I recently got back from speaking at a convention of dentists and hygienists in Toronto. Whenever I give a presentation I try to make it very interactive, because we learn best through experience and not just listening. Throughout my 2.5 hour workshop I asked for feedback and insight that each person was getting. No matter where in the world I speak, one of the constant “ahas” people get is the realization that taking the time to eat the right foods and exercise on a regular basis ISN’T selfish. In fact, not doing so is. I had a woman in Toronto with tears in her eyes share with me that the guilt she felt from leaving her little baby for a few minutes to exercise was nearly unbearable.
This mind shift is so transformational that it can take a mom who is struggling to have enough energy to take care of her family, to a mom who now feels better, has more energy, is more patient with her kids, and has a better relationship with her spouse.
What was the change?
It was a belief shift that carving out 30 minutes per day for herself will provide the entire family massive amounts of benefits, far greater then those 30 minutes that she could have spent doing whatever to directly help her kids or family. I have had heated debates with people on this idea. “Dustin, you are saying I shouldn’t take care of my sick child and instead go and workout?”
There are times that it is best to put aside your own time to care for others. Whether that is caring for a sick child, a short term deadline you need to meet at work, or something else that is really pressing. But if the “emergency” is something that is going to last more then a week, I urge you to still make the time for yourself. I would put that time for yourself in the same importance as food. You can get away with not eating for a few days and up to a week, but around the week mark your energy levels start to drop and your ability to think clearly, have patience, and have enough energy to take care of all your responsibilities greatly decreases.
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a new client reach out to me. They are physically and emotionally worn down. They have been through a lot in their personal life, and are only holding on by a thread. I am not saying they are ready to die, but rather they aren’t fully living each day with excitement, energy and passion. Once they begin making exercise a regular part of their life, and begin to reduce the amount of processed foods they have been consuming, they all of a sudden FEEL better. FEELING better is more important than LOOKING better. It also comes a lot faster.
I have been leading two Fit Moms For Life 6 Week Challenge groups. We get together once per week for a 90 min discussion and the rest of the week each person is on their own. After just one week, most had lost 3-6 lbs, which isn’t really noticeable, but all reported FEELING better. That is the cool part, FEELING better happens super fast. I can’t emphasize it enough the importance of you putting yourself first. It doesn’t mean you are selfish but rather it is sending a message to your family and to the world, that you are worth it, and that you want to be the most capable person you can be for those you love.
I know that this message is controversial and can evoke many powerful emotions. Each person has their own story and the way they felt it was best to handle their situation, and I respect that. I am not judging anyone for the way they felt the need to handled their lives, but I would encourage you to give this a try next time and see if the outcome is better. If it isn’t, by all means go back to your previous way of handling things. You are worth it!