This is a guest post from the awesome Lewis at Oxford Fitness:
Hi there! I’m Lewis and I write about all things health and fitness over on my blog – www.oxford-fitness.com. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram too, if you’re interested!
Like a lot of people, I work a sedentary office job so try and keep as active as possible, while eating well too. It’s not always easy but I just about manage it – and if I don’t, I can live with that. I’m a massive advocate of having a balanced lifestyle, not fretting 24/7 about what you’re eating, and not comparing yourself to others. Life shouldn’t be that dull! Hopefully this post will give you an insight into my outlook, and will get you thinking too.
Have you ever set foot in a gym and immediately felt out of shape, out of place, or inferior to others? What about when you’re glued to your phone and flicking through social media, and your screen is full of beautiful people with amazing bodies â€“ ever felt a bit crap?
Yep, me too. That might sound a bit weird not only coming from a guy, but from a guy who blogs about health and fitness! Thankfully, those days are behind me and in the last few years I’ve focused on shredding my anxieties rather than a shredded body.
Not comparing yourself to other people can be really bloody hard.
The reality is that everyone is at a different stage of their journey. It’s awesome to have goals and to have role models, but to try and look just like them isn’t big or clever. Your goals should be individual, and focus on you. Focusing on other people and wanting to be like them can be an unhealthy health obsession.
In the age of social media, remember too that life isn’t Instagram-perfect. We spend so much of our lives with our eyes locked on our screens, and it’s important not to take everything at face value. So many of those perfect photos aren’t just a quick snap with the iPhone. There’s all sorts at play – tricks of the trade to get those perfect shots range from editing/lighting, dieting and training in an unsustainable way, to "athletes" using illegal substances.
My story is that I’ve always struggled with my weight. To an extent, I still do now, but I’ve worked on addressing the balance rather than extreme dieting.
I’ve gone from being an overweight teenager to having a six-pack, and now I sit comfortably in the middle – is a three-pack a thing?! While it’s good to know that I can get "summer-ready", it doesn’t interest me as much anymore. By no stretch of the imagination am I perfect in the eyes of the world, but I like who I am. The fact that I get creases on my stomach if I’ve been sat down for a while, or that I’m getting grey chest hairs doesn’t bother me. We all have things that make us unique, and we really shouldn’t sweat the small stuff.
It could be that I’m older and wiser, married, or generally just a bit more grown up, but for me the main thing is that I’ve focused on a better relationship with food and a balanced lifestyle. Working on your health is a good thing, but don’t let it completely take over your life.
The take-home message here is that comparing yourself to other people whether it be in health, wealth, looks, or lifestyle is a dangerous habit.
Be your best-self, get used to your imperfections (your uniqueness), surround yourself with people who make you happy, and be comfortable with the person who stares back at you in the mirror.