Thursday, September 11, 2014

Liberating and Empowering - Part III

"I was doing this for ME."

That's what I wrote at the end of my post yesterday.

I'm going to eat what I want.
I'm going to do what I want.
I'm not going to do anything I don't want to do.

Me. Me. Me. I. I. I.

Selfish isn't it? Or is it?

Do you think it's selfish to put yourself first?
Do you think that finding time to exercise and eliminating certain foods from your diet is a selfish thing to do?

I spent many, many years putting myself last. Everyone else was ahead of me. I didn't want to upset anyone or make them uncomfortable. I went along with what they wanted.

After all, when you go have the low self-esteem and low self-confidence that usually accompanies a large waistline, the last thing you want to do is ostracize yourself by putting yourself first.

So you eat with your friends. You skip your workout to socialize. You indulge your host by eating just one more. I show a carefree attitude and eat the third/fourth/fifth slice of pizza … and at the end of the night you can go home having had a ton of laughs and a great time … until you step on the scale the next morning and feel like shit because once again you didn't show discipline, and the number on the scale shows it all. The clothes that may feel just a bit too clingy remind you of it the whole day. You're in a bad mood. You can't concentrate at work. Your friends/colleagues ask you what's wrong and you snap because you really have nobody else to blame but yourself … It just feels crappy.

Perhaps this will sound like an exaggeration to some people, but I know that I definitely felt like this on more than one occasion.

Let's look at the 'selfish' scenario.

I say no thank you to the pizza and drink water all night. I want to laugh with my friends, but I'm actually feeling a bit resentful that they can enjoy themselves and not worry. Still, I soldier on. I continue this for a week and I start to get used to the detox from processed foods and sugar. I feel more energetic and boy does it feel great to see the numbers dropping on the scale. The extra energy helps me with my workout so I've an extra spring in my step. My clothes are getting a bit loose, I'm starting to see the positive effect of sticking to the changes I decided to make and I'm proud of myself. I'm happy with what I'm accomplishing -- I am focused at work, I am cheerful around friends/colleagues and I am eager to keep this euphoria going … so I continue.

Does this sound like an exaggeration too? Perhaps, but it accurately describes my experience.

Taking that first step to decide you want to make a change and then following through can be scary. It's all new territory. If you worry about what others will think and say, then it is only adding further pressure to an already daunting task.

It's ok to say No. It's ok to be 'selfish.' You need to be selfish if you really want to make a difference. The most important thing to remember is that this selfishness is temporary.

The beginning of any journey is always challenging. The differences you want to see and feel will not happen overnight. I've found that the resentment and frustrating comes a lot sooner - and lasts much longer than you'd like - than that happy spring in your step. The thing is, if you don't go through that tough struggle in the beginning, you won't get to that happy place.

A bit of struggle is part of the process.

A bit of selfishness is an essential ingredient.

Once you find your groove, things really will fall into place. The happiness and energy that you will get from the empowering feeling of knowing you've been disciplined - and it is paying off - will be contagious.

People will come around. They really will. And if they don't? Well, that's another benefit of feeling empowered -- you won't care. You'll realize how important it is to have supportive people around you. They're the ones that will continue to encourage you. They're the ones that will want you to continue to work to be the best that you can be -- and you'll see, sometimes that will mean encouraging you to be selfish!

Now I have friends who will ask me - Are you sure you want to eat that?
I know that they will ask me that because they know how hard I've worked and how tough it has been … plus I've given my friends permission to smack me if they see me going off track and regaining the weight I worked so hard to lose.

Take a chance. Put yourself first. You'll find that the positivity you gain from finally doing the things you've always wanted to do will spread to others around you. You'll feel liberated that you're not trapping yourself in the expectations of others. You will feel empowered knowing that you can help yourself and go on to help others.

Go on. Be selfish.


  1. I am a HUGE fan of taking care of yourself first.
    It's the only way you will good enough to do the BEST tpe of help in the long run!!

    Thanks for talking about that, totally LOVE it!

  2. Totally relate to this post. When I chose to start to get healthy, I did feel super selfish having "half" the slice of cake at a party, or drinking water rather than drinking alcohol. But just like your example, I realized how much better I felt the next day.

    1. I think it takes a bit of practice before you can get the hang of being selfish ;) and then you realize how your happiness spreads to others and makes it all worthwhile!

  3. Hi A, I never really think of you as a "selfish" type of person. Putting yourself in high priority just means that you are 100% for the rest of life. That means you can help more people in a better quality way. :-)

    1. Hi Marion. Thanks. I'm glad that I've come around to understanding the benefits of putting myself first, particularly in how much more giving I can be towards others.

  4. I'm a mom and it's hard to think of putting myself first. My children are my first priority, but what good am I to my family if I'm not happy and healthy?

    I've enjoyed this series of posts.

    1. I'm sure it can be challenging when thinking of your kids, but a healthy and happy you will definitely have a positive impact on them too :)

  5. Putting yourself first all the time is selfish. What you are doing, taking care of yourself first, is not! It makes you a much better person for yourself and everyone you are around.


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I can use all the support I can get :)