Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Teddy Roosevelt was a pretty smart guy.  "Comparison is the thief of joy." I feel like this applies to so many areas of our lives.  Specifically, I'm going to speak to fitness and weight loss.

I coached a personal training client yesterday on this topic.  She was finishing her post-workout cardio and cooling down on the treadmill when she asked me, "so how much progress should I be seeing right now?"

This is such a loaded question and I HATE IT!

Do you know why I hate it?  Because no two people are the same.  Because no two bodies metabolize food the same way.  Because no two bodies respond to exercise and weights the same way.  Get the idea?

Comparison is dangerous.  It can take you down a scary path where you start to look at your life and someone else's and decide that their life is better or easier.

When you compare your fitness progress to someone else's, you can take yourself out of the game or delay your success.

I know it's tough not to compare; when you see those amazing 'before and after' ads for weight loss. My company even has a weight loss challenge and we use testimonials to show people what's possible.  That's the key, though.  Be inspired by other people's success.  Don't compare.

Honestly, shows like 'The Biggest Loser' or 'Extreme Weight Loss' don't help either.  Those people are in completely controlled environments with expert help 24/7.  That's just not reality.  Most of those people go home and gain the weight back because they didn't gradually learn how to adopt a new lifestyle.

How can you overcome the desire to compare?  Track your progress! Not just your weight and measurements.

  • Take photos - Progress photos, wearing the same clothes, in the same pose at the same time every week.  Put the photos side-by-side.  You'll start to see changes.
  • Celebrate the NSVs - Non-scale victories.  How do your clothes fit?  Can you do something you couldn't do when you first started?  Has your health improved? I always recommend clients do a physical inventory when they first start.  What hurts?  What is physically hard to do? What are you unable to do because of your physical condition?  Revisit that list every 4-6 weeks and track your progress that way.
  • Track your vital signs - Record your resting heart rate and blood pressure when you first start.  Check them every 4 weeks.  When they improve, that means you are getting healthier.  Yay for you!
These are just a few ways to show yourself that your exercise and healthy eating plan are working.  Be kind to yourself.  Change takes time.  How long had you been eating unhealthy food?  How long did it take you to gain the weight?  It's going to take a while for your body to reset and return to its home state, its homeostasis.  Do you know what homeostasis means?  When internal conditions remain relatively stable and constant. That's balance. When your body is balanced, you will be able to lose or maintain your weight.  

Need some help?  More accountability?  Someone to just listen? I'm here.  Reach out.  I'd love to chat.

Check out YouTube for my video summary on this topic.

Coach Steph

1 comment:

  1. Great post girl! I tend to do this as well, especially in a gym type environment because you can't help but compare yourself to the very fit mom who seems to have it all together. I used to compare myself a lot to others and have changed my mindset over the years. Great topic!