Tag Archives: body image

Throwbacks on comparison and number fixation.

After a most perfect weekend of unplanned-ness, good, quality time with M, and the downtime I’ve been craving (like whoa), I sit here somewhat amazed at a few things I realized about my habits and how they’ve changed.

In particular? Comparison and number fixation. 

These are two things that have dogged me big time in the past year, where I allowed comparing myself to others, including my sister Jess and to well, just about anyone, and my fixation on numbers (namely – the scale) to drag me down and lose sight of my achievements and progress.

There were two instances where I had an amazing a-ha moment that made me realize that I’ve come a lot farther than I really even realized. So, I call this a ‘throwback’ of sorts because I recall it being just about this time last year where I was neck-deep in a downward spiral of self negativity with relation to comparison and number fixation.

The first instance? Running.

At this point last year, I was struggling to embrace running, to love it as much as I proclaimed. To want to run another half marathon. And while I did run another half marathon last year, it was also that experience that made me realize that I am NOT a racer. But deep down? I was comparing myself to my sister. And her amazing PR. And wondering ‘why not me?’ WHY can’t I do it? Why is she better than me?

Fast forward to this weekend. My sister and brother in law ran a kick-ass half marathon…another PR. And I don’t think I could have been prouder if I tried. I was beaming when she texted me her finish. I was excited and proud to see all of the congratulatory tweets and Facebook posts. I reveled in it. And I didn’t feel an ounce of jealousy, frustration or ‘why not me?’ moments. In fact, I channeled her ‘run happy’ mantra on my own run that morning with M, as we spontaneously decided to find a new route. And ya know what? I ran happy.

Compare THAT to last year? I can’t even describe how happy that makes me. I’m not comparing anymore. I’ve released myself of it. And instead? I’m proud of her, and happily running my own way.

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The second instance? I decided to weigh myself this weekend, after not weighing myself since December. I honestly had no idea what the scale would say. Of course, I hoped it would be lower than when I weighed in December, but told myself to only do it if I knew I could handle what it said.

So, as I waited to teach my barre n9ne class on Sunday, I stepped on the scale. And looked down. At first, I was happy. It was below my goal weight of that December timeframe. But then my mind automatically started to want to compare. At first, I did. And then I brushed it off. And then I did it again. I started to fixate. But it was half-hearted. I didn’t WANT to compare, or fixate, or obsess. I taught my class, I channeled my frustration (and probably killed my clients, hehe, but hey, what’s a little extra sweat on a Sunday Funday?!). I looked in the mirror. In my brand-new Lululemon outfit that I couldn’t believe I was wearing. Crops I never thought I could rock. And I smiled. I felt good. The number started not to matter so much, or rather, I started to own that number, to be proud of it, and not lose sight of all that I’ve accomplished in the ‘year of barre n9ne’.

On my drive home, I thought about it some more. And I realized something that really drove it home for me. A proportional loss that made me realize that I had, indeed, worked so hard, accomplishing a number that I wanted to own, rather than ‘wish away’ into a lower, phantom number, I embraced it. 100%. 

And that, my friends, are two examples of harnessing two very almost-paralyzing habits – comparison and number fixation – and instead, embracing and celebrating the change, the progress, and the determination that I’ve worked so hard for. There’s no such thing as comparison…to anyone but yourself. 

This one needs zero explanation. Zero.

Spreading the barre n9ne passion!

If the epic surprise party wasn’t enough, this weekend also included the grand opening of the new barre n9ne studio, (which just so happens to be a mere 3 miles from where I live), an event we’d all been gearing up for excitedly for weeks. My sister Jess and I have been working hard behind the scenes, gathering some fantastic sponsors, including Zico, Coach’s Oats, popchips, Vita Coco, Chobani and Love Grown Foods’ Granola (see Jess’s post here with more details too!) and the day came off without a hitch.

But beyond that, I was so thrilled to be part of a team that cares so deeply about this studio, about its success and expansion, and the passion we all have for barre-style workouts, and not just *any* barre-style workout, but barre n9ne method, specifically. As Tanya introduced all of us, and our backgrounds, I just tried to capture the memory and sear it into my brain, because a year ago?

None of this even seemed fathomable.

It wasn’t even a thought in my mind. A year ago, I was unhappy in myself, my body, my self-image and distastrous ability to tear myself apart at the drop of a hat. But today? I don’t think I could be much happier than I am and I truly credit this journey with so much of that change and happiness. I’ve grown in so many ways, I’ve met incredible and inspiring people and seen equally incredible progress and ability in the clients of barre n9ne. And this next phase? Not only experiencing its growth but being instrumental in making it a success? Truly a blessing. 

Walking around and talking to prospective clients and new and longtime clients was an absolute joy. It was an adrenaline rush to hear the excitement in people’s voices, hearing our stories of the inagural 60-day challenge we won and have since helped carry forth into an epic success for so many others, hearing their compliments, saying things like “you can tell this stuff really works, the instructors really fit the image of lean and tone and fit!” You can’t pay someone to say that, ya know? It’s passion and truth. 

Beyond the demo classes (that were so fun to do together!), and the food, and the fun and fruity drinks, seeing the studio alive, and seeing how far this studio – and we – have come, was an incredible experience.  I cannot thank Tanya enough for taking a chance on us last April. Because ever since that day? I’ve not gone halfway and stopped. I’ve not ‘just’ gone for the field goal. There is no such thing as anything less than a touchdown. Go all the way.

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And now, some pictures. Enjoy! (and thank you to all of our sponsors!!)

The barre n9ne family of fabulous instructors (and our 'barre-tender' and bestie Steph!)
Jess and I in our super fabulous barre n9ne attire (oh, how I adore pink!)
Demo class #1 (for real, that upper body segment always kills me! Check out that game face!)
barre n9ne bag, anyone? 😉
demo class #2 (I think?)
The goods! Everyone LOVED all of the treats we had for them to take with them (and I loved it all too!)

PS: I taught my first 6 am class this morning and while it was a very small class, one of the very first women I talked to, a past client who had moved and was now much closer to this studio, came in for her first class in maybe a year. It was just incredible to see how happy she was to be back at it. What a way to start a Monday!!

Stories that define me: on comparison and identity

*This is the second in my mini-series on stories of my past that define me. I’ll write these periodically, as the ideas flow. Enjoy.*

It’s no secret that I have always struggled with comparing myself to others, and that includes my sisters.

And honestly, I think the basis for that comparison is pretty closely tied to growing up as a triplet, where comparisons are almost automatic, or par for the course. As much as I would not trade being a triplet (or what it’s like being a triplet!), being compared and searching to find my own identity over and over growing up, and even now, is something I wish I didn’t struggle so much with.

Growing up, we were in the same class (small, private school) from K-4. Fifth grade was the year we split off into two separate classrooms (naturally, Jess and I stuck to one classroom and Jen was brave enough to venture out on her own into the other classroom, where – side note – she met her now-husband for the very first time! Fate?). Middle school through high school, Jess and I were ‘the twins’ by default, lumped together, neither having a true identity to much of anyone, to be honest. As we got older, it was – who is the first to have a boyfriend (for the record, I was last…at 17. Jen was first, and her now-husband WAS her first boyfriend too! Jess was second, at 15 [I think?!] and then me), who got the best grades, who has the cuter outfit, who is more talented. (note: it wasn’t so much as we comparing between each other, just my observations outwardly, looking back at that time).  To college…Jen, again, went her own route, studying Biology at a nearby college. While Jess and I both opted for community college first (Liberal Arts) and then the very same college (shocker, I know) for communications. We both had the same internship, the same high school and college jobs and so on. The first shift in this was our first post-college jobs. Jess got hers right out of the gate, and went into graduation with a job. Me? Notsmuch. It took me four months to land my first job (which, incidentally, was the job I was at until I got the job I have now. 8.5 years at the same place).

That was probably the first time I felt like a failure. Both of my sisters had post-graduation plans. Jen, to grad school in Florida. Jess, to her first job in media planning. That summer was one of the hardest for me, as I stuck it out at the job I had all through college (and high school…and, again, where Jess met her now-husband, who, incidentally, was MY friend first. I take credit for making sure their first date happened…ask me about that story one day!). Wearing the same supermarket uniform I’d worn for the last 7 years, while Jess was off to her fancy job and Jen was thousands of miles away at grad school.

That was also probably the first time I truly compared myself. And certainly not the last. And I don’t write this as a woe-is-me in the slightest, I write this because I am exploring where this comparison mentality comes in, and how I have worked to surpass that and break out into my own identity.  An identity I struggled with for years. And one I don’t truly think came bubbling to the top until one of – if not, the biggest – inflection points in my life.

Divorce.

Yup. There’s that word again.

When I started going through my divorce and being divorced…that is what made me different. At first, I wanted to run from that label. Hide it. Bury it deep. Resist those failure feelings all over again (since, again, both of my sisters were married, and both before me, yet I was the one getting divorced…). But then, I embraced it. I started my first blog to chronicle the ‘me’ then, what I learned, and who I became….who I’ve become.

When I went through my divorce was the first time I really focused heavily on workouts, challenges, and goals, when it came to fitness. It was a time where I began working out 5-6 days a week, not 2-3. When I first started running. And lifting weights. And caring what I looked like. Before, I cared, sure, but I never put myself first, or invested in me. And that change, that shift in priority was one of the best things I ever did. I never wrote about it, or talked about it, even, I just worked out, and worked out hard. Jess and I soon shared this similar interest, running together, training to become Group Kick instructors, and eventually…to the barre n9ne challenge (one of the best things I ever did was submit us for that contest!!).

Why am I writing about all of this? Because, for the first time, I want to see myself for all that I have accomplished, not for all that I am not. Yes, I am divorced, but that doesn’t mean I’m a failure. Yes, I struggle with body-image, but I think if I never did, I’d never appreciate what I have learned from this experience, from fighting past it, squelching bad habits, and namely, the comparison game. And yes, I still struggle with comparing. And I still struggle with my body (though it’s much less!), but the one thing I will never struggle with? Being proud of who I am, what I have accomplished, and what I have shaped myself to be, since my divorce. And nothing can rip that away from me. I won’t let it. I won’t let ME be the one doing the ripping, either. Divorce was the catalyst, not the definer…to me, finally creating my own identity. An identity that’s mine and only mine.

Quietly determined. Stoic. Focused. Too serious sometimes, perhaps. But happy, confident, and focused more than ever on ME. Who I am. Not who I am NOT.

“The number only has as much power as you give it”

I’ve never fully believed words spoken to me more than I did last night.

Words spoken by M after I started to fixate on a particular number I saw last night that I wasn’t quite expecting. Now I won’t go into details of that number, because honestly, in the grand scheme of things, it just doesn’t matter. What does matter is how I handled it and what I learned last night.

I thought I would be more upset. I started to fixate.

But then I looked at myself in the mirror. Really looked. And you know what? I look GOOD. I do. I have worked really hard. Numbers don’t always show the true picture, in my opinion. It’s how you look, feel, and how your clothes fit.

And in the grand scheme of things, there are far more bigger things in life than worrying about numbers. Thank you again Susan for such a perspective-laden post. It’s one I will honestly always look to when I start to go down negative paths.

“The number only has as much power as you give it.”

I didn’t give it power. I used my own willpower to combat any fixations from happening. I used my own willpower not to go down a self-defeating path, tearing myself apart. I used my own willpower to turn around the negativity that was brewing into positivity. Mind over matter. I am winning this battle against overthinking, anxiety, and negative self-image and body-image.

Six months ago, I didn’t think it was possible. Three months ago, I didn’t think it was possible. But now? It is. It feels vindicating, as though I’ve won the battle against myself. I’m winning it, and I don’t ever want to go back to letting it win over me again.

It feels like I can breathe again. Today is a new day. And it feels so good.

*update* this is, in fact, not my ass. As much as I'd like for it to be 😉

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In other news…I am excited to see that my running challenge is getting some interest from this fabulous blog-land (see my sister’s fun post on our twitter chatter the other night, it was priceless!). Lee is in, and I think Alicia might be too. Nikki as well, but for yoga and ‘twitter accountability.’

Who else wants to join?? I seriously think it is going to help me, and others, get through the cold winter months and keep up the momentum we’ve all built up all year long. Bring it ON!!

On achievements and a free mind.

Yesterday, my sister and I ‘measured in’ at the five month point in our barre n9ne challenge (we’ve opted to weigh and measure for 6 months. From May – November) and I continue to be utterly amazed that each and every month, there is progress. And each and every month, I feel like a better, stronger, more fit and confident me.

At the 5 month point? My sister and I have both lost more than 15 inches (15.5 each, to be exact!).

Since mid-August, I have lost almost 7 lbs. 7! Un-freaking-real.

Since May, at the start of the challenge, I have lost more than 3 inches...from my WAIST alone.

Seriously. By doing something I love...barre workouts have honestly changed my body composition from head to toe and I couldn’t be more happy (forget what I said in this post…let’s just forget that overthinking moment…). I’ll say it again – the combination of barre workouts and running has been the magic bullet for me…combined with my mantra ‘food as fuel’ and the calorie plan I have been on. Absolutely amazing combination. It just WORKS.

I think that this feeling has completely flooded over me this time because I’ve had a week free from overthinking. After last week’s overthinking tailspin, to *not* overthink at all this week has made me feel like I have a free mind.

A free mind is a happy mind.

A free mind is a ‘roomy mind’ uncluttered by negative thoughts.

A free mind is not a fearful mind, it is a confident one.

A free mind means a less anxious, uptight and worried me. In every way.

I truly hope to harness this feeling and not go back to that negativity. It’s not only not healthy, it’s just not who I want to be. Ever.

So today, I am feeling a huge sense of accomplishment (not success…accomplishment!). I am feeling free. I am feeling supremely happy, content and grounded, right where I’m meant to be.

(borrowed this lovely quote from Tina's blog post - so perfectly true)

Happy weekend friends, make it a good one! I know I will 🙂