Words of Wisdom

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on May 21, 2009

I read so many amazing things from you all in yesterday’s post about comparisons with real women. So many light bulb moments!! This morning I wanted to highlight some of the comments from yesterday.

“I used to be much smaller. I used to be the skinniest girl in the room for the most part. I was 100% obsessed with it and was miserable.”

Many of you pointed out that you used to be very thin and you were miserable because of the effort that it took to stay that way. That used to be me as well. The amount of obsession and mental energy that it takes to maintain a body size so small sucks everything out of you. When I used obsess about my weight, it was literally all I could think about. I had a hard time studying for courses, focusing in class, or even just being present in a social situation. My mind was always on my weight. I didn’t have any hobbies because it consumed all of my free time.

“Great topic, I think. Not many people are willing to open up about their insecurities when it comes to attractiveness. It’s like..we all know they’re there, we just don’t truly believe other people have insecurities too because they’re very good at hiding it.

I don’t regret my experience one bit. I’m now doing cognitive therapy, and I feel stronger. I’m gaining knowledge about psychology and proper nutrition while I’m at it.  What helps me to remind myself that I’m attractive in my own way is for every bad comment that slips out, I give myself two good ones, and I feel better. I also have cards that I read everyday like "You are an AMAZING person! Anyone who says otherwise is blind, a big booger brain, or insecure with themselves." It really sets the tone for the rest of the day. I highly recommend making cards to read to yourself everyday.  I also do the mantra thing.

But most of all, I don’t let it stop me. I don’t stop to mope about someone snickering at the fact that my hair looks messed up today.”

I love the suggestion of telling yourself two compliments for every negative one that you receive! The idea to make self-affirming cards is also a really great one! How fun would it be to design some GLOW cards that we all could print off our computers and take with us everywhere?  :) The wheels are turning…!

“Its funny, when I asked my boyfriend if he found me more attractive now that I have lost thirty pounds, he said that it doesn’t make a difference to him, that I was always beautiful. That really put things in perspective, because he saw beauty when I felt like there was little there. I try and remember events like this when I feel down and it is a reality check that the size of my pants does not define who I am. It kind of echoes your idea of positive thinking through workouts.”

I used to ask Eric that all the time. He loved me at my highest weight and at my smallest weight. When I gained weight, he didn’t see the weight, he simply saw the person that he fell in love with. And you know what? I believe him because his weight has been up and down over the years (no, not even tall skinny men are immune to a little weight gain!) and I never once ‘saw’ the weight when I thought about his appearance. What I do see, and what I see for everyone in my life, is whether they are HAPPY. If someone is happy, I automatically see beauty. That is all there is to it. If Eric is smiling and being goofy with me like he usually does, I see one heck of a handsome man. It has nothing to do with weight. And anyone in your life that makes it about weight probably isn’t worth your time and energy!

“Everyone has body envy, even if they look "picture perfect." i think it is natural to compare and sometimes even want to look a different way, but i think if you are positive about your body, it’s okay to think that someone else is pretty or has great arms or a great nose, or whatever it might be. you just have to remember the things people are envying when they look at YOU!!”

This is so true. Even the models and actresses in Hollywood are looking at other actresses and wishing they had this or they had that.

What I have learned from all of this is that being confident with yourself and your body has nothing to do with how you look. I know, it doesn’t seem logical but it is true. Confidence comes from feeling good about yourself, your behaviours, your actions, and your intentions. When you have this you will feel security with yourself, even if you gain 10 pounds. It will still be there because you know your worth as a person. That is why you will sometimes see ‘that girl’ who isn’t the textbook definition of a skinny minny or model gorgeous, yet she has this ‘it factor’, she has this quality that you can’t quite pin down, but it drives the men in the room wild. She has CONFIDENCE in herself regardless of her pant size.

“All of these comparisons come down to having a negative core belief.  At some point, you’ve determined that a perfect body equals a perfect life, or that being thin is the best thing ever, that being thin means that you’re in control, or whatever the case may be.  The negative belief associated with that would be something like "She’s thinner than I am…that means she’s better than me"

When that creeps into my mind, I CHALLENGE IT.

"WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE that she’s better than me?  WHERE’S THE PROOF that I am not as good as her?"

Then I start answering that question…"I don’t know her, she might be evil, and I’m not evil, I’m a good person!  Maybe she is nice too, but that doesn’t make her better than me"…and on, and on, and on…”

I think that is what I was sort of mentioning above. When we are not secure and happy with ourselves, no weight will ever been our happy weight.

“Yes, I definitely do compare myself to others.  I think although it is somewhat natural, it is also very unhealthy.  For myself, the more I compare, the more I feel badly about myself.  It does absolutely no good to size up the other person, because somehow I think we are all doomed to come up the loser.  After all, we are always harder on ourselves.  The sad past is, that it doesn’t end there.  As life progresses, the comparisons also increase.  Who has a bigger house, who makes more money, whose kids are more beautiful and smarter….It goes on and on.  Actually I find the child comparison to be the most evil.  Moms are very hard on each other and often look down upon others for different parenting styles etc.  It is a really hard transition in life, to find a way to make friends with other moms, without them driving you mental!!! ;)

I try to remind myself daily how lucky I am for all that I have..a beautiful family, a nice house, a job etc.  I may not be as thin as I was before kids, but I am healthy.  I try not to be bitter at the other moms at the gym who are skinnier or prettier.  Who knows what battles they may have within or what they must sacrifice to look that way.  I am not about to give up food I like or obsess to the point where it consumes my life.  If I want a cupcake, I am going to eat it and I shouldn’t feel bad about it for the next 2 days :)

If I look back on my 5 years ago, I think, wow..I was so thin and pretty, but guess what?  I didn’t think so at the time!  So, I should live for today and be happy for who I am and what I have become because one day, I will look back on today and smile!”

That last part really struck a chord with me. I will often look back at pictures and think I looked nice but then I remember that on that specific day I was upset about my weight or what I was eating the day before. We need to start living in the moment and realize our beauty TODAY, not in 10 pounds, or at our wedding this summer, or when you go away to school. TODAY is the only day that matters. Walk out the room, strut your sexy self, and hold your head up high!

And I am going to end today with this amazing comment- talk about inspirational!!

“I have tears in my eyes. When I read the mantra "I don’t need to change" it really hit home for me. I don’t need to change. I will not be happier 10 pounds from now. Life will not be better. People will not love me more. Life will not be perfect. I’ve got a healthy body that I have not appreciated for the first 28 years of my life. That changes. Now. I always think of the saying "Appreciate the body you have now because, one day, it’ll be the body you wish you have." That’s always true. Love yourself today. Don’t love yourself when you lose 10 pounds. Don’t wait to live life and enjoy it in 10 pounds. Do it. NOW.

Thank you so much for this incredible post.”

Thank YOU all for such amazing and insightful comments! There are so many more I want to talk about!

I don’t know about you but I have an extra kick to my step today after reading all of your comments! :)

Today’s question: Was there any part of yesterday’s or today’s discussion that really made a light bulb go off for you? Do you think about social comparisons any differently now?

Are there any other questions that you’d like me to address in a future hot topic post?


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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Eat, Live, Love, Dream May 21, 2009 at 10:53 am

What a great post Angela!!!! Its so true!! I think We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, and it’s such a waste!
It’s so awesome when you can live in the moment!!! Life is too precious to let it pass us by with body obsession


Katherine May 21, 2009 at 10:53 am

I definitely had a couple of lightbulb moments while reading yesterday’s post, thank you for that! I tried to remind myself throughout the day that I deserve to be happy with myself right now, not if/when I gain or lose weight. On my walk to work this morning, I passed women of every shape and size (2 miles of NYC streets provides a lot of input!) and I reminded myself that no one is judging me and I shouldn’t judge them, or myself, based on their appearance. And for those who DO judge me based on my looks, they really aren’t worth my time and they certainly have their own demons to battle! Like you’ve suggested before, positivity breeds positivity. I have to focus on being positive and it’ll get easier every day. Thanks for a great post again today – so glad to see so many other people are helped by your blog.


Chelsea May 21, 2009 at 10:55 am

Definitely a light bulb moment for me is thinking about how I view my husband. I have loved him when he was heavier and when he was lighter, and honestly, I never noticed much difference. It’s only reasonable that he feels the same way about me.


Jenn (eating bender) May 21, 2009 at 10:56 am

This post was so beautiful, Angela!! I can’t get over how much of a difference you must be making in people’s lives everyday. You are truly an inspiration and I know I’ve said that before, but your posts continue to amaze me so I’m just going to keep saying it. I hope that’s alright with you :)

I loved the comment where she said “anyone who thinks otherwise is a booger brain” – I’m going to adopt that into my everyday mindset forever! Pretty much everything in this post was like a light bulb. Thank you!


Juli (Peanut Butter and Juli) May 21, 2009 at 11:04 am

Beautiful post, Ange! Thank you.


Shelly May 21, 2009 at 11:08 am

As for hot topic ideas- how about resting on your laurels? This is hard for me. I started off wanting to loose a little weight, which I did. Then I wanted to stay at that weight but get into really good shape. That is, of course, an ongoing process, but I’m definitely in the best shape of my life (and my friend randomly commented the other day that she noticed that my legs were “all muscle!” Talk about a compliment!)
But my problem is staying in a place where I am proud of myself (and keeping up the good work) without having to find something more to improve. I try to find good ways to channel my perfectionism (right now I’m working on eating more veggies b/c that is a healthy goal to focus on) but its hard not to eye my stomach and wonder how hard it would be to get a 6 pack.
This is not good for me b/c a) I didn’t want a 6 pack a couple months ago.
b) It would be VERY hard for me to get a 6 pack- I am an apple shaped girl, and I suspect I’d have to sink below my current (ideal) weight to get it- and I know, rationally, that it is not worth being an unhealthy weight.
c) After I got the 6 pack, what crazy goal would I set for myself next? I know it would be something- there is always something more for me to do.
I’d really like to break out of that cycle and just be happy maintaining the good state of health and fitness that I am currently in.

I love love love this idea for a topic! ~Ange


brooke May 21, 2009 at 11:09 am

what a way to start my brain turning for today!! i recently decided to stop pushing myself to the point of exhaustion and listen to my body…and you know what? my body freakin loves it!!!!!! i love the part of loving yourself now. when i look back at pictures when i was a kid, i was so freakin happy. whats more beautiful that someone who truly loves themselves and glows from the inside out. NOTHING. angela you are awesome. keep doin what your doin.


Christy May 21, 2009 at 11:16 am

I just want to offer some of my own experience here: at one point, I was like you. I’d lost weight…then I wanted to take it up a notch and get ripped arms (that was my goal!) Then I wanted the six pack. Getting a six pack means being uber focused on diet and being incredibly lean. I had a six pack for a while. During this time I couldn’t think about anything other than how hungry I was. I couldn’t sleep at night because I was so hungry. When I did sleep I, literally, would dream about food and eating cake (true story!) I would go to the gym and have zero energy to workout because I wasn’t eating nearly enough. I would workout anyway and be left with no energy to mentally focus at work or do anything after work. My mind was always on eating (or not eating). In any social situation, I couldn’t be “there” because I was busy mentally focusing on my goal of being super lean because I couldn’t eat anything. Then, when I got a 6 pack, I (like you wonder if you would do) was looking for a new goal: What is the lowest possible weight I can get to?

The moral here: If that is truly your goal, then you are the only person that can determine if you want to put in the effort to get there. It is my experience that it is not worth it. It’s not like running a race: once you get to the end of the race, life keeps going and you have fun. There is no “end” to having a six pack. If you want to keep it, you must keep up this hard work and no eating. Then, when you do decide to let yourself be “normal” you will feel a rebound where you don’t feel thin enough for awhile because you’ve been thinner.

I’m proud to say that three years after having my six pack for a few months, I FINALLY, just yesterday, threw out my super skinny jeans that have held me in a proverbial prison for three years. I always wanted to wear those jeans just one more time. Those stupid jeans aren’t worth giving up my happiness, sanity and life.

Sorry for the novel…I just happen to feel very strongly about this subject!!


Elisabeth May 21, 2009 at 11:34 am

I really love these “hot topic” posts. Although I’ve already been through treatment and therapy, I find it very reassuring to read everyone’s comments and to know that there are so many other women who face the same battles. When I suffered from my ED, I felt like the only ship on the ocean.

Yesterday when I read your post, it completely hit home for me. I spent a good portion of the day thinking about it, then last night during my run I couldn’t stop thinking about everything. Coincidentally, there was a girl at the gym who was obviously very nervous about being there. I read the look on her face when she looked at me, and I could tell by her darting eyes that she was comparing and sizing herself up.

Rather than use this as fuel for my eating disorder as I would have in the past, I decided to squash that negative energy. I struck up a conversation with her, and after a few minutes, she was completely comfortable, and we were joking and laughing. I got her email address and I hope that we will become friends, because she was a very nice girl.

I probably wouldn’t have been so open to this experience if I hadn’t read your post yesterday.


Michelle Hisae May 21, 2009 at 11:47 am

The comment that struck me the most was this:

“If I look back on my 5 years ago, I think, wow..I was so thin and pretty, but guess what? I didn’t think so at the time!”

IT’S SO TRUE! Sure, we can all get down to the weight we think is right for us, but if it’s too unrealistic, I forget that I’m even there. I’m too preoccupied with getting skinnier and skinnier. Today is the day to realize that we have SO much to appreciate and we are all beautiful women. It’s never too late to understand truths like that.:)


amy (veganissexy) May 21, 2009 at 11:50 am

I’m loving yesterday’s and today’s posts. This is such truth. I used to compare myself to girls in high school all the time! There was a defining moment at about age 18 that I just flat out stopped saying negative things about other girls to make myself feel better. The moment I started giving complements instead of picking on other gals flaws, I began to love my own flaws as well. My mom, who battled anorexia in her college years had some great advice for me growing up: She said there is always going to be someone smarter, prettier, skinnier, or happier that you. Get over it because someone else is looking at you thinking you are smarter, prettier, skinnier and happier than them. The grass isn’t always greener, and as soon as you get that through your head you will be happy with yourself. I completely agree. It is an everyday struggle to battle that inner critic, but I am a huge believer in positive thinking. Honestly when I say “I feel so great today” I end up feeling fantastic. When I wake up in a poopy mood and say “Ugh I don’t want to go to work….etc…” I end up taking everything super personally and sensitive all day. Everyone is responsible for their own happiness and enjoyment in life. I truly believe that :) Glow on sista :)


Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 21, 2009 at 11:50 am

Angela, I swear, you must live in my head, because every single time I’m having an “I feel fat” day, or “I’m not pretty” day, you post something like this that reminds me that, no matter WHAT weight I am, I need to be happy with myself.

Sure, I’m not at my lowest weight ever… but I’m also not at my highest. I’m almost 50 lbs below my highest weight. I have clothes I look and feel great in, and a wedding dress I can’t wait to wear! I have a shoe collection to rival Imelda Marcos, and wearing pretty shoes makes me feel good!
So, thanks again Ange, you’re the best :)


SarahF May 21, 2009 at 11:57 am

Thank you Angela for such a great post!

It’s so important to remember to feel happy now and accept ourselves. I know that I went through a huge phase last year when I was transitioning from the University life (where I was working as a server and therefore very active) to a desk job (where I was obviously very sedentary). I became obsessed with eating healthy and working out. I would work out everyday after work-no matter what. It didn’t matter if I had friends in town or what-I scheduled my work outs and my meals, and then my life around that.

I went back to school in the fall and then had no time to work out everyday, or ensure that I was eating food that only I had cooked. I’ve learnt to be flexible with my life and listen to my body. Last night I cancelled my yoga class and stayed in because after 2 1/2 weeks of the worst move in history and then trying to decorate my place-I needed a night at home. Today I woke up refreshed and ready to face my day-instead of drained and exhausted like I would have felt had I made myself work out.

My comments always get so long-but I just want to say how inspiring your posts (and other commentors) are. I’m finally learning to accept myself and live my life rather than waiting until everything is perfect.


ruby red vegan May 21, 2009 at 12:48 pm

This is a great post! I have to agree, even after the “10 lbs” come off, then there’s just something new to worry about and be unhappy over! The key is to treat ourselves right now, and exercise and eat healthy in order to take care of the one body we have. Obsessing is just so exhausting… And I find that working out when I want to and appreciating the amazing food (and desserts!) I do eat is a great way to be healthy, physically and mentally.

I love all this inspirational stuff! :) Keep in coming!


Shelly May 21, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Thanks Christy! Your post is a good reality check for me. I guess I shouldn’t associate a six pack with an ideal level of health. I feel awesome right now and have tons of energy for my workouts and I would rather have that than perfect abs. It’s just really hard for me to get past the “what next?” mentality. :)


Kiersten May 21, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Another wonderful post Angela! I can’t pick out one specific thing that stood out, because a lot of it did. I learned a lot of this and a lot about myself when I went through ED recovery a few years ago. Even years later, I try to remind myself every day that I am perfect just the way I am. I am strong, independent, and beautiful; and no matter what I look like or how much I weigh will change that.

Have you ever read “Locker Room Diaries”? It’s a great book, about real women and their body image issues. It relates to what you’ve been talking about in this post.


Holly May 21, 2009 at 2:46 pm

I would love to see a discussion and possibly series on feelings of guilt when missing a workout whether for a rest day, or “just because.”

These thoughtful and thought provoking posts and discussions are my favorite part of Oh She Glows. THANK YOU!


Fitzalan May 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Confidence comes from feeling good about yourself, your behaviours, your actions, and your intentions.

Repeat over and over in my head. Maybe a sticky note?

Yesterday’s post just makes me more aware of the journey I am on. I am fighting to have myself recognize the wonderful things I have going on in my life, to avoid focusing on the negative. This post just further supports my efforts—I don’t want to look back on 10 years and think–“why didn’t I appreciate and enjoy being 28 more?”.

I want to feel and enjoy it all now!

Happiness Awaits


Jenny Marie May 21, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Thank You! My husband and I were discussing this very issue last weekend. It started with me saying I was unhappy about the way I look. And it’s because I compare myself and I Fat Talk, and feel guilty. Not only do I do this but so does my best friend. And she’s tiny – that makes it harder on me. You are helping me, and I thank you!


michelle May 21, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Again, i wake up feeling empowered!

It’s so funny. I’ve lost about 127lbs at my lowest last year. I weight 168lbs, got into a pair of size 31 jeans, had no muscle tone, did it because my boyfriend at the beginning of our relationship said that he ‘had a problem with my weight’. This comment send me on a 12 week strict diet of WW and I lost about 15lbs.

I was skinny. Man I was thin. I was unhappy, living off of sugar free jello, diet coke, coffee, and weighin rituals every morning and night. Calculated figures of how much I can lose if I run in the morning, etc.

I then gained about 25lbs after we broke-up and am riding in the high 190lbs. Yes, I am considered overweight right now. But I don’t have a boyfriend who is telling me that I need to be thin. I actually can’t eat sugar free stuff anymore due to health reasons and I am beginning to TRUST myself when it comes to food. Unwinding all of my emotional entanglement that food enables me to continue. It’s exhausting at times. It’s frustrating at times.

However, I am the heaviest I’ve been in a long time and the lightest I’ve felt.


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