The Complexity of Body Changes and Body Neutrality

pilates reformer machines at Orofino Wellness

There may be a way you can feel more neutral about your body.

Bodies change. It’s inevitable. However, we have been conditioned to believe that ours shouldn’t. Or at least they shouldn’t in any meaningful way.

Our body size is seen as a controllable part of life.  If we just eat well and exercise, we can keep ourselves in check. And yet there are so many things that can happen in our lives that cause our bodies to change. As women, everything from puberty to pregnancy to menopause can cause weight gain, loss, and shifts in body composition.

We want to have control.  It’s more comforting to control our bodies than to trust them. It’s more accepted to count our calories rather than trust that our bodies know how much is enough.

And then there is the exercise component of body control.  We put ourselves through all sorts of stuff to control the shape, composition, and size of our bodies. We want to know that the exercise that we are doing is working.  And the way we measure that is through external changes like the number on a scale, the circumference of various areas, or the tone that we see in certain parts. 

I truly believe that *some* people can embark on changing their body through exercise without leaning toward obsession.  I also know people who are at peace with their bodies whether they lose or gain weight.  Both camps tend to be folks that don’t base their value on body size.  It’s a beautiful thing to see.

However, most of us struggle with body changes and/or become hyper-vigilant when we seek to control our bodies. 

If you are one of those people, allow me to introduce you to body neutrality.

What is Body Neutrality?

Body neutrality centers around the idea that we can exist in our bodies without giving them too much negative or positive thought.  It also prioritizes respect for our bodies through caring for them and not trying to manipulate them at the first sign of change. 

What this means is that you can live peacefully in your body.  And the deeper value is that you can free your mind to dream again.

In the past, my obsession with food intake, the way I moved my body, and my body size and shape were all consuming. It wasn’t until I healed my relationship with food, exercise and my body that I even realized how much that obsession had been taking from me.  I wasn’t able to be fully present in my relationships. I wasn’t able to fully believe in myself in my career. I was stuck.  Stuck in a place of unhealthy obsession.

When I learned of body positivity it sounded great, but unrealistic.  How do you go from having practically no respect for your body to loving it

And that’s when I learned of the term body neutrality and quickly latched on. It felt right. To think about my relationship with my body in terms of basic respect and then building from there.

So if you are currently stuck in an obsession around your body.  If you are stuck in obsessing with your results at the gym, know that there is an alternative.  One that doesn’t abandon health but rather embraces it in a more balanced and sustainable way.

Feeling more peaceful in your body is what you want, isn’t it?