How Selfish Are You?

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

“You have to put yourself first.” I hear this phrase a lot at Weight Watchers when the instructor is talking about losing weight. Every time it is said, I see one or two heads shake involuntarily. I think to myself, “Lost that one.” Sure enough, that person is gone within a few weeks. Attrition is high in all weight loss programs, but that is one moment that I can track as an observer.

The reason that the phrase, “You have to put yourself first,” sends people running is because it goes against what a lot of people have been taught and believe. Steve Pavlina talks about Selfishness vs. Selflessness on his motivational weblog.

Instead of service to self and service to others being in conflict, he states that we should do everything that we can to keep them in balance. Yes, you need to take care of yourself. Yes, you need to help others. They are both true. Living your life so that you get a little bit of both will boost your happiness.

The reason why the phrase, “You have to put yourself first” is so popular in the weight loss culture is that it is obvious that our lives are not in balance. If we were serving others and serving ourselves in balance, we wouldn’t be searching for the answers at Weight Watchers (or Starling Fitness). The speakers assume that we aren’t putting ourselves first and give us the advice that has worked for some, “Put yourself first.”

Ironically, my life WAS out of balance. I wasn’t spending all my time taking care of my family or work needs. I was out of balance the other way. I was so worried about my needs and that I would be hungry. I only thought about myself when I tried to lose weight. When I started being involved with the Weight Watchers community (talking to other members, answering questions, bringing in cool ideas that I had found) I flourished with my weight loss. Helping other people with their weight loss issues helped me far more than concentrating on myself.

Evaluate your weight loss progress. Do you need more time alone? Do you need someone to help you? Do you need to help someone else? Do you need to share more of your experiences? Make sure that your service to self and your service to others is balanced. Your journey will be easier because of it.


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