Thursday, August 6, 2009

Selfish is the New Selfless

I am notorious for giving you advice that you already know, but today I’m going to let you in on a weight loss secret that may have eluded you thus far on your journey, and it is this: you need to be more selfish.

I know, I know. Last week, I was telling you to be more giving and more caring. What can I say? I’m a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, engulfed in a riddle, stuffed inside a taffy wrapper.

But I do have a point: to achieve any meaningful success on this fretful weight loss adventure, sometimes you just have to make yourself THE top priority.

You have to grocery shop for what you need, not what the kids like. My kids wailed like little banshees when I quit buying cookies, chips and sodas. They can get away with having some of that stuff… but I can’t. And here’s the thing: why not help them understand now nutritionally poor those choices are now instead of making them learn it like we have… the hard way?

You need to carve out time in your too-busy schedule to exercise, even if it comes at the expense of helping a neighbor or running a load of laundry.

If you’re working 12-hour days, something’s gotta give. Ask for assistance, beg for help. We–your blogging companions–can give you support, we can give you advice. Sometimes we can even give you inspiration, but the one thing none of us can give you is more time. You’ve got to make that for yourself.

If I know you (and though we’ve never met, I feel like I know you like a sibling), you spend a lot of your day doing for others. That’s important, to be sure, but please make sure you don’t do for others at the expense of doing for yourself. Especially in this, your hour of need.

You need to do this for yourself, because nobody else can do it for you.

And here’s the thing (and it’s a pretty evil twist when you stop to think about it): you have been selfish in all the wrong ways.

Selfishly letting lethargy and convenience sap your energy and drive, making your life less than it could be, less than it should be.

Selfishly ignoring your body’s needs and your heart’s desires.

Selfishly putting off what you knew you needed to do.

You know it, and you know how to do it. There are a lot of reasons why you haven’t done it already, but selfishness has to be included in that list.

I can’t tell you the specific steps you, as an individual, need to take to set your journey on the track for success. I will just say that prioritizing it, focusing on it and, yes, getting a little big selfish with it can help get you there sooner.

Speaking of selfish, I almost went this entire post without providing your obligatory joke. My bad...

A Mom is driving her little girl to her friend's house for a play date.

“Mommy,” the little girl asks, “how old are you?”

“Honey, you're not supposed to ask a lady her age,” the mother scolds. “It's just not polite.”

“OK,” the little girl says. “How much do you weigh?”

“Now really,” the mother replies. “These are personal questions and are really none of your business.”

Undaunted, the little girl asks, “Why did you and daddy get a divorce?”

“Honestly! That's enough questions!” The exasperated mother walks away as the two friends begin to play.

“My Mom wouldn't tell me anything,” the little girl says to her friend.

“Well,” the friend tells her. “All you need to do is look at her drivers license. It is like a report card–it's got everything on it.”

Later that night the little girl approachesher mother, “I know how old you are: you're 32.”

Surprised, the mom asks, “How'd you find that out?”

“I also know you weigh 140 pounds.”

The mother is past surprise and shock now. "How in heavens name did you find that out?"”

“And,” the little girl says triumphantly, “I know why you and daddy got a divorce.”

“Oh really?" the mother asks. “Why?”

“Because you got an F in sex.”


  1. My kids forced me into buying Apple Jacks and Honey Buns this week. I ain't doing it anymore it! It's a bunch of crap food that they inhale in 24 hours, then they come back seeking more. From now on, you get Frosted Mini Wheats or Honey Nut cheerios, or you get NOTHING! (I feel free now. thank you.)

  2. Damn right being selfish helps! Personally, I'm now going to be a bit late to girls night each week so I can go run with brand new, shiny running club first!

  3. Shhh, but the posts where you get serious are totally my favorites.

    One of contradictions of the world (or alternatively, part of the beauty of capitalism) is that doing the thing that's best for you is very often the best thing you can do for everyone else.

    Sure, it's selfish to drop the kids off at daycare so you can go workout, but as Jack says, it's the right type of selfish. In the larger world, you might see this as inventing something wonderful to make yourself rich: selfish, but everyone benefits.

    I think with activities that are that right type of selfish, you can use either the selfish or selfless (or both) results as part of your motivation.

    On the whole, very nice post, Jack. If anyone hasn't you may want to go check out this post of Jo's on 282.5: I think it touches on a lot of the same themes, and the two complement each other nicely.

  4. LOL!! Love the joke. And, good inspiration. I actually have written quite a bit on getting the whole family involved in the weight loss/weight maintance journey on my blog here:

    In addition to trying to improve their food choices, I also work extra hard to get the kids moving. I now take them hiking, skiing, skating, etc.

    A family that moves together, stays thin and healthy together.

  5. Great post Mr. Sh*t. I whole heartly agree!

  6. My boys took about two weeks to get over their 'junk food highs'. Now they like the new healthy foods.....except chicken. They are really tired of grilled chicken...Oh well! Can't win them all!

    Great post :)

  7. I'm gonna print this and show it to my mother - Jack Sh*t says I can be selfish and it's okay! When I am selfish, I tend to succeed in weight loss. And yes, my kids wailed like injured animals when I stopped buying cookies and pop-tarts, but they got over it. They'll thank me one day...

  8. I agree, it's tough being selfish but the more you do it the less you feel guilty about saying No to others and Yes to you!

    and snacks, my bf has to keep his in his office in a cabinet. the key: he has to buy them himself. and it's usually empty!

  9. Being selfish feels weird at first, but it quickly became routine. Now I'm just a shameless nag and a downer when we go to the grocery store and restaurants. I fit in that role quite comfortably. At least it'll prevent the hubs from hitting the 300's before he's 40.

  10. You're right on, Jack.

    For me it meant a different job so I could sleep and take care of me for a change--not helping other people in the same way I used to, but still helping. But I'm far healthier and will be alive to help a lot longer, so I figure it's a wash in the end.

  11. You have a way of saying exactly what I'm thinking. Good selfish and bad selfish. Good: doing what's right to get healthier
    Bad: Not doing what's right to get healthier.

    Thank you for another wonderful post my friend.

    Where do I send the royalty checks for the fridge idea? I'm looking into that actually.

  12. Some people are allergic to shell fish.

    Seriously, I am sure it is only now that I live alone that I can finally make myself a priority, up til now it has been all about everybody else. And food shut me up from complaining.

    For some reason I fancy sea food now..

  13. Nothing to say here but "Amen!"

    But I said it emphatically.

  14. Interesting, on my birthday, I wrote about going back to the terrible twos, and it has a vauge echo of what you were talking about, so... ME! MINE!


  15. I try to be more selfish I really do. The older I get the easier it is.

  16. Good joke!

    You are so on point with this post. As a mom, I am full of guilt every time I pass the cookies at the store or go to the gym at night. I leave my hubby with the kids to fend for themselves 2 nights a week and on the weekend so I can work out. They look so sad when I leave! But I know I HAVE to go. It's not a choice for me anymore, and I also know that I'm showing them to make exercise a priority in their lives as well.

  17. Too true! Being a doormat gets you nowhere!

  18. That is my motto: My needs come first!

    So "Sorry, I can't go out tonight because I have to hit the gym tomorrow morning" has become my favorite saying!

  19. good points...excellent joke...I was glad to send the joke on to my brother..he has 3 he tells every time I see him.

  20. Way too cute joke!!!

    And yes, you are so right! You need to be selfish at times! Women are notorious for putting others first. BUT, at some point you have to put yourself first & especially in this journey!

    My hubby & I eat differently but I do what is right for me. I have always worked out when it was right for me (once I got started). I have just made it my priority & that is what has to be done! Great post!

  21. Tending to myself allows me to give more to others. Being selfish in the right ways is more productive, me thinks. Now I have to go kick Husband out of my workout space. I gave him an extra hour ... enough.

  22. All of my adult life (and prob even before then) I have always done for everyone else, put their needs first. Thats what your supposed to do as a mother right? But my children are the ones who told me that I need to start doing for myself......and so I am. I only receive encouragement from inside and outside the home, so if I fail....its all on my shoulders. But Im NOT failing, I am making this "all about me" and they are giving me the space and time to do it.
    Great post Jack! And I love the joke!!

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Great post (and joke), Jack! It really annoys me when people say they have to keep crap in their house for their kids. No, you don't! YOU control the money. YOU control the grocery shopping. And YOU control what they eat (at least at home). So why in the world would somebody try to say that they HAVE to have junk in the house because their kids want it. Bullshit! Like you said, do your kids a favor and give them healthy foods so they don't end up becoming overweight as well. *steps off soapbox*

  25. Damn you are reading my mind again...I need to get more selfish :D Great joke!

  26. I do all the cooking and grocery shopping for my roommate and I. Since I started losing the weight 7 short weeks ago, he has informed me that he now prefers brown rice over white rice, ground turkey breast over ground beef, and he keeps stealing my damn whole wheat sandwich thins instead of eating his white bread!!!

  27. New reader stopping in to say that I adore your blog! I've been lurking for a little while but today's is just TOO good to remain quiet. Thanks for all you do on this blog.

  28. oh big brother jack, you are so right... i will act just a tad more selfishly tomorrow and see how it goes. i think you're on to something.

  29. This was a problem for me before may 4th of this year. That is when I looked in a mirror and said, you know what all my martyrdom has accomplished. A mom too pooped to pop, that's what. I was fat, unhappy, tired and unable and unwilling to go places and try things. I wasn't cheating just myself, I was cheating my whole family while calling myself a 'good mom'. HEY GOOD MOM, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OR SOMEDAY YOUR KIDS WILL ONLY HAVE A DEAD MOM. Sorry, but that is how loud the universe had to scream it before I heard it. Good post, and good joke.

  30. When I started getting selfish, everyone around seemed to get happier. Maybe it was just me. :-)

  31. The joke was funny but the message in the post is a good one. I'm finally learning that it's not really being selfish, it's being self-caring.

    And I like what Patty said :D

  32. When I was in the 4th grade, a kid in my class got up in front of the classroom and told that joke to everyone. The teacher was so pissed, she walked us all to lunch and dropped him off at the principal's office personally along the way. HA! Thanks for making me remember that :)

    And yes, I think I need to change my version of selfishness... from fast-food-binging selfishness to "leave me alone for my worky-outy ME TIME." I'm learning to love that hour each day :)

  33. Everyone needs to make time for themselves in their schedule. For too many years I took care of everyone else's needs, and ignored my own. Now, I make sure that everyday I do something JUST FOR ME.

  34. Loved the joke but even more I loved the words of wisdom! Now, want to come out and watch my 3 year old a few afternoons a week so I can selfishly go workout? :)

  35. I suppose you're right about the working. Working has been my "thing," maybe up till now.

  36. you made me smile.
    huge achievement for today. let me assure you...



Related Posts with Thumbnails