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I'm currently training for a powerlifting meet, and I've been noticing my legs and shoulders getting more muscular and defined, and liking the change. It got me to thinking, can you be "body neutral" and like changes that come to your body from working out? Like many things, the answer is a bit nuanced, so I answer with a "Yes, AND...."

  1. Are you working out only for the body changes? The point of weight neutral fitness isn't to stop focusing on weight only to then focus on some other physical change that you attach your value to. Another way to think about this question is, would you keep doing the movement you're currently doing if you were not getting these body changes?

  2. Are you attaching your value or worth or loveability to changes in your appearance? Having muscular legs doesn't make me more loveable, more worthy of respect, a better friend, a better mom, or literally anything else important. It means I have muscular legs. That's it.

  3. Are changes to your appearance triggering diet thinking? Is it making you feel like you need to pursue MORE aesthetic changes, or weight changes?

Jess locking out a barbell deadlift with a glorious grimace on her face.
Look at that ugly deadlift face! Look at those powerful legs!

A weight neutral fitness journey doesn't have to be always easy. You can challenge your body, and you might even find that you can set different performance oriented goals when you aren't focused just on weight. I think it is perfectly fine to like or enjoy changes that happen to your body as a result of fitness as long as you are not excessively obsessed with the aesthetic changes, and are not linking your value as a person to the aesthetics.

Like I said, maybe this is overthinking. If you think I'm overthinking, that's fine, but I KNOW that some of you are worse overthinkers than I am. I know because I've talked to some of you. When I find myself getting stuck on a weird thought like, "Oh no, is it okay to like how my legs are looking?", I find it helpful to explore it a bit with more questions. All the questions.

Jess doing a dumbbell bench press and showing off some strong shoulders.
Hellooooooooooooo shoulders!

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