Exercise without the Goal of Losing Weight

I hate weight loss journey posts. I don’t care if it took a lot of effort. I could not possibly care less if you love yourself more now that twenty pounds are gone. You think that’s harsh? Yeah, so is diet culture shoving the idea down our throats that not eating carbs and going to the gym twice a day


I love to exercise. Ask any of my closest friends or recent significant others - I’ve been hounding at least one of them to be my gym buddy/buddies for months. It’s LIT building muscle and running around and feeling just how capable I am of anything I want.

What do I hate? Exercising for the sake of losing weight. I didn’t make this important connection until recently in my life. I thought I was just like every Instagram post - I wanted extra fries not exercise. Turns out, I only motivated myself to exercise because I wanted to shed ten pounds in ten minutes. I’d restrict what I ate until the point of starvation, exercise every single day without a break, and feel miserable all the while.


The root of all changes within a person should be self-love. Always. No exceptions.


If you change your career path, it can’t be because you want to please your parents.

If you adjust the way you act, it can't be because you don't like your personality as is.

If you work out, it can’t be because you hate your body in the "before" picture you posted on social media.


The simple fact of the matter is that you'll never be happy and you'll never actually achieve that goal of yours. Even if you do hit the number of pounds you've restricted yourself to, it won't be enough. You won't be satisfied and the number will just decrease and decrease and decrease. I know that sounds extreme, but I've seen and lived this reality. This becomes a constant loop of setting a goal, meeting it but still feeling horrible, rinse, repeat. We think it will be different the next goal. We recite the monologue in our heads saying we'll be happy once we are "fit" (aka, skinny to the bone). We ignore all rational thought.

When we place value on superficial entities like numbers or percentages or currency or items, we lose ourselves. We do. What makes a person isn't what they look like or what they have. Yet we often forget that in the material world we exist in. The narrative must change; instead of thinking that things make people have value, we should think that people give value to things.

I say the generic "things" because really it could be...anything. In this context, the amount of exercise we do for the number of pounds we shed isn't what gives us value. Instead, we give value to exercise. We never said, "Ah yes, figure skating looks really good on Nathan Chen," when he participated in the Olympics. No, we praised how amazing Nathan Chen was at figure skating. He was the one who won the points, not the ice skates or rink or Zambonis. No shade to the Zambonis, though. Y'all still are really cool, makin' the ice look like a huge popsicle and stuff.

What should genuinely motivate people to exercise is just how fun it is. Activity looks different on everybody, so weight is irrelevant when speaking about exercise. You can be any weight and exercise regularly and still be that weight. While exercise has a lot to do with health, weight isn't really that indicative of health. If you don't believe me, you should probably read Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon. Let me repeat: you can be any weight and exercise regularly and still be that weight. And you can have a LOT of fun. God, exercising is SO FUN. Because activity looks different on everybody, it might help to find just what activity suits you best.

Here is a list of possible exercises you might want to try:

  • jump-rope
  • dance
  • swim
  • ski
  • team sports (basketball, soccer, football, etc.)
  • box
  • walk
  • bike
  • yoga
  • hike
  • and many more!

Bottom line, exercise is good for your body and mind. But if you're clouding your mind with self-hate, you won't be able to feel the benefits of exercise. Thus, if you would like to exercise, you MUST begin exercising for the sake of loving yourself as you are, not to change your appearance. 


For motivation, watch this bomb video by ASOS of all different bodies performing cool activities. If you don't know already, ASOS is an inclusive brand that makes cute clothes for alllll the bodies. If you need to spruce up your wardrobe, I highly recommend them.


Image sources: but GOD at what cost?, look at Nathan go, ASOS