In a society obsessed with physical appearance, it can be extremely challenging to find happiness in a body that doesn’t reflect the images of “physical perfection” we see in our media and pop culture.
Given that, I would argue that our discontent is caused less by our overweight bodies and more by our behavior and attitudes toward them. It is in our nature to compare ourselves to others. Unfortunately, when we play the comparison game, we always lose. Rarely has someone compared themselves to others and actually come out on top.
We look at other people and draw connections between them and us; “her arms are more slender than mine,” “I wish my stomach was as flat as hers.” Even men fall prey to this constant comparing: “are my arms and chest as muscular as his?” Such comparisons are harmful to our health and sense of worthiness.
‘Sometimes, taking good care of ourselves means saying “no” to ourselves, instead of “yes.”
Add to that a second internal battle: the one where we know what needs to be done in order to be thinner (or more fit) but we fail to follow through on making that happen. In any given moment, choosing not to make the tough choices of discipline or intentionality in our food choices and activity levels perpetuates a whole new wave of self-recrimination and self-loathing.
I am certainly happier with myself when I’ve been making healthy choices and am taking better care of myself — regardless of how I actually look. And I’m even happier when physical results reflect my hard work and discipline.
During a busy week, when I do not make myself a priority, not only do I see and feel it physically, I’m disappointed in myself for allowing it. I feel sluggish and lazy and not as good about my choices or myself.
‘Our big wins in life are not always tied to the outcome, rather the action we take.’
Sometimes, when we do make healthier choices, our bodies and the scale fail to reflect or respond to that hard work. That can be discouraging. But, instead of focusing on what we cannot control, which is how our body looks or whether the scale goes up or down, focusing on what we can control — our food behavior (choices, portions) and our level of activity — will give us pride and satisfaction.
Knowing we’ve honestly done all that we can to take the best care of ourselves (because we are worth it) helps us feel happier in our bodies. And that’s a way better use of time and energy than losing over and over in the comparison game.