Body Positivity and Body Neutrality

Physical positivity is a global social movement that focuses on equality and acceptance of all body types and body types. One of the goals is to challenge our society, especially all forms of media, how to present and perceive the human body.

For decades, plastic surgery, injections, dangerous diet culture and extreme exercise programs have become the norm, because skinny jeans and a size 2 waistline seem to be the perfect body shape for mainstream society. This “skinny” culture quickly leads to low self-esteem, depression, alcoholism and extreme eating disorders. In the early 2000s, the Internet was the main place to spread physical humiliation and physical love.

People are usually humiliated and bullied for being “overweight,” but many people are beginning to publicly call for the normalization of all body types, regardless of size and weight.

In 2012, the popular buzzword “physical positivity” appeared on the Internet. However, its history is much deeper, dating back to the late 1960s. Soon after the “body positivity” movement appeared, body neutrality was introduced as an alternative to body positivity. Body neutrality is not focusing on loving your body, but a philosophy of focusing on what your body can do for you.

This article defines body positivity and body neutrality, the advantages and disadvantages of each sport, and discusses how we, as a society, can use these two exercises to better improve our lives.

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Active physical activity

In 1969, an engineer who was angry about how the world treats “fat” people founded the National Association for Fat Americans. Today, this organization is called the National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance (NAAFA), which is the longest-running fat rights organization in the world.

The focus of this fat acceptance campaign is to end the obesity stigma and discrimination against individuals who do not meet social standards due to their body size and body size.

In 1996, after receiving treatment for an eating disorder, a psychotherapist coined the term “body positive” after finding the website bodypositive.org. The website provides resources and materials designed to help people accept their identity and love their body shape.

During this period of time, society began to understand that “thinness” is not the only way for people to look at and care for the human body.

What is physical positivity?

As we know today, active physical exercise began to appear in all media channels around 2012. The goal is to transform the unrealistic standards of feminine beauty into a more comprehensive and realistic approach.

The body comes in various shapes and sizes. Cellulite and wrinkles are normal. Exercise and diet plans can be very unhealthy. Instead, we should focus on eating whole, nutritious foods and loving our bodies. This movement emphasizes that “all bodies are beautiful.”

Physical active exercise has become more and more popular and has generated widespread criticism and stigma.

Criticism of active physical exercise

Today, it’s almost impossible to log on to social media without being overwhelmed by diet and sports ads with #bodylove, #bodypositivity, #allbodiesarecreatedequal, #loveyourbody, and #allbodiesarebeautiful tags.

Individuals proudly display their physical defects and promote #fatculture; However, the movement has encountered a lot of harassment, opposition and criticism.

Physical positivity and obesity culture

Many people believe that active physical activity creates an unhealthy culture that enables people to ignore the medical complications caused by obesity. Obesity is related to diabetes and heart disease, and many advocates of physical activity often criticize this research.

There seems to be a line between accepting all body shapes without considering health risks and promoting healthy and sound life choices while still opposing dangerous diets and a weight-loss culture.

Many medical professionals will argue that having an unhealthy weight and a healthy weight is very different from being thin or obese. Individuals may be thin and unhealthy, or they may be overweight and unhealthy.

Being thin does not automatically promote overall health. Underweight may bring other medical complications, such as osteoporosis and hormonal imbalances. Therefore, many doctors encourage a balanced diet and regular exercise.

These should be interesting lifestyle choices, not imposed on us. Participating in the sports program we like is very important. This may vary from person to person. Whether it is walking the dog, running, going to the gym, doing home exercises, practicing yoga, sports, skiing, hiking or cycling, there are many ways to exercise.

Daily exercise can lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease, and make you feel good about yourself. This mentality also applies to eating whole, nutritious foods. Sharing recipes, cooking with friends, subscribing to a recipe delivery service, and growing your vegetable garden; all of them adopt a healthy diet, which can also be fun.

Too much attention to appearance

At the other end of the spectrum, physical activity can make people so addicted to their appearance that they forget all the other important aspects of their lives and personalities. Therefore, many people may participate in dangerous diet culture and exercise programs because they feel pressured to cherish their bodies.

As humans, we are multifaceted, and our appearance is just one of the many aspects of our existence. Our appearance does not define who we are.

Loving your body every day can be difficult, especially when you may feel bloated or your clothes don’t fit. Sometimes we feel depressed and tired, and we feel bad about our size and appearance.

This may make us feel guilty because we have not accepted the positive culture of the body, and the little voices in our minds keep telling us that we need to do better and be more accepting.

Some days we don’t feel good about ourselves, that’s okay. On other days, we will feel great in any clothes. Physical positivity means appreciating and loving the body you have, rather than criticizing yourself for changes that naturally occur due to aging, pregnancy, or lifestyle choices.

Body neutral movement

Body neutrality is a different method from body positivity. Body neutrality is not focusing on loving your body, but a philosophy of focusing on what your body can do for you.

What is body neutrality?

Body neutrality was created after active physical exercise began to curb extreme criticisms related to physical positivity and fat acceptance. The term was coined around 2015, when bloggers, celebrities, and intuitive diet coaches helped promote the movement to avoid the connection between appearance and self-worth.

Body neutrality promotes acceptance of your body and recognition of its extraordinary capabilities and non-physical characteristics, rather than appearance.

Body neutrality means taking a neutral attitude towards your body, which means you don’t have to cultivate love for your body, and you don’t have to feel that you have to love your body every day. You may not always love your body, but you may still live happily and appreciate everything your body can do.

For example, your body can run, ski, carry bags of food, hug relatives, have children, and take you to many places around the world. Your body can do amazing things!

When you eat an extra donut in the morning or add extra heavy cream to your coffee, you will satisfy your body by eating intuitively and practicing body neutrality.

Body neutrality usually goes hand in hand with mindfulness, because when you respect your body and give it care, nourishment, rest and exercise, you will find that you start to feel good and function well.

Two approaches

Although body neutrality is created for active movement around the body, these two terms can be practiced at the same time. There is no need to choose one action over another.

Physical positivity

  • Promote strong self-esteem

  • Encourage others to cherish their bodies

  • Encourage others to take care of their body

One day, you can love your body, and the next day you may struggle with your appearance, but still appreciate what your body can do.

You can adopt a body-neutral mindset, such as practicing mindful eating and exercising to shape the body you want.

Regardless of its shape or size, you can love your body as much and appreciate the amazing things your body can do.

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