Friday, 10 August 2018

Body Neutrality And What It Means To Me


From my preteen years onwards, my weight has always been a big deal for me. I have always looked at weight loss as the remedy for all the problems in my life. And the harder life got, the more restrictive my diets would become. I thought that being a size 8 would magically change everything and that I would be content. Spoiler alert: it didn't. Even as a size 8, I didn't feel small enough. I was still finding things about my body that I wanted to change. All in all, I was just as unhappy with my body as I was at a size 16.

That is when I found the body positivity movement. People like Body Posi Panda and Grace Victory were big inspirations to me. They taught me that I can be happy at any size and that I didn't need to keep chasing a smaller size because I am good enough as I am. I loved the confidence they had in their bodies and how at peace they seemed to be. I wanted that. I slowly stopped restricting myself - hell, I even started eating pizza again. But, as the weight crept back on, there was still this voice in my head telling me that I needed to lose it. That I wasn't attractive anymore - even that my husband wouldn't want me now that I am bigger.

But then I got pregnant and everything changed. My unborn baby became my main focus because what I ate affected her. I started eating when I was hungry and tried to stick to healthier choices for main meals. If I wanted chocolate, I ate chocolate. But I made sure I also ate fruit and veg. And, in that time, I stopped caring about how my body looked - it was growing a child so it was allowed to be big. And I felt so liberated by that. I loved eating what I wanted and not caring if my body looked good. This was the time that I felt at the most peace with myself.


But then postpartum negativity rolled up like an unwanted house guest. All I could hear was 'bounce back' and 'get your pre-pregnancy body back'. I found myself looking at pictures of Kate (the Kate and Wills one) just hours after giving birth then looking down at my own body and feeling hugely inadequate. That's when all the old emotions started to return. The peace I had in pregnancy started to ebb away and I was left with the same low self-esteem I had had for a long time.

That's where body neutrality comes in.

Body neutrality is pretty much a middle ground. A place between body negativity and body positivity for those who are still learning to accept themselves. I interpret it as a state of being where the size of your body is no longer a priority. It is for the people who are fed up of trying to be body positive and failing time and time again. And, for me, it is a way to harness some of that peace I felt during pregnancy. It is about accepting that, yes, some days you won't love how you look but that is acceptable because society has taught us that our bodies aren't good enough and it is ok to feel those emotions as long as you don't let them consume you.

It is a place to just step back and not let your body even be a thing anymore. It is letting go of this obsession with our bodies and just being.

Discovering this movement has been a bit of a revelation to me because it has taught me that my body and how it looks is such a miniscule thing that doesn't need as much thought as I had been giving it. It has taught me not to care as much about what people may think of how I look and, because of this, I have been wearing shorts for the first time in my adult life. I just picked up a pair of shorts and wore them because it was hot outside. It has just made me happier. There is no pressure to love myself unreservedly but also no focus on 'improving' myself either. It is just being and I love it.

If you want to read more about positivity, I found this awesome article on the Everyday Feminism website that goes into more detail.
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6 comments

  1. I really haven't thought much about the idea of 'body neurality' at all, but it makes so much sense as to where my head needs to be at right now. I find the idea of being body positive so hard sometimes that it sends me into a spiral of body hate, which is definitely what I want to avoid! I'm glad it's helping you <3

    Steph - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

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    1. I read an article about it and it said that going from low self-esteem straight into self-love is like a massive leap and I really agree with that - it is a safe, middle ground just to kick back in and it makes you feel more peace

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  2. Body neutrality is a really great concept. Ultimately I think we all want to be body positive, but a lot of the time, just appreciating the body we have and enjoying the life we live, is what's the most important. I think it's body neutrality isn't talked about often enough.

    On a side note: You've been looking wonderful on your IG pics :) So whatever you're doing is working for you!

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    1. Totally agree! The end goal is definitely body confidence but, for some, it is a long journey so having a place where your body isn't even seen as a thing is important.
      Also thank you, hun! xx

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  3. I have never heard of the term body neutrality, but I cannot resonate with it more. Some days I love by body, and other days I hate it, but I never let it get me down and just accept it for what it is. Because you're so right - it's normal for us to dislike our bodies because society has made us feel this way.

    Lizzie Bee // Hello Lizzie Bee

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    1. Exactly! Our relationships with our bodies can sometimes be a bit complicated so it is nice to be able to just accept how we feel now and stop focussing so much on our bodies

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