As women, we’re constantly comparing ourselves to our friends, acquaintances, co-workers, siblings, business partners, fitness idols, you name it. While being inspired by someone or looking up to someone is perfectly fine or normal, it’s when the comparisons set it that things can get a little messy. This typically leads to feelings of jealousy, resentment, judgement or straight up “not good enough” which can be extremely harmful to your personal wellbeing.
While I still struggle from time to time to resist my ego and natural inclination to compare myself, I’ve realized it does no one any good. Here’s why you should stop comparing your plate, pant size, paycheck, yoga posture and everything in between:
1. You don’t know their full story. Often times when we compare, we wish we were *just like* the other person OR we judge the other person. The truth of the matter is that we don’t know their full story, and we may never know their full story. Pay attention to your own story instead.
2. Bio-Individuality: Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. This is why some women swear by vegan diets, and others thrive on lean meats. It’s also why some hate to run & prefer yoga, and others could run outside all day every day if their life depended on it. If you’re constantly imitating someone else’s behavior, you’ll lose site of your own strengths. Listen to your body and pay attention to what makes you feel your very best self (not your best friend).
3. There’s Only One You. Yes, there are other people out there who are doing what you do. Yes, there are other women who are making double (even 10x) the amount of money you make. Yes, your best friend is in The. Best. Relationship. Yes, your yoga teacher has the most toned arms ever. However, there is only one you. Focus on yourself and let your inner goddess shine.
4. Focusing On Yourself Allows for Growth: I used to be that girl in yoga class that would stare at everyone else’s poses to make sure I was doing it “right.” Turns out, looking at everyone else prevented me from getting stronger. Once I began listening to the cues and focusing on my body, I began to get stronger. Suddenly getting it “right” or “wrong” didn’t matter anymore. It’s what’s right for your body that counts. This holds true for all aspects of your life.
5. Jealously is Ugly: Jealousy aint pretty. To be jealous means that you, in some way or another, aren’t satisfied with a particular part of your life. Once you quit wasting your time being envious (and trust me, I’ve been there) suddenly your life becomes THAT much more fabulous. It’s just how things work!
What areas in your life do you compare yourself to others? How do you snap out of it and bring your focus back to YOU?
I just got off the phone with one of my best friends from college. It was so good to hear her voice, shoot the shit and catch up with everything going on in our lives (let’s just say, that’s a lot). In the midst of our discussion on our latest love interests and Halloween costumes, my friend mentioned she’s been doing P90X with a few of her roommates and friends. “Oh, and we’re also eating super healthy. Lean meats, lots of veggies and fruits. It’s great.” WHAT?! From someone who used to eat loads of bagels, processed foods and Manwiches (ha), I couldn’t have been more thrilled about her new, healthy lifestyle.
She explained to me that with her hectic job (working 40 to 50 hour weeks) and social life, she finds it hard to eat healthy and exercise. The trick? Grab a few friends to motivate you! Now that her entire apartment is on the same “get healthy” page, it’s so much easier for her to incorporate healthiness into her lifestyle. Every night, the entire apartment does 90 minutes of exercise together, they cook delicious wholesome meals together, and motivate one another when others are slacking. It’s the perfect formula for those trying to get in shape but just need a little more oomph, a little extra push.
Take my sister and her roommates for example. Now that they’re big, bad seniors they’re starting to realize they can’t eat crap for the rest of their lives. This year, they’ve all been experimenting in the kitchen with new creative recipes and have ditched their not-s0-healthy meal plans. They also push each other when it comes to exercise too! The four roomies explained to me that they used to hate running with a passion, but are now beginning to enjoy it because of the goals they create for one another. One plans to run her first 5K and my sister is working her way up to 6 miles. (Way to go girls!)
The power of having a workout buddy (or three) can really go a long way, and I highly encourage you to snag a few! I myself sometimes enjoy the solo workout, but I’m not going to lie: when I have a running buddy I tend to go much farther because suddenly it doesn’t feel so much like a workout. I also tend to push through an entire routine if I have someone there rooting me on, or screaming in my face, “Just one more rep!” Really, it’s like having your own personal trainer, like you have to finish or you’ll be judged or diqualified. (Think: Jillian Michaels on The Biggest Loser)
Some Ideas to get you & your friends motivated:
- Create your own Biggest Loser competition, where you weigh in once a week and keep one another on track
- Take turns cooking healthy meals each week. Tonight I’m cooking chicken and mashed sweet potatoes for the roomies! It’s so much fun when you’re cooking for someone else : )
- Drag each other’s asses to the gym, grab a machine next to your pal and try to out-run one another. If one stops, push each other to keep going
- Bring workout routines from magazines like Self and Women’s Health. Tonight I’ll be working out solo, so these types of routines keep me accountable to finish all the way through!
- Sign up for a race together (like a 5K or 10K in your neighborhood), then train with each other after work!
- Do push ups, sit ups, lunges, etc. during commercial breaks of your fave TV shows
- Bake a healthy dessert for the apartment, so you aren’t sneaking into the Halloween bowl every night
- Bundle up for post-dinner strolls to vent about your day and chat with your favorite pals
- Research healthy recipes & challenging workouts on the internet, then post them on your refrigerator for motivation
What are your workout motivations? Do you like working out with a buddy or ridin’ solo?
I have (yet another) confession: For the past few months I’ve been feeling especially lonely due to my lack of social interaction. While I am following my dreams to become a writer, I lack the type of social interaction one may find from a “real job.” Lunch dates, office meeting, company events? Yes, that doesn’t exist in my world. And I’m definitely not complaining, but I do miss the social aspect of all those things. After all, I am an extremely social girl, and truly enjoy talking to people…all people! My family and friends can never get a word in when I’m around…that’s how much I love to talk.
So you can imagine when I’m hanging out with me and my mac all day how things can quickly become rather lonely. Of course, I have my roommates, friends from college and acquaintances here and there, but they aren’t around all of the time, and many of them live far, far away (as far as Virginia). So that means I have to rely on the phone, email, and facebook to communicate with many of my closest friends. While I’m thankful for social networking, it doesn’t make me miss these friends any less. It’s face-to-face meet-ups and communication I desire. You see, in college it was the exact opposite of the situation I’m finding myself in at the moment. I had a group of more than a dozen close friends, all whom I could be my silly self around, tell my deepest secrets to, and vent to when I’m having a bad day. We were around one another 24/7, and there was zero privacy. We got ready to go out together, shared clothes with one another, and even shared boys with one another (HA!). We were inseparable.
Ever since I’ve moved to Boston, I’ve finally learned to become independent, follow my dream of becoming a writer, and ultimately found myself. While many of these things are exceptional and I am more than proud of myself, I miss friendships. I thought it’d be easy to make friends in the city (I’ve definitely never had a problem with it before), but it’s freakin’ hard…almost as hard as finding a boyfriend. And it’s especially hard when you have a job (writer/social networker) that isolates you from social interaction. Sure I can take the T, go to every cafe in the city, and walk around ’til my feet feel like they are going to fall off, but I hardly come home with a new friend. At most, I come home with a funny story and a caffeine high.
While this doesn’t get to me too much, this morning I let it get to me A LOT. I sat in my apartment sobbing and feeling bad for myself, then realized I needed to suck it up and do something about it. After venting to a good friend (thanks Becky) I felt slightly better, but still not 100%. So I put on a cute outfit and got out of my apartment for a change of scenery. Sulking in my tiny apartment all day surely wasn’t going to help! And sure enough, once I changed the scenery, the brainstorming came to me (with the help of my best friend of course).
Alas, if you find yourself in this type of position (Um, why am I not making friends here?), I urge you to think outside the box! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Join a book club! Research book clubs in your area. Most of them meet once a month at local cafes for you to discuss that month’s book. It’s a great way to make new friends, chat with people who have the same interests as you, and read some phenomenal books.
- Pick up a part-time job at a buzzing cafe, gym, or book store if you have extra time on your hands. When I worked at the front desk of a gym last year, my social life was soaring!
- Volunteer! Sign up to help out at events in your area, whether it’s a food festival or local 5K raising money for a good cause. This will make you feel good about yourself, and help you meet people with similar passions. I loved volunteering at the Boston Local Food Festival because everyone there was passionate about local food and health, and it was such a wonderful day!
- Join a writing group. If you’re a writer, why not write among other writers, and help one another brainstorm/think of new ideas you never would have though of on your own. Another pair of eyes is always refreshing.
- Talk to people everywhere you go. I always chat with people (who look approachable) when I’m out somewhere by myself. It’s so neat to converse with people who are so much different than yourself. You learn something new every day!
- Join a meet-up group. Check out Meetup.com for meet-up groups near you. The best part? They offer you groups based on YOUR interests, and have everything from book clubs and cooking groups to single girls meet-ups and hiking groups.
- Organize a meet up with fellow tweeters/bloggers: Gather a bunch of blogging/twitter pals and plan a fabulous night (or day) out. If you’re all foodies, plan a wonderful dinner. Health freaks? Do something active together. Bring those electronic relationships to life!
Ahhhhh…just writing it out makes me feel much better! (It could also be that I’ve downed my large iced coffee during the process)
Have you ever found yourself in this type of position? What to you do to up your social interactions?
I have a confession: I’m sitting in the Panera I used to work at when I was in high school and am getting way too much satisfaction over the fact that I’m on the other side of the counter, enjoying my coffee this time. You see, my boss was a complete witch. Really, she was like the nasty stepmom in Cinderella. “Cut the bread!” “Make the jelly!” “Faster! Faster!” She’d make me cry every day of the week, and that is not an exaggeration. Going into Panera used to be as horrifying as going into the doctor’s office for a shot…or doing a presentation in front of the entire class. It was complete hell. One time the grape jelly ran out, and I told the customer he could have strawberry instead if he wanted, and she almost ripped my face off. “You never tell the customer no! Go make some grape jelly” Um, how am I supposed to do that? She pulled me into the back room and threw a ginormous carton of jelly at me, and had me scoop it for hours. She was the devil. Needless to say, I quit after a few months.
Oh how I love being on the other side…sweat-free and writing on my pink mac. Take that witch lady! (Although she’s been fired 7 years ago) It still feels good. While working at Panera is one of the more horrifying experiences from my childhood (along with braces and acne), I also have a lot of good memories from being a kid as well. And being home this weekend is making me feel an overdose of nostalgia. I love returning home to Connecticut after being gone for so long (now that I’m a big, bad Boston babe). Here are some of my fave things about coming home:
*free food: My dad already took me out to eat at my favorite seafood restaurant Max Fish, and I ordered my absolute favorite: blackened scallops. It was served with an acorn squash puree and rissotto. Talk about delicious. I love being able to indulge in expensive, healthy meals when it’s on the ‘rents.
*home cooked meals: But nothing’s better than one of mom’s home cooked meals, bringing me back to childhood in a snap. This morning she made a spinach and broccoli frittata with potatoes, egg, and a little cheese. Tonight she’s making our absolute favorite: chicken divan, and our aunt’s bringing over spinach squares and a healthy roasted cauliflower soup. (I’ll see if she’ll share the recipe). Definitely puts my Boston apartment cooking to shame!
*my bed: There’s something about my bed that just puts a smile on my face. Maybe it’s that my room still has the silly sponge painted “clouds” with a bunny rabbit garden boarder. Or maybe it’s that my mom always washes and changes the sheets the night before I come home. “They are nice and fresh just for you,” she always says. “Flannel too!” She’s too cute.
*the smell: Just like your car, every house has a distinct smell. And when I walk in those doors after being away, the smell gets me every time, making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I can’t even pinpoint exactly what the smell is, but you know it when you sniff it. That’s all I can say.
*old friends: I’m such an advocate for “make new friends, but keep the old.” My old friends are my most important friends, and I love, love, love catching up with them! This morning, one of my high school/college friends Kiley met me at Panera for a coffee. It was so wonderful seeing her, catching up on our lives, and sharing funny (sometimes inappropriate) stories. Kiley’s one of those friends that you can see one or twice a year, and it still feels like nothing has changed. I love those kinds of friends.
*town traditions: Tomorrow I’m going to the Apple Fest in the town over from mine, an annual festival I used to LOVE going to in high school. They have lots of yummy food, music, and giveaways all day long. I’m also running the Apple Fest 5k on Sunday and can’t wait to break in my new Asics sneaks! : )
*the fam: Oh how I love my family. I am totally one of those “family girls” who could hang out with the fam for weeks. My sister (who’s just two years younger than me) and I are more like friends than sisters, and my mom and dad are hilarious. We call my mom “duck” ’cause she waddles around all day doing the cutest, most hilarious things… and her one-liners are just the best. She once honked the horn in the middle of the road, and when I asked her why, she said “I like to scare the squirrels sometimes.” (What??!) That’s my mom in a nut shell. Then there’s my dad who could go shot for shot with me with tequila, and who I’m pretty sure my guy friends like better than me. What can I say? My fam is one of a kind.
*driving: Now that I live in the city, I don’t have a car, so I love getting behind the wheel whenever I’m home. It makes me feel powerful and in charge, and is definitely a nice break from taking the T.
As much as I love going home, I also love that I’m not there all. the. time. I’d drive myself crazy and it would make going home not so *special*. So I’m going to take this weekend to soak up every ounce of my childhood, but then go back to Boston on Sunday with a smile…
What are your favorite things about going home? What do you miss most about being home? What can’t you stand?
Why hello my lovely readers! First and foremost, I am sincerely sorry I have been absent for two days. However, the reason was valid (and worth it). I was out of town since Friday morning on a trip to Hoboken, NJ to visit my college friends. Some of them I haven’t seen in A YEAR, so you can image my excitement and reasoning for lack of blogging (I swear I tried to on the bus but the WiFi wasn’t working-boo!).
Anyway, I’m back and at it so welcome back to all my loyal readers! So, I’ve realized lately that as I grow older I learn more about life and most importantly myself. Seriously, the learning never stops. And being the observant, nosy, free-spirit kind of girl that I am, I experience and learn a heck of a lot each and every second, minute and hour of every day.
So since I’ve been missing since Thursday’s blog post on realizing there is more to life than weight and calories, I decided I’ll fill ya in on what I’ve learned this weekend while I was away. I know, I know, it’s only been a few days but I swear I’m picking up new things all of the time.
1. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard: I realized this Friday morning when I thought I could handle a 3 mile run even though I was still sore from last Sunday’s 10 K. Usually I’m pretty good about listening to my body, but what can I say: I missed running and wanted to give it a shot. Boy oh boy was that a huge mistake. Not only was I still getting over a cold, but my legs were achy and cramped up like no other. After a mile or so, I decided to run-walk the rest of the distance, which helped a little. Looking back, it’s definitely one of those mornings I should have gone for a long, easy walk or done some soothing yoga. Not a running morning, and now I know not to push my body to run when it’s not ready! Really, it’s so not worth it.
2. Sit By the Aisle on Long Trips: If you have the option, just sit on the aisle seat on long trips, even if it means you have to sit neck and neck with a stranger. But no, Friday afternoon when I was boarding the bus, I did not do this. I had tons of options to snag a seat by the aisle next to friendly, normal-looking people but I got selfish and thought I could snag a row to myself so I sat by the window and put my luggage next to me. Man was that a mistake. A minute later a big, loud, smoke-scented man snagged the seat next to me. Even worse: he fell asleep on me mid-trip and starting snoring…loudly. There I sat, crammed into the window with nothing but my iPod to drown him out. When my iPod died after an hour, I knew this was going to be a long trip. Never again!
3. Coffee+Water+ Big Breakfast = Hangover Cure: I know some people who don’t eat the entire day after drinking, which is a huge mistake. Really, your body needs food and water STAT. My friends, however, like to lounge so I didn’t get any food in my system Saturday morning until noon. For a girl who eats breakfast religiously every morning within the first hour of waking, noon was pushing it (especially considering we woke up at 7 a.m.) Thank goodness for a Dunkin Donuts next door because I was able to snag myself a medium black iced coffee and large bottle of water first thing upon waking. Without the coffee or water, I don’t know if I would have made it. Next time: packing a few healthy snacks on trips away from home. Because of my awkward eating schedule, I felt shitty, cranky and sick all day long.
4. Make an Effort to Stay in Touch With Old Friends: It was soooo wonderful to see my best friends from college this weekend! While it was lovely catching up, many of them I felt like it hadn’t been as long as it’s really been because we are experts in communication. We actually have a “Newsletter” through Google Groups where we write to each other daily. Every time someone gets a new job/boyfriend/life update/idea they send an email to the group so we can all stay up-to-date with one another’s lives. I for one hate losing touch with people who mean so much to me, so making an effort to stay close is the magic answer. I know many people who complain about losing touch with old friends, but it’s a two way street and if both people are making an effort then things will seem live they’ve never changed. I love you girls!
5. Men are weird…in every state: Seriously men really are from Mars. I thought traveling to NYC/Jersey for the weekend I’d run into some interesting, different men along the way. But no, men just seem not to get it every where I go. Maybe that’s because it’s enforcing my point that bars aren’t the best place to meet men. Anyway, I had the strangest encounter with this one guy on Friday night at the bar. He was tall, blonde and handsome (I guess). Not really my type at all but he was a pretty decent looking guy. Well, his “pick up line” was, “So what do you rate me 1 to 10?” “Um, looks wise or drunk wise?” I asked him. “Just an entire package…what am I?” “Er…an 8 I guess?” (even though he was definitely more like a 6 in my books). “NO! I’m a 7. I’m a solid 7. I always have been,” he retaliated back to me. He then told me that I was a “10″ (of course he did) and tried to get me to make out with him to make some girl jealous. Apparently a girl he asked out told him she had the flu and then showed up at the bar we were at. Ouch. While that does suck, I am in no way being used to make another girl jealous. Goodbye, 7!
6. I Get Home Sick (Even at 23): Ha, it’s embarrassing to admit, but while I did have a wonderful time with my friends this weekend, I can’t deny the fact that I missed Boston…and my apartment…and my own shower…and my own kitchen…and my Mac…and writing. OK, you get the point. I’ve realized that as much as I love mini getaways, I always enjoy going back to my home, which is a good thing I suppose because it shows I really love where I am in life right now.
Happy Labor Day to all of you Healthy Chicks out there! Hope you are all having a wonderful day, whether you are out getting your last drop of white clothing in (which frankly I don’t believe in), chugging beers, or BBQ-ing away. Whatever you choose to do, it’s your day off to do whatever you so please! Gosh, don’t you just looooveee days off?
Anyway, while back in college I’d probably be chugging boxed wine out of the bag and running around in the sun, this Labor Day I took as a personal day and did everything I wanted to do (ya gotta be selfish sometimes).
I started my day cleaning and organizing the kitchen. It was way overdue. When you can’t find your favorite coffee flavor, and it takes 10 minutes to dig up the Cuisinart, you know you have a problem. Alas, the problem is fixed due to my master organization skills.
Once the kitchen was sparkly clean, I made a delicious breakfast: an egg white omelet with mushrooms, spinach, onion, tomato and fresh mozzarella cheese with a side of Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel toast (mmm mmm good). Oh I also brewed two cups of fresh coffee with my new cinnamon hazelnut blend.
After breakfast, I put on a cute workout outfit and headed out with my roommate for an hour-long walk to the local reservoir. Sure, I didn’t run five miles today nor kick butt at the gym, but it felt amazing to walk briskly through the fresh air and simply take the day in. It was incredible how many people were outside today (I don’t blame ‘em). It’s absolutely gorgeous out!
After my delicious lunch (fresh greens with avocado, spinach, and feta cheese drizzled in lemon and olive oil), I showered up (definitely worked up a sweat on our walk)!
After a bit of writing, I’m now off to visit my friend who recently moved to the North End, when she used to be a two-minute walk away. While I’m sad she’s not my neighbor anymore, I’m so excited to see her new place, and enjoy some good vino and cheese!
I must say, my day has surely been productive, healthy and enjoyable. Off I go! Hope all of you are having a wonderful day off. Feel free to share what you did today (or plan to do this evening).