Body neutrality stems from the fact that despite not being ‘in love’ with my recovered appearance, I am able to respect, honour and enjoy the ways my body allows me to go through life and ‘feel’ all sorts of different and wonderful things. From there, and by asserting a certain detachment from beauty imperatives, perfecting my appearance stopped making so much sense, and I was able to truly distance my behaviours from the negative self talk I still hear on a daily basis.
Here are some easy ways you can start reconnecting to your body wisdom, without taking body love as a prerequisite.
1/ Ditch the scale & the fitbit – value how you feel over how you look
Leave numbers aside, and grow accustomed to start the day on how your body ‘feels’.
Same with exercise. If you are tired or if you have lost your period, your number one focus will be to rest. If you are not in a chronic energy deficit nor in hypothalamic amenorrhea, stop exercising in order to change your body or to reach a certain digit related to heart rate, steps, calories burned. I know it is scary, but it is also liberating to consider movement as pure joy, instead of a way to be more ‘productive’ when it comes to policing your body into a certain amount or shape.
Be bold and try new ways to move. Revisiting ways that you enjoyed movement as a child might also help you figuring out new routine, that would be more nurturing and less punishing.
2/ Stop body checking
If, like me, you had the (somehow unconscious) habit to check your appearance in any mirror or glass surface, or to pinch and physically check parts of your body to reassure you it is not changing, stop it now. When you feel triggered to do it, try to wait a couple of minutes to reflect on what this ritual is supposed to bring or deliver to you. Journal about it if it helps.
3/ Get clothes that fit you
As you grow more accustomed to your body changing, get only clothes that are stretchy or remain comfortable even with a few more pounds on.
4/ Stop commenting on bodies
Don’t comment on yours, don’t comment on others. Instead, notice other people’s kindness, availability, generosity, time, intelligence, sense of humor.
5/ Review your social media feed
If anything on your social media feed triggers you, it is time to unfollow. Also, making your social media feed more diverse – in size, race, ability, social status, gender – is a surefire way to retrain your neurotransmitters and finally see that all bodies are in fact good bodies.
6/ Journal gratitudes & people inspiring you
Every morning or evening, write down 3 things you are grateful for & someone who inspired you that day. Gratitudes could be as simple as being able to breathe or having a roof over your head. Inspirations are a way to remember that people that inspire you typically do so regardless of their appearance.