Why Comparisons Are Not a Great Idea




We’ve all been told not to compare ourselves to others, right? It started as a kid, for me. I am short. I got made fun of quite often in school for this. I have to ask for help when I need to reach something that’s high up on a shelf, or load/unload my carry-on on the plane, or turn off a tall lamp. And the list goes on. When I was young, kids would always stand next to me and say, “Oh my gosh, I’m taller than you are! I’ve never been taller than anyone before!”, then go skipping off.

This is just my example, but I’m guessing it’s one of many that we could all pool together. As we age we might engage in “organ recitals”, as my grandmother used to call them. If you’re not familiar, it’s when a group of people sit together and complain about all of their health issues. While some might just want to vent, others may take on more of a competitive feel. As in, “my health issues are better/worse/less/more than yours”!

Just last week I read this article about how weight — one factor that can affect overall health — can differ for reasons beyond what we might typically suppose. Could it be that it’s not as simple as we think?

My husband and I have always joked about how when we “split” foods, a healthy portion for me would *not* be half. When considering his size and metabolism versus mine, it seems logical that I should have a much smaller portion than he. And so I sigh when he takes 75% even while knowing it’s for the best! At the same time, I also see that he and I can eat the same exact meal, yet feel differently afterwards. For instance, I’m just now learning that wheat bloats me terribly and affects my gastrointestinal system in a completely different way than it does his. The reverse can be said for other forms of sugar that I can eat without feeling any ill-effects, while those forms cause a huge blood sugar crash in him that he can feel immediately.

Dr. Ahsan writes that differences in our bodies go beyond simple size and basic metabolism, however. The research she shares in the article points to how foods may affect everybody differently in terms of weight gain, and how it may not be as simple as “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” foods. The research she discusses also addresses the concept of low and high-GI foods, and a possibly different view than what you have heard before. It’s really fascinating stuff, and I encourage you to read the whole article.

This piece from the article sums it up nicely: “As they say, the widespread obesity and diabetes epidemics show that whatever we’re trying now to improve our relationship with food simply isn’t working. It could well be that they have hit upon the key to this – that until now we have completely misunderstood our own bodies and how food affects us.”

Given this information, perhaps we now have another — new and different? — reason to avoid comparisons when it comes to health and body type. Beyond the fact that it may cause us to have a negative attitude towards ourselves, which can have health implications of its own, it also may simply be that we’re comparing apples to oranges — so to speak.  😉

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