Health

6 Ways to Practice Body Neutrality

If the idea of loving your body has always seemed a little bit out of reach, you’re not alone. In recent years, the body positivity movement has made way for a less appearance-focused, more neutral form of body-image healing.

On the surface, body neutrality is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of striving for body love, the goal is to go through life without strong feelings (good or bad) about how your body looks. It’s a popular concept among mental health experts, who see it as a healthier and more realistic approach to body image.

Body Positivity vs. Body Neutrality

“While body positivity is intended to celebrate all bodies, it’s still mainly focused on how the body looks,” says Saba Harouni Lurie, a licensed therapist in Los Angeles. On the other hand, “body neutrality works to decenter how the body appears,” she says, so that physical appearance is no longer the focus.

“The advantage of body neutrality over body positivity is that as a tool it is not as heavy an emotional burden to carry,” Lurie explains. It can feel like a constant battle to develop loving feelings toward your own appearance when there are so many external factors — like our culture’s fixation on thinness, and the high prevalence of weight stigma (discrimination based on weight and body size) — telling you that your body isn’t okay. Lurie sees body neutrality as a way to opt out of that battle and instead focus on other aspects of your life.

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