I’m embarrassed to even admit that I do this but my neuroses want to know if they have company in your neuroses.
I read a lot of magazines. It’s a sickness really. But my real weakness is that every time I see one of those weight-loss success stories (I lost 90 lbs in 3 weeks!), I go straight for the numbers. Chicken breast…blah, blah,blah… exercise…blah, blah, blah… alien abduction… blah… height: 5’11”. AHA! I need to find their height, see, because they always post weight or pounds lost at the top next to the “after” shot and taken together I can do a quickie mental calculation and figure out the poor woman’s BMI. Not that that is a measure of health. Not that it should even mean anything to me. Except that it does.
I look at them and think, “Okay, that’s where they are happy, where they are healthy and where society finally tells them they are good.” And then I wonder, “Is that what I look like?” It doesn’t matter how different than me they are – older, smarter, stronger, shorter, alien, whatever – I must compare before I can read any further into the article. And yet I know I’m not alone in this. Whole websites, like the Illustrated BMI, have sprung up for the express purpose of showing what different weights and heights look like together.
It’s awful, I know. A while back, Leslie of (the now sadly defunct) The Weighting Game posted about the phenomenon of “body checking” – the practice of checking things on one’s body that one is particularly insecure about to the point it borders on OCD. I think this is my twisted permutation of that. I believe my insatiable desire to compare my body to others’ is because I really have no concept of what I look like. In my mind, I’m always “fat.” No matter what I actually weigh, I’m still “fat.” And so I look to others, not to judge their bodies (invariably I find everyone in these before-and-after stories beautiful and inspiring) but rather to reassure myself about my own looks. If they’re ok then maybe I am too.
Anyone else a serial comparer?? How do I stop?