The Comparison Trap

Hey Friends!

Thank you all so much for the warm welcome back into the blog world. To be honest, I never really left because I still stalked and left the odd comment if I had time but it’s so nice to be welcomed back!

This week has been very busy and exciting. Monday was my first day of working 6 hours a day. Previously, I’ve been working 4 hours and 20 minutes a day because I’m only part time but now they want me to do more work which is good for the bank account but not so much for my sanity. Does anybody else know what it’s like to have to stare at a computer screen for 6 hours and it’s not reading blogs/Facebook/Twitter?! Crikey.

The exciting part about this week is that my Dad and I have finally booked our flights to England!!!!! We are leaving on the 12th of November and we’re going for two (and a bit) weeks. The last time I went was in 2008 while I was in my first year of university so I had to take calculus notes to England to study for a test that I had for the day after I got back. This time, I don’t have to worry about any such thing and because I’m working, I’ll actually have money! Right now for every New Zealand dollar, you get 50p. That is a heck load better than it was in 2008 when you only got 33p! I’ll update more on this later when I know more of the deets. I might be planning a day in London or something to catch up with some UK folks if you have time. Let me know 🙂

This past week I’ve been reading some pretty amazing blogs (as always) and two of them struck me (not physically…that would be frightening). The amazing Amanda and Freya touched on some topics that I think we can all relate to in some way or another. That is the comparison trap. Amanda talks about comparing your meals to others and judging how much someone is eating where as Freya talks about comparing your lifestyle as a whole to other bloggers. Not only are they right on the money but let’s face it, we’ve all done it at some stage or another.

You see, I fell victim to the comparison trap not so very long ago. Honestly, I still fall victim to it when I’m not feeling on top of my game. I read so many blogs where they post pictures of their “clean” foods. They make oats with water, fill up on smoothies and work out at the gym nearly every day. They eat the darkest of dark chocolate and replace refined sugar with syrups or some little plant based sweetener called Stevia that sounds like it would taste like the juice from an aloe vera plant. They eat fruit as snacks and find it satisfying. They follow the same workout from a certain book, they only have a glass or two of wine at the most. When they go out to dinner they order a meal and don’t finish it. They share dessert with somebody else (WTF?). Their dinners consist of a bit of chicken, a few asparagus heads or kale chips and a sweet potato. How they find that filling I do not know. They turn vegetarian or even vegan and I’m pretty sure that most of the people that turn vegan use it as another form of restriction. Isn’t it funny that most of the people that turn vegetarian/vegan have had an eating disordered past? I don’t believe it when some say it’s for ethical reasons. Bullshit.

But you see, I can’t help but compare myself to this at times.

I don’t know what the heck kale is and if I was seen eating kale in front of my friends I’d probably get a slap in the face (and rightly so). I am the complete opposite to many bloggers. I make my oats with milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, nuts, yoghurt and lemon juice. I eat fast food every now and again and I don’t go to the gym. I eat milk chocolate but have 60% chocolate when I’m feeling like it. I eat unrefined sugar (not with a spoon, mind you) and eat cookies made with real butter as a snack. I can’t have certain fruits because of my suspected fructose intolerance so therefore the only sugar I can really have is the powdered kind. I enjoy walking not running. I couldn’t run if I wanted to because of some damage to my hips that has never really healed from overdoing it in the past. I lift weights at home and not in a gym. I don’t get up at the crack of dawn to fit in a workout. (SIDE NOTE: If you’re in the gaining weight stage of recovery, you’re doing yourself more harm than good if you exercise. Your heart is still weak from starvation. Think about it.) I go out with friends from time to time and drink perhaps a bit too much. I wake up the next morning and have a cooked breakfast with baked beans, hash browns and sausages. By the way, does anyone in the blog world eat sausages that aren’t made of tofu or meat substitute? Just me? OK.

Most importantly, I will never in a million years turn vegan/vegetarian. My body thrives off of meat products. When I don’t eat meat, I feel weak and ill. I know that many of my friendies in the blog world are vegan/vegetarian and that’s fine. I’m not judging you on that at all! I have a friend that is vegetarian because she can’t stand the texture of meat and that’s completely understandable. I understand that there are many animal lovers out there that don’t feel right about eating meat for that reason. That’s fine too! All I’m saying is that if you’ve had an eating disorder in the past or you are trying to lose weight, don’t use veganism/vegetarianism as another form of restriction. That’s not what it’s about.

We have a different way of life here in New Zealand. People here don’t worry about that kind of shit. I don’t see people worrying about protein or carbs. You see the odd vegan trying to push their views down your throat but that’s only at uni. I don’t want to be the weirdo that has to eat only certain foods because I want to be just like everyone else on the internet. Sometimes I forget that the internet isn’t the real world. I used to get so caught up in the blog world that when I stayed home alone while everyone else was out having fun and actually living, I was reading blogs because it was how I got in touch with the world. I was obsessed with reading about food. Learning about food. Looking at pictures of food (I believe it’s called “Food Porn.”)

And whatever happened to calling a walk a workout? When you see all these ads saying, “Get off yaw ass and exercise! Eat such and such everyday and stay away from these BAAAAAAAAAAAAAD foods”, you have to wonder who they’re actually aiming that at. They’re not aiming that message at you people suffering from eating disorders. They’re not aiming it at people who are suffering through cancer or serious illnesses alike. They’re not aiming that at people who live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. They’re aiming it at the overweight people – people who eat too much and don’t try and fit a walk or something to get the heart pumping into their day. When I hear people telling me to eat apples and pears and replace sugar with honey, I have to remember that they don’t know that I have a slight fructose intolerance that makes my brain go foggy, my eyes heavy and my tummy rather uncomfortable after consuming these foods.

You see, these people don’t know you.

If you enjoy eating big meals and not filling up on snacks, go for it! If you prefer to graze throughout the day, all the power to ya. If you don’t enjoy going to the gym then don’t. Go for a walk instead. Go shopping with your friends and call that a workout. Eat what makes you happy, not what you think you should be eating. If it makes you feel good do it. No one can tell you otherwise.

*End rant*

Phew!

Have you ever fallen victim to the comparison trap? 

What are your thoughts on this topic? I would love to hear them.

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Posted on 13 August 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I stumbled across this post and seriously have to say AMEN to everything you say! I’ve stopped reading so many “healthy living” blogs because they all have the same repetitive cloaked-over obsessive mentality about food and exercise.
    Oatmeal: hate it, it’s gross…cool to those who like it…but wtf are all these additives and green monsters and protein shakes and chia seeds/brans/gums/weird carb-shunning rubbish?
    So over it. I used to have anorexia, recovered two years ago, I’m not fat in even the slightest and my idea of exercise is lifting my 2.5 kg dumbbells for 10 mins 3x a week and taking a walk when I feel like it or something. Even though I’m recovered/in remission/whatever you want to call it, I still get slightly peeved/triggered by the “healthy” habits (aka severe restrictions/substitutes) of other bloggers. Oh well, whatever…I’m a proud carnivore…I eat meat at every meal except breakfast and when I don’t I’m not satiated, I eat dessert every day and well…I don’t feel bad about it in the slightest. *end rant* lovely post.

  2. littlemissminny

    Have I told you how much you rock girl? 😀
    Aaah, the comparison trap. I did it all the time, and to be honest, I still do it, but less. I finally am realizing my needs are my own, my life is my own, and I am gonna live it the way I like it. Not the way somebody else thinks I should. Eating “clean” all the time, busting my ass of working out every day? Oh no, not for me. That made me anorexic, sick and weak. And not to mention dull.
    I try not to read those blogs anymore, those that are triggering to me. To be honest, some of those bloggers that think are recovered, and that the blogging world is praising so much, I don’t think they are.
    These days, I eat chocolate every day, cake too. I drink juices, not just water, I order frappuccino’s by accident, and drink it, with the cream. I eat burgers and red meat. And I do not workout. Ok, except for walking and doing yoga few times a week. And I think it’s quite enough for me now. If compared to other bloggers, it seems I am not that healthy. Or am I? I am happy. And healthier I think.
    And btw, what’s with all those stevias, salads for lunches, and bread only once or twice a week. I can eat a loaf in a day 😀 Weird people.
    Love ya girl 🙂

  3. I LOVE your new blog! Or should I say I just love you 😉

    Seriously though, it is so refreshing to hear somebody talking REAL. I so often get caught in this comparison trap too, but reading someone speak the truth, raw and bluntly, is just what I need!

    I don’t have much else to say, because you said it all. You are amazing 🙂

    Scott

  4. Katy, you must have read my mind!!!!! I agree with everything you’ve said here- I, like you, enjoy desserts and butter (and meat), and a mindful walk is enough exercise for me. You’re not alone! The comparison trap is tough- I don’t compare food so much as body type/weight, but it’s something I’m working hard to overcome. I love your new blog! 🙂 I’m so excited for you about England!!!!!

  5. freaking AMEN TO EVERYTHING ON HERE!!! seriously. oh my gosh i have gotten SO annoyed w. the blog world lately , and i feel bad about it because i need to just worry about myself and not others. seriously- good thing you realize it and are smart enough to NOT live like that!!!! AMEN to exercise hurting yourself during recovery, i didnt exercise and i think if i had i wouldave screwed up my body even more!

  6. I used to suffer from the comparison trap big time because I had such screwed up eating habits that I had no idea what worked for me, so I turned to the example of others to figure it out. Some things worked, others didn’t, and through a lot of trial and error, I think I’ve finally found a good place for myself. I’m not a hardcore runner. I hate green smoothies. I won’t touch kale or stevia. A salad for lunch is a joke to me. Carbs and fats are the loves of my life. All the crazy super food this and that can go to hell… But at the same time, there are people who genuinely enjoy that kind of stuff, and I don’t think it’s fair to say there’s something wrong with them just because they eat that way. In the end, eating is everyone’s personal business, so just be confident in what you do and never apologize for the things you love.

  7. definitely when i first started bloggin i fell into the trap! but now ive learnt to just be ME!

  8. Wow!! This is a great topic and I agree with all your points. I def. get caught up in comparing and it can be rough! I eat kale and “vegan meals” and salad. But I also eat meat, milk chocolate, and rich desserts all the time and really I don’t think its hurting me in the slightest.
    One of my pet peeves is when people call fruit “nature’s candy”. I mean I LOVE fruit but its FRUIT and candy is candy. End of story! Sorry that might be a bit off topic…

  9. Oh and one more thing: I forgot to say that I, too, eat REAL sausages!!! YUMMY!!!

  10. Wow. This is an amazing post. On so many levels. So thank you for the rant 😀
    Firstly, yay for travelling! That’s awesome that you’re going to England!
    Definitely have and still do fall into that comparison hole. It’s very unfortunate because I want to NOT feel pressured into everything you’ve talked about: not eating meat, exercising every day, going to the gym, not eating “pre-processed” foods.
    Personally, on the one hand, I do love raw/vegan foods. I find them tastier and I like the idea of naturalness. And it’s not an ed thing because I’ve been like that pre-ed. Also, since I’m lactose intolerant, vegan foods made it easier to enjoy the foods I was denying myself: lasagne, macaranoi and cheese, butter tarts, etc. Same with not eating red meat. I’ve never enjoyed the taste of it so I wouldn’t eat it. However, I love chicken, pork and turkey. So yes, denying myself of those things are ed thoughts and falling into that comparison game. Very guilty.
    And sometimes I do crave a nice big juicy hamburger with French fries. Again guilty of comparisons of people that I’m eating with.
    I love how you make your oats! I’m definitely trying that tomorrow…it sounds seriously good. And I agree with you on the walking. Seriously. I LOVE walking and it’s such good exercise and it feels soothing. So what on earth makes it NOT a workout..definitely never understood that.
    I kinda wish that I lived in New Zealand. It seems so much more relaxed and a little more natural.
    So GOOD FOR YOU for this entire rant.
    Thank you xoxo

  11. Yes, yes and yes. I agree with this post completely. I still have issues with comparing myself to others, but I have been actively trying to stop myself from doing so. This post really inspired me to try harder to break out of the habit. Because when it comes down to it, things just taste better with butter and milk and sugar. I’d much rather eat something because I wanted to rather than because others do.

    Thanks for the inspiration! 😀

    PS. How awesome is this snow?! :DD

  12. So just in case you don’t know I’m going to England too in your suitcase. Now that we’ve got that sorted I agree with you and I’m so happy that I don’t feel restricted like I used to in what I’m allowed to eat or how much I’m allowed to exercise.
    I also think people go into vegetarianism and veganism far too quickly. When I first became a vego there was no way I was getting enough of everything. Now I fill up on chickpeas, beans and b12 rich foods all the time just because it is necessary and stuff.
    🙂 xx

  13. I’m late on commenting here, but I jsut have to thank-you for this post!
    Reading it made me realize Im not the only one with 100 different kinds fo flours, and all these ‘superfoods’. Its okay to just live the way I do. (In a healthy mannor of course)
    You are an amazing inspiration 🙂

  1. Pingback: Your Thighs Do Not Define You « Have a Slice of Katy Pie

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