She Can Eat Whatever She Wants; I Gain Weight Just Looking at Cake

Do you often find yourself sinking into compare-and-despair mode?

In the realm of food and body, it sounds something like this:

  • It’s so unfair that she can eat whatever she wants and not gain a pound. I gain weight just looking at cake.
  • I’ll never look that good in a swimsuit; her stomach is way flatter than mine.
  • Why can’t I have as much willpower as she does when it comes to sugar?
  • Everyone in my yoga class is so fit and toned; I’m embarrassed of my flabby body.
  • It’s so easy for him to lose weight. Why does it have to be so hard for me?

While it’s human nature to compare yourself to other people, the comparison game usually backfires. When your comparison puts you on the losing end, it often leads to feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, isolation, jealousy, desperation, despair and depression.

Quite simply, comparison is the death of joy.

Comparing yourself to others is a disempowering, futile act that results in unnecessary stress, struggle and suffering. However, rather than judge yourself for falling into the comparison trap (you are human, after all!), you can stop yourself from continually going down this path of self-attack.

Here’s one of my top strategies for ending compare and despair:

Start a gratitude journal.

Every day, write down a handful of things you’re grateful for—big and small. Be sure to include things you appreciate about your body.

For example, recent body-related entries in my gratitude journal included:

  • My heart for beating all on its own.
  • My eyes for allowing me to witness the magnificent sunrise.
  • My strong legs for taking me on a gorgeous coastal hike.
  • My arms for enabling me to hug my loved ones.
  • My tongue for tasting the delicious dinner I made tonight.

By taking time to reflect on and appreciate all that’s good in your life—including what you cherish about your body—you’ll boost your positivity, improve your body image, elevate your overall well-being, and be much less inclined to compare yourself to others.

This certainly has been the case for me, and for my clients. But don’t just take my word for it—try it out for a few months and see for yourself.

Where I've Been and the Power of Gratitude

I just returned from an amazing solo trip to Laos and Cambodia (hence the reason I haven’t been posting lately). Traveling is one of my greatest passions; it truly feeds my soul.

Exploring foreign lands, especially developing countries, always gives me a wider perspective on life and deeper gratitude for all that I have, like clean water, hot showers and easy access to medical care. It also reminds me of how little one needs to be happy.

The Power of Gratitude
Like travel, the holidays also serve as a wonderful reminder to be grateful for all that’s good in our lives. However, the benefits of practicing gratitude year-round are endless from a stronger immune system, sounder sleep and reduced stress to increased energy, more rewarding relationships and greater life satisfaction.  

6 Simple Gratitude Practices
Here are six simple practices to help you cultivate a daily attitude of gratitude:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal by recording five or so things big and small everyday that you’re grateful for.

  2. Create a gratitude jar. Anytime you experience a poignant moment of gratitude, write it on a piece of paper and drop it in a jar. Once or twice a year, perhaps on your birthday and New Year’s Eve, empty the jar and review everything you wrote.

  3. Write a gratitude letter to someone who has had a profound impact on your life expressing your appreciation for all the gifts she or he has given you.

  4. Share the day’s grateful moments around the dinner table. Doing so will surely lead to some heart-warming, memorable conversations.

  5. When you tuck your kiddo into bed or snuggle up with your partner at night, share three things each of you are grateful for.

  6. Express gratitude for each part of your body as you apply lotion to it. For example, thank your legs for enabling you to exercise, your arms for carrying your child, or your hands for performing millions of miracles throughout the day from tying shoes and texting friends to scratching your dog's belly and selecting a perfectly ripe avocado.

With Deep Gratitude,

Healthy Holiday Body Tip: Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

Thanksgiving serves as a wonderful reminder to be grateful for all that's good in your life.  Consider, however, making gratitude a daily practice.

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can have a profound impact on your mood, energy, creativity, productivity, sleep and more.

Count Your Blessings, Not Your Calories
Years ago, every night in bed I would mentally tally the calories I consumed that day.  If I deemed the total count excessive I was a bad girl who must work harder to achieve the perfect diet and body. Not exactly a lovely lullaby for drifting off to dreamland.

Then one day I embraced something Oprah had been extolling for eons; I started a gratitude journal.

When I got into bed, I began counting my blessings instead of my calories. I listed everything that happened that day that I was grateful for, no matter how small. The habit stuck like super glue.

A recent journal entry included not getting hit by a speeding driver, a beautiful sunrise run, my strong legs, easily finding parking (a major feat in San Francisco), locally grown heirloom tomatoes, and my awesome clients. On a rare day that I can't think of anything, I'll simply write "my breath."

Empower Your Wellbeing
If your head is constantly filled with negative thoughts about the shape of your thighs, the size of your belly, the number on the scale, or what you shouldn't have eaten, this creates a stress response in your body. All negative thinking does.

Low-level chronic stress can lead to numerous adverse health conditions, from headaches, insomnia and gastrointestinal issues to depression, high blood pressure and heart disease.

When your mind is in appreciation mode, your body relaxes. A relaxed state is the optimal state for all health and healing.

In fact, research links an attitude of gratitude to improved health, sounder sleep, reduced anxiety and depression, kinder behavior, more rewarding relationships, and greater life satisfaction.

Every Day Gratitude
The holiday season is notorious for triggering our bad habits. Why not make this year different?

Buy yourself a special journal and record five or so things you're grateful for every day. It only takes a minute or two, and the rewards are abundant.

Notice how cultivating gratitude empowers all areas of your life. Witness how focusing on the good things attracts more goodness into your world. You'll soon be grateful for your new healthy habit.