Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Health post: Avoiding comparisons

DISCLAIMER: So. These health posts are likely to become a regular thing in this blog now -- as I'm sure you've noticed. It's just that it's top of mind for me at the moment, and I just can't avoid writing about them at the moment. So if this is not your thing, feel free to skip these. I've marked them as Health Posts so you can skim through. I promise I have some cool outfit and shopping posts on the backburner; it's just hard to find time to edit them, sorry -- but they're on their way talaga talaga talaga :)

One of the ways to make sure you never get anywhere with your health (and even non-health) goals is to compare yourself with others. I have to say this was my biggest obstacle in the past. Let me know if you've ever heard, thought or said any of these before:

  • It's not fair. Why can she eat three cups of rice with every meal and never gain a pound?
  • I'm active, energetic and I exercise a lot but people still assume I'm lazy because I'm fat.
  • "Just avoid sweets and halve your rice intake," you say? WELL BLOW ME DOWN! I'd never heard that before! Why didn't I think of that?! /sarcasm
  • Please don't try to school me on how to eat healthy; I've probably forgotten more about dieting effectively than you will ever know (seeing as I've been on diets since I was 8.)
  • If I had my sister's/cousin's/best friend's metabolism everything would be just perfect.
  • One week. ONE WEEK of not going to the gym and eating a little indulgently, and boom! My pants don't fit.
  • Here I am practically killing myself but I will never have [insert name here]'s body.
  • If only I were a few inches taller, five pounds wouldn't look like 15 on my frame.

    Sound familiar? It is to me. I've said all of these before. Obsessed about them, even. It got to a point when I just thought, screw it. Life is not fair. Why should I even bother?

    The reasons why I am finally bothering are in this post. And one major healthy living adjustment I needed to make wasn't related to diet or exercise; it was mental: I needed to break free of these negative comparison thoughts.

    I still think life is unfair. For whatever reason, hormones or genetics or environmental conditioning or stress or whatever, this is the frame and the metabolism and the body type I have. I need to exercise constantly to keep my energy up and have a body that, while not slim by any stretch of the imagination, is at least *contained.* I need to bring healthy lunches and snacks to work that add another weight to my backbreaking laptop + giant daily bag combo, because the food choices available near me are either chemically processed if cheap or super expensive if fresh. I need to monitor what I eat and count calories while others can just munch away without thought. Yes, I have officemates who live off fastfood and look reasonably well. Yes, I lack sleep because I get up an hour earlier than usual to exercise and have a proper breakfast. It's a big freaking hassle, yes. Others have it so much easier, yes. Naturally slim people will never undertsand the degree of difficulty it takes for people like me, and they will continually offer dumb or unsolicited advice. YES.

    YES, and SO WHAT?

    In Filipino: ganyan talaga e. There's nothing I can do about the things beyond my control. Stressing about them won't help. Railing about the random unfairness of it all just takes more of my limited time and energy. Best to just accept it, move on, and focus instead on the things that are within my control. And that is exactly what I am trying to do with this Health Escape.

    At the end of the day, my body is my business. I'm not getting healthy so that others can approve and say that I am conforming to their ideal of what a woman should look like. Because let's face it, I will never get there. I will never be "slim" -- but that's perfectly fine. I'm doing this for me -- so that I have more years to spend with my kids and hopefully my grandkids. So that I can avoid my hereditary predisposition to heart disease, diabetes and hypertension (yeah, we got it all). So that my skin looks nice and glowing. So that I can wear the clothes that I want to wear. So that I feel UP and motivated. It's all for me

    So all these comparisons can go just screw it, yes?
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