The Failure of False Compare

ScaleHaving recognized that the Bible does not provide any answer to the eternal question, “How much should I weigh,” we have been touring a list of potential sources of answering that question. Having explored the scale, BMI, body fat percentage, and friends, we are yet to encounter a useful source for the secret number. Today, I have a source that will surely lead us to the promised land.

Here’s how to determine your perfect weight. It’s a simple process that will require only a couple of simple tools. (I am assuming that you are male, but this process can be easily adapted to a woman with the substitution of a single tool.) Here’s how to do it.

  1. Weigh yourself on a bathroom scale.
  2. Look at a photo of a person who weighs the ideal weight. I might use this photo.
  3. If you look more fat than this person, then your ideal weight is lower than your current weight. If you look less fat than this person, then your ideal weight should be higher.
  4. Repeat this process until you look like the person in the picture. That is your ideal weight.

Is this not a path to madness? Everyone who reads this will see the folly of determining your ideal weight based on a picture from a magazine, right? Yet isn’t that what a lot of people tend to do? We compare ourselves to some unrealistic, probably airbrushed photo of a swimsuit model, professional athlete, or other incredibly buff person, and then we feel like failures when we can’t achieve their level of buffness.

Why can’t you use one of these beautiful people as your yardstick to the perfect weight?

First, you probably do not have the genetic makeup to achieve that sort of body type. There’s a reason these people wind up on magazine covers. If you can look that great, congratulations, but expecting yourself to look that great is a sure path to disappointment.

Second, even if you do have the genes, you might well not have the time to put in at the gym. As much as you might want well defined ab muscles, I am confident that no one’s ideal weight requires the “six-pack.”

Third, comparing yourself to someone else typically does not lead to good results. It might lead to envy or resentment. It might, if you choose a particularly unchallenging object for comparison, lead to underachievement: “At least I’m not as fat as Bubba!” If you’re going to emulate anyone, it should be Jesus, but we don’t know how much Jesus weighed.

Comparison, my friends, is not the answer, and it has perhaps the most troubling outcomes of any of the sources we have considered yet.