Adventure as an alternative to weight loss

We’re so engrained in the thinking that we should all be losing weight, that to offer an alternative seems blasphemous. It is nearly always met with loud opposition and an interrogation from the health police. So please read carefully: I’m not out to tell you what you are allowed to do with your body. In fact, to do so would be against my personal morals. Set goals, make plans, do what you want with your life and your body. I’m simply offering an alternative goal that I’ve found suits me, for your consideration.

I’m completely bored with fat loss right now. It doesn’t excite me, isn’t enough to get me out of bed in the morning, and very easily becomes a special kind of chore that it seems I’m only failing. Even when I succeed. There is always more fat to lose. The numbers on the scale are tiring. And fickle. I’m not into it. That doesn’t mean I’ll never again set out to lose fat. It means that today, with my current priorities and interests, it just doesn’t make the cut.

And yet! I workout. Everyday. I set physical goals that excite and terrify me. I’ve got to pat myself on the back a little here, I’m crushing it right now.

At the pace of “little by little” I have accomplished the following things in the last year:

Tripled my deadlift max.

PR’ed my squat and my press.

Taken on learning Olympic weight lifting.

Entered and tied for second in an Olympic weight lifting competition.

Swallowed my “I can do it myself” pride and started working with a trainer.

Did the splits, bird of paradise, and a whole slue of bendy yoga times I didn’t know I was capable of.

Learned I am emotionally terrified of being upside down

and

Yesterday I did my first headstand!

This stuff translates into life stuff. It’s hard to not walk around asking the question “what else can I do?” when you are in the habit. As a result I’ve been “what else can I do?”-ing about all kinds of stuff. I’ve found my voice and never falter in saying what I mean. Not as a constant means to insert my opinion, but rather- I don’t feel silenced. Ever. My speaking calendar is filling faster than ever before. I’m hosting a retreat with new friends next month. I’m headed off to “the goddess gathering,” my first ever “clothing optional” women’s event tomorrow and fully intend to opt out because… “what else can I do?”

I’m adventuring!

I’m challenging myself whenever that sneaky voice pops up that says, “that’s not for you,” and jumping in. I’m content. Truly. I wake up happy about what’s ahead of me. Seeking adventure is joyful. Sometimes I drag my feet if going to the gym sounds less like fun, but “what else can I do?” leads me there anyway.

My adventuring may look different than anyone else’s idea of a good time. Maybe having your boobs out at a goddess ritual is not your cup of tea. Hell, I don’t know if it’s mine, that’s why I’m trying it. But I’m actively living outside of my comfort zone. And it makes me proud.

All this from the girl who failed aerobics class in high school because I refused to dress out for water aerobics. I’ve come a long way, baby.

Trying new things seems like the scariest idea ever. What if I fail? What if I’m actually the worst? What if I can’t do it? I’ve somehow flipped the script on these questions because there are no answers that don’t excite me. Learning I don’t like something is as valuable as learning that I do. Failing is the first step toward succeeding at something new. It’s a step! And I’m a grown ass woman so I can decide which way to step from there. It’s not a big deal.

Alternatively, I have completely failed at the following:

I took a dance class and it was awful. Dreadful. I’m actually a good dancer but choreography is infinitely frustrating to me. I made loud, uncomfortable jokes at my expense. It wasn’t cute. So I quit.

I tried a super gentle yoga class that just made me want to take a nap. Not in a good way. So I quit.

I was trying out a new movement on a box at the gym and didn’t realize I was positioned directly under the foaming hand sanitizer dispenser. I figured it out when sanitizer was running down my face and piled up on top of my head. Most epic gym fail I’ve ever pulled off.

I signed up for another half marathon but after getting up to 5 miles in my training program I decided I really don’t like running enough to run more than 5 miles. At least not right now. So I quit.

I got super excited about kettlebells, but found as the weight got heavier I really don’t enjoy them banging on my wrists. Pretty sure I’m doing it wrong. I’m already covered in bruises from general clumsiness. So I’ve tabled kettlebell training (sticking with the few movements I’m comfortable with) until I can find a coach who can help me through that hurdle. Because ouch.

*     *     *

Failing doesn’t have to derail you and quitting doesn’t have to be failure. I do not feel like I failed at hip hop class. I feel like I succeeded at discovering that hip hop dance class is not my idea of fun. Good to know! Success!

My baby girl is the best compass I’ve ever had. I both want to do “all the things” so that she will pursue her own life with passion, and because damn it, I deserve a life of passion. Adventure! New things all the time!

So maybe someday (maybe even soon? I’m a never say never kind of gal) I’ll pursue fat loss. Maybe I’ll get excited about that as a goal and get after it. But right now I’m pursuing the hell out of my life. I’m seeking adventure, wondering what I’m capable of and working toward goals that make me happy. I know I won’t regret that. Can you do both? Of course! We have a finite amount of energy each day, so I highly recommend using it wisely. But I’m certainly not here to tell you what that looks like for you.

Have you always wanted to Zumba? Learn to swim? Curious about ballet? DO IT. Go do the things you are interested in. Fail epically. Tell the story for fun. Try again if it suits you. Or try something else instead. Pursue your life. On purpose. The things that scare you could be things you master if you start. I highly recommend starting. The first steps are the hardest, but I’m so very glad I’ve learned to take them. I’ve learned butterflies are just excitement and failing can be fun too.

Now I’m off to enjoy a clothing optional gathering of goddesses. With baby girl and two good friends in tow. Because I don’t know what’s out there for me, but I’m excited to find out.

To adventure,
Erin Brown