• Comparison: Thief of Joy (A realistic look at fitspo)

    At EM2WL, we believe whatever your fitness goals, you should enjoy your journey and celebrate the moments along the way where you are achieving small victories.

    a realistic look at fitspoNothing can rob you of that joy more than comparing yourself to others.

    Daily, we are blasted with messages from social media, blogs, and even friends and family regarding fitness.  We are wise to be on top of our mental game by eliminating messages that will cause us to second-guess the journey we're on.  Surrounding yourself, as much as possible, with like-minded people is a great way to keep you moving forward and motivated.

    However, its easy to look at those that motivate us and begin to wonder why we aren't experiencing the success they are.  We can move rather quickly from thoughts like “Wow, look at her, she's doing great and I'm so happy for her!” to “I wish I had that kind of success, but I'm obviously doing something wrong.”  We start to nit-pick the path we're on, and pretty soon we're convinced that if we did x, y, and z like so-and so, we would be able to manufacture their success.

    Listen, everyone is different.  Each of us has a different set of genetics, metabolic capacity, and body type.  Beyond that, each one of us experiences different life circumstances.  Stress can add in an additional variable to manage.  Even if you were able to follow your best friend's diet and exercise plan to the letter, you would get different results.  Comparing yourself to others can only introduce an additional stressor that can do more to hinder than help your progress.

    a realistic look at fitspoUnderstand that fitspo is not real

    We've all seen them, the pictures of super-ripped (read: unrealistically lean) headless females with some saying that is meant to motivate the masses…

    Strong is the new skinny

    Eat clean, train dirty

    When I lost all my excuses, I gained all my results

    Try harder, you're worth it

    You get the idea.  Gag me.  Apparently a picture of a headless chick in a thong and heels doing deadlifts are apparently supposed to motivate us to swear off carbs for the rest of our lives, train so hard we feel one step away from death at the end of our workout, and finally lose all that weight so we can prance around night and day in a bikini.  The fact is no one can look like the headless models in these pictures, day in and day out.  Some serious photoshopping goes into most of these pictures.  Even those models that really do look like those pictures only do so for a short time because it's very unhealthy and unsustainable to carry such low levels of body fat.  Getting a physique like the models in these pictures is generally the result of an extremely restrictive, short-term diet, not a healthy lifestyle.  See them for what they are.  Be your own fitspiration!

    a realistic look at fitspoPut yourself on a media diet

    It's not just the fitspiration that's the problem.  Even if we are careful to surround ourselves with a “fit fam” who shares the same mentality and goals as we do, it can be easy to get sucked into the comparison game.  Try to limit your time online.  If you start to compare yourselves to your online inspirations and are struggling with feelings of inadequacy of failure, it might be time to take a step away.  Make sure that your life is about more than your fitness goals!  There is a considerable amount of time that goes into planning out meals, scheduling workouts, and training in the gym, but don't let it become your sole priority in life. Make time for the things that truly matter-your friends and family, your significant other, your spiritual life, rest, relaxation, a personal hobby.

    Make sure your goals are your own 

    Regardless of your goals, make sure that you are setting goals for you, not based on the goals you think you should have.  Think about what achieving your goal will mean to you personally and what it will require for you to achieve that goal.

    Be proud of mini-successes along the way 

    Remember that this isn't a sprint, but a marathon.  There are sure to be ups and downs along the way, so make sure to check in frequently with yourself.  You may or may not have a goal weight or goal size, but try to set up mini-milestones along the way that are sustainable and achievable.  Setting a few performance-based goals in the gym can be sanity saver and gives you many reasons to celebrate along the way.  You never know, you may find that achieving that elusive goal weight was never the real goal anyway.

    BeccaBecca is a busy wife and homeschooling mother to five children ages 5 to 13. About three years ago, she embarked on a journey to health and fitness that resulted in the loss of approximately 100 pounds. Today, she is a competitive powerlifter and strongwoman who loves ice cream and deadlifts.  As an ISSA certified personal trainer, she is passionate about helping women to get started on a lifestyle of strength and fitness.

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3 Responsesso far.

  1. Jerilyn says:

    This works for many areas in life! Excellent advice.

  2. Leah says:

    I appreciate everything you’ve said in this post. I’m coming back into weight loss mode after skin removal surgery and gaining about ten pounds in the last six months. I heard your interview last fall on Half Size Me podcast and now subscribe to your posts.

    Thank you for sharing all you do about eating more to lose. It’s transformed both my and my friend’s lives. :)