BODY RESPECT, BODY NEUTRALITY, BODY LOVE; WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Body Respect, Body Neutrality or Body Love
If you are a regular on Instagram or TikTok these days, you likely won’t scroll far before landing on a body love post or video. Many are surprised to learn that I intentionally steer clear of this sort of language when it comes to teaching Intuitive Eating. In this blog I will break down body love, body respect and body neutrality individually and then explain why I am a fan girl of body respect & body neutrality vs. body love!
Body love is often described as an unconditional & selfless love toward your body. When we see influencers or coaches talking about body love it often includes a photo of their own body while describing their love toward how their body looks physically. Many onlookers find themselves envious of this seemingly unconditional love these people have toward their bodies despite one’s flaws or imperfections. (In the world’s eyes that is!)
Body respect is a common phase inside of intuitive eating. In fact, the 8th principle in intuitive eating is ‘Respecting your Body.’ I love the definition of body respect found inside the book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach. “Respecting your body means treating it with dignity and meeting its basic needs.” Learning to respect your body is the perfect first step when working on body image issues.
I turned to the trusty Google when looking an official definition on body neutrality and this is what she gave me. “Body neutrality is a philosophy that you should focus on what your body can do for you rather than what it looks like.” Have you ever noticed yourself on the body image rollercoaster? You lose weight and you feel incredible about how your body looks. You gain weight and you have horrible body image issues. Body neutrality seeks to just stay neutral and consistent toward how you feel about how your body looks instead of constantly being on a body image high or a body image low.
Why I Teach Body Respect & Body Neutrality
When I first ask my clients questions on how they truly feel about how their body looks more often than not they bring up a photo they saw on Instagram of a girl sharing how much she loves her body despite her weight, stretch marks etc. and how they wish they could love their body but the truth is, they hate the look of their body. When then explain body respect & neutrality and ask if that seems like a more attainable goal for them, I often see relief on their face! It can be hard imagining oneself moving from a place of deep hatred toward one’s body to deep love. But most of us can learn to respect our bodies despite the current hatred we might have toward them and the thought of feeling neutral toward one’s body instead of all over the place is often relieving to most women!
If you are someone who has felt overwhelmed by the thought of working toward body love, you are not alone! I encourage you to take the time to research body respect & body neutrality. If you want to take the next step and work with a professional on these topics go ahead and book a Food Freedom session with me. I’d love to help you in any way I can!
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