By Kristen Donia

Throughout our body positivity series, we continue to look at different elements of this movement, things that might surprise you about body positivity, self-love, affirmations for body confidence, and the relationship between body positivity and nutrition, among others. Today we are shifting gears to explore the concept of body neutrality. What it is and how it may differ from body positivity.

What is body neutrality?

The concept of body neutrality includes a shift in focus from the physical characteristics of our bodies to its capabilities.

As humans, we are complex individuals, who have so many different parts of ourselves: physiological processes (how our body operates), mental processes (what and how we think about ourselves and the world), emotional processes (how we feel), and spiritual processes (our feelings surrounding our place in the universe).

Many find body neutrality to be most realistic because it removes the idea that our worth is a direct result of how we look physically. Something that our current culture has and continues to build-up in subtle and not so subtle ways – encouraging women to always wear make-up, look “ready,” and dress a certain way to be called “beautiful.”

What makes body positivity and body neutrality different?

Body positivity focuses on positive body image. The fact that our bodies are lovable in all physical forms and it doesn’t matter what society and popular culture have to say about that.

While body neutrality centers on the basic functions of the non-physical body. The general focus is on all our body is capable of and does for us each day.

What are examples of body neutrality?

A great way to notice and experience body neutrality is to actively listen to your body and its needs. This means without judgment or thoughts about any effects on your physical body. You are simply focused on nourishing and supporting your body in the best ways possible.

Example 1: Going for a walk because you’ve been sitting at school all day and your muscles feel tight. When you feel ready and complete, you end your walk and go home to get food.

Example 2: You eat when you’re hungry, sometimes indulging in pizza and sometimes opting for a protein rich salad, depending on what you’re in the mood for. You don’t restrict yourself; you have a healthy relationship with food and let intuition guide your food choices.

Body neutrality just may be the new body positivity. Centered on the amazing tasks our bodies do for us each and every day so we can wake up and greet another beautiful morning.


Kristen Donia is a freelance writer living in a tiny house she built in sunny Southern Oregon. She has a Bachelors Degree in Education and has dedicated her life to studying and writing about empathy, vulnerability and enriching the human experience.