When I was in elementary school, I wanted blonde hair and blue eyes like my cousin. Once, I remember sneaking into my mother’s bathroom when I got home and hacking off my hair so it would be a short bob like hers. I only managed to cut the sides off, and ended up with a tail of long hair down the back. You would think I learned then that envy doesn’t pan out.
I’ve had many other types of envy in my life–car envy, clothes envy, but, until recently, I’ve never had such bad weight loss envy. Honestly, I’d never been around other folks who were getting rid of weight at the same time as me. It seems as if every other person I know is working on their health and fitness! Sure, I’ve talked about it with friends before, but none of my girlfriends in high school ever actually came back from summer vacation skinny–like we all planned, like clockwork, every May.
And now, I find myself sitting in a weird little nest of envy as I read my newsfeed–and boy, am I wallowing in it! “How the heck is she losing more weight than me? I get up at 7 and run every morning! I lift weights! I jump-rope, I follow my exercise regimen to a T, I strictly monitor my calories, and I don’t eat anything I know I’m not supposed to…?!?!”
I start questioning. “Is Weight Watchers a better program? Does going to the gym help him run harder? Does paying for a yoga membership really keep her on track?”
Contempt rolls in right after. “There is no way she ran a better mile than me! It took me weeks to get down to that, and I’ve been working long and hard!”
It doesn’t get me anywhere. It makes me anxious, and worried, and stressed–and it certainly doesn’t help me lose weight! And not meeting my weight loss goal is scary–of course it is! I’ve stumbled and failed many, many times before. I have–and have had–a lot of goals, and really deep seated emotional baggage related to my weight. And it’s strange and scary, because my goals, for the first time in my life, are so tangibly accessible.
Every summer from about 9-11, my Aunt C would tell me, “Sarah, I’ll give you $20 to lose 20 lbs. this summer.” I might see my Aunt in December, and at my current weight loss rate (and thanks to her never getting on Facebook or likely seeing this blog,) I will be within 10-20 lbs of my goal weight and will completely surprise her! “Well, Aunt C, with an 8% annual interest rate, that will be about $2000 come December. I accept Visa, Mastercard, and personal check.”
In a way, I suppose that seeing other people reaching their goals… well, sometimes it hurts, and it makes it easier for my self-doubt to put down my own little victories. It’s easy to let those little insecurities eat you up, to focus on other people’s success, and to forget about your own. You wonder, what is she reaches her goal before me? What if he loses more weight than I do?
News flash, self! It’s not a contest! Her goals are not my goals, nor are her goals overshadowing mine. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if my friends get “there” before I do–there isn’t a there to get. We aren’t racing to the same finishing point, we are running beside each other on similar paths. And if Aunt C congratulates me on my journey–or pays me that $2000 she promised me as a child!–it doesn’t matter! I’m not losing weight for anyone else. I’m getting rid of weight for me and me alone!
I know that on my journey I’ve been thrilled and happy, but I’ve also been scared and frustrated, and it’s at those times that I’ve needed a pat on the back, a hug, and a gentle push back on the path. And if I’ve wanted all of that, I sure know the friends around me have, too. So, here’s a new goal on my better health journey–stop getting weighed down and wrapped up in weight loss envy and celebrate your own victories. No matter how big or small, your goals are acheivable and attainable, and you have come so far! Start sending out those good vibes to the hardworking gals on the weight loss path with you, and especially, start sending them to yourself. Weight loss envy only slows you down, and you are working to hard to let anything slow you down!
Here’s a shout out especially to two of the most amazing and inspiring ladies around me right now–my cousin, Anna, and my good friend, Brooke, who have both lost over 25+ lbs. each! Just think, ladies–by July, we will have lost the combined equivalent of “Snooki”. Congratulations, I am so proud of you!