Everyone is Battling Their Own Demons

So my “Fat Friend” post has gotten a lot of feedback. Thank you for having the courage to share your struggles and how they’ve affected you. We’re all in this together. I wanted to expand on this because there’s something I’m guilty of and maybe you are too. I tend to compare myself. When I see something that’s thin, I think they must have it figured out. They’ve got to have it all together. After all, they have what I want…a thin body. But I know from personal experience that being thin doesn’t make you happy. So why do I still compare myself?

There is a particular woman in my TurboKick class who seems to push all my “not good enough” buttons. She’s in great shape, knows all the moves and wears cute workout gear. I haven’t been doing the class very long and feel clumsy, fat and frumpy by comparison. So I have a whole story about this woman…who I’ve never even spoken to, by the way. She thinks she’s better than me. She wishes I’d just get out of her way so she could get a good workout. She can’t believe I’m even in this class. What a bitch! If I let those thoughts get to me…and sometimes I do…I want to cry and give up. But here’s the kicker; she’s not doing anything. I’m allowing the buttons I already have from some past experience to be pushed by a woman I don’t even know. It seems so ridiculous when you look at it that way.

A couple of years ago when I was going to the gym all the time I admired those women who had the perfect body. I thought if I could just be like them, everything would be okay. As if they don’t struggle with weight and body issues. Why would they? They’re thin. But what I’ve discovered is that being thin doesn’t give you an automatic hall pass out of self-loathing. In fact, the pressure to stay thin is often more damaging to ones self-esteem than not being thin at all. Think about it. If you’re convinced your level of acceptance and lovability is tied to the way your body looks, imagine the pressure to stay looking that way no matter what.

We all admire or envy those women who have that perfect body. But have you ever stopped to think what they go through? We believe they’re so healthy and we are not. But I’ve known women, who although they look great, do not feel great about themselves. And they use unhealthy means to stay looking that way because they’re so afraid of what will happen if they gain weight. I was there at one point too and the lengths we will go to are unbelievable. Purging, using laxatives, starving ourselves, extreme exercise. We can’t let ourselves off the hook for a second! If you’ve never done this to yourself, imagine what it must be like.

Thin people aren’t immune to the problems the rest of us deal with. They are unhappy, lonely, have trouble with their kids, are in debt, have low self-esteem, hate their jobs, are in unhealthy relationships…the list goes on and on. So the next time you’re tempted (as I am) to compare yourself to someone else, just remember, everyone is battling their own demons. The woman in my exercise class doesn’t have it easier just because she’s fit. Thin doesn’t equal happiness. Self-love and self-acceptance do.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shawn
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 09:57:40

    Isn’t it amazing the revelations we come to when we are in our 40’s. How “tragic” some things were in our 20’s and 30’s, (at least in our own minds)…and now we say “what was I thinking?”. How many times have we looked at a picture of ourselves from 10 years ago and thought boy I look good…but at the time you thought you were fat….Not sure if we can be totally comfy in our own skin….but chin-up and cheers to the journey to get there….. =)


    • Shannon McDonough
      Feb 26, 2011 @ 12:32:16

      I agree Shawn. When I was in my 20s I was at the weight I would kill to be now and I still thought I was fat. Go figure! I guess what I’m working through is that even though it’s less of an issue than it used to be, it’s still something I focus on. Some days I really get it…I am not how much I weigh. I guess that’s a start 🙂


  2. Lisa
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 10:37:41

    This is so very true. Every time I’ve trained for a competition, I felt such excitement to see my body transform. Especially the last 4 weeks. However, I feared food and loosing control if I did not follow the diet to a T — and I never deviated from it EVER. I felt empowered. But then the competition ends and the guilt sets in for trying to enjoy food that wasn’t part of your diets for the last 12 weeks!!

    During my training I did feel very confident but I also used my training as a way to stay “busy” with my life and keep others or potential friendships at a distance. I was always too busy in the gym to accept social invitations.

    Even at the competitions I compared myself and that has been why I’ve decided not to compete again. It wasn’t fun anymore as my mind still kept telling me “you aren’t good enough”.

    Thank you for sharing this. I know I do the same thing envying women that are slender and wishing I didn’t have the battle of staying slim. Summarizing that they have it all! So true that we all have our personal battles!!


  3. Shannon McDonough
    Feb 26, 2011 @ 12:36:18

    Thank you for sharing this, Lisa 🙂 I know alot of us can relate. I think that’s what I’m trying to get to…feeling good enough. And realizing being thin won’t get me there. That’s something I have to do on my own…little by little…every day 🙂


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