Better or Best?

By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager

Recently I watched a talk show about nutrition and how to eat healthier. The discussion was focused on the public’s confusion about healthy carbs. We need carbs for energy and nutrients. A no carb diet leads to fatigue and brain fog. I knew all that but what caught my attention was when the host asked if brown rice was better than white rice, the nutrition expert replied, “yes, it is ‘better than,’ but it is not the best choice, so why settle for better than?” To conclude this lesson on carbs (which this blog is not about!) brown rice still raises glycemic index (blood sugars) and hence sweet potato, lentils, beans or quinoa are the BEST choices for healthy carbs. What this blog is about is that this talk show got me thinking about how many times we use the “better than” excuse to avoid a true commitment to a lifestyle change. We convince ourselves, “If I do this… it’s better than not doing anything at all.” True, but I say, you just cannot be your BEST if “better than” is all you are willing to try for.

About a year ago, after many years of searching for a relative, I found her. Over the next few months, we talked here and there and became re-acquainted. Why do I share this? Because as time went on, I realized she simply exists in a “better than” world. She has no goals beyond the next “better.” It will be better when she can get her license back. It will be better if she gets a copy of her birth certificate. It will be better when her boyfriend and she get along. It will be better when it isn’t so rainy in the Northwest where she lives. I suspected she was homeless and tried to help without making her uncomfortable and asking her about it. I was getting frustrated because she continually asked for my prayers for various things to get better, but she never offered up any solutions on how she could have her BEST life. She eventually told me she lived in a tent. I assumed, and still do to this day, that she chooses the life of being homeless because she declines any offers to help her with what she needs to find a job and live her BEST life. She says it will be better when she gets into a shelter. Well, she is now in a shelter and it is not any better.

I know it’s easy for me to say that we must try for our best, so I put myself to the test this month. I purchased a heart rate monitor that tracks how much effort I put into my activities. I thought I would ROCK IT!! Wrong! I quickly realized that even my own workouts were simply “better than.” I wore it doing housework. Nothing. Barely registered that I was moving. I wore it for my morning walk around the Plymouth waterfront. It was “better than” the house-cleaning gig, but it still barely registered effort. I quickly realized I was doing enough to stay active, but my personal level of fitness was not being challenged. So… I challenged myself to do my best—I added hills on to my walks and hit the SWC cardio room 3 days a week after work. I made sure I did some kind of activity that registered effort for 5-6 days a week. Results are in! After 30 days of doing my best…. I have lost one inch on my waist and 5 solid true pounds. I feel energized and focused.

I leave you with this—as you go through your day, week, year…. will you be able to do your best? Yes, it’s true, walking 10 minutes instead of sitting on the couch is “better than” doing nothing and maybe that’s where you start. Exercising one day a week is “better than” not exercising at all. Eating healthy sometimes is “better than” not at all. However, eventually “better than” will not be enough for any true growth or lifestyle changes that will bring health, happiness and even prosperity. Ironically, the following was the quote on the NEVweb (our company’s intranet site) as I wrote this blog!
I have done my best and that is about all the philosophy of living that one needs.
~Lin Yutang

Coincidence? I think not!

 

 

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