Comparisons (or Exercises in Futility).

I was going to write today something about “Men &Slimming World” – my view point on why there aren’t that many – which as it’s just been Slimming World‘s “Man of the Year” competition would have been particularly fitting.  Instead I’ve dug back through my archives for something I wrote some time ago.  A piece about making comparisons of your journey to that of other people.

Comparisons – or “Exercises in Futility”

Apple Vs Pear; Chalk Vs Cheese; You Vs Me - you just can't make comparisons between them..
Apple Vs Pear; Chalk Vs Cheese; You Vs Me – you just can’t make comparisons between them..

I oft-times see online, or hear, people say things like “compared to your loss, my mere *stone pales into insignificance” or “I only lost 3.5lb and was expecting more but *insert_name_here* lost more and ate more or less what I did all week” or words to that effect.

Making comparisons or statements like that are exercises in futility and could be seriously damaging to one’s own weight-management efforts.  It truly doesn’t matter if you have 7lb, 2st, 3st, 6st, 9st, or 15st to lose; we are all going through the same journey together.  It is however an individual journey.  We may stand side-by-side and support and help each other but everyone’s journey is never the less unique to them.

We all have our aims, our goals; our reasons,  and we all have our own expectations on this journey.  But we all undertake the journey at our own pace, a pace that we don’t necessarily have total control over.

The human body is something of a miracle that it all works in the ways that it does (until something goes wrong that is). However it is not a precision engineered machine where you put the same thing in each time and get the same thing out. You can have two identical weeks of eating – but two wildly different results on the scales.

Comparing your own weight loss against someone else in group (or online) is pointless.  As I say above – we all have our individual journeys to make, and we all have our individual quirks, and we are all going to lose at a different rate compared to everyone else standing next to us in these journeys.

I’d much rather think of it as “I’ve lost *lb this week” as opposed to “I lost *lb but they lost more and I want those kind of losses”.  The larger losses are possible, and absolutely nothing wrong with aiming for them – but take the pressure off from ourselves.

Aim for them, but providing we get a loss in that week, be happy.  Providing we’ve done our best that week, if we don’t hit the mark, be happy that you’ve done what you can and gotten a result. After all next week – the tables may be turned and you’ll be the one with the bigger loss than the person who had a larger loss this week.

Taking the pressure off:

I once had a target weight I wanted to hit by a certain time – two weigh-ins before – it was very obvious that I wasn’t going to get there – I needed 5lb off in that week to hit that target.

I could have sat down and planned a weekend of minimal food, no syns, lots of exercise and be very disappointed when I didn’t get that 5lb, or I could sit down, have a good think and realistically not expect a 5lb loss in a week at that stage of my weight loss journey, and take the pressure off myself. Just aim for a loss, be 100% on plan, use what syns I wanted to, and just relax, knowing I’ve done my best.

I got a loss that next weigh in and much to my surprise – it was the 5lb I was looking for.  But even if it had been 2lb – I’d have been happy (maybe not so happy as i was with the 5lb) but I didn’t put the pressure on myself to get there, I didn’t have false expectation levels to be dashed if I didn’t make it.

Reach for the stars

There’s a saying that was a favourite among consultants at one time that sums up the above perfectly:

“Reach for the moon and if you don’t achieve what you went out for you can still land amongst the stars”. (Or something to that effect anyhow).

The only expectations to meet though – are your own.  Be realistic, aim high and if you don’t quite get there – be happy with where you do land.  Whatever you do, no matter what, do not make a comparison between your journey and someone else’s journey.

We can do this.

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