I want to tell you all about something that I experienced just the other day. I was playing on the internet and happened to stumble upon an article talking about people who had used a low carb diet and were losing/had lost weight doing so. Lots of statements like “I’ve lost X pounds and this diet has been a miracle for me” type claims throughout this article. Normally this is the type of article I would have quickly clicked out of deeming it ridiculous and not worth my time but for whatever reason, that didn’t happen this time. (Likely because I had a stressful day and was subconsciously looking for something, anything, to take my mind of what was really bothering me). Sure enough, I finished reading the article and the first thought that popped into my head was “maybe I should try eating low carb”. Ugh…BUT something interesting happened after that. The immediate thought that came into my mind next was simply “diets don’t work”. Not anything about my body being beautiful as it is and not needing to diet, not anything about all the wonderful things about me that aren’t related to my body, just a simple fact. In fact, in that frame of mind any overly positive thought I tried to use probably would have been met with a “yeah right..” (at best) by my inner critic. My thought met me where I was at in the moment while still serving to shift my mindset in the direction I needed.
This got me thinking about the idea of body neutrality. We hear a lot about loving your body and being body positive. But for some of us, ok most of us, that’s not an easy shift to make. Body neutrality is something more attainable, and certainly a step up from body hatred. Body neutrality is essentially what it sounds like, having a neutral attitude towards our bodies. For me, I feel best when I’m in this neutral state around my body because when I’m neutral I’m not passing judgement or feeling like I’m trying to convince myself of something I don’t really believe. This can look different depending on the day/situation. Sometimes it may look like me saying things like “I don’t love my thighs but I’m having a good hair day” (positive but honest). Sometimes it may look like the example I gave of just stating a fact you feel solid in your belief around related to dieting/body image. Body neutral thoughts can take on a variety of forms, but in our world of black and white thinking particularly around our bodies and nutrition, it’s a wonderful way to start to find the in between place you need to be successful in working on body image concerns. Dieting puts us in a mindset of self-loathing around our bodies. Body positivity however, is the totally opposite side of the continuum of the spectrum and can be a hard place to get to coming from a dieter’s mindset. Why don’t we start with the goal of working towards that space in between, becoming more body neutral?
Questions about body neutrality? Leave your question in the comments below or send them to me via e-mail.