And when we are in a fat loss phase, we can really take these images and thoughts to heart. We may even seek out pics of bodies that we'd like to look like and follow fitness models on Instagram for inspiration. I've definitely done that in the past.
There is no more vulnerable time than when we are attempting to change ourselves. We are going down a road to something we've never had before, and we can feel a little unsure of ourselves. We wonder if we're doing it right, if our progress is on par with others'. We want our results yesterday so we can finally feel good and comfortable in our own skin.
Our progress is never as fast as we expect or would like. When we compare our progress to someone else’s we’ll always be disappointed. But we don’t always know what’s behind the scenes. We only see what they want us to see on social media. We may see their 20th attempt at a selfie with the most flattering lighting, angle, and amount of flexing. We can’t take what we see online at face value.
Sometimes even though we can resist comparing ourselves to others, we can’t help but compare our “now” with our “then.” We may remember a time when we were thinner, leaner, smaller, fitter, stronger, and use it to berate ourselves into going harder in the gym and eating less. I deal with that all the time.
Whether it’s my running speed and endurance, my level of leanness, or my strength or skill, I fight to not do the comparison thing. It doesn’t serve me. It doesn’t make me feel good. It doesn’t make me work harder in the gym. On the contrary, it demoralizes me and makes me want to drown my sorrows in a pint of ice cream or a bag of chips.
These two pics were taken exactly one year apart — the one on the left at my bikini competition last year, and the other a few weeks ago. Even though I expected it, I’m still struggling at times living with a softer physique. Once you see what your body can look like at its leanest, it messes with your head, no matter how level-headed you may be. Add in the pressure I put on myself to look like a super fit trainer, and it’s a recipe for self-doubt and getting stuck in the comparison trap.
As the saying goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Right now, I’m a few pounds over where I’d like to normally be (and a good 13-15 lbs. over the pic on the left), so I have to fight my tendency to compare myself now to myself one year ago (and under special conditions).
When that happens, I mentally take a step back and give myself a pep talk, turning the negatives into positives and reminding myself of what my body can DO.
It’s not always easy, and I don’t always succeed in feeling better, but it’s a daily practice that gets easier with time.
Gratitude goes a long way towards finding joy and avoiding the comparison trap. I am grateful for all the awesome things that my body can do and my husband who loves me as is (no matter what that happens to look like).
So give it a shot. What do you love about your body? What are you grateful for?