When you’re extremely overweight, the thought of having to exercise might make you give up on a fitness plan before you even start. Believe me — I know — I’ve been there. It’s not easy to exercise at almost 300 pounds. It’s not comfortable to go to the gym when you feel like the elephant in the room. It’s not appealing to get back on the treadmill when your feet are throbbing from your walk the day before. It’s discouraging to exercise hard for a week and still see no progress on the scale.
I finally had a mindset shift that made all the difference. I decided I’m a person who exercises, and I stopped exercising to lose weight. Instead of looking at exercise as just another thing you have to do, I want you to exercise as a way to give something to yourself and not expect anything in return. You are giving yourself the gift of health, strength, and time. I don’t know about you, but time with my loved ones is something I want more than anything.
It’s past time to send the message to yourself that you matter! Click to Tweet
Rules to Create a Mindset Shift
1) Forget about exercising to lose weight!
Decide that you will continue to exercise even if you never lose a pound. Don’t worry, the results will come, but that can’t be your focus or you’ll get discouraged when it doesn’t happen as fast as you’d like.
2) Find an exercise that you love and don’t worry about how many calories you’re burning.
Don’t feel like you have to run because everyone is doing it. Find an exercise you actually enjoy so you’ll look forward to doing it. Don’t focus on how many calories you’re burning because that goes back to number 1. Remember, you are exercising to give yourself something, not to lose weight.
3) Decide that you are a person who exercises.
If you ever don’t feel like working out, ask yourself, “What would a fit and healthy girl do?” Then do it. Make exercising part of your identity. If you tell yourself that you’re someone who exercises, you’ll soon believe it.
4) Create a personal minimum.
This one is great, especially for those of you — like me — who have an all or nothing personality. I used to either go all out and exercise 6 days a week for at least an hour at a time, or I did nothing. This was setting myself up for failure. Instead I created a personal minimum. Once you start on the path to health and fitness, you have to promise yourself that you’ll never have to start over again. A personal minimum keeps you moving toward your goals. This minimum is a psychological tool to convince you that you’re a person who works out.
Creating your minimum exercise standard
If you’re brand new to exercising, or have a lot of weight to lose, a good standard to start out with is to commit to exercising 5 minutes, 3 times a week. I know that doesn’t sound like very much, but it’s something anyone can do. It’s important to learn to trust yourself again. Promise yourself that no matter what, you’ll lace up your shoes and get out there for at least 5 minutes. More often than not, you’ll probably keep going once the 5 minutes are over, but if you don’t feel like doing more, stop. Once you stick to that minimum for a month or so, it’s okay to gradually increase your minimum, but never let it get to a point where you’re not sure you can commit to that amount of time.
Right now, my personal exercise minimum is 30 minutes, 3 times a week and to never skip more than 2 days in a row. I mark a big red X on the calendar every day I workout. Having that visual reminder helps me see if I get too many days in a row without an X. It’s also strangely satisfying at the end of the month to see it all filled in. More often than not, I work out 5 days a week, but as long as I meet my minimum, I feel okay.
Join the Conversation
What’s your current mindset about exercise? Love it? Hate it? Is your primary motivation to lose weight? Do you feel like changing your mindset would help?