Don’t Exercise to Lose Weight

Beach with 2023 written in sand

A goal of adding a daily movement or exercise habit to your routine is a great way to start the new year.

Yet tying your exercise goal to weight loss amps up the pressure in an already energy-intensive process. And what happens when that energy inevitably wanes? Even the best plans get derailed, and it’s back to business as usual.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer in daily exercise. In fact, it’s one of my favorite habits! It’s one I began many years ago to help manage anxiety and even, at some points in my life, depression. I learned early on that daily movement keeps me relatively sane, energized, and focused. 

Now I teach others how to build habits for achieving similar results, but I never focus on weight loss as the priority goal. Instead, I’ve developed a habit change system that works by factoring in the big picture. 

Here are some of my favorite tips:

Add before you subtract

Too often, we take a deficit approach to habit change. We believe we have to give up something in order to achieve our health goals.

We attempt to give up sugar, wine, or something else we really like. But it’s easy to underestimate the power of habits that make us feel better in the short term. It’s hard to pass up a quick fix when life feels too thorny and we don’t have a handy emotional backup plan. 

But there is a yin to this yang. Studies show it’s easier to add a new habit than to stop an old one. So it makes sense to add a “power habit”, or one that builds energy, to gain momentum before moving into your letting go process.

DO exercise for energy, focus, and feel-good hormones.

Exercise is a “power habit” because it helps you build the energy you need to make shifts in other areas of your life.

Hard as it can be to get started, it becomes something you want to do when you make it your own. List the movement, breathwork, or exercise, practices you like enough to do every day.

How can you easily incorporate more of them into your day?

Take time to tune into the feel-good endorphins and the dopamine hit you’ll get every time you complete your daily goal.

You can embody your accomplishments by tuning into the feel-good endorphins and the dopamine hit you’ll get every time you complete your daily goal.

Choose daily micro habits over waiting to fit the ideal opportunity into your schedule. 

Make your goal smaller than you think because daily is already a challenge. 

One Stanford researcher, Tiny Habits author BJ Fogg, did 2 push-ups every time he went to the bathroom. This paved the way to losing 20 pounds in 6 months and resulted in the habit change overhaul that inspired his best-selling book. 

Once you establish this daily habit, you’ll begin to experience self-empowerment and a shift in energy which will make you want to build upon it. Now, if you decide to change your diet or engage in a weight-loss plan, you’ll have a foundational movement practice in place to support you physically and mentally. 

Set yourself up for success

  • Remove all barriers to entry. Invest in the gear you need, and dial in your environment to support your goals. Put it on your calendar. 
  • Use your devices to support, not derail you. You can move your phone to your car or stay off your device of choice by putting it in the kitchen until your 15 minutes of movement are done. 

The bottom line is, with any kind of habit change, denial is not sustainable. 

So begin your habit change plan by reconnecting with your natural energy, endorphins, and inner resilience through daily movement first. 

Stick with it, and your increased strength and stamina will help you to stay focused on your long-term goals, aligning mental and physical strength for habit change that lasts.  

Are you ready to commit to your sustainable change plan? Join me on January 26th at 1 pm PST to learn 3 surprising reasons New Year’s resolutions don’t stick and simple tools and exercises to sustain lasting habit change. Click here to learn more!

Ready to get started?

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