Some time ago, I finally had to "unfollow" certain people on Instagram. I was following handfuls of fitness-inspiring women with what I considered to have the "perfect body". Their pictures and posts would show up on my feed, and instead of seeing their pics and saying, "Oh wow that's really cool" instead I would inwardly think things like, "I wish I looked like her" or "She is in way better shape than me" or "I look pretty terrible compared to her".
Comparison was stealing my joy. I was constantly feeling inadequate. It was causing me to forget all of my own progress. It honestly wasn't making me any better or inspiring me to do more or eat better or workout harder. It was just making me feel like crap.
So, I unsubscribed and unfollowed ALL of them. I only kept the women who teach and preach a very important message: moderation and REALITY. So don't get me wrong, I still follow some women who are in terrific shape and eat well and workout hard, but they are REAL about it. They don't filter and photoshop all their pics, they post pics where they don't look absolutely perfect, and they have encouraging messages that aim to strengthen and empower women through their bodies and minds. They even post pics where they are eating ice cream or having something "un-organic". It was good for me at that time to see that you can still be in great shape and be healthy while enjoying life and getting off plan every once in awhile.
Do you know who else we tend to compare ourselves to that can also steal our joy? Our former selves. I have definitely done this. And I have many women say things like "I used to be in great shape" or "Look how young and thin I look in this picture". Comparing you to a former version of yourself, isn't fair and isn't healthy most of the time. A lot of new moms who used to workout everyday at 5am can make themselves feel bad because now they have a baby that wakes up in the middle of the night or early in the morning making early workouts impossible. I have had older female clients get discouraged when they think about their younger bodies, tighter skin, and when they had better metabolism.
These are called seasons of life! (I have a post about this by the way) And we have to roll with them. Life and its crazy circumstances change and we have to adapt. We have to find new ways to fit living a healthy and balanced lifestyle into our daily routine. It probably won't look the same as when we were in our 20's without kids or when we were training for that marathon or that competition that had us in tip-top shape. Maybe now you have bad knees or another injury that makes it hard to do certain things. That's ok---find what you CAN do. Don't obsess over what you USED to do and CAN'T anymore.
Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle or your middle to someone else's end! Look at where you are now, and the changes you are making and the progress (even small) that you are seeing and give yourself some credit. The things you tell yourself and your inner thoughts have a HUGE impact on your mental and physical health. Joyce Meyer once said, "I'm not where I want to be, but thank God I'm not where I used to be." We can ALL say that in some way or another. Keep taking those baby steps because even baby steps are moving you forward.