Comparison is the thief of Joy

August 21, 2013

August 20, 2013

I read every comment people post on my sites and pages.

It may not seem like it as I get many, but I always remember suggestions, stories and encouraging words. Most recently I posted a picture my eldest son took while at a photoshoot this previous weekend. I mentioned how my dedication to this shoot was lackluster compared to my efforts in the past. I didn’t wake early to perform cardio. I didn’t cut carbs. I didn’t discipline my craving when I wanted some dark chocolate or sweet potato chips. My daily menu didn’t consist of boring chicken breast and broccoli in Tupperware containers. My routine was sporadic, chaotic and often unpredictable. My moods were often high strung as a result of my failed DVD efforts and fluctuations in my carehome businesses.  

I didn’t feel like I brought my A-game that day.

So I posted my picture on Instagram and scrolled through the oncoming comments – one comment caught my attention and made me stop and think…. @fitrunnerchick wrote, “I can relate with what you just said. It’s hard to sustain the ‘perfect’ version of ourselves 365 days a year.”


That’s how I feel. I feel like sometimes I’m on point with my life goals: with eating clean, training hard, keeping a steady routine and being void of any life stress. Most of the time I don’t feel that way. I struggle to make all my priorities manageable in the 18 awake hours I have daily. I’m constantly measuring opportunity costs throughout the day. I ask myself –

Is it more beneficial for me to fall asleep with my youngest at 9:30pm (because I put him to sleep) or get up and clean the house and finish payroll?

Should I run a few errands on my way home with the boys or should I get home asap so the baby can get his noon nap timely?

If I exercise at this odd time, what time should I eat before I get too hungry or  too full during/before my workout?

Just this morning I woke up at 6:30am to finish paperwork, run 2 miles and get the boys ready and fed before 8:15am.  I put in a quick glute training at the gym before leading my mom-me fit club at the park at 10:00am. I had to leave after 30-minutes for a meeting at my carehome at 11:00am. As soon as it was finished, my sister picked me up to drive to San Francisco to see my sister’s wedding dress fitting.  When I arrived home from a 5-hour trip of dress fitting, texting and emailing, I prepared dinner, bathed the boys, cleaned the house, completed more paperwork and wondered, again, what was the opportunity cost of staying up a little longer to write this journal entry.

It may not seem like I have much down time, but I am certainly forced to have it when I’m laying with my youngest and encouraging him to go ‘nite nite’ or sitting in a car, waiting to get to my destination. These are the moments when I scroll through my Facebook comments, view all my friends updates and envy the ‘fit’ female bodies seen on Instagram.

It is often said that “Comparison is the thief of Joy”.  It robs people from seeing their own value and personal progress. It’s a natural part of who we are – obviously. We don’t know we are short unless someone is taller than us. We don’t know we are poor, until someone is richer than us.  The other day, I didn’t realize how ‘unfit’ I seemingly was, until I viewed all these online images of extremely fit women.

I didn’t take into consideration that most of them didn’t have kids, were sponsored athletes or professional bikini competitors. I didn’t research if they had a demanding job or was closing in on their mid-thirties. Yet even if they did have/not have all that, I didn’t think about my daily efforts, which was truly the only thing I should’ve thought about. I didn’t think about the 2 miles I did run despite only having 30 minutes to leave the house or eating well most of the time despite cooking for a family of five and attending 3 events in one week.

I didn’t consider that my A-game has changed since I was a young 20-year-old girl who worked in a gym environment, had no children, lived by myself and could dictate my daily schedule. My ‘perfect’ version of myself is what works for my life 365 days a year. This includes a few glasses of red wine, a handful of dark chocolate, a couple nights of little sleep and a day (or three) filled with some stressful energy. I may not have a rock hard six-pack or separation in my leg muscles. I may have some lingering pockets of fat around my lower back and bra strap.

I may not represent the 2% of women in magazines who live and breathe their job to be fit, but I proudly represent the 98% of women who try the best they can living in the daily demands of work, children, friendship and marriage.

My body reflects  a woman who is balancing herself to be in her best shape 365 days a year…not just for a photoshoot or contest – but for my sanity, my energy, my confidence and my health.



At my photoshoot on Saturday…photo taken by my eldest son.

Goofing around with my sister on the way to SF. (her hubby drove us)


  • Reply jen October 15, 2013 at 1:17 am

    You look incredibly fit. There’s a difference between being healthy and obsessive. Be happy you’re not obsessive and have a mixed life. Working out regularly is good… freaking out if one can’t (which I have done before, I have to admit. 🙂 ) means I need to work on my insides as much as my outsides. I’ve also learned that it’s okay to be sleepy, sleep is just as important to our health as eating, exercise, etc. 🙂

  • Reply Ted October 15, 2013 at 6:52 am

    You made the news, so I checked out the story and your page. Very well done and decorated, and you sound like a very active woman and mother!

  • Reply Lezioni October 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I think your eldest son is better than a professional photografer ;)…very nice you’re in the picture!…

  • Reply Lisa October 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Maria, I came to your site as a result of reading a post on a social media site about the criticism of some of your photos. Having been on a journey of life transformation for the past year, I wanted to see how you ‘do it.’ I see now that like many working mothers, you set goals that are attainable and some that are a stretch and you work toward them. There is no magic key for how to succeed at life. Thanks for being an example of that. People are where they are and do/say what they do based on their truth. I like that you are your best YOU. Carry on Soldier Princess!

  • Reply Andrea Hatch October 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Maria, I came to your site due to your photo going viral and heard about it on the news. I am ANNOYED. Why? Because I don’t understand the hatred towards it. I may not be a mother, but I am a 22 year old Veterinary Assistant, a mother to a cat and two Yorkies who I am currently trying to train, and a student trying to become license. I am either hitting the books hard or at work and feel like I never find time to hit the gym. However, your photo came off to me as INSPIRATIONAL and forced me to throw my excuses in the garbage. Thank you for that, I hope I can become the girl everyone else envies too. Because that’s what the people being negative are-envious. There are truly reasons it may be difficult, but you aren’t prodding at them, but the people who needed the help and push to just get out and do it! THANK YOU!

  • Reply Jo K October 16, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    You go girl! I saw your Facebook apology and I truly think it’s completely unecessary! I fail to see how anyone could possibly be offended. Instead, I’m completely inspired by your picture. As of today, I am going to begin my own journey. I’m a couple of days and ten years from being 60 and although I certainly hope it doesn’t take me that long, I hope to be what your goal at 60 is!

    Can’t wait to follow your journey and I’m sure I will continue to be inspired.


    • Reply anne October 23, 2013 at 4:01 am

      Seriously! I agree! How do people not get it?! Ugh!

  • Reply Roslynn October 16, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    You are the 2%.

  • Reply nicole messina October 16, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Please!! Tell me how you did it? I have 4 children 2 year old 5 year old a 22 year old and a 24 year old. I want to get rid of my stomache but I dont have the motivation. lease help me out hee on what I should be eating for breakfast lunch and dinner. I am presently not sexually active so im not burning many calories and weigh 145lbs. I want to get back to 120-125lbs. Look forward to a response. Thanks!

  • Reply Joe Z. October 17, 2013 at 5:04 am

    I saw your story on the news the other night. I had the volume down when your picture flashed across the screen and I immediately thought that is was about some 19 year old Playboy playmate. I was really amazed that you had 3 young children and were in such great shape. I was also amazed at the harsh criticism you received. Just remember people criticize you if you’re fat or in shape. I’d rather be in shape! Great job, keep it up! You’re beautiful.

  • Reply Colleen October 17, 2013 at 10:03 am

    People always tear me down about my fitness. Even seemingly harmless comments, hurt, “Oh, like you need to worry about what you eat.” Really, I do, that’s why I’m a size 2. I fight genetics, I fight my sweets addiction, I am constantly fighting to reach my next goal. To push myself further. I find much of it is rooted in jealousy. Don’t let them get you down! You’re not alone!

  • Reply Michelle Findley October 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I love that picture and your message!!! I’m a fit mom and everyone says to me, “you don’t even look like you’ve had kids.” Why is having kids a reason to be overweight and out of shape?! Don’t let these critics bother you. Of course women will criticize you, it’s hard for people to face the truth that they could be healthier if they got rid of their excuses. Thank you for motivating me to work out today!

  • Reply Nicci October 17, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    “It is often said that “Comparison is the thief of Joy”. It robs people from seeing their own value and personal progress. It’s a natural part of who we are – obviously. We don’t know we are short unless someone is taller than us. We don’t know we are poor, until someone is richer than us. The other day, I didn’t realize how ‘unfit’ I seemingly was, until I viewed all these online images of extremely fit women.”

    I think this is quite ironic in light of the backlash you have received against your “What’s Your Excuse?” image, which prompts busy mothers to compare themselves to your “extremely fit” self.

  • Reply bill October 17, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Don’t let the bastards get you down. Keep fighting. Keep staying in shape. Keep being a model for others. Thanks for all you do….

  • Reply tom October 19, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    You are beautiful, and doing the right things. You are a success. Don’t let those envious of you slow you down.

  • Reply Bridgett October 19, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I love your shape but jealous in a good way. I had the gastric bypass got sick and took meds that made you gain weight for 8 years. I was 125 and now 186 at 5 feet tall. I just have no motivation and self-esteem is low. When I was small I was happy.Now I hate shopping, going outside, have become a recluse. So. you look good . If, they write hateful things it equal to jealousy.

  • Reply Michelle October 19, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Then why do you want people to compare themselves to you? It’s not enough that women get judged on their looks on a daily basis by others you had to come out fat-shaming mothers who don’t look like you. There’s a saying, “don’t judge my progress by someone’s end result”, but that’s exactly what your poster conveys. You are judging other compared to how close to your fitness level they are. “I have three kids and I look like this [what’s your excuse for looking the way you do with 1, 2, etc kids]”. Not everyone is as big of fitness enthusiast as you are. I work out every night after my daughter goes to bed. I’m not trying to win any fitness competitions, nor am I training to do such, but as a mother my progress will be judged against your end result after this media hoopla. You are severely vain and lack humility. You once were a “fatty”, but now have a rockin’ “fitness competitor’s body”, but you want other mom’s to be judged by how they look in comparison with you.

  • Reply Russell October 20, 2013 at 12:58 am

    great job with everything , you have great marketing skills . a strong heart and good spirit . Reading what you said was a wake up call for me to get healthy and have better balance in my life

  • Reply Akos Fintor October 20, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Agreed. All unhappiness is based on comparison.

  • Reply Milky October 20, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    It is very interesting that being a mother of three sons and a very busy woman you have kept yourself so attractive. it is praiseworthy. i want to be like you. if you can please give some tips.

  • Reply Cindy October 21, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Please just be grateful for your genetics and let’s just be honest here. You are Filipina. I am too and you and I both know that is the main reason we look fit. I look almost as good as you and I don’t even have to work that hard at it. Although tempting, I can’t take credit for how good I look. I have some good genes. People who workout and eat 20 times better just can’t look like me but they are healthier on the inside. They can run a marathon and I can’t. They will live longer because they don’t have the breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease ridden genes that I have. God bless.

  • Reply THEOTOKOS TOTUM October 21, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists….

  • Reply Christine October 24, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    This article was a great read for me. And perfect timing. I’m about to go visit my family and I have a sister extremely critical about body sizes. She was anorexic and lost all her weight. At home I feel insecure. I’m not fat but not skinny. This helps me to remember I’m healthy and successful and that’s what should matter to me. She’s not even allowed to exercise but I I’m running 5ks. There’s a lot more to health than the size of your jeans.

  • Reply Sarah October 28, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    I just want to tell you, you inspired me to get fit and eat healthier. Ignore the haters because they are just jealous of you and your success. You are such an amazing person and a good role model….:)

  • Reply Opal lover November 2, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Oh my goodness that was the harshest thing I have read in a while. I am honestly repulsed by your perspective. I cannot see how you could possibly be serious. You are obvious the one who needs some ‘work’ (though we all do)… Please love yourself more. Send positive energy out into the world, for you and for the rest of us.

  • Reply john zingalie November 23, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    I would like 2 talk with her and tell her i. Think. She is. A great women. And mother and i hope she keeps up her good work she is amazing

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