Comparison is the thief of joy. It really is! Especially when you’re comparing yourself to a version of your former self.
How often do you catch yourself comparing your current self to some version of yourself from the past? Maybe before you had children or when you were in your early 20’s or when you were first married.
I recently had a Facebook memory pop up on my newsfeed. It was a photo of me from five years ago. I was announcing that I was leaving my job as a newspaper reporter and that I had taken a job in PR at a university. I was standing in front of a fountain on the campus of my new job with my hands on my hips. When I saw the photo, I felt an instant pang of longing for the body that I had at that time. My stomach was flat, my hips were narrow, my arms were small and toned. I looked skinny. In that same instant I felt as if my current body wasn’t good enough. That my curvier shape was less than because I had once been thinner.
Seeing that photo sent me on a deep dive into photos from that time. “I looked so good,” I thought. “What happened to my body. I need to do something,” was my next thought. My mind started going through a list of all the things I could do to make my body smaller again. Then I stopped myself.
This could have easily spiraled into a major pity party for myself where I continued to criticize my body until I felt absolutely awful. I could have started a new workout plan or diet following it until I felt too restricted and deprived. Then I could have binged on “off limits” foods feeling even worse than when it all began. That’s what I would have done in the past.
I took another look at the photo and I tried to remember what was really going on behind the scenes of that photo. I was getting up at 5 a.m. most days to go to CrossFit or cycling classes. The intense workouts often left me with pounding headaches or migraines. At least once a week I was so sore I could barely walk. I was counting calories and struggling with emotional eating and binge eating. I was constantly starting over every Monday after I had failed at my diet over the weekend. I didn’t feel like my body was thin enough, toned enough, or good enough. In the photo above, I remember thinking my thighs looked too big.
In the five years since that photo was taken, so much has changed. I worked at that university in PR in, what I would later learn, a toxic workplace environment, which caused a lot of stress and anxiety. I discovered a new passion for helping others feel better in their bodies and I studied for a year to become a certified health coach, I launched my health coaching business and started teaching workshops and seeing clients one-on-one, I launched a new website, I went through yoga teacher training, and added yoga classes to my already full fitness class schedule. All while working full-time, spending weekends with the fiancé, and staying on top of all of my adulting responsibilities. I was doing a lot. I was also experiencing anxiety and high levels of stress and I didn’t know how to deal with it.
And through all of that I experienced a huge shift personally, finally letting go of diet rules, healing my relationship with food, learning how to eat intuitively, discovering how to workout more intuitively, becoming more in tune with my body, and developing more compassion for my body.
During those five years, my body changed. When I stopped working out so intensely, I got softer. I gained some weight because of the stress I was experiencing.
My body is much curvier than it once was and I am strong and healthy. I nourish my body with foods that make me feel good, I eat not-so-nourishing foods when I feel like it without guilt, I move my body in ways that feel good, I slow down and practice self-care when I need it, and I have a lot of gratitude for what my body is capable of.
Those pangs of wanting to go back to my former body began to dissipate as I reminded myself that my body doesn’t define who I am. I’m a better person than I was when that photo was taken. I’m stronger, wiser, more compassionate, more mindful, and so much more.
I’m sharing this story with you because I think that you just might experience that same pang of longing for a former version of yourself. And those feelings of not being enough as you are now may send you on a spiral of your own.
I just want you to know that you are enough just as you are right now. You’re beautiful in the body that you have at this moment.
I also want you to remember that when you try to change your body because you hate it, you will be absolutely miserable and you most likely won’t stick to the changes you’re trying to make.
When you start to have more compassion and gratitude for your body, it changes everything.
To discover how you can ditch dieting, heal your relationship with food, find more balance, and nourish you body from the inside out, take my quiz here.
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