True Being RD
Emily Marshall 

5 Body Positive Terms You Should Know

When developing a healthier relationship with food and your body, there comes new terminology.  It is helpful to learn about this terminology to better understand how society has shaped your views and relationship with your body. It’s also helpful to learn in order to see how your experience intersects with the broader context. I’ve briefly outlined a few terms in this post which seem to come up most often in my sessions with clients. 


Body Positive/Body Positivity- Body Positivity is a movement that was formed from a need to uplift and support marginalized groups of people- mainly Fat, Queer, Disabled and People of Color. It stands for the premise that all people regardless of size, ability, health status, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. deserve to feel positive in their body and deserve dignity and respect. It promotes feeling beautiful in your body despite the negative messaging society pushes. 


Body Acceptance and Body Neutrality: These two terms are somewhat similar and can vary slightly in their definition depending on the source. Both terms assert that your worthiness as a human does not come from matching up with ever-changing beauty or body size ideals. Both terms acknowledge that you bring so much more to the table than how you look. Acceptance and Neutrality is neither hating nor loving your body, but instead focusing on respecting, appreciating, understanding and taking care of your body in ways that are not aimed at controlling your body. 


Fat Liberation: This movement was created to raise awareness and dismantle anti-fat bias and discrimination experienced by fat people in healthcare, employment, education, the media, and more. Many fat activists have worked to destigmatize the word “fat” and view fat as a neutral descriptor much like tall, short, brown or blue. For more on fat liberation see fat activist and author, Virgie Tovar’s, post here.  


Internalized Fatphobia: Internalized means having ingrained beliefs, attitudes, and thoughts about something. Typically these beliefs stem from outside sources such as the culture, media, family members, etc. Fatphobia is the fear of being fat or having fat on your body. Internalized fatphobia is having ingrained beliefs, attitudes and thoughts about being fat. Since our culture is highly fatphobic, people’s internalized fatphobia has negative connotations and can affect a person’s quality of life in a negative way. Having internalized fatphobia can also negatively impact the lives of others.   


Health at Every Size®: “A movement working to promote size-acceptance, to end weight discrimination, and to lessen the cultural obsession with weight loss and thinness. The HAES approach promotes balanced eating, life-enhancing physical activity, and respect for the diversity of body shapes and sizes” The Health at Every Size approach also acknowledges the nuances that play into a person’s health status such as genetics and other social determinants of health and seeks to support health policies that improve and equalize healthcare information and practices. 

Got questions about the terminology listed above or have you heard of another term that you want to know more about? Send me an email and let me know! 


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