Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Long Run: Compare and Contrast

It's that time again. the long run. Today is even a little longer, at least in the blog sense. I have already blogged about this topic today on a blog which I am a weekly contributor to. That post is about playing the Compare Contrast game against other people. You can check it out here if you'd like. Saturday So What: Compare and Contrast

For this post I want to shift the focus on playing the Compare Contrast game with yourself. This topic came up while I was visiting my sister this week. We were talking about my weight loss success and her lack thereof. A little background might be required. Growing up, I was always the fat one of the sisters. The oldest was a skinny twig, the 2nd one was a petite little elf, the 3rd child (the one I was visiting) was my closest in age and appearance. Only 6 sizes smaller.

She'd always been smaller than me and while I was eating carrot sticks, she was shoving down Oreos with nary a stray pound to show for it. Until one day she had some health difficulties and all that bad diet karma smacked her upside the head. Or more accurately, the waistline. Since I had always been fat, I would compare myself to everyone else in the room. My sister, being newly unskinny, chose a much more dangerous foe to compare with...herself.

While I was visiting she confided that it was very difficult for her to see me wearing some of her favorite "skinny" clothes. It reminded her of a time not too long ago when she could wear them. Now she was endlessly frustrated that she was not the same person or size she used to be.

I told her the following and I gonna tell you too. "You can never again be who you were." For good or bad, we are all constantly changing. My yoga teacher says Life is like a river, you never step in the same water twice.It's true. It's pointless to compare yourself to your high school days, For one, you were a lot younger and gravity hadn't had time to work its nasty magic. For another, you might have gone through ginormous changes, like children. Those little things move in for 9 months and totally redecorate the front and rear end of the property.

I like to say that you can't compare yourself to another person because they aren't living your life. That's why comparing yourself to your past is so dangerous. You fall into the trap of thinking that it's okay to compare since you are living your own life.  Ehhh wrong. You are not living the life you used to. You can't be. There are new challenges and changes that were not a part of the history you might be romanticizing. I believe sometimes you have to literally view who you were in the past as a different person entirely. That person doesn't have your current stresses, or health problems.

The only thing we can do is the best with what we have in front of us. Right now, for my sister, it's trying to be healthy, fit, and following a dietary budget. There are a few funky aspects to her health that seem to be preventing any weight loss, but in the meantime she is doing what she can. That's all we can ever do. It is not failure to grow and change from what we once were. We can't slow down the wheels of time. Your 40 year old self will not look like your 18 year old self -ever. Even if you're Heidi Klum. With any luck we get a bit wiser as time marches on too. And have better hair.


  1. Great points. I was very skinny in high school, but also had a voracious appetite. I could eat whatever I wanted and never had to worry about weight. Then when I hit my 30s and my metabolism started to slow down, it took me a long time to catch on to the fact that I wasn't skinny anymore--and it took me a LONG time after that to finally get to the point where I was willing to alter my eating habits and do something about it. After five kids and a lot of years, I know I'll never be as skinny as I was in high school, and I don't even want to be. I'm just trying to get to a weight that I feel good about (well, I'm not trying today. It's St. Patrick's Day! Food!).

  2. I came across this blog via Mormon Mommy Writers (though fyi - the link on your post there doesn't work, but I was able to find your blog via Google). I read through all of your posts and really appreciate how much you shared here about your process of losing weight. I am actively working on losing about 40 pounds, and you have a lot of great insight in ways to change my thinking and habits.

  3. Thanks for Commenting Katie and Stephanie. I'll be sure to look at that link. Good luck to both of you on your weight loss journeys. Let me know if there is anything you want to know more about or need encouragement.



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