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New ways of thinking about body image and health

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Today’s society is often fixated on idealized body standards and many find themselves struggling with negative body image. While body positivity is a movement aimed at promoting self-love and acceptance, a newer concept known as body neutrality is gaining more attention as a more realistic approach to a healthy relationship with one's body.

Body neutrality came as a response to the realization that simply trying to love or embrace one's body as it is might not always be easy.

Dr. Ahadullah Khan, associate director for the psychiatry program at Texas Tech, explains that body neutrality involves acknowledging and accepting the body for its genuine capabilities, rather than striving for unrealistic expectations, “someone who is maybe in their sixties and is not an athlete can look at their hands and say my hands help me grasp, I can grasp a coffee cup, I can grasp a sheet of paper, I can grasp a pencil, but I cannot know do the flying trapeze.”

According to Dr. Khan, many patients have reported benefiting more from practicing body neutrality compared to traditional body positivity.

One of the key aspects of body neutrality is acceptance. Dr. Khan emphasizes that it’s important to understand your body’s strengths and weaknesses. To help understand your physical abilities, Dr. Khan suggests seeking professional help, “Many times as doctors, for some people we say they can run a marathon and for other people we say that a more realistic goal would be to simply get their muscle tension and chronic pain issues fixed. When they ask 'can I get my muscle tension fixed?', I reply 'yes, of course.'”

There are many ways to practice body neutrality, one way is from simple affirmations, such as “I appreciate my body for allowing me to finish my house and yard work.” This will help you work on your mindfulness and appreciate all the things your body can do.

For those who struggle with body insecurity, if you are ready to take the first step and talk to someone you can contact the Texas Tech Alberta Campus for an appointment at 915-215-5850 or the crisis number, 811 for emergencies. 

Article Topic Follows: Health

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Isabella Martinez


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