The Thief of Joy (Fitness Diary 46/52)

So I really think my fitness has been picking up over the past few months despite my weight and stress setbacks, and I’ve been feeling good in my skin lately. Clothes fit me well, I like how I look in pictures, and friends agree.

And then I got to watch this Sports U segment about Celebrity Fitness, where I was interviewed about my reaction to the workouts we tried during their launch event:

My first reaction to seeing myself in this video among all these other excellent physical specimens was: DAMN, I’M FAT AND UNFIT. Look at all these fitness influencers in their crop tops who have so much energy that they can bounce while looking effortless doing the workouts, while I was shown struggling to keep the pace up throwing my legs over hurdles. I was proud of my outfit and how I looked and performed during that launch event, but watching this video felt like a punch in the gut.

“Comparison is the thief of joy,” said Teddy Roosevelt. Never mind that the camera adds five pounds, the editor chose the shots of me struggling, and that the people I was exercising next to are fitness professionals whose job it is to look that good (and they’re probably 10 years younger than me, too, with the metabolisms to match). But I realized I’m not in competition with these people, and so the comparisons don’t need to be made between myself and them.

We can be our own worst critics, and our self-perception can be maddeningly different to reality. I look back at myself from four years ago at 118 pounds and realize that while I was skinny in those photos, I never thought so at the time — I felt unhappy and wanted to lose more weight. But it was because I still didn’t look like a model — which is insane because I’m not a model anyway. LOL!

It’s not that comparison per se is unhealthy. It’s what you compare yourself to. With regard to your own fitness and wellness, comparison with self is much more valuable and edifying. What kind of progress have you made towards your own goals, considering where you started? This brings everything into proper perspective, and puts a positive focus on your efforts.

So you know what? I’m going to strut my stuff and be confident about how I look and feel, because I’ve come a long way and I’m still progressing. And that’s what we’re going for: progress.

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