In the past decade, the body positivity movement has paved the way for alternative perspectives on body image to take center stage. Among these, body acceptance, fat acceptance, and body neutrality have emerged as powerful notions. Anne Poirier beautifully defines Body Neutrality as the art of "Not supporting the hatred of our vessel (our physical structure) or the love and adoration of our vessel." Poirier invites us to appreciate our bodies and their functions through neutral, non-judgmental statements. Body neutrality provides a sanctuary away from the all-consuming diet culture, media-driven messaging, and the commercialization of rigid beauty standards. It grants us the freedom to experience our bodies along a spectrum from love to dislike, without demanding perfection or obsession over appearances. With body neutrality, we can cultivate respect and kindness for our bodies whether they're active or at rest. Moreover, it gently reminds us that having a body and taking care of it is just one facet of our lives—not the defining one. This is a powerful concept, but how can we begin to cultivate it within ourselves?
Prompts for Reflection
How has my body, just as it is, helped me survive in this world?
What are some ways in which my body shows up just for me?
What nourishes my body? When does my body function best?
If I held no more judgment about my body (from myself or others), what would I want to do to take care of myself? What would I do more of? Less of?
What can I do for my body when it is not feeling well?
How can I help my body compassionately manage stress?
How has exercise been presented to me?
How has food been presented to me?
Affirmations for Resilience
It is okay for my body image to change throughout my life.
My body works hard and deserves compassion and care.
I will rest unapologetically when my body needs it.
I eat intuitively as an act of love.
Accepting my body is a revolutionary act.
My relationship with my body is my own—no one else's.
I can appreciate what my body does for me even on days when I am feeling low.
I deserve to eat food that I enjoy.
I deserve to wear clothes that make me feel powerful.
My body is a tool for living my life, not an object to be scrutinized.
My body is resilient and adaptable.
I prioritize my well-being no matter how I feel about my body. I deserve to take care of my body.
My body lets me experience all of life's pleasures.
I am thankful to my body for carrying me through tough times.
My body is not my identity.
I do not have to earn nourishment. I am worthy—unconditionally.
Your Body Is Not An Apology Workbook: Tools For Living Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor
Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown
Maintenance Phase Podcast
Food Heaven Podcast
Cultivating body neutrality is a journey that involves embracing your body, recognizing its inherent worth, and caring for it with kindness and compassion. By reflecting on these prompts and incorporating these affirmations into your daily life, you can take significant steps toward radical self-acceptance and a healthier relationship with your body. Remember, your body is a remarkable vessel that allows you to experience the world—treasure it, nurture it, and let it be a source of strength and resilience on your life's journey.