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Overcoming "I don't like exercise" Mindset

While exercise alone will not cause you to lose significant amounts of weight, exercise is an essential tool on your weight loss journey.


  • Reduces stress level

  • Boosts your mood

  • Improves self esteem

Exercise is also essential for helping you stay at a healthy weight.

One of the major barriers to exercise is that most people say “I don’t like to exercise.” Today we will discuss how to develop a passion for exercise to help you stay at your happy healthy weight for the rest of your life.

I have both personal and professional experience with “I don’t like to exercise.” In addition to working with hundreds of patients who have uttered this phrase, in 2014 when I was at my heaviest weight I didn’t exercise at all. Back then, as a full time working mom of a busy 14 month old, just the thought of having to exercise seemed like a burden or another drain of my limited time and energy. This negative relationship with exercise makes it seem more daunting and makes it less like for us to begin exercise. Even if we begin continuing an exercise regimen is even harder. So how did I overcome the “I don’t like to exercise” mindset and go from 0 mins of exercise in 2014 to running a half marathon in 2015, a full marathon in 2016 and running over 3500

miles as of today?

  • Mindset Makeover: It’s okay to acknowledge I feel like “I don’t like exercise” but the next step is to explore why. Ask yourself:

    • Did I always dislike exercise? If not when did your dislike for exercise start?

    • Is there any type of movement I do enjoy?

After understanding your “why” Focus on positive forms of movement you enjoy.

  • Movement not exercise: if the term exercise automatically causes negative feelings focus on movement not exercise.

  • Start small: Start with short sessions of movement rather than long exercise sessions. The goal is

Rebuild your positive relationship with exercise. Small wins overtime lead to great victories. For example I started with 10minute Rockin’ Body Dance sessions with Shaun T and then gradually started running again.

  • Transform obstacles to opportunities: List your barriers to fitting in fitness in your schedule. For example limited time is one of the most common obstacles for busy people. This was also one of my barriers. To overcome the time obstacle I decided to just do what I could each day and aim to meet a weekly goal of 150 minutes per week. That way I didn’t have the same amount of pressure to fit thirty minutes or an hour of exercise into very busy days.

  • Focus on the positive feelings associated with completing exercise. When I am do with a workout I feel relieved, refreshed and revived. Even if I am sweating and tired. It feels like a major accomplishment especially on the days when I am encountering uncontrollable events like working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Let go of comparison: It’s not about what others can do or are doing. Focus on your own fitness journey. It’s also important not to be tied to your past self for better or worse. You are building a healthier version of your present self and that’s what matters most.

  • Express gratitude: Movement is a gift. Embrace it. Enjoy it.

I’m happy to say six years into my forty pounds weight loss journey, fitting in fitness is no longer a burden but a gift that I enjoy as often as I can. I hope these tips have helped you find your joy in exercise. If you still need more help on your weight loss journey feel free to set up a free consultation with me, Dr.SylviaMD at EmbraceYOU Weight & Wellness.

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