Some refer to themselves as Naturists and some as Nudists. From that which I can discern, the two are the same concept.
Naturism – a way of life in harmony with nature characterized by the practice of nudity, with the intention of encouraging body acceptance, self-respect, respect for others, and respect for the environment.
Nudist – a person who practices nudity for reasons of health or religion.
Many use the terms interchangeably and others are convinced that they are different. If there is a distinction, it would seem to be that the Nudist term seems to be casual and recreational in practice; where the Naturist term seems to be more dedicated to the lifestyle including actively changing body image acceptance in society.
I have used both terms in discussion, but think I mostly think of myself as a Naturist. It may be nothing more than semantics (within my mind). At the [real] risk of being confused with a Naturalist (something totally different) I tend to relate more to the term (Naturist) because of the connection to nature. There is a real enhanced connection to your surroundings and an advanced appreciation of nature when you experience it in your natural uniform. Some of the piece and relaxation of the experience may be due to ART (attention restoration theory). The fact that when in nature; seeing natural sights, hearing natural sounds, and I would argue feeling wind and sun on your skin, you are able to use a different part of your brain and rest your frontal lobe allowing us to recover from DAF (directed attention fatigue). There has also been a connection made to enhanced recovery from illness when people are exposed to nature during recovery as opposed to those recovering in clinical environments.
In any case we are all from nature. We live better and healthier with a real connection to nature. Nudity is absolutely natural and with little compelling reason to wear clothes, I and many like minded Naturists/Nudists connect with nature by being nude. There is no matter [really] if they think very deeply about the social implications and morality of it all or just enjoy being nude because it feels good and people that are also nude seem more friendly in general. They both have respect for nature, themselves and each other.
It may just be a distinction without a difference.