Welcome to this week’s episode of How to Love Your Body
The terms body love, body neutrality and body positivity along with Body acceptance and body image all get tossed around a lot in this work and many use them interchangeably but all of these things are different.
Today we are going to talk about the differences, what they mean for your journey and what to focus on in this phase of your journey.
Let’s start with body positivity:
This one is unlike the others. Body positivity is a social movement, it has its roots in the fat acceptance movement. It works along side racial justice, trans and queer inclusive, and disability movements. So when people ask, why is body positivity so political ? This is why - it IS, it’s a political movement.
The other terms we are talking about are more about the individual - and likely what many are talking about on their platforms when they use the term body positivity.
Most people - even publications use these terms incorrectly. Take this article title for instance “ Forget body positivity: How about body neutrality?” This doesn’t make sense - body positivity is a movement and body neutrality is an individual experience of one’s body.
Let’s dive into Body Neutrality, it is usually the first step for people on their journey out of the diet mentality and into a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.
Body Neutrality empowers you to embrace yourself as you are, including the parts you don’t like about yourself. This means avoiding self hate but also being ok not liking the way you look all the time. It's about respect and acceptance.
The power in body neutrality is that you don’t have to lie to yourself, bypass the emotional work and just pretend to love your body - you can work on slowly becoming okay with who you are as you move along in your journey.
An example of body neutrality is to turn your thoughts from negative “I hate the way my arms look”, to factual and objective thoughts. “I have arms that allow me to hug my loved ones”.
Next up is body love - Obviously this one is one of our favorites since our community is called THe Body Love Society and our podcast is How to Love Your Body.
Body Love is important to clarify here - we never mean you love the way your body LOOKS - because honestly this work has nothing to do with the way your body looks but we do hope you can get to a place of loving your body.
Loving your body the way you love a loved one - by being forgiving, compassionate and gentle. It might annoy you at times and you don't love every little thing about it (just like with our loved ones), but overall you respect and are on your body’s side.
Body Love involves loving it NO MATTER WHAT happens. Gain weight, lose weight or stay the same - The love is still there. That is why it isn't about the way your body looks - we often hear from women that they started to be ok with and even love their bodies again but now they've gained weight and it’s all gone to hell!
It’s so important to begin cultivating unconditional love for your body - really this just means being on the same side as your body, working together to feel your best, through any ups and downs that might occur.
Before we wrap it up today there is one more we’ll throw in that is just so important and that is body trust.
Body trust is an aspect of body love. Meaning you relinquish control over to your body to handle itself. Trusting your body means you no longer have to micromanage the way you eat or look - you know that your body has got your back and if you just listen to it, it’ll take care of you.
Without body trust you cannot love your body, just like in a personal relationship - if you have to micromanage and control someone, it is not going to be a healthy relationship.
To begin working on body trust - begin slowly letting go of things that exert control over your body - still measuring food? Weighing yourself? Tracking what you eat? Benign very rigid in your workout routine? All of these things tell your body you don't trust it.
As you continue to heal your relationship with your body, building from body hate to body neutrality to body trust and love - know that it’s ok that it might feel hard. This work is going against everything you’ve been taught your whole life.
To get support as you move forward our 21 Day Body Image Intensive is a great option. We give you daily journaling activities and action steps to take to tangibly build up from body neutrality to body love for only $21.
Just sitting there and hoping one day you’ll love your body after years of trying to shrink it and control it will be a long and bumpy road - but taking confident action each day in the body image intensive will get you moving along on the path towards a healthy relationship with both food and your body.
You can learn more about the intensive and The Loveland Foundation which 50% of the proceeds from the program go towards at thebodylovesociety.com/bodyimage