Counselling support for eating disorders and body image.
Rethink your body
To get the freedom to live the life you want
Comparisons and self-esteem
by Harriet Frew on July 15th, 2014

  • Do you feel good about yourself today?
  • Do you feel that you fall short in any areas of your life?
  • Do you put others up on pedestals and see them as better looking; more intelligent or more capable than you?
  • Do you try to change your body to make yourself feel better? 

As a teenager and well into my twenties, my self-esteem was pretty shaky. At secondary school I was absolutely not the cool kid. I wore clumpy Clark’s shoes when white stilettos were the trend (with white socks of course!) Skirts were short and tight; shirts were long; hair was sprayed; dyed and voluminous, not in a good way! I looked with envy at my classmates for their freedom of expression; whilst simultaneously feeling too scared to rebel or stand out.  Back then, it was nothing to do with weight as I was always skinny and small as a teenager. But the comparisons with others greatly affected how I felt about myself. I was shy; a follower, not a leader. I was insecure. My worth was always calibrated in relation to those around me. Although I didn’t realise this then, it was an instant recipe for confusion, self-doubt and angst!
I grew up a bit. Externally, I became a bit cooler. Longer hair interestingly improved confidence. But then my body started to develop the curves of adolescence. I didn’t like it. I wasn’t even overweight, but I remember that it hit me out of the blue, I wanted to get thinner. Skinny was the goal.  I never thought that I would be one of the vulnerable ones when it came to concern about weight. But once on the treadmill, weight loss was suddenly a way to try and feel good; to be better at something than others; to put on the shield of thinness; perfection and escape vulnerability.
On the outside, things appeared better. On the inside, I was still the same insecure girl trying to hide it. I actually felt worse than ever. A complete fraud! Plus it wasn’t much fun restricting food. Cold, tired, shaky, food obsessed anyone?
 It took me a few more years to really grapple with the fact that.....


  • Trying to change my weight or how I looked didn’t equate with self acceptance.
  • Longing for a body shape that wasn’t realistic set me up for feeling miserable and constantly dissatisfied.  
  • Comparing myself with others was fruitless; exhausting and destructive.
  • People with good self-esteem were not always the slimmest or best looking. Confidence, charisma and self-assurance oozed from people who had this elusive feel-good factor.
  • The only way through this was to begin to accept myself, warts and all. But how to begin?

It is certainly easier to achieve this if you have had it from childhood. I believe early experiences do shape our lives. Having early nurturing and great support from the adults closest to us can reap significant benefits for the long-term in how we feel about ourselves deep down. People often mistakenly think that some trauma must have happened if you feel bad inside. But often it is the little things that add up. School experiences; comparisons with siblings; mini knocks along the way that all can contribute to how you feel about yourself.
However, I do believe that anyone can improve their self-esteem at anytime. It is about making the decision to change. It is about giving yourself permission to be the best version of you.
Little steps to feeling better about you.

  1. Stop comparing yourself with others. You are probably doing it much more than you realise. It is a waste of time and self-defeating.
  2. Pay attention to the things that you do well; that you accomplish; that you achieve every single day.  Don’t give energy to focusing on your perceived inadequacies or short comings.
  3. When you don’t achieve things; your day goes wrong; you mess up; you are still okay.
  4. Beware of social media. You are only seeing a glimpse into someone else’s life. It is NOT the whole reality.
  5. Take care of your body. Every. Single. Day.
  6. Shine brightly and be the best version of yourself. 

Be inspired. What are you going to take from this today? Be brave, be bold and post below.
If you would like to get in touch about working with me to explore some of these issues further, I would love to hear from you. I am passionate about helping you to eat all the foods you love; and feel great about your body without disordered eating or dieting.
Best wishes


Posted in Self-esteem, Body image, Thoughts, Weight    Tagged with no tags


Leave a Comment

10 lessons 10 tips 10 ways therapy can help 10 ways 12 days of christmas 20 ways to stop bingeing now 3 steps 5 things to learn 5 ways to silence inner critic 5 ways Bingeing Christma Control ELLEUK ELLE Eating Disorder Eating problem Inside Out Louise Chunn Managing emotions New Year Perfectionism Sleep Spring about counsellors action all or nothing anorexia nervosa anorexia anxiety eating anxiety assertiveness assertive beach body beautiful people behaviours being authentic being kind to self bikini body plan bikini body binge eating disorder binge eating bingeeating bite by bite body confidence body dysmorphia body image workbook body image body love body neutrality body positivity boost self-esteem breakthrough buimia bulimia nervosa bulimia cake can counselling help caring what others think cbt challenging negative thoughts change children and eating disorders children christmas clean eating cognitive behaviour therapy comfort eating comparing self to others comparing with others comparions comparisons compulsive eating compulsive exercise confidence conflict about body size connection contribution counselling criticism deception developing awareness developing healthy relationship with food dieting disordered eating does self help work dolphin early experiences eating disorder prevention eating disorders eating when hungry eatingdisorder eating elizabeth gilbert embracing change emotional eating emotions envy evening eating exhaustion expectations feelings florence and the machine florence welch food obsession food freedom with food friendship fulfilment fun geneen roth giving up dieting giving guilt habit happiness healthy eating healthy food healthy weight helpful help hope how counselling can change your life how to stop binge eating how to stop bingeing how to stop emotional eating how to stop overeating hunger identity improve body image improving body image inferior insulin iphone is your weight your worth janet treasure jealousy jellyfish joy judgement kids and eating disorders kind to body letting go lies listen to body loneliness lose control around food lose weight losing control food love body low self-esteem male body image manipulation maudsley model media meeting your needs men and eating disorders mental health mind body connection mindful eating mindfulness mirror mood mothering motivation mum ninja warrior not dieting obesity obsession with food obsession on eating orthorexia ostrich over-eating over-exercise overcoming fear overeating parenting people pleasing perfect pixar film pleasure poor body image positive preoccupation with food pressure problem psychological approach reading about eating disorders reading recovery relapse relationships resolutions restriction rest rhino role model root of problem rules about eating rules around eating sabotage saying no secret eating self awareness self conscious self esteem self help books self-acceptance self-awareness self-awarness self-care self-compassion self-confidence self-criticism self-esteem self-help book self-help self-kindness self-loathing self-love self-worth selfcare selfesteem shoulds social anxiety social eating social media and body image social media song starve stop binge eating stop bingeing stop comparisons stop dieting stopping dieting stress striving success summer support for carers support surviving Christmas susie orbach tablet television therapy things you didn't know thinking about food thinking styles thinking thinner self thin thoughts about food thoughts tips to boost self-esteem tips to love your body tips tired to my client who is struggling tv and body image ulrike schmidt undereating unkind to self validating emotions values value weighing scales weight conflict weight loss weight wellbeing what is counselling what is therapy when food is love when therapy is hard work
Counselling support for eating disorders and body image.