that this is the normal . The thing is, the 'ideal' body that is often talked about in the media isn't everyone's natural healthy body shape. It also actually is some people's healthy body shape and weight. Understanding that someone's appearance doesn't express their health is the first step to recognising that healthy looks different for everyone. Which brings me to my next two points...
  • Focus on moving your body in a way that makes you feel good. Not on what exercise will make your body look a certain way.
  • Focus on eating foods that make you feel good. Both of these points rely on patience and trust in yourself to learn what your body wants and is asking from you. Most of the time this will look like whole foods, fruits and vegetables. Other times it might look like eating cakes and chocolates. However, giving up food labels of "good" or "bad" will probably make you realise that saying no to eating some cake only to want it even more and end up eating the whole cake won't make you feel all that great. Instead, eating a slice of cake to a point that you're satisfied and don't feel restricted might actually make you feel really content and happy. Learning this can help remove a lot of guilt around eating and instead will help start the journey towards neutrality! I have a lot more ideas around this point so let me know if you have any more questions on it Smiley Happy 

    Does anyone else have any tips toward body neutrality? Or any experience with this side of body image? Share your thoughts, everyone's journey is different and so everyone's advice is useful no matter how different you feel that your experience is Smiley Happy 

 

 

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Re: Body neutrality

Hi @JullyBean !

 

Just something to add onto:

"Focus on moving your body in a way that makes you feel good. Not on what exercise will make your body look a certain way."

 

With people who are discouraged starting on exercising because they are worried about not seeing results or feeling overwhelmed - Just instead focus on doing exercise that makes you feel good. I had the realization that working out in itself made me feel better other than the results themselves. I realized that the moment I started working out even if it was little, I would still technically be better than myself then yesterday, and regardless of how little results I see, I still feel better and know I'm better than when I started before. That's what I use as motivation.

 

Hope this helps someone!

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Re: Body neutrality

@JullyBean  love this thread, cheers for starting it!

 

One thing that helps practise body neutrality in your day to day life is to say a mantra of something you are grateful for in regards to your body. Did it help you get through today? Did your body's senses help you experience something great? Did you achieve a personal best or create art of some kind with your body?

 

@Anzelmo love the sentiment of joyful movement! What does moving for your body's joy and health look like for you?

 

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Re: Body neutrality

@JullyBean I love this concept, thank you for sharing. 

I especially like the idea of following people on Instagram with the same body shape as you. It can be so discouraging to see your feed filled with people who will always look different to you simply because of genetics! 

 

@Tay100 Having a daily gratitude mantra for your body is a great idea! One way I like to catch myself from negative self talk about my body is to remind myself of all the things it allows me to do. When I catch myself thinking about my legs being too big, I remind myself of all the things I can do with my strong legs - walking, running, dancing... I also think this helps me move away from the idea that my body is only valuable for its appearance. When I focus on what my body can do, I feel proud of it and grateful for all the things it allows me to experience. 

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Re: Body neutrality

@marlee yes exactly, I'm so glad you get it and use this technique in your life and that it resonates with you. That makes me so happy. Admittedly I could get better at using this mantra thing in my own life but I'm getting there slowly!

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Re: Body neutrality

@marlee yes this is definitely true! I have also started following a lot of pages that discuss body positivity and acceptance. I think it is a great way to learn more about cultural messages that can be harmful in an easy way because little infographics and pictures pop up on my feed every now and then reminding me of this. I am realising how a lot of people on instagram use "healthy" and "fitness" to promote diet culture and how easily influenced people might not even realise this (myself included). I've recently been seeing a dietician and she pointed out how so many people on the internet claim they are experts on things but probably aren't. I know this seems obvious and like it would be easy to notice when someone is just another influencer but I think putting this lense on and critically looking at every single post is really important. Unless you have paid to go see a dietician or health professional, you can't be certain that the person you're getting information from is legit.
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Re: Body neutrality

@JullyBean I think following body positivity accounts as well as qualified health professionals is such a good idea! Especially when your feed can be so filled with 'influencers' who only promote a very superficial idea of health and beauty. I agree that it is quite hard to pick up on body shaming and diet culture masked behind their promotion of their 'healthy lifestyle', especially when you are not on the look out for it. I think it's time for me to go through all of the accounts I'm following and have a look at what they are actually promoting and if they are actually qualified to do so! 

Also very true that everyone claims they are an expert these days, even the 'what I eat in a day' videos can be a bit questionable... some of them I watch and think they could be really harmful because they are not experts and what might work for them may not work for the 1000s of people watching their videos. 

 

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Re: Body neutrality

Hey @Tay100  !

 

Lately, I've been getting into jump ropes and trying to improve my vertical jump. Additionally, I've started counting carbs since I'm trying to gain weight. Its actually pretty fun treating things as a game in my head and making progress and pushing myself despite the results, I find the progress enjoyable.

 

What about you? have you been doing much?

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Re: Body neutrality

@Anzelmo I'm glad you have found a way to make progress a light-hearted, enjoyable process- that will help make it more sustainable!

 

Me? I have healthy breakfasts, get fresh air, try a new form of movement every day. I also try to have a routine but then keep mixing it up to keep myself active and stimulated if that makes sense lol

 

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Re: Body neutrality

Fantastic thread!!! I really like your tips.

 

One thing that helps me is to not engage in negative body talk. People talk about dieting etc. often and that's okay!... but I don't wish to prolong these conversations or whinge myself. I find that doing so only leads to internal preoccupation and negativity.