It was my first week back to the gym after having my 3rd son. I felt energized, excited and ready for my strength training class. As I waited for the instructor to arrive, I couldn’t help but see myself in the large, full walls mirrors. “Not bad,” I thought about the body that had grown another healthy baby boy.
I needed to lose some of the “mommy middle” and had some toning work to do but after all, I WAS wearing the work out pants that I hadn’t fit into since before the pregnancy. Plus, just being at the gym and working hard made me FEEL thinner and in better shape. Yes, dressed in my black pre-pregnancy gym pants paired with a bright blue shirt, I felt good and ready to work out.
That was when I noticed the woman that would be working out right next to me. When she walked in, I thought, “When did one of Hugh Hefner’s Girls Next Door start going to my gym?” When she stopped at the open spot next to me, my dark brown pulled back hair only came up to her perfectly toned shoulders. She was tall, very tan, and had long blond hair, almost white. She had the ideal figure. Her thin body with a large perfect chest was dressed in a well matched gym outfit.
And like that, I was no longer feeling very good about that woman in the mirror that I thought was “not bad” only a few moments before. Suddenly, I felt even more out of shape and more critical of my appearance. I thought to myself “Oh why did I have to wear these old gym pants. I haven’t had these on for over a year. I should have worn a black shirt instead of this blue one. Black is more slimming and it helps to hide my tummy.”
As the class started, I was ready to work but had lost that enthusiasm that I had walked in with. Then I started to wonder, when was it that I started comparing myself to others? Nothing had changed with ME in those few moments before I noticed the other people in class. Why as women do we feel so much pressure to be “perfect?” The perfect Mom. The perfect wife. The perfect employee. We need to plan everything, do everything, be everything.