“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt
We all know this. Yet we all do it. The Crossfit Open is certainly a good time to recognize how toxic this can be. But weight loss is also another easy place to fall into this comparison trap. Being a nutrition coach I can tell you that when it comes to your health and fitness journey, there is nothing to be gained in comparing yourself to others.
Be it your weight loss stories or body shape, your crossfit performance, or your running times. You are uniquely you, I am uniquely me. We are all unique. Take myself for example, I ran for years to be a very average runner. I loved running, but it was certainly hard for me to see the amount of work I put in to remain pretty average at best. But should it have mattered if I worked hard, improved my times, and most of all enjoyed running?
Let’s also take weight loss and body size. My husband needs to eat more than he wants to keep his size, how frustrating is that for me to watch? Let’s just say I wasn’t as blessed by my genetics.
Life isn’t fair. And that makes it easy at times to want to believe some 25 years old Instagram sensation that Keto is the magic pill for weight loss, or that if we just tried harder, dieted better we’d look like that too.
If scrolling Instagram brings you more anxiety and self-doubt than joy maybe your time is best spent elsewhere.
Comparing to others is not productive. Ask yourself if seeing pictures of someone”s abs is motivating and inspiring, or is it bringing you down. And it’s not only pictures of others that can bring us down, we can also be selective with how we look back on our prior selves.
I am guilty of this myself. I was smaller and leaner before. In fact I got pretty lean at one one point, but if I reflect honestly on that time, I remember how truly restricted my diet was. How food and macros were on my mind all the time and how this wasn’t where my body was meant to be or the life I actually want to live. You are not meant to be at a weight that you can only maintain through severe restriction. Eating eggs whites and dried chicken breasts on repeat is not okay. First off, egg yolks are life. Second, if I am honest with myself and look past the pictures, I remember being freezing cold ALL the time, waking up every night to pee and not having a menstrual cycle to speak of. Which let’s be honest, feels like a blessing at first, but was a major red flag from my body that something was off. It’s taken me a while to realize that this wasn’t what I truly wanted. I am not saying you or I can’t lose weight or become fitter. I am saying we should focus on being the best versions of ourselves and living our best life. Not someone else’s.
Remember Instagram is a highlight reel, even your own feed highlights the good moments. If you look at my own personal feed you would think all I do is win competitions and lie on the beach in Hawaii which we all know is far from my day to day reality. And while I applaud the new trend of posting “real pictures”, helping normalize different body types and mental health struggles, remember it is still the “best of the worst”. Let’s be real, most fitness models with no makeup in sweats still look unattainable to me and most of my attempt at smoothie bowls end up looking like brown/green mush.
Time to start focusing on our own journey and stay in our own lane. Time to get clear on what we want and what matters to us. When all we do is live in the past, or compare to others we do not appreciate what we have right now. Newsflash, I am 45yrs old, I have a 17 years old beautiful daughter, a husband who loves me, I have my dream job and amazing friends, but also I run slower than I use to, my arms look bigger in pictures than I would like them too and my butt is not be as bouncy as it once was. But guess what, that is okay. If I take a moment to appreciate what I have right now I realize I have plenty to be thankful for, namely a husband who likes my butt no matter what and the realization that I have more to offer to the world than my body or athletic performance.
But seriously look around you. Realize how far you came and how lucky you are. Appreciate what you do have. So maybe you are not losing weight as fast as you wanted. Or you are not performing how you hoped in the Open. But sit down and take time the to think of what you are grateful for in your life right now. If you never had the practice of writing in a gratitude journal, I would highly recommend it. When it comes down to it what we think we want and what truly makes us happy is often different. You may think you want a 6 pack-but then if you reflect on your day are you going to be grateful for your washboard stomach or the nice dinner out you had with closed friends and the conversations you shared?
I am a big fan of action. There is nothing productive about sitting and wishing and wallowing in negative feelings. Invest in yourself now. We need to stop thinking when my life gets easier, I will start X and then my life will fall into place. We also need to stop thinking the people we idolize have more time than us or more money than us and this is why they are where they are. That may be true. Or it may not be true. Truth is it doesn’t matter. We can only live our lives. Without working on yourself every day it’s unrealistic to expect a different future. Instead of scrolling through the gram getting depressed ask yourself am I taking the right steps to get what I want or am I stuck in my own stories living in my comfort zone. Have some big goals to reach, you have to actively work at them. Not sure where to start? Hire a coach. There are business coaches out there, nutrition coaches (ahem),financial planners, you name it, there is a professional to help.
Lastly click “unfollow”. I like to follow food accounts for inspirations, accounts that bring a giggle to my day and athletes that inspire me. But the minute I notice a feed bringing me down or my thoughts going down the drain, I click “unfollow”. Unfollow any account that make you feel bad about yourself. Unfollow anything that doesn’t add value to your life. You don’t have time for this in your life. It’s one thing to be inspired by amazing athlete, it’s another to be constantly feeling like we do not measure up. You control what you consume. In fact during the Open I find it easier to spend less time on social media. I know my triggers, I don’t need to know which percentile I fall into right now.
So if you found yourself falling in that comparison trap lately go find a pen and paper and a post it. Write down 3 things you are grateful for, stick them somewhere visible to you on your work desk or bathroom mirror and start focusing on your own journey. Working towards your own goals fuelled by your own “why”.
Talk next week,