Today I wanted to talk about comparison, both in Eating Disorder recovery and society in general. It is something that affects a lot of us and can result in us falling into the trap of basing our own worth and value on what other people are doing. In recovery I have learnt mostly to overcome this using different mantras that I repeat when I feel these urges creep in...
“Different bodies, different paths” - You are your own person with your own health legacy. For example, perhaps some other people can afford to skip a meal, but that is not the case for you and that is okay. This is because you have a disposition to disordered eating and so cannot afford to give the ED anything to cling onto. Furthermore you cannot afford to lose weight as this can trigger eating disorder behaviours, as we know that your ability to make recovery decisions is impaired when you restrict. Not only this, but for you, restricting your intake = restricting your life, so whilst others may be able to carry on as normal, you would be sacrificing laughter, fun and the making of memories, so it is just not worth it.
“Your body isn’t affected by what anyone else does” - Your body does not know what anyone else is eating or how they are exercising and therefore it’s needs do not change based on this. For example, if your partner was going for a morning run, that does not mean your body suddenly also needs to exercise, nor does it mean that you need to skip breakfast or eat less than usual. Your body has no idea - it just wants what is best for you and your health.
“Your body is on your side” - Your body is not plotting against you. If you want to eat more than someone else, eat the less “healthy” option, or exercise less it is not because you are a bad person. Food has no moral value, and you are not lesser for wanting different things, it is just what your body needs in order to fuel your day, bring you joy and allow you to have a life that doesn’t revolve solely around food, weight or body thoughts. Again, you are on a different path to everyone else and so inevitably your choices will be different to theirs but this is normal.
“You don’t know the behind the scenes of other people's lives” - You don’t know what other people are doing outside of the moments you see them. This is especially true with social media as people are only showing the highlights of their lives and so we have no idea what else they’re going through. Consequently it is pointless to compare your own life, body, productivity etc. to theirs as you have no grounds on which to do so.
These have been useful to me in overcoming the urges to compare my intake, exercise habits and body to others, and have consequently reduced my engagement in disordered behaviours. This has been specifically useful to me in recovery, however as I begin to move on with my life I will continue to use them in order to prevent any form of comparison from stealing my joy. This is because they remind me that I am my own person living my own life, and I do not need to change this based on the very limited knowledge I have of what other people are doing.
I hope these can help you in celebrating your own life and accomplishments irrespective of what others around you are doing. You are amazing, and this doesn't change based on other peoples versions of success.
More from me soon,
Mais // The Recovery Bean <3