e laughed and said “Wow, you’re thicker than me,” as we looked at a full-size mirror. It’s assumed girlfriends are loved for who they are, not for their appearance, especially when society claims personality matters over looks. Sometimes, it's a struggle because there’s so much attention on what beauty is and how bodies are portrayed in the media. After this relationship, I spiraled deeper into depression and became bulimic:
- Comparing myself to other women
- Feeling guilty for overeating or eating unhealthy
- Having a love-hate relationship with fitness -- used as punishment vs helped me feel confident
- Avoiding social events and crying for feeling “too ugly” or “too fat”
When the Body Positivity Movement became popular, I kept telling myself I should accept my body and celebrate it. But loving every inch of my body -- fat, cellulite, scars, and moles -- was unattainable. “Fake it until you make it” led to forcing myself to say positive comments when I looked in the mirror but it only went so far and wasn’t promising. Instead I became guilty for not being positive about my body especially when my weight and size fluctuated so often, until I heard about body neutrality.
Body neutrality focuses on appreciating what your body does rather than how it appears. Loving our bodies may not be realistic, especially for people recovering from body dysmorphia, body-related trauma, or eating disorders. It’s an opportunity to reevaluate our relationship with our bodies and acknowledge its achievements. By releasing strong emotions and treating our bodies with care, we can let go of the obsessiveness to our outward appearance. Even though my thighs grew thicker and arms are more flabby, I now focus on the strength of my legs and the benefits of all four limbs. I thank my lungs for not giving up on me despite having asthma and my stomach for not exploding from eating and purging for over five years of this abusive behavior.
When society communicates a certain body type is less valuable than others, there’s another woman with a different body size, judging her physical attraction. Whether you practice body positivity or body neutrality, just know that your body is precious. You are precious.