Monday, August 15, 2016

Compared to whom?

When I lost weight and began exercising and eating right for the first time in my life it was kind of like entering a world that I never knew existed. I began meeting other people who were slightly obsessed like I was and it was like joining a special club.

This club was pretty cool and one that I never ever expected to be welcomed into. In high school I would see the bond between people who were on teams together - the football guys and the volleyball girls. Those of us who were in the music and drama departments, we had our own bond, but it wasn’t the same as the jocks.

So I dipped my toe into this world and was shocked at how supportive it was – since the jocks in high school weren’t exactly pals with me!! People giving advice and talking techniques without making fun of one another. This world has its own language of sorts even. With talk of macros and fartleks and leg day. I now know the difference between chin-ups and pullups. I can talk intelligently about over-pronation, 10K training runs, kettlebell swings, Zottman curls, and what the best exercises are to grow your lats. I have argued over whether or not clipless pedals are worth it and whether to do cardio before strength or vice versa.

I have given advice on rehabbing a bad IT band problem and have had people come to me asking me the best way to improve their running speed. I have given advice on resistance bands and what stretching needs to be done to cure planter fascitis. I have hugged people who have finished their first 5K and celebrated someone deadlifting their body weight for the first time.  I have laughed as only other people who are in the know have laughed when someone talked about the misery of attempting to sit on the toilet 2 days after leg day.  And have commiserated with those side lined with an injury who are unable to run.

There is no way for me to explain how bizarre it is to me sometimes to know these things and be able to talk about them actually knowing what I am talking about. And when people ask for my advice?? Well that’s even more strange. NO ONE comes to Jen for fitness advice! I sometimes think “Why are they asking me??”

For support and to keep me accountable, I am a member of a number of fitness oriented sites, like,, and  I keep stats and talk with other fitness minded people.  Which is gret in many ways.

On the other hand, this also skews my perspective.  Because I always see the stats or talk with people that – in my mind – are better than I am.  People that are faster, who run more miles, who lift heavier weights, who eat totally clean and have impossible flat stomachs and incredibly defined biceps. 

I have come to believe that everyone is like this.  Everyone works out, everyone lifts weights and runs and keeps in shape and never cheats in their food intake.  Everyone looks fantastic in a bikini and doesn’t worry about flappy “bat-wings” or muffin tops.

Nope – I am the only one who has those defects.  I am the inferior one who has flab and isn’t running enough and was so lazy that I only lifted weights for an hour.  I SUCK compared to everyone else.

Now, intellectually, I know that this is ridiculous.  And I know that comparing yourself to others is most definitely a fools errand.  Because no matter how good you are, there is always someone faster, prettier, smarter, stronger. 

And yet, I can’t get away from believing it.  I wonder if some of the reason I can’t be happy with where I’m at is because I can’t and don’t celebrate the good things, I only lament my perceived faults.

Anyone else in that same boat?


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