A paladin, according to dictionary.com, is a “determined advocate or defender of a noble cause”. Those of us who have struggled to maintain a life dedicated to our own health and fitness are well aware of the strength, support, and sometimes sacrifice needed to follow through with the behaviors that lead to reaching our goals. And those of us who have succeeded, even if only just part of the way, are well aware of the profound benefits reaped from a life dedicated to health and fitness not just for ourselves, but for anyone who interacts with us by virtue of the improvements we have made.
We have overcome or are in the process of overcoming: addiction, obesity and other eating disorders, depression, malnutrition, over consumption, injury, illness, the influence of unhealthy social traditions, peer pressure, bad habits, ignorance (our own and that of others), and self-hatred. By overcoming those things we know that we are not just improving our own lives. We are also improving the lives of our children’s mother or father, our parent’s child, our employer’s employee, and our friend’s friend.
Many people may think of a paladin as someone who is self-righteous, rigid, and inflexible. We are often interpreted this way by those who do not understand our commitment to health and fitness, but this could not be further from the truth.
In a society where lifestyle-related illness and death runs rampant we are nothing short of anarchists. We walk about with our eyes open, and hearts broken because we are sometimes surrounded by people we love who have stopped looking for answers for themselves and are unwilling or unable to support us in our own efforts to improve.
We are not perfect. We, like everyone else, are still on a journey with no end in sight. We are, however, the risk-takers, willing to risk ostracism by those who do not value or understand healthy lifestyle change because we know the consequences for giving up, and we know the rewards for pressing forward.
Days, months, and years go by. Words sometimes fail to inspire those we love, so there is nothing left to do but let go and simply lead by example.
Adapted from a “Sons of Anarchy” quote:
Paladins of Health and Fitness… stand for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of unhealthy tradition, upbringing, and habit; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of shame and self-hatred; the liberation from the shackles and restraint of too many temporary quick fixes and too few long-term solutions. We stand for a personal social order based on the proliferation of health, happiness and prosperity through slow and methodical change.