Being healthy is selfish. Right?

I was about fifteen months postpartum, tired and overweight. Although I’d lost some baby weight since my first was born, I had already gained it back and felt too overwhelmed to know where to start with losing it again. The worst part, though, was my lack of energy. I kept excusing it as just “being a mom” now, and attempting to “just accept life now.” But I knew something wasn’t right, and I was so unhappy with how I felt.

I was at a pretty low point, and began expressing my frustrations to some other mom friends. They began to encourage me in the importance of maintaining my health through fitness and nutrition, sharing the notable differences in their own lives on days when they exercised and ate good, whole foods.

Here were my initial excuses:

I don’t have time. Even if I did, that would seem selfish to take half an hour to do something just for me. I’d rather spend time with my family. Even if I do get half an hour to myself, I’m just too tired to do anything like exercise.

Meal planning in and of itself is overwhelming and I hardly know where to start, and you want me to plan healthy meals? I’m tired just thinking about that. And healthy food is too expensive, anyways. We can’t afford to eat clean.

Even if I wanted to workout, I don’t know how to make it happen. I can’t go to a gym, and I hate at-home workouts. They bore me too easily. Doing the same thing over and over, every day? Not for me. 

My family is too needy. I feel like I’m barely breathing right now as it is. There’s no room for me to focus on my own needs. I have to take care of everyone else.

Any of these sound familiar? I suspect I’m not the only one to struggle with these feelings. They can prove to be pretty strong reasons that keep us from pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

So what happened? What got me past these excuses?

I want to take the time to address some of the consistent issues seen in these excuses, but I’m saving that for future blog posts. But before I jump in, I want to make a disclaimer.

If you read any of these and they strike a chord, I encourage you not to get defensive. I understand the struggle. The reason I’m blogging about them is because I’ve struggled with these! It’s not easy and I’m not here to judge others’ decisions. I simply want to provide encouragement and support for challenges that I am facing on my own journey, which is a journey in a direction I find valuable.

I understand that what works for one individual or family might not work for another. I’m not claiming that. The struggle when I talk to friends or family, read articles, social media posts, etc. is to fight the urge to compare and feel the pressure to do something just because someone else does it, or guilt because I’m not doing what someone else is doing. Instead, the goal should be to consider something, examine it for our life and for our family, and discuss it with my husband in regards to if it’s something we should or can do. Easier said than done, right? That’s tough!

But I encourage you to give it a shot. Fight the urge to get defensive and critical, and just examine and consider. Dismiss it if you want, or join the conversation if you want.

So, if you want to join in, what are your biggest obstacles to pursuing a healthy lifestyle? What excuses do you often find yourself using? Can you relate to any of mine? Have you struggled with the idea that taking time for your own health is selfish?

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