Generally, the idea of flaunting an ideal physique and having a body expectation versus the reality of it often creates a sense of dissatisfaction among people. Although it is very human and normal to feel such, body disappointment leads individuals to practice a wide range of weight loss or gain approaches. While neither of these is extremely mandatory, it is definitely helpful to an extent.
Speaking about weight loss, studies state that following strict diets don’t really meet the expectations for a long time because they are short-lived. The moment people cheat on their diet, they go back to day 1 of practicing the diet. Eventually, they start regaining weight at a way faster pace.
Considering all these, the key here is to shift the entire focus from altering body weights to adopting healthy behaviors and approaches. Instead, healthy behaviors lead individuals in a better and more positive direction when it comes to health care.
Such a term is coined as “weight neutrality”. Long story short, weight neutrality defines health with quite a wider lens. Instead of focusing on body weight solely, weight neutrality usually moves much further than the general terms “overweight”, “underweight”, thickness or thinness. The main objective is to maintain a neutral health.
The best part is, a lot of practitioners are now adopting this strategy. Many are taking a step out of prescribing diets. Rather, they are collaborating and helping clients who are striving to build a lifelong healthy habit that involves exercising modestly, enjoying the most delicious foods, and wearing a positive self-esteem.
Weight Neutrality: What Is It?
Britt Richardson, a registered dietitian nutritionist, and proprietor of A Full Bite Nutrition in Montpelier, Vermont, describes weight neutrality in a fantastic way. He states that weight neutrality is more of a risk reduction strategy to improve wellness that attempts to prevent the adverse impact that weight stigma, dieting, and fat phobia inflict.
Weight neutrality emphasizes on behavioral adjustments that will allow people to promote their health, be it of any and everything size. Now, this idea opposes the standard weight normative care, which prioritizes weight loss as the primary health indicator. Weight neutrality adjustments might involve engaging in fun physical activity, eating for health and enjoyment, and accepting oneself without worrying about one’s weight.
Moving forward, according to Sara Kashlan, MS, RDN, CEDS, a registered dietitian nutritionist and intuitive eating coach headquartered in Los Angeles, weight neutrality is somewhat different. It is the realization that one’s health is unrelated to body composition or the figure on the scale. As per her statement, neutrality concentrates on pushing one’s attitudes and habits regarding food, exercise, and body image instead of encouraging weight loss and thinness.
Although several experts might hold their own definitions of weight neutrality, the idea entails the same. All in all, a weight-neutral environment in healthcare excludes all discussions of diet, weight loss, or body image, as well as any advice to lose weight in order to treat physical health problems.
Benefits of Weight Neutrality
While every strategy that is adopted holds benefits and advantages associated with it, a weight-neutral strategy is not biased.
Weight neutrality may lessen the long-term damage that is connected to a weight-focused approach to health care. Generally, environments that emphasize weight loss instead of weight neutrality usually tend to lead to stigmatizing and unfair practices toward broader people.
In the sake of weight loss, diet culture includes vague things like calorie tracking, frequent weigh-ins, and food restriction. These diet culture practices are prescribed and encouraged by healthcare professionals who view weight as the standard. However, if we consider a thin individual, these very same behaviors would be classified as disordered eating. How strange is that!
Nevertheless, the weight neutrality concept eliminates weight from the equation and draws attention to this erroneous methodology.
- In a nutshell, weight neutrality is advantageous since it shields people from feeling defeated if weight loss goals are not met. Generally, weight loss strategies don’t always end up as expected. It requires intensive and rigorous effort and a strong mindset to change the lifestyle habits which might not be possible for every individual. On the other hand, weight neutrality does not involve following those practices.
- Weight-focused health therapies may have unfavorable effects on patients, such as doctor avoidance, negative body image, weight gain, and an upsurge in emotional eating. On the contrary, by diverting attention from weight, weight neutrality aids in the reduction of these problems.
- The universal truth is, there is no available method currently to effectively and safely modify weight. Therefore, this prevents hazards connected with attempts to lose weight. If we advocate weight loss as the main solution, we are endorsing weight cycling, which has been linked to worse outcomes. Hence, weight loss was never the solution but weight neutrality.
- Reduction of Eating Disorders. Generally, Disturbed eating is associated with gaining an ideal goal weight. Weight neutrality does not fantasize or encourage eating restrictions. It helps individuals accept the way they are, but at the same time, be fit and adopt healthy strategies.
- Encourages movement for its own sake: People don’t stop exercising just because they aren’t at their ideal goal weight. At times, when people do not achieve their desired health goal, they might give up and get back to leading their earlier lifestyle. However, weight neutrality does not encourage doing exercises for the sake of weight loss but for its own sake, i.e. to be fit.
- Weight neutrality shifts the focus. Rather than concentrating on personal decisions and pathology, public health interventions are required to address systemic inequities and oppressions relating to race, class, religion, sexual preference, etc.
- Weight neutrality predicts that one cannot infer something about a person’s health state, risk level, or standard of living based merely on a figure on a scale.
- It is stated unequivocally that a complex web of hereditary, metabolic, physiological, cultural, social, and behavioral factors, a few of which humans cannot modify, determines an individual’s body weight. Yet, weight neutrality respects the variety of all the naturally occurring body types.
- Participants in weight-neutral therapies are encouraged to take control of the elements they can. These include ideas, feelings, and decisions, which eventually lead to increased well-being, irrespective of their weight, rather than emphasizing on a weight-oriented objective.
- Weight neutrality involves moving beyond size or slimness as the primary health goal and interpreting “health” with a broader perspective than body weight. No discussions on diet, weight loss, or body criticism are part of weight-neutral healthcare. Moreover, weight loss is definitely not suggested as a treatment for physical health problems. But, weight neutrality can definitely help.
What distinguishes body positivity from body neutrality?
You must have come across the term “body positivity” quite a lot of times now. Usually, body neutrality entails putting more emphasis on your body’s capabilities and non-physical traits than its outward appearance. This is what is meant by body neutrality. Body positivity refers to accepting and loving your body, no matter what form or size it may be.
The distinction? Being body neutral is all about focusing on what your physique can do rather than how it appears. The midfield that lies between body negativity and body positivity is known as body neutrality.
Why Is Weight Neutrality Important?
Weight neutrality is important because people can learn how to take actions toward wellness that don’t always entail weight by adopting a weight-neutral perspective. This social justice approach also tries to lessen the stigma associated with being overweight/underweight. Currently, it is excellent to witness that several professionals are even moving farther away from weight stigma toward practicing more weight-inclusive care.
Wrapping It Up
It is human nature to feel quite disappointed if the body’s goals are not met appropriately. Everybody has their own image of being fit. In case they fail to achieve it, they often adopt harmful approaches. All in all, if you are one of those who are tired of the gain/loss diet cycle, or, if you are judging and weighing your self-worth on the basis of a figure on a scale, it is high time you learn about weight-neutrality strategies.
You can begin working or consulting with a weight-neutral physician if this entire concept seems a bit overwhelming. However, if you are determined to adopt the same, you can always connect with a weight-neutral clinician to understand how to implement the strategy on your own besides getting personalized guidance.