Ask Eliza: I Hate Exercising. Do I Really Have to Workout to Lose Weight?

Q: I hate exercising, but my mom is always nagging me to workout. Do I really have to workout in order to lose weight? 

A: Hi Aimee, thanks for reaching out. I’ve heard this question many, many times, so you aren’t alone not enjoying exercise. The truth is, we could all get more movement in our lives. 

We live fairly sedentary lives sitting in front of computer screens for many hours a day and our bodies get slow and sluggish. Exercise also has benefits well beyond burning calories for weight loss; it helps protect our bones by building muscle, it has proven stress relief benefits and can make us feel happier. However, I understand that feeling forced to exercise doesn’t produce a positive feeling, and that’s counterproductive. 

I suggest doing some mindset work around exercise. Instead of thinking of it as something you have to do to lose weight, try reframing it. Forget about the weight loss and burning calories piece of it, and try thinking of enjoyable ways to get moving. Do you like to:

  • Swim? 
  • Dance?
  • Kickbox?
  • Zumba?
  • Hike?
  • Ride a bike?

Getting more movement in your life doesn’t have to mean gym sessions on a cardio machine or lifting weights, unless that sounds enjoyable to you

For example, do you like to listen to podcasts or audiobooks? Put in some headphones, lace up your walking shoes and listen while you walk.

Or perhaps gentle movement is more your style — find a yoga class that makes you feel strong and bendy. 

The more you think exercise is a chore, the more it becomes a chore.

Try thinking of movement as something nourishing to your mind and body, not as punishment, and find ways to move that feel exciting to you. This will naturally take away some of your resistance and might even get you excited about it!