The Comparison Trap

14 May

I think I have fallen into the comparison trap. I read several blogs. Okay, like twenty. I love them. Lately though, I have been struggling with eating enough and it is obvious (to others) and me that I am not eating enough. Honestly, I think that is why I am starting to see myself with running injuries. There has to be a link. Therefore, of course, I am going to step up my game. I am not increasing my breakfast amount, but I am increasing my lunch and my snackage. I am not much of a snacker, but I know that I need to be eating more plus some to gain weight. My goal is to gain five pounds before my race, which is May 29th. Knock on wood. I hope I can run it. You guys can hold me accountable.

Anyway, I do compare myself to others who blog what they eat. I guess I just assume that they only eat a salad for lunch I can too. I need more than that! I’m insane for thinking that I can fuel my body with a salad and loaded veggies. I see their portion sizes that don’t even cover the plate while my dinner overflows off the plate. I eat like two pieces of fish plus rice and veggies. I see other blogs who only eat a tortilla with humus and carrots. That’s their meal. Oh, and an apple on the side with a dab of peanut butter. That’s their dessert. My dessert is too much ice cream and maybe cake. Am I wrong? Am I eating too much? No. I am not eating enough. I need more protein and food in general since I have been lifting. Lifting weights uses more muscles thus burning more calories. I should be gaining weight, not losing.

I just feel as if some bloggers don’t eat enough. Oatmeal for breakfast… fine. Salad for lunch… that’s questionable. A 100 calorie bagel with humus for dinner… uh, no. Am I the only person who sees this on other blogs too?

Some blogs have been doing WIAW or whatever and I’m either like, “They eat a lot. That’s good. I should too.” or “They had a salad for lunch and dinner. Why do I eat so much?” I feel guilty, which led me to a low weight again.

During cross-country season, I weighed about the same as I did and possibly a pound less yet I was eating more. I had a pre workout snack, I ate a proper lunch, and I had a huge dinner. I didn’t eat dessert at the time. I don’t know why I assumed that I could back off on eating once cross-country ended when I’m still working out the same and more.

I don’t want to name names, but I feel like Hungryrunnergirl is the only person who actually eats!

How many calories should I be eating? I don’t know the exact amount, but I do workout for an hour and half and I can eat whatever I burned plus… what? Like, 1500 calories more? I don’t know. I should be in the 2000 range. Now this question isn’t for comparison, but how many calories do you suppose you eat a day? What is your biggest meal of the day? Are you snacker?

I’m just curious and also, with your answers, I won’t feel shame for eating a lot. I should consider myself lucky to be able to eat whatever I damn well please. I just want to run and not hurt!

By the way, my knee is not bothering me. It’s like behind my knee that hurts. It’s somewhat my upper calf area. I think maybe last Friday I was babying my foot too much so it effed up my knee area. Either that or it’s my Vibrams strengthening my legs extremely.

On a brighter note…
Monday I met Kara Goucher! She did a Q&A and a book signing. She sold out of her books though so I didn’t get a book signed up, but I will since i signed a list that guarantees me a book with her autograph. The Q&A was awesome. She had great answers. It’s amazing that she lives in NW Portland not too far from me.

This week went by fairly fast. After my breakdown on Thursday, I went to the gym on Friday and my legs felt like lead. I couldn’t run. It’s scaring me because I want to run that race on 29th. I have the endurance. I know I do. I just want to run without soreness and pain. Monday I ran for an hour then I was going to go another 30 minutes and my knee was area was like, “Hell no. You limp back to the gym.” Gosh damnit.

I will remain positive though.

On an even brighter note…
Here is what I am loving this week:
1. Fashion Police – Joan Rivers speaks the truth.

2. Khloe and Lamar – Why is Khloe always talking in that baby voice?

3.  Anything that contains lemon or poppy-seed. Get in my belly please.

4. Sauerkraut – I will eat it straight up. I don’t care. Judge me. 

5. Tori Spelling’s book Stori Telling – Why did I pick this up? I don’t even know. 

6. Rory Culkin – I will not apologize, but I find him so attractive.

7. The Originals with Emeril – My new favorite show. It’s so interesting and has a lot of interesting facts. Go watch it. 

 What are you loving this week?
Do you fall into the comparison trap?
Ever had a ITB – iliotibial band syndrome – injury?
Any eating/running/injury advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you, bffz. 

No honorable eats today, but stay tuned for tomorrow.


37 Responses to “The Comparison Trap”

  1. Hollie @ Lolzthatswim(andRun) May 14, 2011 at 1:38 PM #

    I do agree, but I don’t think a lot of bloggers post everything they eat. Well I’ll take that back because I don’t want to speak for everyone, but I don’t post everything I eat. I don’t think it’s necessary because I already eat close to the same things all the time and posting a dozen other things that I always eat is boring.

    I do agree with you though and that we are athletes and need a ton of food. had a ITB band injury I’m pretty sure.

    • lifttorun May 14, 2011 at 1:50 PM #

      Oh, of course. I understand. Not everyone posts what they eat, but some blogs have been doing the WIAW thing and it shows that they don’t eat much.


  2. kbwood May 14, 2011 at 1:58 PM #

    honestly i feel like 90% of bloggers dont eat enough- or atleast done document it! seriously- stop reading the blogs that trigger you! I had to do that. you gota look out for yourself girl or you fall under the trap SO fast. atleast ou have learned now and can move on from here! stay strong girl- you really have to take care of your body before you do irreversible things to it. you can do it!!!!!

  3. Candi May 14, 2011 at 2:00 PM #

    I read a ton of “healthy living” blogs and I really hate the message that the vast majority send out. Some (most)of the very popular ‘healthy living’ bloggers advocate eating WAY TOO LITTLE. A sandwich thin, a slice of cheese, and a couple carrot sticks? Really? That’s a meal? That wouldn’t even be a SNACK for me. It makes me really angry. I don’t even look at WIAW posts anymore, as they typically make me fume. Healthy living blogs should be sending out HEALTHY messages…. not encouraging disordered eating. Just my opinion, fwiw (and it’s not worth very much 🙂 )

    I love the lifting blogs the most. For the most part, those girls advocate eating adequate calories on a daily basis! And they won’t criticize you for eating a cheeseburger either.

    As for calories, when I am lifting I eat 2,700-3,000kcals a day. That is at or slightly below maintenance for me most days. I typically eat 5 meals a day, with the largest being meals 3,4, and 5. It really doesn’t matter WHEN you eat…. just as long as you eat! My bedtime snack (meal 5) is typically 500 calories. Just eat, girl! Don’t worry about it. You need to take care of yourself and your body. It doesn’t matter what anybody else is doing. Just do what is right for you 🙂

    Oh, and sauerkraut is one of my favorite foods!!! I eat it at least once a day… every day. Weird, I know.

  4. Jess May 14, 2011 at 2:03 PM #

    I agree with Katie–MOST bloggers DO NOT eat enough. They have fallen into the “1800 calorie” trap that a lotttt of women fall into!! I know that I personally need 2500+ cals a day!!! I’m SURE you need AT LEAST that or more!! Just focusing on fueling your body and those hard-working muscles 😀

  5. allieksmith May 14, 2011 at 3:11 PM #

    Aww, don’t let those bloggers who don’t eat enough trigger you! I eat around 2,500-3,000 calories a day. If you want to gain weight and see how many calories you should be eating, etc. try “my daily plate” on

    • J May 14, 2011 at 3:51 PM #

      I agree, I read a lot of “healthy living” blogs and many do not seem so healthy, like not nearly enough food. I am underweight (naturally) and eat around 3000-35000 to maintain, when I am trying to gain ( to feel stronger etc) I need over 4000. You do SO MUCH exercise you need a lot, prob around 3000 or more to gain. Also, you NEED a rest day. even the fastest, best, speediest, greatest athletes take a rest day – it’s hard but DO IT!!!! Think about your future and eat more to gain health. You do not want to be an old lady with frail bones maintaining her weight on such few calories and cannot exercise because of poor choices you made when you were younger and surpressed your metabolism and killed your health. Do you see a nutritionist and therapists, it sounds like that would be really beneficial for you since you seem to be struggling with your many thoughts. Stop comparing and live for YOU – you can do it girl!

      • lifttorun May 14, 2011 at 4:13 PM #

        I don’t see a nutritionist mostly because my mom just tells me I need to eat and she isn’t going to spend money for me to figure that out. It’s a tough process, but I think I am in it this time around.

    • lifttorun May 14, 2011 at 4:11 PM #

      Thanks. You’re the best. (:

  6. Sarah May 14, 2011 at 4:29 PM #

    Most blogs make me feel like a monster when it comes to eating, but I don’t let it bother me. I really struggle to maintain weight as I’m so active- I eat over 4000 cals and I’m still underweight.
    I think its really great that youv recognised your probs and are trying to fix them- I’m really rooting for you to achieve your goal and rock that trail race!

    Mmmm, sauerkraut


  7. Jenny May 14, 2011 at 4:40 PM #

    I definitely agree with Hollie, I don’t post everything I eat just because my meals are pretty boring and no one wants to see the same chicken and veggies everyday lol Even my WIAW posts don’t include everything I eat. I just pick and choose certain meals and include those in my post. Calories vary for everyone. I’m not a runner so I don’t burn 700+ calories on my exercise. I would pack on the lbs quick with more than 2500 calories. Even when I was bulking I was gaining on 2200 calories. My maintenance isn’t very high, it just varies for everyone. I think 1800 for someone with a moderate activity level is very reasonable but for a runner no way.

  8. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate May 14, 2011 at 4:43 PM #

    Don’t read blogs that trigger you. That’s my advice.

    I eat about 3,600 cals (sometimes more and sometimes less) per day, but I’m a teenage guy that runs too much. LOL. Remember that runners need to eat more than most people. Most bloggers don’t eat enough, but maybe that works for them? Obviously it doesn’t work for you, so eat some ice cream 😉

  9. indecisiveathlete May 14, 2011 at 5:59 PM #

    I totally agree with you about Hungeryrunnergirl that she actually eats like a real athlete compared to others. And That is exactly the reason why I don’t list everything I eat. I have actually stopped reading some blogs I used to love because I found my self feeling guilty for eating more food/bigger portion sizes than them or for eating a real dessert and not just small piece of dark chocolate. Puh-lease one tiny peace of dark chocolate is not dessert. But anyway I don’t really count calories per say because I get number obsessed but I somedays I will keep a food log and right down everything that crosses my lips. This helps me judge how much I’m really eating. Plus I find counting calories to be tedious. I do factor in exercise in these logs too to kinda help gauge how much I’m burning as well.

    oh and love anything lemon poppy seed and sauerkraut mmm

  10. Ma Ma Megan May 14, 2011 at 9:04 PM #

    The comparison trap is so easy to fall into. Your right, some bloggers probably don’t eat enough and someday that will probably catch up with them. I guess you just have to realize everyones body is different. Try not to let them trigger you!
    BTW I’ve never posted everything I eat in a day – even on WIAW.

    P.s I’m so with you on sauerkraut! Its good on toast w/ avocado and paprika. Ahh so good 😀

  11. my little celebration May 14, 2011 at 9:21 PM #

    Hi Christy :D. Thanks for being open and honest on this topic. I have struggled with how many calories I should be eating too over the course of my young adult life. When I was 18 I started to cut back on calories because I gained a noticeable amount of weight due to not doing sports anymore/body changes. But when I realized I lost the weight and THEN some by being OVER-restrictive, I added more food back in. Now, I eat when I’m hungry. I don’t restrict food groups (besides sugar) or count calories. Some days I eat just enough. Other days I eat too much. RARELY do I eat too little. I just try and balance it out. But I’m definitely at a healthy weight for me. That’s usually how I find I can gauge it by: if I I gaining pounds past my healthy weight zone, then I cut back. But if I’m underweight, I make up for it by adding in healthy AND treat calories. It’s all a balance. Hope that helps!

  12. Sweet Cheeks May 15, 2011 at 7:57 AM #

    You are so right on about this topic. Although everyone is individual and has different bodies, therefore different needs, I appears on many blogs that not enough is being eaten. I definitely fell into the comparison trap when I first starting reading blogs but now I’ve realized that i am young, active, and thriving. I NEED to fuel my body with LOTS of good food. So I read the blogs I like, but take it with a “grain of salt.” I need to do whats best for my body, and that means not letting others influence me.

    You are SO active that you can definitely eat a ton…just do it and know that you are doing your body a favor. Try not to sweat it girl! ❤

  13. hippierunner May 15, 2011 at 9:08 AM #

    AHH You met Kara Goucher! How fun!

    You are right- there are a ton of blogs that show ‘everything they eat’ which turns out to be not enough. Not enough for me anyway! I don’t let myself be influenced by these because I know the smart thing to do is to fuel myself properly plus there is always so much yummy food I want to make after seeing food blogs that feature new recipes. You know what you need to do to make your dreams possible so go for it and don’t let anything hold you back! 🙂

  14. crzydjm May 15, 2011 at 1:58 PM #

    Well-said! I’m currently experimenting myself, but I’m under no illusions as to the calories-in-calories-out conspiracy. There is so much more to weight loss, maintenance and exercise than just eating less food and working out more. It’s too bad too, because the math makes sense and I wish I could fuel myself on donuts as a “carb loading” source 🙂

  15. Ada May 15, 2011 at 4:25 PM #

    I know it gets easy to fall into the comparison trap, but that’s never a good idea. Everyone has such different nutritional needs that it’s impossible to create an idealic standard of eats. I find it admirable that you are attempting to gain weight before your race. People told me that gaining weight negatively affects running performance but, after gaining TEN pounds, my running significantly IMPROVED.

  16. Tara May 15, 2011 at 7:13 PM #

    I totally understand where you are coming from. I think it’s really important for bloggers to remind everyone that they don’t post everything they eat. I probably post 1/4 of what I eat in a day! I’ve been concerned by WIAW and that’s why I never do it. Everyone needs to cater their own calorie needs. I’m trying to gain weight too, and it’s HARD as a runner. Just keep reminding yourself that this is going to benefit you in the long run. You’re going to feel uncomfortably full sometimes, and that’s PERFECTLY FINE because it’s for your health and well being. Just live your own life, and don’t try to do what someone else does or listen to the negative things others say. You are in control of your body and you will be so much better off when you get yourself on the right track!

    sorry that was really long, but I can relate so much and I am sort of in the same boat. We can do this!

  17. Amy @ countrystrong21 May 16, 2011 at 7:49 AM #

    I think the best advice is to stop reading the blogs that trigger these feelings, or if it’s only their WIAW type posts skip those.

    I hope you find what works for you. That’s the most important thing; eat for you, run for you, lift for you, do it for you!

  18. Brittany May 16, 2011 at 10:14 AM #

    I found myself doing the opposite of what you were doing, I would see bloggers eating a TON and think, well shoot I guess since I am working out a lot I should eat a TON too. Wrong, I gained weight and realized every BODY is different and you have to do what is right for YOURS. I know for me personally I don’t post every.single.thing I eat throughout the day because thats just too much, I only post the highlights and maybe that’s what other bloggers do too? Either way, just know what your body needs and try to resist the trap because I fell into it too and I don’t want to fall in again!

  19. keepnthefaith May 16, 2011 at 3:29 PM #

    I think its hard NOT to fall into the comparrison trap! I mean, especially when you have a disordered past, its almost just INGRAINED in your brain. I remember when I was deep in my disorder I would compare myself to EVERYONE, even my school teachers. It got so outrageous. We just have to remember that we can only be OURSELVES. The more we try to be someone else, the less happy we are going to find ourselves

  20. Girl May 17, 2011 at 7:18 AM #

    I’ve been struggling through a really hard time. I used to be a competitive runner (really good). I’m 31 years old now and can’t exercise at all (no running, cardio, nothing). I’m really short, but my weight is low and my body is burned out. I haven’t exercised in a long time and I only walk once per day now.
    Honestly, you are young and active…you likely need well over 3000 cals. Without activity.
    If you want to chat, send me an email.
    Its so so so so hard for me because I can’t exercise. I’m dead tired and no energy.

  21. Girl May 17, 2011 at 10:37 AM #

    P.s….reading blogs is not a good idea. Its really really made my efforts to recover worse. Like I said, I can’t exercise at all. My body won’t even absorb or digest nutrients properly anymore . Its really, really bad.

    Some other bloggers step away from blogging when they see the problems also…like , etc.

    I know of some positive blogs that might be good for you if you wanted.

    Anyway, I’m not vegetarian at all, and I don’t even exercise. I wish I could ask you for encouraagement, ha…but obviously you struggle also. You are SO young…holy crap…don’t get sucked in to this like I did.
    I compared a lot (to everyone in my life even). That was just one part of the problem (I had a host of other stuff going on too that contributed to my mess).

    • lifttorun May 17, 2011 at 6:02 PM #

      I’m totally interested in some blogs.

      • Girl May 18, 2011 at 12:39 PM #

        You can just email me and I’ll give you some links to blogs that are better influences.
        You probably should refrain from reading blogs altogether…trust me.
        BUT, if you will continue to read them (because I know they can be addicting and enjoyable at times), then I have some good suggestions that can be positive for you.

        Trust me, I’m at a really low BMI and I can’t do a thing. You don’t want to get to the level of burnout I have. I miss jogging and running so much, it hurts. A walk a day? I try to be grateful; but I have to be real and its so so hard to deal with.
        I’m hoping to inch by inch build back a body again.

      • Girl May 18, 2011 at 12:40 PM #

        Just send me an email and I’ll give you some links! They won’t show up here for some reason, when I try.

      • lifttorun May 18, 2011 at 5:55 PM #

        I e-mailed you. (:

  22. Kayla May 18, 2011 at 12:08 PM #

    I really appreciate this post! I also have been struggling with comparison eating, and I’m starting to think some food blogs just aren’t healthy to read!

    But here’s what helped ME:
    1) we can’t judge what/how much other people eat because we really DON’T and CAN’T know how active they are just from reading their blog!
    2) If a blog makes makes you feel like you’re eating too much, just stop reading! Only YOU know what you NEED and it’s too easy to fall into comparison traps!

    Love ya girl!

  23. czechvegan May 19, 2011 at 11:13 PM #

    It is really interesting post here! I feel the same sometimes when I am browsing through blogs and see the amount of food that some bloggers eat. I try to take their meals as a nice inspiration for a PART of my meals, but I often need to add something more or more snacks through the day. I post only a couple of my meals on my blog, only the ones that look at least a bit ok, but I feel I eat more and bigger portions than I often see on the internet.. I just try to be ok with it, because I eat until I am full, not over-eat, but definitely not under-eat. I counted my calorie intake once or twice and it was between 2000-2200 calories, which I think is alright. I eat probably the same amount of food for lunch and dinner and try to incorporate fat, protein plus carbs into every meal I have. And I love snacks, I snack my way through the day 🙂 It is hard not to compare yourself, we are used to compare everything from the childhood until our senior age, because we are tought that we have to do this, to see if we are better/smarter/prettier/skinnier than others… It might be ok to compare yourself sometimes, but it is important to know your own limits, your qualities, your needs and follow them.

    On a lighter note – I love sauerkraut sooo much, I could eat it all day long:)
    And I like rory culkin, he is cute, but I have always been bigger fan of kieran culkin 🙂

  24. StuckOutsideTheBox May 24, 2011 at 9:52 PM #

    I am not a huge fan of food blogs. And seriously, most of them don’t eat enough or don’t post it all. I look at pictures of their (supposedly) entire day of eats and im like… What? That is all you eat? I doubt it goes over 1000 on some things ive read, no lie.

    During swim season (about 2 hours per day including dryland) I did see a dietician and he told me I should be eating 2800-3000 per day to maintain. Even on rest days. And I am not underweight, not even close because my years of eating disorders completely screwed me up. Trust me, get out of this while you can. Especially if you’re already in a place where you need to gain weight.


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