5 Steps to Body Neutrality

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Anne Poirier

How do you feel about your body? How do you think you are “supposed” to feel about your body?

There is body hatred, body love, body positivity, body acceptance, body confidence, and more.

But today, we dive into body neutrality.

What is body neutrality?

Well, since there is not a “definition” in the dictionary, let’s break it down:

Body: Our physical structure. (Let’s call this our vessel—the vessel we travel around our lives in.)

Neutrality: A state of not supporting either side of a conflict or disagreement.

In literal terms then, body neutrality is, “Not supporting the hatred of our vessel (our physical structure) or the love and adoration of our vessel.”

Within our society and culture today, women’s bodies are objectified and there are weight biases around every corner. Women who live in larger bodies are labeled with certain undesirable traits and characteristics and are thought of as unhealthy, lazy, and undisciplined.

Due partly to this labeling and bias, over 90% of women dislike their bodies and 97% of women have an “I hate my body” moment every day.

As I sit and talk with a beautiful client of mine who lives in a larger body, I see the struggle, frustration, and even anger in her face when I mention the possibility of widening her lens and beginning to look at herself differently.

She has spent the last 40 years of her life hating herself…looking in the mirror has become a brutal assault on herself. She actively bullies herself with phrases like: “I hate my stomach, I hate my thighs, my arms, my chin…I can’t stand looking at myself. I am disgusting, I can’t find anything I like about my body.”

This bullying multiplies her already plummeting low self-worth. It’s no wonder she also suffers from bouts of depression and anxiety.

Shifting perspectives.

I understand this unworthiness…this hatred of body. For those same 40 years, I beat myself up too. I never fit into society’s thin ideal. I never liked my body. It never mattered what I weighed—it was never thin enough or good enough.

I understand the blank stares, the rolling of the eyes, and the “are you kidding me?” looks I get when I suggest to my clients they look at themselves differently.

Here is the dilemma though: if my clients don’t at least TRY to shift their perspective, they will continue to spend the rest of their years trying to fit into someone else’s ideal and look like someone else. They’ll remain trapped in the prison of their own self-hatred.

Many of us have been on the pursuit of Perfectionist Patty our entire lives. And the problem is, she doesn’t exist!

I like to talk about body image being on a continuum, with the body hatred camp on one end and the body love camp on the other. If you have lived most of your life in the body hatred camp, it has become comfortable and familiar (no matter how damaging it might be). Now, the body love camp, on the other hand, looks way out of reach…it’s absolutely ridiculous and impossible to even fathom.

Enter body neutrality.

Body neutrality becomes a resting place from the constant chaotic chatter and criticism of your own mind.

It’s a space where you can find some peace and take some pressure off yourself (while simultaneously lowering your stress level).

Body neutrality is a shift in perspective, from body hatred, disgust, and dislike, to body appreciation and respect. It is honouring the body as it is and taking a few steps down the body image continuum towards a more neutral zone.

Body neutrality is the space where you do not support your body hatred anymore.

So, how can we get there? These five steps are an excellent place to start.

5 Steps towards Body Neutrality

1. Call a truce on the war with your body. You can’t hate yourself happy, successful, thin or anything else. Step away from living in the body hatred camp.

Have a look at this post on self-acceptance for more on ending the war with your body.

2. Start a daily body appreciation practice. Write down 5 things every day that your body can do.

3. Counteract your negative self-talk (your inner bully) with some body neutral phrases:

  • Thank your body, for taking care of me today.
  • My thighs are strong and help me walk.
  • Thank you belly for holding my organs (or for making wonderful little humans).
  • My arms allow me to hug the ones I love.
  • My weight does not define my worth.

4. Focus on your strengths. What are your unique talents, and what are you good at? What do others like about you?

5. Clean up your social media feeds. If there are people or sites that make you feel bad about yourself, or that you compare yourself with (more of that in our next blog!) delete them. Follow feel-good feeds. (Like us on Instagram or Facebook).

Having overcome her own eating, food, weight, and body image challenges and drawing upon nearly 4 decades of experience, Anne Poirier put pen to paper and wrote The Body Joyful – My journey from Self-Loathing to Self-Acceptance to share her highly personal and life-changing journey. She is the leader the Body Joyful Revolution Community. A private source of support, encouragement, and Inspiration for women of all sizes, shapes and weights. The mission is to impact our next generation by reducing body shaming, bullying, weight stigmatization, disordered eating and eating disorders. Anne is a certified intuitive eating counselor, body image coach and self-talk trainer. 

This piece originally appeared on and was republished with permission.