It’s an old adage that I recall hearing many times applied to various situations in life – “something is better than nothing.” Generally, this is very true…although I’m sure all of us can think of times in our lives when “NOTHING” would have been a better option than the “SOMETHING” that we tried!
I’ve thought of this phrase many times when it comes to healthy choices, especially exercise.
I recall that about 10 years ago when I decided to actually do something about my weight problem for the first time, I figured I would need to exercise. I had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, had high blood pressure, was in constant pain, and could barely move – getting winded just walking from my car to the office where I worked.
How was I going to exercise?
Like many people trying to figure out what to do, I asked friends who I perceived as healthy. “Train for a half-marathon” was the first response I received. Huh – what? “Get a bike and start riding it,” I heard from another. “Do bikes come with tractor seats?” I thought to myself. How on earth was a person of my girth going to fit on even the largest commercially available bike seat?
Considering my condition at the time, I decided I’d try to do a bit of walking. I dutifully set out that evening…for the end of my driveway, a distance of perhaps 100 feet or so. I stopped at the end, winded. I looked at the stop sign at the corner of the road in the distance. Could I make it? It was perhaps another 100 feet away. I decided the answer was “no” and turned around to head back to the house.
Back inside, I was discouraged. It seemed so meaningless. But something made me think of that old phrase again. “Something is better than nothing.” I had done “something” and thought to myself, “I’ll keep trying to do ‘something’ and eventually, I’ll be able to walk ‘normal’ distances…maybe”
It took some time, but in less than a year, I did my first half-marathon – 13.1 miles. It took a whole lot of “somethings” to get to that point, but I made it.
These days when I’m discouraged because I “only walked a half mile” or because I “skipped that donut earlier in the day but ate pizza for dinner,” I don’t hesitate to remember and tell myself “Something is better than nothing.”
Many of us who struggle with long-term weight problems are very hard on ourselves in many areas of our life – not just our weight. Negative self-talk is often part of that cycle. I should know. I’m the king of it. So, it’s helpful to counteract that negativity with the truth of acknowledging EVERY positive choice we make regarding our health, no matter how small, is important. Try it out, and let me know how it goes!