The comparison trap. It’s out there, and sometimes we all fall suspect to it. Even now, at my healthiest, I still have moments when I see someone else and think she has it all together. If I could just dress like her, be a little taller like she is, have a smaller waist. You name it…I’ve likely thought it.
When I was in my deepest of body image misery, I felt so misunderstood. I was being inundated with all this information about loving your body, strong is the new skinny, to embrace who you are, but really all I wanted was to be thin.
I would be jealous of anyone and everyone who was thinner than I. It all just felt unfair. I would wonder what was she doing that I wasn’t? If I ate exactly as she did, would I finally be thin? Maybe she could write me a diet plan and just tell me what to eat, because what I was doing just wasn’t working.
The problem was, I never saw the other side of the equation. The girl I was jealous of probably had one of two things going on. Either she was totally confident in herself, happy with her life, and proud of whom she was, and she maintained her weight naturally. Or the girl I was “jealous” of had her own body image issues. Maybe she hated her thighs, felt like she was too skinny, struggled to gain weight, or even worse, maybe she herself was struggling from an eating disorder.
To give you some perspective at my thinnest, here were some of the activities I took part in on a regular basis to stay “skinny”…
I would buy the largest apples I could find and cut them up into as many pieces as possible, savoring each slice.
I would measure and weigh everything on a food scale. Chicken, vegetables, fruit, you name it.
I would silently pray before stepping on the scale each and every morning.
I aimlessly wandered through the grocery store, unsure of what to buy, yet fascinated by all the things I would never eat.
I avoided restaurants that didn’t list calorie counts like the plague, and would come up with any excuse possible not to eat out.
I would have an internal battle with myself any time my dry toast came buttered at the local diner near my college.
You know that saying you never know a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. I believe it. It may be corny, and it may be silly, but it is so true. I guarantee that I have felt jealousy towards someone who is suffering inside. I guarantee that I have felt jealousy towards someone who like me, is probably tormented by her food. And this is why we cannot compare.
If I could be the size I was in the deepest of my disordered eating again I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it because I wouldn’t want to feel the misery, the exhaustion, and the stress all over again.
Instead ask yourself, how can you become better? Maybe you need to address the underlying issues that are causing you to binge, maybe you finally see the doctor to tackle your fatigue that has been keeping you out of the gym, or maybe you admit that you are not doing things in a safe manner. Whatever it is, don’t waste time dwelling in comparison, instead make something change!
Here is a video to give you an example of falling suspect to the comparison trap.
Is this resonating with you? Still struggling with comparison or body image?
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