Dear Foodie: How Do I Get Motivated to Work Out?

Dear Foodie:

How do I get motivated to start exercising?


Feeling Like A Slug

Dear Slug,

Exercise was actually a hard one for me at first. I knew going into my surgery that I was probably never going to be a gym rat. And I worried that I wouldn’t be successful because of that fact. But as I write, I’ve lost 180 lbs. without being a gym rat and without doing anything I don’t feel comfortable doing. So here are a few tips to inspire you:

  1. Don’t (necessarily) exercise, be active! In my case, I found ways to move my body without doing the gym rat thing. I love to walk so that’s my main form of exercise. There are so many benefits to just being active. Most experts agree you should get about an hour of physical activity a day but that does not mean you have to do a structured exercise program. Walk, dance, chase the kids, whatever!
  2. Find something you love doing and do it! I realize this can be daunting for someone who was morbidly obese, and may not have been used to moving his/her body with any great regularity. But think about what kind of movement makes you happy and then focus on doing that. If you love it, you’ll keep doing it!
  3. Start slowly! Nobody is expecting you to run a marathon, or whatever, immediately. And you shouldn’t expect that of yourself either (confession: I’m terrible for putting that sort of pressure on myself, that I didn’t go far enough, hard enough, whatever, when you, and I, need to remember to be kind to yourself!). 
  4. Try an assortment of things, especially if you don’t have a clue what you’ll like. Cycling (outside or check out a spin class), swimming, walking, kayaking, belly-dance, even games for your X-box or Wii…whatever! This also has the added benefit of safe-guarding you against stalls. Keep those muscles guessing as you figure out what you like!

As I said before, I started off with walking. And I didn’t go far at first but slowly I pushed myself to go further and further. Soon I was surprising myself with the number of miles I was logging. And, on a recent weekend, I was shocked that I actually ran on a treadmill. Me? Formerly obese me!

I would be remiss not to point out (cuz Nik said so) that anytime you plan to start a physical activity routine you should check with your doctor and heed common safety tips.

But in the end you just have to commit to start. That’s the hardest part. I’ve heard it said before that the hardest part about exercise is showing up. That’s so true! But if you can focus on showing up, doing things you like to do and progressing slowly but steadily, you may just come to love moving more.

“Dear Foodie” is Julia Weaver, who is 20 months post-op from RNY gastric bypass surgery and has lost 180 lbs. and counting!

Do you have a question about post-op life to ask Dear Foodie? Email your questions (with the subject line “Dear Foodie”) to


  1. Thanks for the imput. My husband had Bypass surgery 2years ago. I fix food he should be eating and encourage hime to walk or excerise with me at his pace, but puts in little effert. Signed Worried and scared

    • Hi Hope,

      Thanks for writing. I know that has to be a bit frustrating! Unfortunately, you can’t make him change if he doesn’t want to do it for himself. It sounds to me like you are doing all you can to provide a supportive environment. Have you asked him why he doesn’t put in the effort? If so, what does he say?

  2. Thank you so much for this. I’m 11 month post op and I find it so hard to motivate myself. In my head I think that I have to spend 3 hour at the gym, and when I don’t do that, I tend to beat myself up.

  3. Thank you for posting this article!

    When Iwas younger, and much skinnier, I was very active. Over years of weight gain and lack of movement from arthritis in knees I became VERY sedentary. In the last five years I have had both knees replaced and had my bypass June 2015. I love walking the beautiful trails we have here in Alaska during the ice and snow free months. With snow and ice I have to be careful in not falling and damaging my new knee implants. As winter is approaching I’m just having a hard time getting my mind wrapped around going to gym. Oh yes….I have been paying for my membership for a year and a half now and haven’t been for a year! I love the weight machines and know the toning the flabby areas would be beyond awesome!

    I love the idea about the Xbox videos since we do have the Kinect (was for my kids) might be a cool way to go about this. I love to dance and thought Zumba would be fun. I found Zumba for the Xbox Kinect! So will purchase this and give it a shot. Plus, I can learn routines at home without feeling lost in the classes at gym. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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