“Selfish” or “Sensible”?

Excuse me for one moment, I’m just colour coding my underwear drawer – be right with you!  Oh, sorry about that – just checking that my world is organised, controlled, the T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted.    Um, just diverting to sort the cutlery drawer.  All good!  Not that I have control issues you understand,  I’m in the running for an award called Super Woman – The Woman Who Can Have it All!  I think it’s being announced soon, somewhere in the world?  Let me know, anyway!  I am SOOOO going to win it!

HANG ON!!!!!!   Who actually invented the idea that a woman could or should work full time; perhaps run her own business, calmly raise happy well-adjusted children while never raising her voice; maintain a lean and toned physique all at the same time as overseeing a clean and organised home with perfectly balanced meals and being a loving, smiling wife always ready to listen to everyone’s problems with a sympathetic ear?


Whoops, ran out of breath there for a moment trying to fit that all in!  Because you know, it’s a movie scenario – straight out of The Stepford Wives – and bears NO resemblance to reality.  But some of us STILL unconsciously hold ourselves to that ideal!  And I see it in the media everywhere – not under that title but the underlying text is there!  And we buy into it!  No-one can put pressure on me like I can. No-one can judge me more harshly than I can.  No-one can reduce me to a guilty, quivering mess like I can!

I am TIRED of having women coming to me, in tears, exhausted and overweight telling me “I just want to be selfish for a while and look after myself!”  Selfish?  WTH!!! Looking after your own body, your own health and wellbeing is ‘SELFISH’???

So how do we find a magic balance between caring for our family, our job, our friends, our cats, our homes AND our bodies?  Because we all know that the fitter you are, the more energy you’ll have and the easier it will be to manage your busy life.  Back when my life was plagued with migraines I didn’t find time for exercise but I sure found time for illness!


As I get older I get tougher!  The word “no” figures more prominently in my thinking and vocabulary.  When we don’t set boundaries for friends and family, we allow “emotional vampires” into our lives.  Have you ever had a friend or family member ring in crisis just when you’re about to sit down for a meal or rare quiet moment?  Being a good friend you feel bound to help – you want to help!  But dear God, you’ve heard this drama so many times before!  And yet you provide support again and again even though it drains you, and nothing you say or do will change the choices your friend keeps making.


Women are typically the strong centre of the family.  When we’re happy, the family is happy.   When we are disorganised or tired – the household goes to hell in a handcart!  Juggling multiple plates, we provide a centre to the family universe.  If our foundation falters, so does everything and everyone.


Good fences make good neighbours – and having healthy boundaries in your relationships allows you time to be supportive to others but allows you time to withdraw a little when you need to husband your own resources.  Think of it this way – if you’re exhausted all the time, struggling to find time for good nutrition and exercise, you’ll be more inclined to get sick and no-one wins.  You don’t have time for yourself and you certainly won’t have time for anyone else!   Making your health a priority sets you up to be a good wife, parent, friend, or daughter who is far more likely to manage all those relationships well!


Selfish?  Not a chance!  Sensible!


As my children grew older, I assumed they’d need me less.  Yet in some ways, they need me more.  Just differently from when they were younger.  And sadly, we can no longer send them to their rooms when they don’t behave well!  We’re more likely to have friends facing serious health issues and you might be looking after ageing parents as well – and trying to manage changes in your own body as you grow older.  I personally have found that my fitness is better now than when I was in my thirties but my body and mind are undeniably different.  There are days when I frustrate myself enormously with my vagueness!!!  Where did that come from?  And can it please go back where it came from!


Please don’t ever think that looking after yourself sensibly is “selfish”!  You’ll be a better, happier and healthier woman if you make your own wellbeing a priority.   And everyone around you will benefit from that wellbeing – sounds like a win-win to me!

You can take the guesswork out of your fitness and nutrition with THIS program – designed especially for women over 40 with all the unique challenges we face.

If you have any suggestions, strategies or tips for how you deal with the Superwoman Syndrome, I’d love to hear from you.  Comment below and share – we women need to be supporting each other and you may be able to provide  the answer for someone struggling with a problem you’ve faced and conquered!

lisa bullock


Lisa Bullock is a Personal Trainer based in Melbourne, Australia.  She’s run her successful fitness business for over 15 years and has trained over a 1000 clients helping them reach their health, fitness and wellness goals.  Married for 27 years and mother to a daughter (22) and son (19), she is a proud proponent of the philosophy “keep on keeping on”. She believes that consistency is key to achieving goals.  Lisa loves weight training with a passion; she’s boxed for over 12 years and sees no reason to stop soon!  She’s faced her own health and weight issues and come out fighting.  “I believe in training for the long haul” she claims, “I fully expect to be doing handstand push ups when I’m 60!.”


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