Friday, June 17, 2011

The Necessity of Selfishness

Today I have a treat for you: a guest post! It's like a great big icing covered cupcake without the sugar or calories. I wish you could hear her in person and know how genuine, enthusiastic, and positive she is . . . but you don't totally have to take my word for it, here's her just-for-readers-of-food-and-whine post. Enjoy!

Hi there Food & Whine readers! My name is Elizabeth and blog over at I'm so excited to be doing a Freaky Friday Switcheroo with Sarah! I love her posts and her thoughtful comments over on my blog.

As nice, civilized people, we are taught that selfishness is a Bad Thing we must avoid. As Christians, we are certainly taught that selfishness is a sin and we are exhorted to selflessly love our neighbor.

As a fitness professional, the number one reason I see for women putting their own physical fitness on the back burner is because they feel it is selfish, self-indulgent even, to spend 30 minutes to an hour a day pursuing physical improvement when there are children to raise, husbands to encourage, homes to run, churches to support, meals to cook, laundry to fold and friends to nurture. It is selfish to spend money on gym memberships, weight loss programs, fresh produce and workout attire when gas is hovering around $4 a gallon, soccer camp costs money and growing kids need new shoes and clothes all the time.

My response: You owe it to your families to be selfish. We usually believe selfishness means actions or whims that gratify our lusts at the detriment to others. Selfishness, in another sense, means “the values required for human survival.” I would like to refine that point a littler further – selfishness are those acts which are required in order for your family to survive and thrive. Your family needs you to be selfish in ways that promote their well-being. It is, in fact, selfish of you (the bad selfish) to do things that take away from your health and life expectancy because this deprives your family of your contributions. It deprives them of YOU.

Your health and vitality is the biggest gift that you give to your children now and when they are grown. Your kids need you to be able to chase after them at the beach and climb the bleachers at the baseball stadium. And their need for you doesn't end when they head to college. Who will be there to coach your kids through their early years of marriage? Through parenthood? Hopefully, if you're eating right and exercising, it will be you. However, type II diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other debilitating physical conditions are on the rise in wealthy, industrialized countries like ours. A person suffering with these conditions will see her quality of life affected. More importantly, her ability to contribute to her family and community will be affected as well. She may come to depend on her adult children to be medical caretakers, which takes them away from their own children, spouses and communities.

When your children are grown, they not only need your advice and expertise, but your grandchildren deserve to draw on your wisdom and experiences as well. Eventually, you will be responsible for passing on your family's traditions and history. The only way you can do this effectively is by being around and engaging with your children and their children.

Motivational speaker Dr. Wayne Dwyer has said, “You can't give what you haven't got.” It's such a profound statement. You can't share peace if you lack peace yourself. You can't share wealth if you are poor. You can't share wisdom if you're not wise. You can't share Christ if you don't know Him. But let's assume that you have peace, prosperity, wisdom and a relationship with Christ. Can you share these things with your family if you don't survive and thrive to a ripe old age?

I encourage you to start seeing healthy eating and physical fitness as things you do, not for vain shallow reasons, but out of a sense of obligation to your family. You are irreplaceable. They will never get another mother, wife, sister or aunt like you. They need you to take care of yourself! And if you get certain vain and shallow benefits out of being a hot and sexy mama, well, no harm done!


  1. Sarah, I read your blog over at E's site and I wanted to comment here so that I knew you saw it! Thank you so much for sharing. It sounds like we came from similar backgrounds. I look forward to reading more of your posts. And after reading yours and E's posts, I consider that I have accomplished "reading for self improvement" for the day.
    - Teresa

  2. Making the FB friend connection right now! Love you ladies! <3

  3. Also, how honored am I to be compared to a big juicy calorie-free cupcake??? YUM! I'm DELICIOUS!

  4. OMG You are talking to me today if feels like it anyway. Thank you both for sharing and I didn't realize how powerful of a speaker you really are Lizzie love you bunches :)

  5. So true! Thanks for this post. I have a few people in my life who would benefit from reading this too!

  6. This is perfect timing for me. I just started running every night two weeks ago and that leaves my husband in charge of our 3 under 5 for about 45 minutes each evening. I've been feeling terribly guilty about it. Great perspective!