Try Body Neutrality When Body Positivity Seems Impossible


Positive Body Image Is Difficult In Today’s Society

I’m looking at the cover of a popular magazine. Here are a few of the headlines: “Drop 5 Pounds Superfast,” “The Top Anti-Aging Products,” and “25 Secrets of Women Who Eat, Drink and Shrink.”

Our culture supports women fixating on what’s “wrong” with our appearance…our weight, our wrinkles, our waves…there are diets, creams and straightening irons to fix all those “problems.” Is it any wonder that we have trouble accepting, nevermind feeling good, about our bodies?

Unfortunately, the more negative self-talk and self-hate we engage in, the worse we feel, the more we eat to cope, the more our self-loathing grows (body and self), the more we eat to cope. Negative body image, fat talk and self-loathing are issues that are intricately intertwined with emotional and binge eating.Body Positive vs Body Neutrality

Enter Body Neutrality

Halfway between hate and love is a rarely-visited destination — body neutrality. Not to be confused with body positivity or body acceptance, it’s a strategy to decrease self-hate and negative self-talk. Body neutrality acknowledges “what is,” rather than longing for “what isn’t.” And it can be a place to start when body positivity feels like too much of a reach.

Read our FitBriefing “When Body Positivity Feels Impossible” to discover the steps you can take toward body neutrality, and ultimately, shutting down negative self-talk and the “stuckness” that comes with it.

One of Green Mountain’s clients felt it was realistic to compare the maintenance of her body to the maintenance of her car. We determined a set of progressive affirmations for her – from neutral to positive — using this comparison:

Body Neutrality Comparison

Along the way, you might go one step forward and then two steps back. Go back to the affirmation that feels believable and stay there a while longer. By continually cutting off the negative thoughts, they’ll begin to diminish, and you can progress. But the key is cutting the supply of oxygen to the negative ones that have held court in our neural pathways for so long to make room for the neutral and positive ones.

One response to “Try Body Neutrality When Body Positivity Seems Impossible”

  1. […] don’t necessarily need to believe the words, especially at first. The goal is to think “better thoughts” on a regular basis so that you can feel better even before things actually […]

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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