One major hurdle for me in overcoming my eating disorder has been/is comparing myself to other people. I am perfectionist at nearly everything I do, so naturally, eating and looking good also fall under my perfectionist scrutiny. I really never realized how much I compare myself to others until Darren pointed it out to me. He tells me probably once every day, “Babe, you have to stop comparing yourself to other people.”
I know. I know. I’m working on it. So I thought I’d write about some of the things/people I compare myself to, and try to reframe them in a more positive way.
1. It almost pains me to write this and I’m super ashamed to admit it, but it’s true so here goes nothing: Sometimes I get jealous of my sisters because they are smaller than me. Sometimes I not only get jealous, but I get super worked up, emotional, and I have even let it get in the way of our relationship.
I love my sisters more than anything. I am amazingly blessed to have them. I just have to remember how much joy they bring to my life and how they love me unconditionally regardless of what I weigh or look like.
Proof of said unconditional love.
2. I compare my meals and portion sizes with the people I eat with.
When I’m at home this means I compare myself to my mom and sisters, and when I’m at school this means I compare myself to my roommates. I’ve pretty much come to terms with the fact that I eat a lot more than other women my age. My body simply just needs more.
And not only do I eat more, but I also eat plenty of “masculine” foods. Especially at college women compare what they eat to others. There seems to be a silent ritual of sitting down at the dining hall table, observing everyone’s plate, and judging how it compares to your own. I’m not the kind of girl who eats a salad for dinner. I rarely even eat salads for lunch (although sometimes I do crave a big salad with bleu cheese and bacon!). I’m not afraid to embrace my cravings for some of my favorite foods like bacon cheeseburgers or chicken wings.
I enjoy these foods, without hesitation, when my body wants them, but sometimes I still feel guilty or “bad” for not eating just a salad like so many of the other women around me. I need to just let it go and completely embrace my peace with food.
3. Probably the biggest comparison I make is that of my body to the bodies of super fit women.
I do so much. I am a student, a research assistant, and a blogger. On top of all that, I need peaceful time to myself to just relax and a little time to socialize with friends and my boyfriend. Achieving a level of fitness like the woman pictured above isn’t feasible for me right now. I could probably fit in an hour at the gym every day, but I know it would compromise my mental health. Also, I’m still not completely comfortable with the gym because it reminds me too much of the time when I was deep into my eating disorder and spending many hours a day working out. I need to accept this and celebrate the fitness I do have! I ran a 5k on Thanksgiving, and I was amazed at my body’s ability. I remember when I could barely run half a mile! We have to work on not comparing ourselves to “the best” but to simply be “our best self.”
In what ways do you find yourself comparing yourself to others?