So many people who struggle with weight loss find themselves asking the same question over and over…

“Why am I not losing weight with exercise?!”.

Let me lay down some truth right off the bat.

You should NOT exercise or eat healthy to lose weight. 

Now, I know how this sounds.

“What?! Don’t I need to do these things to lose weight? Is she crazy?!”.

Well, probably, but not for reasons explained in this article.

To lose weight efficiently, yes, exercise and healthy eating should be a part of that equation; however, if losing weight is your sole reason for doing these things, you will likely fail.

It won’t last.

Losing weight is not enough.

Let me explain…

The Desperation Mindset

We can loosely define a “desperation mindset” here as an uncalculated and desperate approach to achieving your weight loss goals.

For example, instead of being real with yourself and making a 6-month to 1-year plan to get healthy, you insist that you’re going to work out every single day for the next month and lose 20 pounds.

This is when your motivation levels are at an all-time high since you’re in the planning stages and haven’t actually started taking action yet. 

Chances are, your new motivation to exercise will be nothing more than a summer fling (actually more like a New Year’s fling since this is when weight loss motivations are set up for failure).

According to a commonly sourced statistic, “Approximately only 9% of New Years resolutions succeed“.

I don’t like those odds. I hate them actually. Why leave such a drastic life change to these chances?

You have full control to beat those odds, so why not do it the right way?

Let’s think about it like this.

Whenever you set a lofty weight-loss goal or make a new years resolution, chances are you’re way overshooting your expectations and setting yourself up for failure.

This is because you will likely not see weight-loss results from your new healthy lifestyle for some time…which makes weight loss NOT ENOUGH OF A MOTIVATOR to get healthy.

Working out to lose weight literally gives you no direct incentive right off the bat.

Losing weight takes time and a ton of patience to begin seeing consistent results.

This is why so many people quit before they even get to the reward stage of their journey.

Not to mention the fact that working out or eating healthy at this point (**Spoiler Alert!**) ISN’T GOING TO FEEL GOOD.

It sucks.

You are legitimately not going to understand why people like it. At all.

Let me level with you here, I’m fully aware of (and crazy admire) the selected few who can set a resolution with weight loss as the only motivator and actually see it through.

But, let’s be honest with ourselves. Those people are rare.

Like, really rare.

Why not ensure your success from the very beginning?

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    Here Are Some Tips To Set Your Weight Loss Journey Up For Success From The Start

    1) Start With Healthy Eating

    Here’s the tough love part: Treat your body good and your body will be good to you.

    Been neglecting it and treating it like crap?

    Well, it’s going to continue giving it right back in crap form till you start caring for it.

    In my opinion, you should be getting a healthy eating habit straight before you even think about using exercise to lose weight.

    And don’t make the mistake of thinking clean eating can’t be fun!

    If becoming a better cook is something that interests you at all, experimenting with new, healthy recipes is the way to go.

    I’ve never learned so much about cooking until I decided to eat cleaner.

    Suddenly, I was forced to really think about how I could make a bland slab of white meat into something amazingly tasty.

    When you no longer have the luxury of slapping on some high-fructose corn syrup concoction and calling it a day, it forces you to broaden your horizons on what makes a meal taste (naturally) delicious!

    There’s also the fact that the media makes working out “sexy”, but then there are ads everywhere that also make that bacon double-cheeseburger look pretty damn “sexy”.

    There’s not as much pressure in society to be lazy, as there is to eat crap food.

    There’s not a highway billboard ad for a massive couch saying, “Hey there! Wouldn’t you like to waste your life away on me?!“.

    The media doesn’t make eating clean a “sexy” topic of discussion, which is why we often struggle to make it such a priority.

    There is so much temptation to self-sabotage our healthy eating goals.

    I mean, we can feel “hot” working out, but we don’t feel as “hot” eating a healthy quinoa salad.

    [Hey, do what you got to do. If you feel the need to sexy slow-motion that quinoa salad fork into your mouth to feel confident about your healthy eating decisions, by all means, do it. No judgment zone.]

    Also, to add to the rant, here’s a little piece of factual knowledge: JUST BECAUSE YOU WORKOUT DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN EAT CRAP.

    Just to give some perspective, I know a number of runners who train super hard (up to 20-mile long runs on their weekends) and still haven’t lost weight since they started training.

    Some gain weight!

    Which for quite a few, is perfectly fine in terms of training goals.

    Point is, no matter how hard you train, you can quickly negate all that hard work you did with a little crappy eating.

    Which is why I recommend falling in love with healthy eating first, then prioritizing exercise after.

    You’ll power through your workouts better, and be in better shape to actually keep the weight off.

    All in all, there are a ridiculous amount of ways that crap food is shoved in our mindset.

    In my experience, changing the exercise mindset is minuscule compared to getting that healthy-eating mindset.

    I know how hard it is firsthand.

    And oftentimes, the more you workout, the more you justify really unhealthy eating.


    The idea is to eat healthy, regardless of the calories you burned.

    Simply, because you want to nourish the beautiful body you were blessed with.

    2) Pick A Workout You Actually Enjoy 

    As I mentioned, if you walk into a new fitness routine with the sole purpose of losing weight, it’s not enough.

    The temporary satisfaction of weight loss is fleeting, and after those pounds are gone, what’s going to keep you around?

    Once you lose the weight, you are less likely to keep it off if you don’t partake in a fitness activity that you genuinely enjoy.

    One size does not fit all.

    If you hate something, try something else!

    There’s a ridiculous amount of ways to get fit these days (has anyone seen the videos for “Goat Yoga” though?).

    Watch videos online, take a weekly fitness class, join a running group, etc.

    The possibilities and resources are endless!

    It’s also a possibility that the key for you to gain a healthy exercise habit is to pick up a fitness-related hobby, where losing weight isn’t even an incentive at all.

    For instance, when I first started running, it was mainly to lose weight; however, I still enjoyed rock-climbing with friends on the weekends.

    Not because it was making me more fit, but because it was fun.

    Losing weight because of it never even crossed my mind.

    Until you can use a form of more strenuous exercise with a healthy mindset, maybe pick up one that’s a bit more recreational on the surface (kayaking, hiking, paddle-boarding, etc.).

    It’s a sneaky way to burn calories, while not having that “desperate to lose pounds” mindset.

    3) Don’t Overdo It 

    Oftentimes when we walk into a fitness routine with the single goal of losing weight, we overshoot our expectations and either end up disappointed or injured from pushing ourselves too quickly.

    If you are patient, and pick up an exercise habit in a healthy manner little-by-little, the weight-loss (with adequate clean eating) will follow suit.

    Personally, I think the healthiest mindset is to not see weight loss as the almighty goal of fitness, but as a fringe benefit.

    I find that the results of seeing a person glowing from the inside out due to their new-found self-confidence far outweighs the results of losing a few stubborn pounds.

    If you have an unhealthy outlook on fitness from the start, it makes it nearly impossible for you to know how to rest and recover correctly.

    For instance, when I first tried running to lose weight, I was counting every calorie I put in my body, while always trying to burn more. Because of this, I only gave myself one rest day a week.

    Now, for a seasoned runner one rest day can work fine; however, as a newer runner at the time, I was pushing my body to the limits 6-days a week, just so I could burn more calories and eat more.

    I can remember my rest days not even feeling like rest, cause it would stress me out that I had to eat less that day since I wasn’t running. (Sounds super healthy, right?).

    I ended up injuring myself because of it.

    If you don’t start slow with a new fitness routine, it can quickly become something that feels demanding and stressful.

    Set this relationship up for success early on, and go easy on the new habit.

    Give yourself and the new fitness routine some time to get acquainted first.

    4) Lose that Unhealthy Weight-Loss Tunnel Vision

    Look I know it’s easier said than done to pick up an exercise habit and proclaim, “THIS ISN’T FOR SHALLOW WEIGHT-LOSS REASONS, THIS IS TO MAKE ME A HEALTHIER VERSION OF MYSELF!!!“.

    Like, no. Absolutely not. We don’t work like that.

    You’re going to need some concrete reason for getting the motivation to pick up the exercise habit.

    And 9 times out of 10, that reason will be to have a “hotter bod”.

    But all I ask out of you is to be kind to yourself, and realize that wanting to work out for weight loss only goes so far.

    It scratches the surface of your growth capabilities and doesn’t dive deep.

    So proceed with caution and set your goals higher than your waist-line.

    Also, oftentimes weight loss motivations aren’t even accurate.

    I find it super crazy when people tell me they’re going to start working out cause “they feel fat”.

    Let me tell you right now, nothing makes me feel more out of shape (or “fat”) then when I first start a new fitness routine.

    Trust me, when you start any new fitness routine, it’s going to be HARD, and you’re only going to feel “fatter”.

    Try using a reason that will actually help you, for when the workout gets really hard.

    Like, “I’m having a low-self-esteem day, so I’m going to get through a workout to show how dedicated and bad-ass I am!“.

    Exercise to feel powerful, not skinnier.

    5) Exercise Because You Can

    The ability to exercise is a gift that many don’t possess.

    Getting to push our physical and mental limitations in an area that we can potentially learn to love is a privilege.

    Once I started seeing exercise as well-deserved “me-time”, it gave me the mindset that exercise isn’t an obligation, but a luxury.

    Realize how lucky you are.

    Every. Single. Day. 

    A Final Note!

    I hope this post helps some gain a little insight on the best ways to approach a weight loss journey.

    None of us are perfect, and it’s really hard to keep a healthy mindset in the very beginning, but if you go into it with the best intentions for yourself (in reasons other than weight loss), you’ll get so much further! 💗


    Kat Rentas

    Founder, A Next Level You

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    In this free course, I'll teach you the tools + resources you need to establish a running habit for life. You'll also get info on the right mindset strategies, learn mistakes you should avoid, and receive a training plan!

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