The Social Comparison Trap

57 comments

running-woman I was speaking with a reader a while back and we were talking about bloggers and running. As you probably know, running is everywhere on the blogs and it seems like everyone is running out the door for their next 8 miler.

She was telling me that she felt a tremendous amount of pressure to not only run, but to keep increasing her mileage.

I asked her why she felt this way and she said she felt like bloggers set the bar so high. If they were running 7 miles, she felt like she had to as well.

She also saw that some were increasing their workouts more and more and she questioned whether they were doing it for the sake of training or whether it was purely because they felt pressure to do more.

She said that she was pushing herself too hard and she wasn’t happy with her workouts anymore. Each workout became more of a scheduled chore than something fun and healthy for her body. And eventually something has to give. She got quite sick because her body was begging for rest.

For me it was an injury. Sometimes the only way our bodies can get us to rest is if we incur pain and physically cannot keep the same routine. My injury was very difficult and I realized that I too, felt pressure to maintain my previous activity levels.

I actually felt so much pressure that I had to stop reading running blogs for a while. When I couldn’t exercise, it was painful for me to read about others going on long runs or hitting new PR’s for a 5k. I felt low and I had to distract myself from the desire to run.

Being injured made me realize how much pressure I actually put on myself. I wondered what my readers would find interest in without my daily workouts. This is a health blog primarily, I thought, so certainly they will find their healthy activities elsewhere.

But what it made me realize is that the pressure we sometimes feel to ‘keep up with the Jones’’ is not put on us by anyone else but ourselves.

What I realized is that no one really cared whether I was still logging my planned 6 mile run or my Tuesday speed run. From what I saw, my readers didn’t up and leave. Actually, what I noticed is that readers showed an increased interest in my experience.

Injuries happen to everyone at some point and showing that I was vulnerable too made others feel like they could relate to me. I wasn’t some superhuman that could run and run and run.

I think when we feel any sort of pressure with respect to exercise or healthy eating we need to ask ourselves why we feel this way. I think it is easy to say ‘well so-and-so runs 19 miles a week and so should I’ and that is why I feel pressure.

But I think it is deeper than that.

I always think about the saying ‘no one can make you feel inferior without your consent’.

Ultimately we chose whether we are putting pressure on ourselves or whether we feel negativity surrounding our health.

The social comparison game is a dangerous trap that we all fall into now and then.

It is important to listen to our bodies and decide for ourselves what a healthy lifestyle will be for us.

And running might never be a part of it.

What works for me or what works for someone else, may not be a good fit for your life. And that is ok.

The key is to do what you love and what makes you happy. You will know it when you find it because you will look forward to doing that activity each week!

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Do you ever feel pressure when reading other blogs to maintain a certain activity level? Do you ever feel like you can’t keep up and aren’t doing enough? Why do you think this is? Or on the other hand, are you able to not feel pressure from others and decide what is right for you? Do you have any suggestions for those who are falling into the social comparison trap?

Have you ever had to re-evaluate your exercise goals in the past because of over-training, injury, or loss of motivation?

As always, I look forward to your thought provoking comments.

Angela_Signature

I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat, and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?

    ~Yogi Berra

PS- Sun and highs of 26C/78F today…what crazy spring weather we are having!

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

1 caitlin April 27, 2009

i have DEFINITELY experienced this. there were many runs i went on not because i wanted to, but because i felt like i had a commitment to running due to my blog. i ran many, many miles because i “had to.” which actually isnt a bad thing entirely, but its not the best thing b/c i obviously suffered an overuse injury. i always say the only race is against yourself, but i think we are all naturally competitive.

insightful post!

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2 Kara April 27, 2009

I totally know what you mean. I always feel like I need to be keeping up with the workout plans that I’ve set out for myself. However, this has also made me feel more accountable and truly WANT to hit the gym more. I’ve always wanted to start running, but it wasn’t until I started reading blogs that I truly got the push to start. I think the most important thing is just to listen to your body.

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3 e. April 27, 2009

I’m pretty new to intense exercise, so I actually use blogs to inspire me. A lot of the bloggers admit their runs were hard or they weren’t too thrilled with getting up to go to the gym or some other obstacle got in the way. For me, these bloggers are good role models for commitment to healthy eating and activity. I figure, if she can do even if it’s hard, so can I!

But I do sometimes get frustrated that I can’t run as fast or as far as some of the bloggers. And also… yeah, I’ll say it… they’re so dang SKINNY. When I start comparing body sizes to the bloggers I read… that is a bad place to go. :-) I just try to focus on doing good things for me.

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4 FoodsThatFit April 27, 2009

As with all things in life, everything in moderation. Do I run a lot? Yes. But I also balance it with other things and listen to my body. If I feel pain, I back off. If I am tired I rest. If I don’t feel like running that day, I don’t.

Personally running brings me a lot of happiness, that IS why I run. I agree that if you are running or doing anything for the wrong reasons,you shouldn’t do it. If you feel good running and it makes you happy, keep doing it. If it is a chore and something you dread find another activity to replace it.

There are too many other important things in life to worry about than how many miles this blogger is running, or what this blogger is eating. Start doing what make YOU happy, and eventually you will find what clicks with you, whether it is yoga, running, biking, walking, dancing, whatever it may be, do it because it makes you feel good!

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5 Anna April 27, 2009

I hear ya, girl! do what’s best for you!

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6 girlrunningaround April 27, 2009

What a great observation, Angela. Since I started reading running/fitness blogs I’ve upped my mileage and activity level a lot. I realized that if others can push it, so can I. But I draw tha line at doing something just b/c others are, and pushing myself too hard. Reading running blogs has helped me increase my mileage by motivating me to get out there and do it, to learn from my body when it’s trying to tell me something and to fuel myself correctly for the run. But I love the point that you made–you have to do what’s right for you!

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7 haya (living and learning) April 27, 2009

i think it’s super important to be comfortable with yourself and what you can do (and can’t). running isn’t a competition, it’s something to do just for *you*. if you’re only doing it to keep up with others, then it’s definitely time to re-evaluate. i think this applies to a lot of things in life. we can all improve on looking inside ourselves instead of always focusing on others and the external world.

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8 Sam April 27, 2009

I don’t really feel any pressure from reading blogs to exercise more, but I feel pressure from the other gym regulars to make sure I don’t miss a class, etc. There is one girl in particular who always seems to be at the gym, sometimes twice a day, and it is discouraging for me to see her getting so fit when I can’t make it to the gym as much as her.

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9 Susan April 27, 2009

I definitely agree that people should do what is best for them, regardless of what other people/bloggers are doing. I decided to join the running blog community (as my blog focuses on my running!) because of how supportive and excited everyone gets about running. I don’t personally feel any pressure to get out and do my runs just for the sake of the blog, but I’m not injury prone and my running routine was pretty set before I ever started blogging. (I’ve been running for about 12 years, and blogging for only a few months!) Part of the running blog community is allowing people to react to your runs…if you write that you’re always tired and you’re hurting, people are going to say something, which is good for someone who might not realize that their pain could be the result of an injury or could be leading to one. In the end, no one is going to sit and say “so and so only runs 10 miles per week, and I’m running 25/week so I’m better.” While I love running and reading about running/health, I certainly have better things to do with my time than pressure someone to do more than they can handle! You just have to listen to yourself and gather advice and inspiration from other bloggers…but you don’t have to be become them.

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10 Krista April 27, 2009

I guess in a way I have felt pressured to run on some days that I really don’t want to for the sake of the blog. And you’re right, who really cares?? I do want to say though that I have been running a lot longer than I’ve been blogging, so in that respect I don’t feel pressured. It’s not like I took up running because of the blog….I just have to remember sometimes that it’s a PART of my daily entries, not a requirement! Thanks for a great thought-inspiring post!!

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11 Mara @ What's For Dinner? April 27, 2009

I have definitely experienced this. I have blogland to thank for GETTING me active, but I also feel some level of guilt/inferiority for a) still being overweight and b) not being a runner. Thank you for this great post, Angela! You rock!

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12 Leila April 27, 2009

Great post. I don’t feel pressure from reading bloggers, I find inspiration from them. However, I am my biggest critic and have been guilty of pushing myself too hard time and time again. I fractured my foot about 2 months ago, I am trying to use this time to re-set my intentions and expectations of myself, but it is hard. I love the feeling of pushing myself and seeing what I’m physically and mentally capable of. It’s difficult to find a balance.

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13 brandi April 27, 2009

great post – very thought provoking.

I haven’t let it make me feel “bad” or feel stress to do more. Reading others blogs motivates me to do more, because I see people that started where I’m at and see what they’re doing and it gives me hope that I can!

I can see how it can become a bad thing and source of stress, though.

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14 Sarah (lovINmytummy) April 27, 2009

Yes.

Okay, no I’m not going to leave it at that.

I started running around the same time I started reading food/fitness blogs. Like you said, I saw people whipping out 8, 9, 10 mile runs like it was nobody’s business. And I am competitive by nature, so it was on!

2 HUGE problems: 1) I wasn’t fueling my body as much as I should for my activity level, even though my blogger idols were; and 2) I wasn’t taking adequate rest days, even though my blogger idols were.

Result, I have a horrible injury. My blogger idols don’t.

I don’t know why I chose to feel inferior, especially because I haven’t ran more than 10 ft. to my kitchen for a snack in the past week and a half. I still feel like I am a good, interesting and fun person and people still read my blog, which makes me thing that this whole inferiority thing was pretty stupid.

“Doh!!!,” I say, while smacking my forehead with the palm of my hand.

I think we also judge ourselves and believe others judge us based on what foods we are eating. The funny thing is, I LOVE it when I see other bloggers slip in a piece of cake or a Indian food feast here or there, because it reminds me to ease up on myself and my food rules too.

So if anyone needs to feel better about their activity level or miles per week, they should come hit up my blog for a major confidence boost!

Thanks Angela. Sorry for writing a book, but I’m not going to feel inferior about my “comment leaving ability” either. ;)

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15 Valerie April 27, 2009

I’m really new to running so I know that comparing myself to those that run long distances isn’t realistic at all. But when it comes to other new runners, I find myself comparing how quickly and easily they seem to build up to running 5K. It sometimes takes a lot to be proud of my accomplishments because they don’t seem “as good” as others but I’m trying not to fall into that trap. I have to look at setting my own personal bests and compete against those, rather than those of others.

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16 Wiggs (The Beholder) April 27, 2009

Yeah, it’s hard sometimes to read about these fabulous ladies who run so far and so fast. Whenever I write about running on my blog, I’m verrrry honest about how hard it is for me (sometimes a little too honest – I mean nobody really wants to hear about me almost pooing myself, right?). Sometimes I think that this blogging trend of logging every single bite we eat and every single calorie we burn is just a step away from having a disordered mentality. That’s why I really appreciate that your blog keeps the focus on your WHOLE LIFE and on living with your health as a top priority. I’m glad that you don’t feel you have to “confess” every time you eat an m&m, and that you’re being so open about your struggles with injury. I do think that there are some blogs out there where the authors feel like they can’t let their upbeat attitudes lag, and I have sympathy for those ladies. Blogging is, for me, about sharing my experiences with a community – but I never let myself feel pressured to alter my behavior because of that community.

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17 Lara (Thinspired) April 27, 2009

Amen.

I am trying so hard to love running and be a natural runner. The blog community has been great in helping me get started and giving me motivation. This 10k I am training for is a BIG challange for me, and I’ve been afraid to admit that while others are running half marathons or marathons. It made me think that my stupid little 10K is no big deal, so I increased my mileage more than the recommended amount and now I have a slight knee/hip injury. I think I’ll still be able to do my 10K in two weeks, but I’m going to give myself a break. If running 5 and 10K’s is what I like, then I’m not going to push myself to start running half marathons, etc.
When I run, 3 miles is a nice distance for me. Thinking about it, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. Maybe I’ll just run 3 miles a few times a week for the rest of my life! That needs to feel OK with me instead of feeling inferior!

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18 Holly April 27, 2009

YES. I started reading food/fitness blogs when I was unable to exercise….and you can’t imagine the guilt I felt when reading about how active these women were! I had to stop reading them, too. Now that I am able to run and be active, though, I still feel pressure to “keep it up.” I think we just get into trouble when we compare ourselves to others – whether it’s what they’re doing or what they’re eating.

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19 Elisabeth April 27, 2009

It is very easy to fall into the mileage trap with others. Personally I don’t feel this pressure as much with fellow bloggers, but I do let The Daily Mile stats get in my head sometimes. The stats are compared among you and your friends, and I can always get a good idea of how many more miles everyone else has ran than me for the week! =)

I am not as pressured by the distance as I am by the speed of other runners. When I checked my stats on The Daily Mile everyday and saw how fast everyone else was as compared to me, I felt inferior. This was around the time that I decided to take 2 weeks off. The break really helped me put things into perspective. Since being back on my training schedule for the past month, I really don’t care how fast I am. My mantra during my last 2 long runs was “you don’t have to go fast…you just have to get there.” Repeated over, and over, and over…and over! =)

Most of the time, we’re our own biggest competition.

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20 Amy April 27, 2009

I have a running blog, and while other running blogs inspire me to make sure I run most days of the week, I actually feel guilty reading food blogs. Oh Lord, if I posted what I ate…no one would read it and they would be so disgusted. I don’t eat Greek yogurt or tofu or smoothies with kale in them, even though I wish I could (just can’t stomach it I guess!) I’m not a vegan or know what the heck eating “raw” means. So sometimes I do feel bad about my eating when I read about someone who eats very well.

BUT, I’ve LEARNED a lot from these food bloggers, like Clif bars are delicious and it’s cool to eat lots of fruit, drink some wine and maybe not always stuff your face with sweets.

It’s finding a balance, I guess. I can’t run 19 miles, but reading about another blogger that can might inspire me to go on a nice 7-miler run. There’s no shame, because everyone is different and training for something different. :)

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21 Andrea April 27, 2009

What a timely entry. I have really felt this lately. I’ve been trying to ramp up my running again because it does seem like everyone I know runs and runs A LOT! However, I have two small children and sometimes I get NO sleep at night and have very little time before/after work to myself. So, I need to focus on healthy eating and getting workouts in when I can. No pressure. I LOVE to run, but I start hating it when it’s a chore. I couldn’t agree with you more.

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22 Michelle Gay April 27, 2009

I think it’s so interesting that you’ve brought this up. I sometimes feel totally out of place being on the blogging world. Thus, I have tried to build up different blogs which don’t set their focus around food and exercise solely. That is something which I like about your blog..it’s food and exercise based, but it’s not obsessive.

have you ever read http://www.thepioneerwoman.com ? I am obsessed.

Michelle

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23 Run Sarah April 27, 2009

I haven’t felt pressure to run more distances, but seeing others amazings PRs inspires me to be faster. I find reading blogs help me stick to my training plan as it holds myself accountable. However, I am really wary of my knee joint problems from past swimming days so I know better than to increase my mileage too much, it’s almost a good thing as it keeps me in check to be reasonable.

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24 Bethany April 27, 2009

I am really bad about comparing myself to others. However, I tend to only be motivated by people I respect rather than feeling jealous of them. Reading about celebrity workouts does sometimes make me feel like I’m not doing enough. But, I try to stay at my own pace, set my own goals and congratulate myself for the effort I make in the gym each week. I’ve discovered that trying to be like others is the best way to lose yourself, so I just try to be my best self everyday to keep my heart, mind and spirit strong.

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25 Crunchy Granola Girl April 27, 2009

As much as I love reading running blogs and connecting with people who have similar interests, I do find myself getting caught up in comparisons. Since when did 5 miles become a short run? And why can’t I run first thing in the morning? Probably the hardest thing is comparing attitudes about running- for me its a struggle to get out the door everyday whereas some bloggers seem to jump out of bed and bang out 10 miles before breakfast!

At the end of the day I think it’s important that however far you run, you are doing it for yourself. If you get more happiness out of a 2 mile walk than a painful 5 mile run, then who is to say that the 5 miles is better for you? Exercise is more than just physical fitness, it’s about feeling good about yourself. Thanks for bringing me back to earth Angela ; )

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26 Katrina (gluten free gidget) April 27, 2009

YES! I sometimes feel like such a lazy butt compared to you guys! I have to be careful with my workouts because I can’t lose any weight. I am about 106 lbs. and it took me 2 years to finally gain that weight! (Celiac’s Disease caused me to suddenly drop to 79 lbs. a few years ago) Reading all of these blogs has made me want to give running a try. I love yoga and pilates, but don’t get to go to classes since I am always traveling. Exercising does make me happy though. So, I am still going to give running a show. We’ll see… I’m not going to push myself over my limit. Hopefully that limit won’t be the end of the driveway! hahaha

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27 AlliJag April 27, 2009

Awesome post Angela, so very well said!!!

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28 Sheri April 27, 2009

I like to run but I have always said that I have no further inspirations than to run about 5K. I do 5K races for fun and that is purely it. Running is something I enjoy and when it stops becoming a joy to do then it is no longer fun for me. I experienced runner’s knee and since then I run a lot less and have started focusing more in strength training to help get myself stonger to run without injury! Running is now just part of my workouts not just the only part of my workouts!

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29 lauren April 27, 2009

wow this post hit the nail on the head!! i think there are alot of bloggers who run alot, which is great for them, everyone suits differnt excersise and likes doing different amounts….but it is so easy to read their blogs and feel sort of inadequate in terms of running abilities…like i started running in january, anve ive never tracked a run, but i know i usually run for 20 mins a day or 40 minutes on longer runs which ive built up slowly, and for some time there i started feeling like i waasnt doing enough and that i should be aiming for a long run, increasing every week. but then i realised and reminded myself that im in recovery from an ed, i started running to keep healthy AND because it makes me feel good as well as giving me lots of time to think and clear my head, i didnt start so i could do lots of races and complete 10-milers regurlarly or to let it become an unhealthy obsession, which can easily happen, espeically because i havent reached full recovery yet. I think we all need to realise everyone is differnt and at the end of the day, like you said, the only one who really cares about what we do and how much we do is ourselves. so why not do what WE enjoy and what works for us. theres no point making ourselves miserable over it.
great post :)

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30 Katie April 27, 2009

This is such a great post. There is so much pressure both as a blogger and a reader to set goals and maintain personal standards… it’s easy to blow these out of control and end up with a really warped sense of what is “healthy.” I had an injury, due to overexercising, which basically left me immobile for a few months and I couldn’t exercise at all. I was really angry and frustrated a lot, but I learned more about how to work within my body’s limits.

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31 Michelle Hisae April 27, 2009

I’ve felt a bit of that pressure brought upon by food blogs to workout EVERYDAY. It’s not necessarily the running but moreso the pressure to discover that new, exciting workout and “tell everyone about it.” Remember when yoga got REALLY popular on the blogs? Or Shredding? Or even, completely unrelated to food or exercise, the pressure to do ‘fun stuff’ so that it can be written about on the blog. So what if we have boring days. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up about that. I know my lifestyle best, and I know what my body can take. It’s just convincing myself that it’s okay to be confident even on an ‘off’ day.

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32 Amanda April 27, 2009

I definitely appreciate this post. I graduated from college last year, where I had developed an eating disorder. In addition to that, I definitely put a ton of pressure on myself to exercise because “everyone” that I knew at school was always at the gym, too.

Since graduating, I think that I have used food/fitness blogs to compare my healthy eating and exercise habits. I will be honest when I say that I still feel guilt when I don’t exercise and that I beat myself up over a “not healthy” eating day. Because I read numerous blogs, the little splurges and rest days that people have don’t really register because, with all of the blogs combined, someone is always busting out a killer workout or eating a huge salad. I find that I compare myself with the best of the best on any given day, which leads to impossible expectations! Whew – thanks for the reality check.

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33 ari April 27, 2009

wow i’m relieved to see that i’m not the only one feeling like that. for me, when i see all the delicious food that all these bloggers are eating and the little dessert that some of them have each day, i think “well if i want to be able to eat like them and eat as much as they do, then i have to run as much as they do too.” so i have started running more and my hip hurts from it, but i keep pushing myself to increase my mileage and run more because i want to be able to eat like these girls! in the long run it’s probably not too healthy for me. and sometimes when my body is telling me to give it a rest day and then i read that a blogger ran 9 miles today, i feel so guilty and like i have to exercise because they did. i need to learn that our bodies are all different and i can’t possibly be expected to keep up the same exercise routine as anybody else.

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34 Rebekah April 27, 2009

Oh my goodness! This post made my day, it is SO true. I found myself feeling worse and worse about my running ability reading other runners blogs. What was meant to be a way to track my running journey ended up making me feel SO bad about myself. I felt/still feel like less of a runner because I can’t keep up with some of those other runners who are so speedy and never get hurt.

Actually I ran my first marathon yesterday and haven’t wanted to blog about it because I feel ashamed of my time, because it wasn’t nearly as speedy as all the other marathoner blogs I read. I realized that is ridiculous. So I’m going to post about my marathon and link to your post, because it is true and amazing. So thanks, you really lifted my spirits today.

One more thing, I spent three weeks before the maraton injured because I pushed to hard on all my runs to try and keep up with other runners!

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35 Susan April 27, 2009

I definitely experience this sometimes. Except for me, I can’t understand how everyone is so FAST. I will never be able to run an 8 min/mile for 10 miles. And to be honest, I’m OKAY with that. To think back to last year at this time when I couldn’t even run for 2 minutes, I am PROUD that I can run my “measly” 10 min/mile for 4 miles. The only person I have to compete with is ME.

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36 Amanda April 27, 2009

I do feel the pressure every time I’m at the gym and want to quit after 20 minutes I think “Well ____ did this much, so the least I can do is my regular 40 minutes.” For me its a positive thing though, I dont increase, it just makes me not quit early, so I end up feeling great at the end…

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37 Danielle April 27, 2009

This post really means a lot to me, I find myself falling into that trap far too often, especially when it comes to running. I’ve come to enjoy running and I’m so proud of myself for sticking with it long enough to do so but I do feel pressure to run more, run faster, run longer. Thank you for the fitness perspective, it’s helpful to check-in and make sure that I’m keeping active in ways that satisfy me and keep me content in body and mind. Take care! :)

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38 Maggie April 27, 2009

I have experienced this too! Not just with exercise, but also with the way I eat. I felt like I had to make myself eat “breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner” or else I was doing it “wrong”. It became a big cause of stress and I finally realized I just needed to do what was right for me, and not pay attention to what everyone else was doing. I feel much better now :) Thanks for this post!

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39 Leanne April 27, 2009

Great post, Angela!
I have a food and fitness blog and it used to be hard for me to see that I workout much less than some other bloggers because it’s my career! I’m more short and sweet when it comes to the gym and seeing people do 10 miles AND a full strength workout was tough.

I learned after reading for awhile that everyone is different and although I don’t necessarily put in as much time, it works for me so I’m sticking with it. Everything you said was spot on!

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40 Orla April 27, 2009

I find that it works both ways with me. Some days, looking at how clean others eat and their daily runs inspires me. Other days it makes me feel like crap, and all it inspires is a dive into a tub of ben and jerrys! :D

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41 Sarah April 27, 2009

I love reading all the health and fitness blogs out there, but I could never be a blogger myself because of this “can’t live up mentality!” So many bloggers seem so perfect, and I am just so far from perfect.

I run 10 minute miles. I only trained 3 times a week when I did a half marathon earlier this year. I drink diet coke when I’m stressed at work. I love yoga and spinning, but I only go to classes a couple times a week. If I put in a 12 hour workday, I skip the gym. I take walking breaks on any distance over 3 miles. I eat dessert A LOT! This is turning into a crazy confessional. Lol.

My point is, I do feel like the standards are set very high in the food blogging world. I think this is kind of natural because there are so many food bloggers that are fantastic athletes and many that work in health related fields. If you compare yourself to a marathoner/dietician/combon of both! the average person is not going to live up. I think we need to remember, these bloggers are good for inspiration but you don’t need to be perfect to be healthy.

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42 Rachel April 27, 2009

Brilliant post – couldn’t have been timed better for me today! I just had to change my upcoming race from a half to a 10k due to a foot problem I’ve always had that’s causing me pain… and I’m pretty upset about it. Though I’m upset for myself and my goals, I’m also worried about how others will view me “quitting” from the half. I know I COULD do it, but the pain that would result would mean that I couldn’t run for possibly weeks afterwards which just isn’t worth it to me. I realised that I’m happier running that distance anyway – so why am I pushing myself to run further? Because others are.

I work in an incredibly active environment – there’s always someone doing more reps, longer runs, faster sprints. The comptetion, though good for my goals, isn’t good for my well-being. I need to get back to running for me… and if that’s “only” a 10k, that’s more than good enough for me.

Great post as usual!

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43 megan April 27, 2009

Michelle Gay – I also am obsessed with the pioneer woman! I love it! :)

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44 Hallie April 27, 2009

Great post…and I love reading all the comments too. I go through phases (like now) where I wish so bad that I were a “real” runner, like the bloggers I read, and it’s hard to realize that I don’t have to live up to or compete with those standards. The fact that I do run 3-4 miles a few times a week, slow as I might be, walk breaks and all, is something I never thought I could do a year ago.

I feel the same way with my eating, too. I know I eat more, and less healthy, that a lot of other bloggers…and I weigh more than them too which I guess goes hand-in-hand. But I’m trying to look to these girls now as insprirations, but realize that the way I live my life has to work for me any not anyone else.

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45 Danielle April 27, 2009

This is such a great post, so obvious, but never mentioned.

I have definitely felt this comparison, not only in my physical activity, but also in what I eat. I find many food bloggers are vegan/vegetarian, and felt alot of pressure to change my eating habits as to not only not offend anyone, but to become more healthy. I just had to drain it in my head, I am healthy, I enjoy the way I eat and what I eat, and began to use these blogs to make new friends, and have them influence me with new meal and work out ideas, rather than feel I had to meet all of these different standards.

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46 polly April 27, 2009

girl I love ya!! Wonderful post. I think we are on the same page, cause I posted about comparing our food to others today! It was on my heart last night and just wanted to share. You are a sunny spot, sweet girl.

Hey, I had some sprouted spelt bread today with my beloved almond butter, have you tried sprouted spelt bread? YUMMERS. Love to you!

oh! and YEAH for doing what you LOVE. Used to be running… TOO much running… now well, you know what I love. ;) It’s yummy!

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47 Shelby April 27, 2009

I have experienced this too! I thought it was just me…phew!

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48 Rachel April 27, 2009

This is such a great post. I feel the same way about running. I’m not a natural runner and honestly don’t enjoy it like other people do but felt the need to get out there and run even though I was cussing it after ever step.

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49 Krista April 27, 2009

Great post Angela! I read all these blogs about these girls running super fast, and honestly sometimes I feel inadequate because I can’t. It’s so refreshing to know someone else feels the same way. I hate comparing myself to others but it’s inevitable when someone else is accomplishing all these goals, you want that same feeling too.

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50 sarah (ghost world) April 27, 2009

wonderful WONDERFUL post. very insightful. i often do sometimes feel like these blogs can seem like a competition: who can do the most and eat the healthiest? a lot of us are very type A to start with, and it’s so easy to get sucked in! however, you are so right that each person should have the confidence to believe in what is right for themselves.

i am never going to effortlessly churn out 7 minute miles.
i am never going to eat a green smoothie :)

but i’m okay with it! thank you angela!

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51 Lindsey (Mrs. LC) April 27, 2009

Angela, this is a wonderful post. I know I have sometimes read about a blogger doing a “short” 4 or 5 mile run, and I think “that is a LONG run for me!”. We’re all different, but I do think that some bloggers who have wildly popular running blogs need to be careful how they can carelessly brush off their 9-minute pace 4 mile run as a “light, easy” run for an “off” day.

A while back I reached a point where I had to ask myself I was running and such. I really did not like it. Truth be told, most days I hated it. I dreaded going for a run, and I disliked it so much while I was running that it made me not want to go running again even more than before. So I’ve started turning to alternative measures. Even walking – sometimes I get embarrassed to say on my blog that I’ll walk for miles every day, because it’s not running. But it’s still exercise since I keep a good pace, and most importantly I enjoy it!!

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52 Liz & In The Skinny April 27, 2009

I have found the running blogs to be very motivating. I have never been a fast runner, but I don’t think I have really pushed myself to the limits yet. I’ve been inspired to attempt to run faster. I enjoy looking at other blogs where people have started where I am now and seen what they have accomplished.

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53 Lara April 27, 2009

very interesting post and by the looks of it you really hit the nail on the head–that people do feel compelled to run more/faster to “keep up with the joneses”. I have often wondered why so many bloggers seem so obsesed wtih running and/or cardio in general. And very few do any real strength training which is just as (or even more) important and beneficial for our bodies and health.

there also seems to be trends of food avoidances or eating habits. I read many food/health/fitness related blogs and many seem to be quite on the verge of disordered eating or eating disordered territory (coming from that background myself I am hyper-aware to some of the signs and signals)

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54 Melissa April 27, 2009

Honestly after reading blogs I suddenly decided every once else was jogging so I needed to jog to. Truth is, while I LOVE walking, I HATE jogging. And I started to experience certain leg pain with jogging that I never felt with walking. I had to question myself as to why I was pushing myself to so something I hated when I already had an exercise I loved. So now while I might through in little jogging spurts to bump up the intensity of my walk there’s not jogging for me in the future. I’ve gone back to my first love, walking and I will not feel inferior because I hate jogging and am not good at it!!! :)

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55 Michelle April 28, 2009

I dont think Ive ever felt pressure from reading running blogs or health blogs. As a matter of fact this is pretty much the only blog I read on a regular basis. I do run, however it is mainly a way to mix up my workouts and add some variety. I have tried so many times to “get into” running….but there are so many other things I enjoy doing (especially now that we can get outside)….biking, yoga kickboxing, hiking….So I guess Ive never wanted to spend the time going on a long run when I could do 30 minutes of cardio and go hikning or better yet, hit the beach. I love to work out and I love to feel healthy. I try to challenge myself and not try to compare my fitness to others, Some people have a passion for running…..while I DO enjoy running….I dont have the passion it takes to commit totally to it. I love reading your blog and have a nice day:)

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56 Michelle April 28, 2009

…..oh and…I think some people feel that running is the end all and be all of fitness. Life is to be enjoyed and just like any addiction…..people should never feel like their day is ruined because they couldnt fit in their run. Pressure equals stress and exercise is supposed to releive stress.

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57 Ilana July 24, 2010

I wish I’d read this eight months ago. Last year I was really struggling with disordered eating habits (I won’t call it an eating disorder because, well, it wasn’t, by medical standards), and I was OBSESSED with reading healthy living blogs and food blogs and everything was so confusing to me because there was so much conflicting information out there but regardless of what I was reading, it was always coming from someone who was so much “better” and “healthier” than I was and I really felt frustrated for a while, like I would never live up. I have literally never compared myself to people in real life but somehow I was really hung up on comparisons to these random people on the internet that I’ll probably never meet – strange, right?? I had to stop reading a lot of blogs for a while and stop focusing on what OTHER people were doing and start focusing on what *I* could do. I’ll probably never be a runner (shin splints ouch) but trust me in my early blog reading days I tried on that damn treadmill and was so miserable! I had to stop thinking of myself in comparison to these people and start thinking of myself, in comparison to myself! And it works – now when I look back at myself a year, or even six months, ago, I see how much real progress I’ve made. Blogs are great and can be awesome learning tools but if you don’t know how to filter the information properly, it can get so overwhelming. Anyway, again, great read, great post. Thank you!!

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