This is going to be a short one, I hope you take a couple minutes to read it, whether you agree with me or not
I think people need to be more selfish sometimes. Especially when you are trying to change your health and habits that have been established for years. You might be thinking “well you are 26 and don’t have kids, don’t tell me about being selfish when I am a mom with three kids at home that need dinner instead of me working out.” That is not what I am getting at. Trust me I understand the selflessness and sacrifices parents make. My parents were the ultimate sacrificers and gave up so much for me to be where I am at. I truly appreciate that.
But, what I am talking about is the periods in your life when you CAN be selfish, you MUST be selfish. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything and in the long run your kids won’t either.
My post workout talk with my client today revolved around this topic and his battle with “why” he was doing what he was doing seeing me once a week, working out 3 times per week on his own, tracking his calories, making sacrifices and giving up things in his life.
Quick backdrop on this client who I will leave anonymous He has been working with me for 6 months. He has absolutely crushed it. He is down over 45lbs, down over 9% bodyfat, is at a lower weight than he has been in 20 years. But, he is still struggling as he felt he could have done better. He is struggling with how he ‘expected’ to feel at this new weight he is at and what the reality is. He was expecting more confidence and just to feel “different.” We both see the physical changes no doubt, but the psychological changes, well that takes much more time. He is trying to reverse 30+ years of unhealthy habits and 6 months just isn’t enough to completely change someone’s mindset on a life. He jokingly mentioned he “doesn’t have a life” in regards to his nutrition because he still “loves to eat cheeseburgers.” I still love to eat pizza but I still think I have a life. I told him I have the life I want to be living right now. Me eating my ground turkey and rice and snap peas out of the tupperware container is what I want to be doing during the week because I feel and look the way I want to look. I have no desire to play bar league volleyball during the week. I have no desire to have a beer after work. What I told him is that he is comparing his current life to his life before his weight loss (over 100lbs total by the way…fucking bad ass), but there is nothing wrong with that because he is only starting his journey. I too have compared my life to some of my friends currently. I have some friends that are doing the bar volleyball thing, going to happy hour, not tracking macros etc because that is the life THEY want to live. I thought about my life even 3 years ago and it was nothing like it is now. In the social definition of the phrase “having a life” I had more of a “life” 3 years ago and was happy. I have a DIFFERENT life now and am just as happy. The cool thing is I have the same friends.
This brings me to my point. I am selfish. I am selfish with my nutrition, workouts and lifestyle. Partly (or mainly) it is my job to set an example But, my eating and workouts often times take priority. Not always, but a majority of the time and I am happy with that. This allows me to be the best coach and trainer I can be, which then directly helps me help my clients the best I can. I realize that in 5 years or 10 years I probably won’t be able to live exactly how I am living now, so I am taking advantage of the time while I have it. I don’t have kids, not super high work or life stress, so why not go all in on my health right now? The most interesting thing my client told me in our chat was that he is really the only one in his group of friends working hard to improve their health, lose weight, get stronger, change habits etc. This can be extremely challenging not having a social support group as I highly recommend having people to talk with who are on the same journey as you. But, at the same time he can’t expect to change his friends and if he doesn’t want to drop them because they are truly close friends he has one option. In order to be the best and healthiest version of himself he must be selfish. Not arrogant. Not bragging or boastful. Not rubbing it the faces of his friends or family. But INTERNALLY SELFISH. He must worry about himself. He must do his own thing. “Do you,” is a good way to describe this. I see nothing wrong with that. If they choose to follow him and support him all the better and I hope for that with all my clients. He said his life stress isn’t bad right now, so in my opinion what he as been doing changing his “life” was at the perfect time. I went on to tell him that I am for the most part the healthiest eater and most consistent exerciser in my group of friends. I personally enjoy that feeling, not to be arrogant, but simply for the fact that it gives me balance in my life. When I see my buddies on the weekend it is my time to relax, not talk about nutrition and have some beer. It is the balance I need because I am pretty selfish the rest of the week. I could care less if my friends work out, or meal prep or track their macros. They are my friends because they were my friends before I became a trainer and nutrition coach. Their view on me “not having a life?” Well, I don’t really care because what I am doing is what works for me
Look doing this lifestyle change thing alone isn’t easy and I don’t recommend it. But, sometimes weight loss and improving your health is a very selfish game where you will be alone. Often times the only way to be successful is to be selfish for some period of time until you reach your goal or a level you are happy maintaining. If you are parent or caretaker and your exsistence at this moment on Earth is to raise your kids or be there for your ill mother, then being selfish probably isn’t the best idea. But, when the time comes in your life where you have time to focus on yourself I urge you to go all in and be selfish about YOU because you never know when there will be another time.