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Constantly Comparing My Body with Others

By November 27, 2012

Over this past year I have started to see myself constantly comparing my body with every other girl I come into contact with. I’ve always been very athletic and love playing sports, but I’m not what I would call skinny at all! This summer it’s been really frustrating to me because I’ve tried so hard to eat right and exercise every day, but I still haven’t lost barely any weight. It makes me confused, because most of my friends can sit around and eat whatever they want and not care and still be really skinny, and here I am working so hard at it and I don’t have half as good of a figure as they do. What am I doing wrong?!? I’ve always been one to enjoy healthy foods over junk food and I love to exercise so that’s not a problem but I’m constantly wondering why I can’t lose anything? Please Help! My mom says that I am the perfect weight, but I would just like to lose 10-15 pounds, it would make me feel so much better about myself! Do you have any suggestions? – anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

I’m wondering how old you are? You sound healthy, as you say you are “athletic” and enjoy working out. Health is always my first concern.

You say you work out every day. It’s important to know that every day, 7 days a week, is not healthy. Your body needs a rest. It would really benefit you to work out 4 or 5 days a week and take at least 2 days off. Your body needs to recuperate so that it can be more efficient the next time you work out.

You also say your friends can eat “whatever they want.” It may appear that way to you. And yes, while some young women can eat anything they want, that usually does not last. As our bodies get older and more mature, our metabolism and nutrition needs also change. Besides, who knows what your friends eat or don’t eat when you are not around? Many women with eating disorders are masters at “hiding” them; it might shock you to know that some of them may struggle with weight issues as well.

Because of these things, it’s important to try not to compare yourself to others. I realize this is difficult to avoid in our society where stick thin models are everywhere, but I challenge you to look around you. You will see that people come in many different sizes; some of us simply were not meant to be “skinny” or even “thin.” Being strong is much more important, especially in the long run.

What I would like to suggest is this:

  • Quit trying to lose weight. If you are always focused on your weight and “diet” you set yourself up for disappointment right from the start. You need to find out what your body’s natural, healthy weight is first.
  • Pay more attention to your body’s hunger signals, when is it truly hungry? What it is craving? When is it full? Then eat accordingly.
  • Do not deprive your body of what it wants. Eat in moderation and be sure to listen to your body. Our bodies are always striving for “balance” and it does it on its own if our mind or so called “logic” stays out of it. Let your body do its job.
  • Read articles in our Eat Well, Live Well section for more guidance.

One more thing. I really encourage you to seek the help of a counselor who can help you find out what other things may be going on with you right now. It sounds like you are comparing yourself to others quite a bit, and sometimes that may serve a purpose of avoiding other issues you may not be aware of consciously. Consulting with a therapist is a great way to assure you keep your health your top priority, and it will also help give you better peace of mind. See “Finding Treatment.”

Good luck, and take care of you.

Nicole Bourquin, MS