The idea of “comparing” has really been on my mind lately – I’ve realized that most of my posts are really about women comparing themselves to ideals or to others and always finding that they are coming up short.
When you start to think about it, comparing is a way of life for Americans. We rely on BizRate, CNET, NexTag, PriceGrabber, PriceScan and according to Google, 46 million other sites. Hand in hand with comparing is “opinions” – and if we don’t have enough of our own, we can turn to eOpinions, Consumer Reports and eight million other sites.
But when unchecked, “comparing” and “opinions” turned loose on individuals (especially ourselves) they can become powerful enemies in defeating our ability to live better lives.
I often overhear women talking – not just at Green Mountain at Fox Run but in restaurants, malls, in the dressing rooms at Filene’s, everywhere – and the conversation always turns to this type of thing, “I wish my thighs were like yours,” “Did you see Susie at the party? She eats and eats and never gains an ounce, I hate her!” or what I consider the worst, “you lost xx pounds this week and I only lost (some amount less than x).”
Why do I say that the weight comparison is the worst comparison, in terms of being a healthy lifestyle killer? When you give your scale power, you’ve just given your power to a hunk of metal which is a cruel taskmaster, inaccurate and not a real measure of success. When the scale becomes a demi-god, able to influence and determine the outcome of your life based on a number, the things that really matter in terms of your health and happiness are lost. (Remember my post, “Count What Counts”?)
Example – say you’ve committed to creating a healthy lifestyle for yourself. You walk consistently for a month, you’re eating mindfully, you’ve found pleasure in moving your body in ways that aren’t purely “exercise” – you played on the swings with your kids, walked the dog, and went swimming too. Your stress level is decreased, you feel better, each day your body feels more limber and your clothes are fitting looser. But then you get on the scale…secretly you’ve hoped that you could lose 30 pounds in 30 days, but you want to be reasonable, so you’re really pulling for 15 pounds…but the merciless scale comes up “short”.
If you’re not prepared for the demigod Scale’s very powerful weapons of trickery, it would be easy to get lured into the “why bother” mode, and ultimately derailing your fitness and health goals. Anything that makes you lose sight of feeling better, looking better, and being more metabolically fit, is something not to tolerate! Besides, these types of thoughts can often lead to binge eating or other disordered eating patterns including problems with managing emotional eating.
If we accept ourselves as individuals, we don’t have to compare to anyone or anything else, it’s a great feeling when just being you is enough.