Comparison in Eating Disorder RecoveryDo you compare your body to others’ bodies? Do you compare other things about yourself with others? If so, how does this make you feel? Do you find that comparing yourself with others serves to feed the eating disorder?

When we compare ourselves with others in any fashion, there are two things that can happen. Sometimes we may see ourselves as superior and, therefore, look down on others. More commonly, though, it seems that the result of comparing ourselves with others is quite the opposite. It makes us feel inferior or inadequate. We cut ourselves down and become discouraged. We don’t feel we’re as smart, good looking or talented as others. In the end, we want to be like someone else instead of being content with and celebrating who we are and who we can become.

When we compare, we feel as if we’re in competition with others. When we compete in the area of physical appearance, we’re going to desire to be thinner than others. That obviously sets us up to engage in eating disorder behaviors.

When comparison leads us to compete, in our minds, we either “win” or “lose”. When we “lose”, we feel badly about ourselves and those feelings just feed the eating disorder voice. Often those negative feelings about ourselves cause us to feel we aren’t worthy of getting help and recovering. On the other hand, what do we “win” if we are thinner than others? An unhealthy body? A sick looking appearance? We may feel a bit of satisfaction temporarily, but in the end, being thinner will feed the eating disorder voice as well.

Obviously, comparison doesn’t help people with their eating disorder recovery. However, it’s hard to stop, isn’t it? Here are a few ideas that may help you get started.

1. Focus on your positive personality traits as well as areas where you want to grow instead of on your appearance. As you concentrate less on outward appearance and more on the real you, perhaps that will lessen your desire to compare.

2. Concentrate on your health instead of your size. Numbers, and even sizes, will sometimes fluctuate, but your health needs to remain steady. If you’re focused on feeling better health-wise, maybe that will take the edge off comparing your body with others’ bodies.

3. Try your best to see yourself as God sees you. He loves you no matter what you weigh or who you’re larger or smaller than. He sees you for you, not for how you compare with others.

While it’s easier said than done, try your best to avoid comparison. You’ll be healthier for it, both inside and out.

By Laurie Glass