First off, let me just say that therapy’s going really well. Only a few weeks in, and I’m already noticing a difference in how I think and how I feel. Heck, it’s even starting to help me improve the way I act.
This week, in addition to talking a little bit about Amor No More attempting to re-open a door I thought was permanently closed, we talked about blogging. I love blogging and I love talking about it. I think it’s partially because of the really cool health and fitness community that I’ve found myself a part of, but it’s also because I’m proud of this blog and I’m proud that I chose to share my journey in this way.
Well, one topic we discussed was this community of bloggers and the idea that by being part of a health and fitness blogging community, it can be easy to lose perspective and an appreciation for your individual journey. It’s not a bad thing at all, it’s just something that can happen when you’re surrounded by amazingly strong and successful people. Let me explain …
When I started on this journey, I was in it alone. I didn’t have a workout buddy or a gym friend or a weight-loss pal. It was me, doing it by myself and for myself. When I started my original Tumblr blog, it was not what it is today. There wasn’t really a health and fitness community like there is now. I was writing my journey down for myself and a few friends and family. But then, people started following me. And I started following them.
And I was inspired. Like, beyond words, inspired.
I mean, here were all these amazing people doing things I never even thought about doing: running marathons, becoming Iron Men, completing triathlons, dashing like warriors. And there I was, celebrating running a mile without stopping. I was inspired by everyone’s stories. Inspired to keep walking … then running … and running races … then training for a half marathon … and signing up for a full marathon.
Being part of this online community, you read a lot of stories about people’s individual successes and, in their eyes, failures. It can become easy to judge your own journey based on another person’s judgment or analysis of their own journey. By being part of a community — any community — it’s easy to compare yourself to others within that community. It can be easy:
- to tear yourself down when you see people losing 5 or 6 pounds a week when you’re plateauing or, even, gaining
- to feel bad about your weight when someone else is unhappy with themselves at that very same weight
- to feel bad about your fitness efforts when people are posting about their marathons, PRs and weight-lifting records
- to feel pressure to be positive, not fail, be perfect
But we all have a choice. We can either let someone else’s journey negatively affect us, or we can be inspired by it. Me? I choose to be inspired by the things I read on health and fitness blogs.
Sure, it’s hard to “fail” when everyone around you is succeeding. And sometimes, I still have to remind myself that this truly is about me and my journey.
So, yeah, people on some blogs have starting weights lower than my goal weight. And, yeah, they’re running five-, six- and seven-minute miles. And they might not like what they see when they look at their loose skin in the mirror. That has nothing to do with my journey and everything to do with their journeys.
Me? I’m proud of being so close to my goal weight. Could it go lower? Yeah, maybe. Or, maybe not. But right now I need to focus on what my body needs and enjoy the progress I’ve made. I cannot put unrealistic pressure on myself — or my body — because of the way someone else feels (or talks) about his/her own body. Besides, 162? That’s the lowest I’ve ever weighed in my memory.
Could I constantly compare my running times to other bloggers — even those who haven’t been running as long as me? Easily. Very, very easily. But I don’t. Because, guess what. I’m running for me. And I’m beating my own records nearly every time I run. Someone else’s run time has nothing to do with my run time — or how I feel about it.
And my loose skin? Yeah, it ain’t pretty. It’s wrinkly and wiggly, bumpy and bouncy. But it’s part of me and my journey. And just because someone else doesn’t like her loose skin and wants it gone doesn’t say a single thing about me, my body image or how the world sees me.
So, yep, we’re all in this together. We’re a support system, a virtual shoulder to cry on, a cheerleading squad, a running partner, a … well … circle of friends, if you will. But we’re also — to an extent — in this by ourselves. Because that’s who we’re really here for.
We are all in this together, by ourselves. ~Lily Tomlin
So, yes, absolutely 100 percent, we should celebrate each other and our victories. We should offer encouragement and support when it’s needed. But we also have to remember not to compare ourselves to each other: Everybody, every body is different. That’s the beauty of life.