The Comparison Trap & Finding What Drives You

Along this four year health and fitness journey I have often gotten people approaching me asking me questions about how I did it, if it was hard, asking for advice or people just looking for motivation or accountability. I gotta tell you, it’s one of my FAVORITE things about the entire process. I love sharing my story, my progress and my struggles. I love giving hope to people who are currently standing in the same pair of shoes I once stood in. I not only welcome but I encourage others to feel free to come to me if they ever need to talk or are looking for help or just a little encouragement. I hope that’s what this blog is for some people because I know it’s always been and still is a huge comfort to me when I find people out there who have faced and fought this same battle. YES! I said it, it’s a BATTLE and I’m still fighting it every single day.

Give Up Being PerfectI hate to admit it, but I often find myself getting caught up in the comparison trap. It’s really NOT a healthy place to be but, unfortunately, it’s extremely easy to get stuck in it. We’re surrounded by beautiful people on TV and in Movies, of course, but a lot of times it’s not always the photoshopped models in magazines that we compare ourselves to. It can just as easily be someone walking by on the street or even people you know and are close to. I know I struggle every day, even being in the best shape of my life, comparing myself with others and looking at people and wanting what they have. Wishing I could be like that naturally skinny girl I know that never eats anything healthy and can still confidently rock a bikini like nobody’s business. I catch myself thinking: “If I just had her tummy, it would be so much easier to shape the abs I want.” WHY do I do this to myself?

After confessing that, I feel like I should clarify something: I have never been more confident in my own skin or in myself than I am right now and yet I still get caught in this comparison trap. Although many of us might not admit it, I know it’s pretty common. I bet even the most beautiful and most confident women out there have similar thoughts from time to time and that makes me kinda sad. Where does this come from and how is this even encouraging to those who are trying to lose weight and be more healthy?

You have to find something that drives you and drives you for a good purpose. I suppose wanting to have a body like someone else is one way to get motivated as well as wanting to get in shape for bikini season, for a special event or wanting to shed weight from your pregnancy, those are all good reasons to start getting serious about health and fitness but what happens when you meet that goal or make that weightloss deadline? What then? Better yet, what happens when you DON’T meet your goals?

This is why you have to find something that not only drives you but KEEPS driving you. When you do that, you will not only meet your goals, but you will surpass them!! I’m not saying you shouldn’t set goals, you absolutely should and it’s NECESSARY to set goals along the way, but I’m saying your journey should be MORE than that. Think about the people you know who have had success losing weight AND keeping it off. I bet they’d all tell you that it wasn’t diet and exercise, but a decision to live a healthier life. If your goal has an expiration date then most likely your results are going to expire too.

So you might be asking what drives me? Well, I have a few things that constantly drive me (because, back up plans are wise!) and maybe one or some of these will help you find your own! So here are three ideas..

Respect & Care for the Body You’re Given

Our bodies are a gift from God. If we spent more time thinking about our bodies this way, I think we’d all find we would be a little bit more conscious of what we’re doing to it, what we put into it and what we’re thinking about it. Instead of fueling it with things that will eventually lead to health issues and instead of comparing our bodies to others, we should be thankful we have an able and healthy body! My brother was born with a heart condition and he was a HUGE reason I decided to take better care of my body. He was born with health conditions that he had no control over and yet, I was born in perfect health and was not taking care of myself. I got to thinking how much he would have loved to be able to live a long life and have a healthy body and here I was taking that for granted. Don’t take your body and health for granted. Respect it, appreciate it and be thankful for it!

Make It About More Than Looking Good

Psalm 139:14A lot of times we want to lose weight because we want to look better and be more attractive. While this often comes with the territory when you lose weight and become more fit, if it’s the only thing driving you, then it won’t last. First off… you are already BEAUTIFUL. Until you learn to love and appreciate yourself and the skin you’re in, you might never really commit to changing it. The main reason you need to ditch ‘appearance’ as a driving factor is because it can steal your motivation. I’m going to be honest with you, it takes A LOT of time and a LOT of hard work. Think about the years you’ve been overeating, eating unhealthy and/or neglecting physical activity. It took you YEARS to do the damage, it’s going to take a considerable amount of time for you to see the change you really want. I’ve lost over 100 pounds and I am STILL unhappy with the appearance of certain parts of myself. I know how easy it is to adopt the mindset “Well, I’m not seeing a change on the scale and that little fat roll is still there, why should I keep going?” Here’s why… every time you quit it just gets harder to start again. You’ll remember when you DID see a difference and wish you hadn’t lost all that progress you had made. So if you make appearances your driving force, you will always be unhappy. Make it more about FEELING your best, HAVING more energy and BECOMING a stronger healthier version of yourself! Nothing builds strength more than wanting to quit and, instead, persevering. I have pretty much let go of trying to be a certain weight or trying to look a certain way and I’m just trying to keep healthy. That’s not to say I don’t still have areas I’m trying to improve on, but that’s not what keeps me on the healthy path. Remember: You are ALREADY beautiful and you were fearfully and wonderfully made by God himself!

Don’t Do It For Anyone Else But Yourself

Be TRULY free...I know sometimes we feel pressure from our families and loved ones or maybe we feel pressured by society, but you can’t make a LIFE change for someone else. In order to succeed, it has to be your choice. Not only is it easier to have motivation when you’re doing it for YOU, but it is so much more rewarding when you can look back and see how far you have come and it was ALL your doing! I am a stubborn person and I mean REALLY stubborn. I don’t mean to say that if someone tells me to do something I just won’t do it. No, I’m the really really BAD stubborn type of person in that if you pressure me to do something, I not only WON’T do it, but I will do the opposite just to be spiteful. It’s terrible, I know! I’ve been this way since I was a kid (Sorry Mom!!) and definitely not much has changed there! So for me this is a given but for others it might not be as easy. I know it’s easy to be consumed by what others think of us and to do things more because we care what others think, but be reminded today that it’s not about what others think of you and sometimes you can’t even trust what you think about yourself. On those days, be driven by what GOD thinks about you. He loves you unconditionally, he thinks you’re special, strong and capable of far more than you even imagine. If that won’t motivate you, I don’t know what will!

So if you’re having trouble finding motivation or staying motivated, think about what is driving you and find your BEST driving force(s)! Maybe you want to extend your life so you can meet your grandkids someday or maybe you want to have the energy and stamina to keep up with YOUR kids. There are so many more reasons to get more healthy and be more fit, make sure you pick the ones that will keep you the most motivated and constantly REMIND yourself of them on a regular basis. It’s all too easy to forget why you’re doing it in the first place!

My Main Struggle: Emotional Eating

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a tendency to use food as a way to cope with my emotions. Stress, sadness, boredom, you name it and I’d find some snack to enjoy to feel “better”. Decades later, not much has really changed except maybe that now I’m aware that this is a tendency I have.

The last few months have been a little busy. It’s the busy “birthday” season for me and my family, lots of friends expecting babies which means lots of baby showers and lots of crochet projects to complete on top of that I was preparing my house for my boyfriend’s visit, planning for his trip as well as launching my Perfectly Posh Business and preparing to launch my Crochet Shop all while staying on top of my 21 Day Fix eating plan and workout schedule! I wanted to set myself up for success and get ahead so that when my boyfriend visited I could focus on spending that time with him. I knew that when he visited I wouldn’t be able to stick to my eating/workout plan and I figured two weeks off would be okay and that I could just pick up right where I left off. However, what I neglected to think about was that pesky emotional eating tendency. As soon as he left, I didn’t care about eating healthy. I didn’t care about working out. I had the blues and that meant the nasty emotional eating tendency was in full effect. Bring on the chocolate! Bring on the greasy food!

Emotional Binge EatingSo this week, that has been my struggle. I’d eat pretty much on plan and healthy during the day at work, but as soon as I get home it was like a challenge to find and destroy any and ALL of the food in the house. Add to that the fact that most of my “healthy” food stock was completely depleted. Late nights are the worst. I’d just go to the kitchen and graze. It’s safe to say my lowest weight no longer applies. I’m not even going to bother measuring myself to see the damage done on that front but I’m not going to beat myself up about it! It’s natural and I already feel myself getting back to normal and I plan to restart the 21 Day Fix on Monday!

I know there’s a lot of people out there who ALSO struggle with eating to soothe those pesky emotions. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Some people may look at me and my success and think I never go off track and always work out, but the truth is, I’m a human being. I have struggles and I don’t always eat on plan. Sometimes I get overly-obsessive about it and forget the importance of eating off plan (it’s actually GOOD for your metabolism to give it a little shock of some “bad” food from time to time) and self-guilt myself for going so overboard. I might even be overly critical and think I ate TERRIBLE when I didn’t even really. It’s all part of the struggle! I thought I’d share with you all a few helpful tips to overcome the bad habit of Emotional Eating.

1. PAUSE and ask yourself if you’re really hungry.

Chances are you are bored, stressed, etc and you’re not ACTUALLY hungry. Before hitting the fridge in search of the quickest snack, try pouring yourself an 8oz glass of water and drink it. A lot of the time we “crave” because our bodies NEED something. No, that doesn’t mean your body need that chocolate, right now. If the water doesn’t satisfy, ask yourself what it is you are specifically craving.

2. Put down the bag of chips and do something constructive.

I know for me if I keep myself busy with other things I “forget” to snack. So start a new project, learn a new hobby, pay some bills, clean house, go for a walk, get some exercise, SOMETHING! Getting out of the house and getting some physical activity is probably the best option because it removes the kitchen from the equation. Bottom line is ANYTHING constructive at all will distract you from making a beeline for food!

3. Make sure your kitchen is stocked with healthy snacks ONLY.

Funny thing about emotional eating is that we typically want the BAD stuff. I go on an all out search for ALL the carbs and sweets in the house! If you keep yourself surrounded with healthy snacks you might even find that when you go on the prowl that the idea of eating healthy in that moment isn’t even all that appealing. If you know there is a particular type of food you CONSTANTLY go to when you are feeling down, you will definitely want to make sure you DO NOT keep it in your house.

4. Remind yourself of the true purpose of food.

Agnes & Churros
Food’s TRUE purpose is to fuel our bodies. Sure, a lot of food TASTES good and is enjoyable to eat, but keeping in mind that food is NOT a fix for your emotions might just make you more self-aware and keep you from eating as a means to soothe your bad mood.

5. Determine what the true problem is.

How are you feeling? Are you sad? Stressed? Is there something else you can do that will make you feel better that does NOT involve food?

These are just some ways to combat emotional eating but you really have to find what works for you. For me #2 is the best solution. I have to pour myself into something else and eventually I will feel better and stop turning to food to comfort myself. Do you struggle with emotional eating? What do you typically choose to eat when you’re having an emotional eating attack?

So you had ONE bad week…

A Little Chocolate Doesn't HurtI restarted the 21 Day Fix plan last week after straying from the plan for the last three days of my first round, but I guess I needed a week off first.

I half-way followed the plan last week but I also ate a lot of Easter chocolate, A LOT of nuts without paying attention to how many, a small slice of birthday icecream with cake, a frosty waffle cone, half of a donut, cookies, a mcdonald’s biscuit and lots of other snacks that definitely don’t count towards containers. To summarize… A LOT OF FREAKIN’ CARBS! I still followed the workouts everyday, though, except I forgot to do Yoga yesterday (WHAT? THAT’S THE BEST ONE!). GOOD NEWS? At least I didn’t gain any weight. BAD NEWS? You can’t out exercise a bad diet. So it was pretty much like walking in place for a week and not moving forward at all so I feel like I need to RE-RESTART this week. So I’m going back to following the plan to a T this week. And will be finishing up a week late.

Keep Food Out of Sight Out of MindAnyway, the point of sharing all this is to encourage all of you out there. So you had ONE bad day, ONE bad week, ONE bad month… etc. don’t let that ruin your motivation. It’s easier to get right back on the horse NOW than to give up completely and have to start ALL over again. You’re allowed to stray from your plan from time to time. Enjoy some unhealthy food, treat yourself to something good but don’t beat yourself up about it afterwards! You might come to find that straying just a little bit doesn’t even have the same effect that it used to and start to miss how you felt when you ate healthier. I know for me the minute I give in to the “bad” carbs I start craving them like crazy all over again but afterwards I feel so bloated and drowsy. It’s usually not worth it… however CHOCOLATE = Always worth it. Even if now my face is currently erupting like volcanoes because of all the Easter chocolate I consumed. Oops!

So here’s to a NEW week and a FRESH start and here’s the food for thought I will leave you with today: A NEW start is always right around the corner. Don’t throw in the towel because of ONE bad day/week/month/year! You can overcome that obstacle, that plateau, that temptation, that reluctance.. whatever it is that holds YOU back!