The Obstacle Is The Way

This is the way.

I saw this quote this morning, and it really hit home for me.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

Marcus Aurelius

I wanted to be healthy, but to me, there were obstacles I thought I could never get past. These were:

  • Healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Healthy lifestyle

I reached a point where I had to either tackle the obstacles, one by one, or I would not live much longer. I had tried, in the past, to get healthy, to eat right, and to exercise, but each time, the attempts crashed and failed. I was working with bad information, or misinformation, and no matter how hard I tried, I always ended up worse off than if I’d never tried. I had almost given up until a perfect storm of advice and life events brought me to making the decision to change my life.

2016 vs 2021.

Tackling diet and exercise at the same time, for me, was unthinkable. I decided that the best thing to do was to first change my diet. The first obstacle we tackled was our unhealthy diet. Sherry and I did our first Whole30 and went all-in on healthy eating. We transitioned into Paleo and never looked back. Within the first month (on Whole30), I lost 20 lbs, and for the following 11 months on Paleo, I lost an additional 110 lbs. What was more striking to me was that the entire time I was on Paleo and losing weight, I was never hungry, I didn’t starve, and I didn’t crave sweets or snacks. This “New” way of eating for me became the norm, and I actually enjoyed and preferred it. Not only because of how I felt, or because I was losing weight (and getting much healthier!), but because I even preferred the way the food tasted. This was our first example of the obstacle becoming the way. Over five years later, we are still Paleo, still doing the occasional Whole30, and now, it’s just the way we eat.

Hiking up a small mountain for ziplining.

That brings me to the next obstacle: exercise. When I did my first Whole30, and admittedly, throughout my entire first year of Paleo, I was vehemently and militantly against exercise. I didn’t want anything to do with fitness or exercise, and I thought I could go on forever without it. But something funny happened. I realized that being lighter wasn’t enough; that I needed exercise to complete my healthy lifestyle. I also decided that I wanted to try to get back into the military, and fitness is a big part of that. I dove head-first into fitness and found, once again, that the obstacle became the way. I began doing push-ups, then walking which turned into jogging which turned into running. I even started weightlifting. Now, I feel anxious when I can’t get my exercise, and my legs feel like they’re fully charged and ready for action unless I can run at least every other day (as I write this, I’m looking forward to my weightlifting and running later today!).

Today, in 2021, I find myself living a healthy lifestyle, something I could have never imagined 6 years ago. Looking back, there’s very little I miss from my life back then: health problems, decreased self esteem, moodiness, and a lack of mobility. Today, I get to mountain bike, kayak, hike, zip-line, go camping, and I get to do cool stuff in the National Guard.

I have a road march (with a 48 lbs pack) coming up very soon, and every time I do one of these “Ruck” marches, at some point, I always smile when I realize that I’m still doing this crazy stuff at my age. I smile because six years ago, being on a trail with a heavy ruck on my back, walking for 4 or 6 miles, was something unthinkable. It was such a surmountable obstacle that I couldn’t even fathom a walk that long, let alone within a 16:30 minute/mile pace with a heavy ruck on my back. And yet, here I am: the obstacle has become the way.

I am very fortunate to be able to do cool stuff like this at my age.

What seems impossible today can become the norm for you, but it’s not an easy path to follow. It will take hard work, persistence, and sacrifice. It takes time. Sometimes, a lot of time. But it’s a journey without a destination; it just becomes The Way.

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