I have a potentially inordinate number of interactions inside the walls of a grocery stores. Not even a particular grocery store, just, at grocery stores. I suppose this correlates directly with the number of grocery stores that I visit each week, and therefore the amount of time I spend inside of these establishments. Real talk, though, it’s not unheard of to stop at 5 different grocery stores in the span of a week.
Hi. My name is Stephanie, and I am addicted to grocery shopping.
Sometimes these interactions are positive- like a few days ago when an old man who spoke almost no English and I had a conversation about how “healthy” I was as we carefully chose our broccoli, followed moments later by bumping into a friend who I had not seen in a long while who kindly complimented my most recent blog post, or when another older man popped his head into the protein bar aisle as I searched wrappers fervently for the macro breakdown I wanted, simply to tell me I was perfect, and he’d never seen anyone like me before. Ok the last one sounds creepy, but I assure you, it was not a weird interaction, and it didn’t even leave my feminist bone tingling like such a comment might have.
But if I’m honest, many of the interactions are not as lovely. This might be because I do almost all of my grocery shopping just moments after leaving the gym, and often then have quite a pump, and am wearing my gym clothes- shorts or leggings, generally a stringer, and always headphones. The headphones are for three reasons: 1) to limit the number of interactions. Someone really has to want to get my attention and indicate it purposefully for me to remove an ear bud. 2) people whistle in stores. What the actual fuck. Why on earth would you think this is a socially acceptable thing to do? 3) I literally can not stand to hear children crying in stores. Sorry/not sorry to all the parents out there letting your child wail like a fucking banshee in stores, but you’re incredibly rude, both to other customers and to your child, for allowing this to occur. I’ve left stores, cart right in the aisle, because this sound is so grating to me. My misophonia absolutely cannot handle it and I will have a full on panic attack within just a few minutes.
Not the point. Ok sorry.
I recently popped into one of my regular stores, but a different location than normal, to buy chicken breasts. You better believe I’m reading those flyers every week- hell if I’m paying more than $1.99/lb for chicken breasts, but you know I’m stocking up when they hit $1.77/lb. Fill the freezer!!! (Be sad when you get home and realize they are the terrifying Godzilla chicken breasts, weighing in at 22 ounces each. THAT’S. TERRIFYING.)
As I adjusted my headphones, walking in to the building, I had to sort of turn sideways for a step or two to avoid the young man collecting carts as he added to his stack. He made gestures to get my attention. *sigh* alright, I’ll cave. (Sometimes I am a dick and pretend not to have seen, but I had had a good lifting day and obliged). I remove a headphone, and he, all of 19 years old, maybe, tall and thin, says,
“I’m so jealous of your muscles.”
To be fair, I had a sick felt pump and was wearing a chopped up shirt, with my lats hanging out the sides, all engorged, looking like a cobra after some wicked lateral raises and lat pulldowns. I was looking sick, and we all now when you feel amazing like that, you strut a little bit, so it’s not absurd that he noticed me.
I half-laughed, as he continued. “Man, I’m so jealous. What’s your secret? I can’t get bigger no matter what.” I replied, kindly, that I made sure to eat enough and hit the gym 3-5 days each week, focusing on building strength, and told him there was no secret magic to it, it was about time commitment. Well, I should have know that shit was not going to fly. People never want to hear that they simply aren’t trying. Remember last year when a woman at the gym bullied me and called me crazy after fawning over my physique? Should’ve seen this coming. I told him that, being as we live in a world of never-ending easy calories, there’s no excuse for not consuming enough. He dribbled out words like fast metabolism, words I’m sure he has no actual idea of the meaning of, or the actual effect of. I asked him how much time he was putting in in the gym, to which he replied, unsurprisingly, that he was putting in none, but could do 3 pull-ups, but very few push-ups. And then continued, continued, continued, to spew this word: jealous. JEALOUS. JEALOUS. He just couldn’t stop this word from falling out of his mouth. Everything I said was met with an argument and quickly followed with this word.
Realizing I was fighting a losing battle, I disentangled myself from the pointless and frustrating conversation, replaced my headphones, and made a beeline for those protein boobies.
Jealousy is possibly the least productive reaction a person can have, in a situation like this. Jealousy should be reserved for things you can’t reasonably have. Be jealous of that guy driving his Bugatti, ain’t nobody reasonably affording that. But jealous of… my delts? No, that’s absurd. Particularly when you aren’t doing anything to get your own. Jealousy was grossly misplaced in this situation, and so easily rectified, too. Now, if he had said, “man, I’m putting in 4 days a week, can’t build anything,” I’d have been a bit more understanding, and offered one or two of my favorite shoulder building exercises. But he had no right to be jealous of the work that I had put in, when it was so, so easily within his grasp. Once again, no magical solutions, no fancy supplements, no super secret Thing-You-Must-Try. Just. Hard. Work. No jealousy required, only effort.
- Weight loss. Jealous of a friend’s success? Well, compare your approaches. Are they simply putting in the effort where you are not, hitting the gym, weighing their food, making wise decisions during happy hour (ahem, I’m looking at you, chips and salsa. I’ll sit over at the other end of the table, you drug-laced bastards)?
- Strength gain. Find yourself drooling over IPF squat videos on YouTube? Take a look at your programming. Is it honestly set up to help you make progress, or are you just fluffing around in the gym using some generic plan you printed off of bodybuilding.com or Pinterest?
- Gaining muscle mass. Starting to think that you’ll never look like you even lift? Well, have you been eating at a deficit, or at maintenance for an extended amount of time? Is your programming putting sufficient strain on your muscles to force them into growing?
Jealousy serves no purpose other than to make you feel bad. YOU are making you feel bad! That’s terrible! Why would you treat yourself so poorly?!
So forget being jealous. Focus on goals. You see something you like? Make it happen. Set yourself some goals, and a specific plan to reach them. Take ownership of your actions, and the results thereof. Want bigger delts? Looks like more shoulder work in the gym, and increasing calories. Wear tank tops on upper body days so when you look in the mirror as you lift you can see those delts working, and be reminded, “this is what I’m here for.” Take flexing selfies and compare them. Post that shit on Instagram shamelessly, and be proud of the work you’re putting in. Forget jealousy, forget putting yourself through that negativity, and focus on doing things to make those changes.
No jealousy. Only effort. If you want something, make it happen, because nobody else is going to, and nobody else can. It’s all you, darling. Make it happen.