How we look is the least interesting thing about us.
If body positivity implies feeling positive about our looks, is body neutrality a step below it?
Nope! In fact, body positivity and body neutrality are two totally different concepts, both with the goal of helping us connect with our bodies in a world where we are continuously bombarded by beauty standards.
While body positivity can be described as celebrating our own unique beauty, body-neutrality entails not dwelling on how we look, period! Through a body-neutral perspective, how we look is the least interesting thing about us.
Body neutrality is a concept many people use to connect with their bodies in a way that de-centres looks. In simpler terms, body-neutrality takes the attention we put on our appearance, and moves it towards what our bodies are capable of doing and feeling.
As you can imagine, body-neutrality is highly relevant in conversations about fitness. For many people, exercise has only ever been advertised as a method of altering one’s appearance. Losing weight, getting a “bikini body” or achieving a flat stomach have all been pushed as primary goals for working out.
However, through a body-neutral perspective, we can free up the energy spent ruminating on how we look, and redirect it toward more fulfilling goals such as developing athletic skills, easing pain, and simply enjoying our bodies.
While body-neutrality might sound wonderful to you, it might still feel out of reach.
Like any big change, developing a body-neutral approach to fitness takes time and practice. In a weight-loss obsessed world, it can be hard to reprogram our minds to care about our performance over our appearance. This is why a key feature of body-neutrality is being gentle on ourselves. If you feel that body-judgment rising, acknowledge it, and let it pass.
A great first step is to join a body-neutral fitness community. It makes a world of difference having people around you with similar goals, and of course an instructor or gym that avoids diet-talk and appearance-based language.
With some practice and the right community, you’re sure to feel the difference body-neutrality can make.