Do you think your life would be better if you had the body that someone else has? If yes, then how?
The other day, someone posted a picture of herself on one of the platforms on the Internet where women with hypothalamic amenorrhea share their stories. She said she had put on a lot of weight and she couldn't handle this anymore; people around her were noticing and telling her that she looked healthier. To her, it didn't sound like a positive comment; she was overthinking what people were trying to tell her. To her ears, healthy translated as fat.
May I say that this woman was, to my eyes at least, very skinny.
There's a thing called body dysmorphia, which is a condition where a person sees herself differently than others see her. She sees minor imperfections in her body as huge flaws, even so big that she can't stop thinking about it even for just one hour. Sometimes there's even no minor imperfection in her physique, it's all in her head. There's a great book about body dysmorphia and if you suspect that you or someone you know may suffer from this, I recommend you give it a read.
Body dysmorphia is definitely a sad thing, but what was equally sad was how some other women responded to this lady's picture.
You look perfect! You're so thin!
And more importantly: I wish I had your abs! I wish I had a body like this!
Okay, but how about you take a step further from just wanting to have someone else's body. Ask yourself, what would actually be different? Why do you want it? How would these abs make your life better? Would they solve some problems in your life? Make you happier, more loved, give your life a meaning?
If you have a good answer, I want to know about it. I personally don't think your life would be much different if you lived it in this other woman's body. And apparently, even she, the owner of this body, wasn't happy in it!
Your life isn't going to be much different until you start pushing yourself out from this victim zone (poor me! I have to carry all this weight! Why did it have to happen to me?). This victim zone is nice and comfy, isn't it? It's safe. All you have to do is sit and feel sorry for yourself, think how unfair the world is and how all these other women can be skinny.
Pretty sad perspective, IMHO…
Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition, is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have.
– Dale Carnegie
Habits are hard to change, so if you don't want to get into the habit of feeling sorry for yourself and wasting your energy, stop this self pity now. Try to think what actually makes your life more valuable and meaningful.
What Really Makes Your Life Awesome
You're not getting anywhere in your life if you don't do your mindset work, which is finding your value in other things outside of your looks.
If you don't do that work, you never get rid of this victim mentality and be able to move on with your life. You will never do great, awesome things that can make impact in your own and other people's lives.
Where is your happiness coming from? Abs? Thigh gap? Low body fat percentage?
I doubt it. I think happiness comes from the following things (feel free to chime in in the comments with the things that make you happy):
- Positive, loving relationships in which you are respected, trusted and understood and you give the same back
- Moving your body in ways that you like and that are healthy for you. It doesn't have to be the one that burns most calories or fat
- Meaningful work – I've done very meaningless work and it made me extremely depressed
- Generosity, helping others –Whatever the way is that you can do it – sharing your experience, giving advice when it's needed, donating, teaching, buying food for someone, helping your neighbor… it all impacts other people's lives and gives meaning to your own
- Learning – never stop doing that!
- Being in nature – that's a natural antidepressant with no negative side effects
- Gratitude for having or being able to do all the things above.
Your list may be different, however I don't think you have six pack abs or thigh gap on it. Because in a big picture, these things don't matter. Feeling sorry for yourself for not having these things won't help you either.
How Do You Use Your Energy?
Whether you gain weight while you're recovering from hypothalamic amenorrhea or whether there's something else that you don't like about your body, you may spend enormous amounts of energy on thinking about it and beating yourself up for it. It's a huge waste of time that you could spend on many other ways that actually matter. Like, practising things on your happiness list.
What do you get out of talking crap about yourself and sitting in the victim zone? Nothing. Instead, learn something. Read blogs from positive people. Get really good at something. Read some self-help stuff. No, it's not embarrassing, it's healthy and it's really helpful. Find more deeper meaning in your life. Invest and spend your time in ways that help you grow as a person. When you grow, also other people around you benefit from it.
Obsessing about your weight is helping nobody.
Put Things Into Perspective
I get it that we all have our bad days when we feel like crap about our bodies. All that belly fat, dammit. I'm up two more pounds, it's SO unfair! This person can run 10 miles a day and she's fine!
Last weekend, my mom tripped and broke her shoulder. The same thing happened to her years ago, but this time it's even worse because it's her right arm.
She lives alone and although she has friends who help her, it's still difficult. But she's the most positive person I know. She says she's fine. She doesn't complain, she says she's happy that she once already had this experience so now she knows how to cook and do dishes with just one hand.
Tell me about perspective and mindset!
I feel really bad for being thousands of miles away and not being able to help her. But all she says is that she's okay because she already knows how to deal with it.
Wouldn't it be crazy if I started to whine and complain and tell my mom that okay, yeah, you broke your shoulder, too bad but you know what, my body fat is 25%, how awful is that?
Have some perspective. Don't complain. Think how you can be a better, more positive person. How you can be an example. Do bigger things.
Being a victim only makes you weak and will never let you move forward.
Self pity is totally useless. So is envying someone else for her body. Your life wouldn't probably be any happier if you had this body. However your life can be much better when you start changing the way you think about yourself and putting more effort into things that really make an impact in your life.
What's on your this-makes-me-happy list?
If you need support on your journey to recover from overtraining or hypothalamic amenorrhea, my ebook, programs and FREE 20-minute coaching calls are available for you! I get back to every email, so let me know if I can help.