So, There’s This Chick…

Posted: February 9, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Sticking with the plan isn’t the only thing that took up some of my thoughts while at the gym last night. I also found myself in a moment of weakness sucked into that dangerous black hole: comparison.

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I was going about my Couch to 5K workout happily – feeling strong, healthy, and fit. I had a fantastic day earlier, thanks to B sleeping better and over the last week getting into a solid routine that makes juggling two much easier. [Side note: he even slept from 8 to 1 and then from 2 to 6 last night. Heaven!] I had confidence in what I have already accomplished fitness wise oozing from my pores. I love my body and it amazes me in all it can do. Then, it happened. She showed up.

So, there’s this chick at my gym. A lot of her fitness persona reminds me of myself 1.5 years ago when I felt at my personal best physically. Her body is very comparable to the physique I call my “happy place”. The workouts she completes resemble my favorite types of workouts and the way I love to challenge myself. Her energy and vibe appear so natural as she smiles and happily connects with other members over their workouts. And I found myself very bothered by this.

I caught myself saying things of annoyance about her in my head. Critiquing what she was wearing or calling her a flirt for chatting with some of the guys. Then it dawned on me. I was only doing these things out of jealousy caused by comparing myself. I had no need to think such things. She looked good. One of the guys she chatted with is her husband and his friends! They were talking about workouts – not flirting! Evidently my thoughts were completely jealousy related.

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The comparison trap and jealousy caused by it lead me to momentarily lose the satisfaction and appreciation of my body and achievements right now. Once I recognized that, I forced myself to stop. I don’t like to think negatively. I was happy just moments before and shouldn’t forget those great feelings so easily.

Then, I turned that jealousy into a positive. I remember I am working back to that goal and I have full faith that I can achieve those things again with ample time. I have the dedication and the love of fitness to do so. I also remembered that treating myself with respect and being happy with the journey were a key part to that success after Makenzie. I can’t lose that same mindset for this journey. And I won’t. I finished out my workout yet again feeling healthy and confident. Yet again believing in myself and loving my body for the amazing things it has done (creating beautiful children) and that it continues to do (getting back in shape so easily). Black hole averted.

Question of the Day – What do you do when you find yourself in the comparison trap or feeling jealous?

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72 Comments to “So, There’s This Chick…”
  1. I hate the feeling, too, but honestly, it is one of the best motivators. The “I could have that body again” feeling. Also, if the chick is younger than me, I usually think evil thoughts like “you just wait until *you* have two kids, muahahahahah”

  2. Well thank goodness…YOU are human! :) We’ve all been there and back and back again. Comparisons can swallow you up, never to be found again.

    The moment I find myself in that frame of mind I ask myself very simply: Jenn, is this what you want to focus your energy on? Or do you want to put your energy towards what makes you feel alive, fulfilled and incredible.

    I thought so. : )

  3. Allie says:

    Ah I know that feeling! Glad you could step back and re evaluate your feelings. I have envy when I see my friends who have so much TIME. Like time to do homework because they don’t have a job like I have to do. But I know it is good that I work now and adjust to the world! Thanks for such an AWESOME post, once again :) Have a great day.. glad Baby B let ya sleep!!!

  4. emily says:

    I have felt the same way you have about comparing myself to others. Then I think about myself in regards to the journey I had with overexercising and not appreciating myself during that time and how I don’t want to every go back to those days. So, I quickly change my thoughts and focus on God’s grace and how he has allowed me to be comfortable with my exercise, my body, my thoughts, and my personal well being! I am truely blessed! I am so proud of you for getting back to the gym with focus, determination, and goals….and turning your jealous thoughts around! Those jealous thoughts are amongst all of us at the gym…not just you!!! No worries…God is in control and he is proud of you!!! Love you Tina! Keep up the good work!

  5. You definitely have to use it as a motivator! I am really working on turning negatives into positives lately. Good for you turning around!

  6. I used to constantly compare my body to other people’s, and it was such a downer. But as you’ve shown, it’s easier to keep those thoughts at bay when we focus on the bigger picture, giving ourselves a little more perspective on the situation.

  7. Brooke says:

    i love how honest you are!! great post. :)

  8. I remind myself that I have so much — and I think of all the good things going on in my life — a job I enjoy, a wonderful loving husband, a family who loves me, caring friends, a warm house, food in the fridge, etc. I don’t know that person’s situation, and it isn’t that I try to think of something I have that they don’t — but just telling myself that I have so much to be thankful for really helps me.

    Tina thank you for honest posts like this!

  9. Kelly says:

    I find myself a little jealous when it seems to me that some people I know never struggle with any weight-related or food-related issues. They’re happy and content all the time with where they are and don’t really understand why anyone would have issues with their relationship with food. I wish I had never had any struggles with food in my past and am jealous of their natural ability to not let these types of things get to them.

  10. Kelly says:

    I get caught into that trap a lot. I find it best to have logical talks with myself. Plus my husband is the most amazing man in the world and when I can’t get myself out of a funk…he is there and it is wonderful. I think it IS natural to fall into that comparsion trap but I think recognizing it is the first step in getting yourelf out of it.

  11. I think a lot of us women get caught up in the comparison thing. It’s part of our nature. we all are not like you tho, able to bring ourselves back down to remind ourselves why we love our body and why we are at where we are at in the current moment. I love how you handled your thoughts and can only hope that when Tom and I do conceive #2 and im working off that post baby weight I can have the same outlook as you.

  12. Anne Marie says:

    I don’t know how you manage to be so positive!! I’m totally out of my routine, but I know I’ll have some envy when I finally get back to the gym.

  13. Lauren says:

    I feel jealous when I see others outside running (especially in the cold – so hardcore!). It usually just motivates me to go for a run, and get out there. Same when I’m running, if there’s a runner in front of me, sometimes, I make it a goal to try to catch them – speedwork!

  14. Heather says:

    Man, this is a hard question! For me, I remind myself that they had to work hard to get where they are, too. And to use that as motivation for me to work even harder.
    FANTASTIC post!

  15. Oh I needed this today.
    Ive definitely fallen into the jealousy trap, and ignoring it like I normally do just isnt working. My ex boyfriends girlfriend is pregnant – and due super close to my birthday. To say Im jealous would be an understatement. I’ve been trying to tell myself its not a big deal because its not like Im the slightest bit interested in him – but still, I hate that he’s having a baby before me.

  16. Mandy says:

    Oh, don’t we all do that! I hate it, but it’s common, especially in women! But you are right, we all have the ability to strive for our fitness goals and the sky is the limit! Someday, we can all have what we want, we just have to work HARD for it!

  17. its so hard to prevent this, but i have to say i’ve gotten so much better at not doing it and not being so quick to compare and judge. it just leads to a destructive mindset, and its so great that your able to catch it and move on. i do the same and its great to focus on things to look forward to as well as what i’m thankful for now. i could say i hate the size of my legs or my arms could look as good as the girl next to me, but then i switch that to “these legs get me through miles and miles of running and are insanely strong. plus my man loves my legs and booty :) ” i love your honesty and posts like this!

  18. I fall into this same trap – and did today as a matter of fact! There’s a trainer at the gym who I found myself super jealous of: perfect hair, perfect smile, perfect body. I did a few intervals and was suddenly feeling more confident in my own body and what it is capable of…even if the perfect hair never finds its home on my head ;)

  19. Awesome post Tina!! jealousy is sooo evil, isn’t it?! And sometimes its so uncontrollable. That is awesome you were able to turn it around so quickly and look to the positive. A lot of people can’t do that and that is when they lash out. I definitely have had a lot of jealousy feelings, more so in my past. I can now control them as you did…and try to think of something positive within myself.

  20. Thanks for the honesty Tina! I find myself in these predicaments as well! I get to comparing myself and then forgetting what I value within myself! Great reminder! Will be linking this post on my facebook fan page!

  21. Oh gosh – thanks for being so honest. Jealousy is so so easy to get pulled into – I definitely have done it before! The jealousy monster comes out for me when I see people having kids (insert intense honosty here). I want so badly to be at the right time in my life for that to happen, but it honestly isn’t time for us quite yet.

    • Tina says:

      That will come to you and you will be able to enjoy it even more when you’re at a place you feel best for a family. Its hard, though. I know.

  22. Good for you for nipping it in the bud! I think we’ve probably all fallen into that black hole sometime. I remind myself that we are all different, different genetics, different circumstances, even different goals, and that it isn’t realistic to expect two people to look the same, run the same, work out the same…

  23. I really just have to remindyself that everyone has a struggle, and remembering that makes it so much easier to love others well!

  24. I think we’ve all felt that way at one time or the other. The most mature thing to do is recognize it and like you said, turn it into a positive. At those moments I tend to turn to prayer and ask God to help me. Then I am humbled and remember to be grateful for all He created me to be! :-)

  25. Becca says:

    Oh dear. I fall into the jealousy thing a lot. And I mean a lot. Not just in a physical sense, but moreso that I’m jealous of other people’s character, or talents, or their relationships with God—internal things. Most of the time, I get sucked into it and feel bad about myself. And then something will jerk me out of it—typically something small. But I’m working on talking myself out of falling into the hole before it goes too far, stopping it at the beginning.
    This was definitely a post I needed today! :)

  26. I found myself doing this today at the gym with another girl that is pregnant. I am 29 weeks, she is 16. But I remember last time she was pregnant (this time too) she was built like a brick house. Super lean, cut arms, and kept it that way her whole last pregnancy…and looks amazing now too. I was not doing the jealous name calling thing in my head..I stopped myself. But it is tough to not compare yourself. As I looked at how much my arms and behind has changed. All the muscle I lost, and see other preggos looking like they can enter a Miss Fitness Comp, only have a belly. It’s tough. I try to turn it into positive though. I love how honest you are and how you made it into something positive too.

    Just wanted to share to let you know you are human and we all do it one time or another. Thanks for this post!

    • Tina says:

      You are GORGEOUS right now! And I bet those women feel their bodies are changing so much and likely even looking at you thinking you look so wonderful too. We do these silly games. i know I did when pregnant too. It never stops completely, huh? And I have no doubt you will get back in rockin shape so quickly.

  27. Cry. Haha, just kidding. But seriously this jealousy/envy/comparison thing is something I REALLY need to work on. Being a perfectionist does not help.

  28. Jealousy is a good temporary motivator for me. I rarely just bash people in my head, instead I think about how I can get to where they are and achieve what they have.

  29. Angela says:

    I think everyone falls into that trap at some point! Good for you for recognizing it and turning it into something positive. Usually when I feel jealousy toward someone, I just try to remind myself of the things I have that I’m thankful for.

  30. I definitely get this feeling whenever I go to the gym. I see girls who are SUPER tiny and they are barely working a sweat on the ellipticals, whereas I’m KILLING myself on the treadmill doing an interval workout, and I look NOTHING like them. It can be a destructive spiral, but I tell myself that while I may never look like they do, I eat well, I’ve ran a 1/2 marathon, and I’m strong. It usually snaps me out of it!

  31. Paula says:

    ah jealousy..it can happen to the best of us! I think the worst thing you can do is to then pick apart the person you are jealous of in your mind..negativity about another person breeds negativity about yourself. I try to think yup shes hot but so am I and move on.
    Good job stopping yourself from falling into the jealously black hole!!!

    • Tina says:

      That is exactly what it is. I go to picking apart the person when its really me being negative to myself. I don’t like it one bit and thankfully have learned how to control it better!

  32. I’ve totally been there. and good for you for turning it around for yourself!

    I find myself sooo jealous when my friends with sky-high metabolism can eat whaaatever they want. without working out. ever.

    but then I remember… it all hits us one day. I WAS there at one time. :)

  33. Jolene says:

    I do the SAME THING! You aren’t alone in that and I applaud you for turning that into a positive when it so so so easily could turn into a funk or a down day or a ‘fat day’ (in my case, likely all of these things!). Comparing is such an easy – but evil – thing, isn’t it? you are inspiring me to catch myself the next time I do that. And rock on with your bad self! you are DOING this!

  34. You said this so well, Tina. Jealousy definitely comes up for me the most when I’m comparing myself to people who are similar to me, or similar to a “previous me” fitness/body wise. I love that you recognized the jealous feelings and were able to transform that into a positive thing – I want to work on doing that more often. Sometimes I just let myself go on with the negative thinking and it never leads to a good place. It’s important for me to keep in mind that everyone is different, and everyone is at a different point in their journey so it doesn’t make sense to compare. I remember that if I compared myself to elite runners I would feel inadequate all the time – “fast” for me is “slow” to someone else, and that’s okay!
    Thank you for being so honest about your moment at the gym – it was a great reminder for me!

  35. Great post Tina- you’re so inspiring! I think we’ve all fallen into this trap. I always end up comparing myself to my boyfriend’s mom and sister- they’re both very slim and petite and here I am almost a foot taller with curves. I feel so self concious around them that I can’t have a good time. I was almost to the point of dreading an upcoming trip to Australia with them because of it :(
    My best way of dealing with it has been to remind myself of what I love about my body, and to remember that long legs are a GOOD thing :) Working out definitely helps to boost confidence also.

  36. Goodness it is sometimes so hard to rest in the peace of knowing we are enough, isn’t it?! Your readers think you’re great just the way you are.

  37. Sarah says:

    I can relate all too well. When I get stuck in that spot, I focus on all of the beautiful and unique ways that God has crafted me, what he’s designed me to do and be and love.
    That usually helps a lot.

    • Tina says:

      It is such a powerful thing to think, isn’t it? After all…how can we deny God’s work as anything other than beautiful. :)

  38. Good for you! When I used to go to college in a very trendy university, I felt like I was envious often. To the point that I dieted unhealthfully to be more like all those “California girls.”

    I know better now, which is one reason why I stay away from celebrity gossip. Are they really supposed to make us feel good about ourselves? I think not.

  39. LOL I was just about to comment here and got an email that you commented on my post :) I will be doing the webcast yep — gonna leave work a bit early!

    I definitely have days where I get jealous! I think everyone has those moments…but then we get over ourselves and continue to work hard! :)

  40. Melie says:

    Haha! This is really funny! At the gym yesterday evening, I saw two ladies who were doing some serious weight training, pretty similar to mine (just with about twice as much weight). As a first reaction I turned a little bit green with envy. As a second reaction I thought “why them and not me?” My third reaction was “it will be me at some point!” It turned out to be quite an inspiring moment at the end… Because let’s face it, green is so not my color! :-)

  41. nysoonergirl says:

    I did the exact same thing at the gym last night! I was happily plugging away when I saw a girl with an absolutely amazing body. My first thought was, “Ugh, I would never wear THAT to the gym!” I had to bring myself back to reality. The girl was stunning. I was just jealous. It reminded me of a friend of mine. Her motto is “there’s always someone else who looks worse in their bathing suit than you do.” I find that way of looking at it rather negative, but you can put a positive spin on it. There’s always someone who looks at you and thinks, “That’s why I come to the gym/beach! She’s gorgeous!” You could always be someone else’s inspriation!

  42. Kacy says:

    I go through this too. However, I’ve found that it’s totally mind over matter. I can only be envious and petty if I let it happen. Once I regain control the feelings dissipate pretty quickly :)

  43. Negative thoughts like that really DO feel like a black hole sometimes, they just suck you in!

    When I feel like that, I remember that usually everything isn’t what it seems, I tell myself: she might not be as happy as I think, or have hard things in her life going on that I don’t have…and at the same time, I have hard thing going on in my life that she doesn’t have AND good things going on in my life that she might not have too. That usually helps me.

  44. Holly says:

    Ooooh, yes. I definitely compare myself to others, particularly I notice it when taking group fitness classes. I don’t know why….maybe when all I did was run and run, I felt like I was my only competitor? But with group fitness, you’re with others? I definitely have to step back and remind myself of all that my body CAN do. Of its strength and persistance!

  45. Stephanie says:

    Haha! Good for you for recognizing the green eyed monster and getting past it!

  46. Jess says:

    Even though I LOVE LOVE LOVE blogging, sometimes I fall into the “comparison” trap with my fellow blog friends, as sad as that sounds. I think it’s natural to compare now and then but when it makes you feel badly, that’s never a good thing. I’m glad you found the positive…hang in there!

  47. Tracy says:

    I have a post coming about comparing myself to other women on the beach during a recent vacation. I don’t think comparing is bad. When it gets bad is when you project negative thoughts on yourself based on your perception of the comparison. I used to do that, but don’t anymore. I like surrounding myself with people that I think are “better” than myself in some way. Winning a race where everyone is much slower or just walking isnt much of a win. Same applies to the business world. I usually always want to see someone out in front of me. Someone to catch…it keeps me motivated.

  48. I remind myself how far I’ve come in my health journey… And honestly, that feling usually gives me more motivation to keep going – I want to be at my ‘healthy’ state.

  49. Lee says:

    I tell myself that I don’t know that person. I don’t know what she goes through on a regular basis. I might be jealous of her abs or whatever, but she could have an awful home life, which I don’t. I just sort of try to remind myself that I am not that person. I am never going to be that person and most of all, I don’t know that person so there is no reason to want to be like her.

    I’m rambling.

  50. Karen says:

    When I find myself comparing or envying others I try to turn the negative thoughts into inspiration. What about those women am I inspired by? Do I want to run like she does? Do I want arms like that? I use those jealous thoughts as inspiration to be the best that I can be!!

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