Why you don't need to love your body to accept it (body neutrality)

Hey homebody,


I promised that in the next post (following my three-post series on how I healed from body image struggles) I would talk about why trying to love your body can actually be doing you more harm than good. With all the social media posts of diverse women unapologetically sharing pictures of their bodies, it kinda seems like healing from body image issues looks the same for everyone. Pretty much like you'll know you've healed from body image issues when you're in love with your body.


Hmm...I have to say that hasn't been my experience and I actually advocate for something completely different. In this post, I'm going to introduce you to a concept called 'body neutrality' which is radically going to shift how you perceive being at peace with your body.



Body positivity and loving your body

I'm not going to go into the history and intent of the Body Positivity movement, but rather what it's come to on social media. Body Positivity says that instead of being ashamed of having a body that doesn't fit body standards (typically, thin, white and able-bodied), you should love your body and proudly show it off. I totally agree with the message that you shouldn't feel ashamed of your body; shame is an emotion that will keep you in bondage.


However, I do find that this way of thinking has some shortfalls. Namely, focussing on loving your body doesn't actually solve the fundamental issue that causes body image struggles: self-objectification. In Lindsay and Lexi Kite's book "More than a Body" they describe self-objectification as viewing or experiencing your body from the outside in, instead of having a first-person experience of your body as your safe home. So, basically, when you try to love your body as the solution to not liking what you see, you're still ultimately fixated on your appearance. If you're still centring your experience on how you look, you can't truly be freed from body image issues. This is my main issue with the body positivity derived message that loving your body is the answer - it just isn't. If you'd like to learn more about self-objectification, I highly recommend downloading a free preview of the educational and reflection handouts that my coaching clients receive. You can get your preview here.


Detaching yourself from your appearance

Instead of being wrapped up in how your body looks, freedom from body image struggles starts with separating your identity from your appearance. I talk about this all the time because it's really the beginning of freedom. You are not your body and your appearance doesn't define you. The reason that so many women are constantly concerned about how their bodies look is that society socialises women to believe that their value comes from their appearance. The 'hotter' you are the more power you have in society as a woman - you can get a man, a good job, basic respect etc. While I wish this wasn't true, people really do get treated more harshly by society when they're deemed 'too fat'. There is a proper term for this - it's called weight stigma. But I'm going on a bit of a tangent here. The point is that we are indoctrinated to believe that our bodies define us, and this false belief is reinforced every day in some of our most intimate relationships, workplaces, by healthcare practitioners and even on TV and social media. So we have to be aware of this as awareness is the first step in breaking free from this indoctrination.


How body neutrality helps

Just like body positivity means feeling positive about your body, body neutrality means feeling neutral about your body. Now why is it important to feel neutral about your body's appearance? As long as we think and feel either positively or negatively about our body's appearance, the body image stronghold still has power over us. In other words, your mind and feelings are still controlled by an outside force. The outside force is the indoctrination, the false beliefs that we've been pumped about our bodies and worth since birth. This is not the inherent truth and it's not your truth. Body neutrality is essentially an unlearning of harmful beliefs about your body and re-learning the belief that you are not your body. When you eventually come to believe that you are not your body, you can detach your identity from your physical appearance and the cycle breaks. Your thoughts and feelings about how your body looks no longer have the power to infiltrate the innermost part of you, which is your soul, to make you feel worthless. Do you see how this works?


In practical speak, body neutrality means transforming your mindset, or renewing your mind as the Bible puts it in Romans 12:2. In fact, this scripture is quite perfect for this conversation. It says: "do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind...". The world represents all the false teachings we've been exposed to. And we renew our minds by speaking life into minds and hearts, by the word of God for those who believe and by positive self-talk. Stop every negative thought about your body in its tracks. Make sure that you never verbalise anything negative about your body because what you speak becomes real. Guard your mind and heart vigilantly and you'll start to see your relationship with yourself and your body transform.


Okay, so for the next post I'm feeling led to expand on this topic of practical steps to renew your mind. What I'll share in next week's post will help you put this principle of body neutrality into practice and also invite God to take over your healing if you are a believer. I'm feeling that moving forward, this space needs to be one where the Holy Spirit can use me to speak truth to your situation. I'm constantly journeying to get clearer on my voice and message, and I've had it on my heart for some time that this conversation is not just physical, but also spiritual. If you'll journey with me through this, I'm sure we'll both find this to be a truly healing space with the power of God moving through us.


Make sure you download your free preview of my coaching handouts here where you can learn more about concepts that'll educate you and break you free from the false beliefs that have led to your body image and food struggles. Click the image below to download now.








#bodyimagehealing #bodyneutrality #faithbasedhealing

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 Food and body image issues are distracting women from showing up meaningfully in their lives. My desire is to help women heal from disordered eating, have a healthier relationship with food and live a life of health without obsession. In this way, the noise will be cleared and collectively we'll be empowered to create a positive ripple-effect in our own lives and in the lives of others.