How To Begin Exercising When You Haven’t In YEARS!

Who out there has not exercised in months, possibly years?

Yep…that was me too!

I went years without doing any form of deliberate exercise.

Yes, I would walk from my car into the store.  I would walk around the store.  I would walk to the mailbox.  I would walk to the fridge and back.

See…look at all that walking I did!

You see, I was too intimidated to go to the gym.  I was fat.

Jen at school!

I weighed in at over 270 pounds.  I could hear the voices of the other people working out when I walked in the gym, “What is SHE doing here?”  or “Where has she been?  Not here obviously!”  I felt fat, I was fat and I felt like everyone else was talking about my fat.  There was no way I was going to walk into a gym.

Can anyone out there relate?

The funny thing is, I bet the people in the gym wouldn’t have thought that at all.  Now sure, some of them would.  There are always going to be mean people out there who make nasty, unnecessary comments.  However, the majority of the people would probably have thought, “Good for her.  She is in here to get healthy!”  Isn’t that what you think when you see someone working out that is obese?  I sure do.

Let’s say you are the one that is obese and you are scared and you don’t know where to start.  I know ALL the negative things that are going through your head that are keeping you out of the gym or off the street.  I know because I have said them all to myself.  Here are the things that MIGHT be going through your head and what I think about them…

I can’t go very far – You don’t need to go far, you just need to go.  Walk to the mailbox.  Go down the street.  Give yourself 10 minutes and go.  Don’t worry about the distance or how long it takes you.  Walk slowly…just walk.  You will get faster and you will go longer.  Start small.

I am too fat and people will laugh at me – I pretty much addressed this earlier.  They are too busy worrying about themselves to think about you.  If they do happen to see you, they will probably be proud of you or wish you good luck!  Maybe they are even jealous that they aren’t out there walking!  Many times when I am on my way to work, I will see people outside walking and I think, “I sure wish that were me!”  The thought doesn’t even cross my mind and what their size is!

I don’t have anything to wear – Not a good excuse.  Put on a t-shirt and a pair of capris.  Those cute gym clothes are not for big boned ladies anyway.  Trust me, I weigh right around 180 and I have a hard time finding cute anything that fits me right.  Just put on some clothes and get out there!

I can’t afford a gym membership – You don’t need a gym membership.  You have a street – go walk outside.  Get out there.   Is there a park nearby?  If so, go there.  Is there a hill you can climb.  You climb it.  No gym membership required!

I’ll start tomorrow – This one is the clencher.  Tomorrow never comes.  Stop telling yourself that you will start tomorrow because you won’t.  Start today, start now, just start.

No Matter How Slow you go You are Still Lapping Everybody on the Couch

If you are intimidated to exercise, I hope I have taken some of those fears away.  You might be sore the first few days.  Your skin might feel all itchy.  Your feet might hurt or your back might hurt.  However, if you stick with it for longer than a week or two, you will start to feel so good.  You will have more energy and feel better about yourself than you have in a long time.

10 minutes a day.  That is all I am asking.  You can do this!


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About Jennifer Swafford

Jennifer is an elementary school teacher who is trying to lose 100+ pounds. She has certainly learned how much It Sux To Be Fat and is here to motivate you to live a healthy lifestyle.

  • Kim

    Great tips for any of us – just stop making excuses and do it!!

  • JenB

    I really didn’t exercise AT ALL for years and years. Then one day I just started walking. On the treadmill, or outside with the kids in the stroller. That lead to more, trying the elliptical and stationary bike, lifting weights, Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. Now I can’t imagine NOT exercising …

  • Debby H


  • Janice

    Awesome post! Amen

  • Shannon Tatlock

    Agree wholeheartedly with you. I found I needed to change my mindset. I was “working out,” I decided I wanted to get active. By getting active, it takes the pressure out of it. I want to get active a few times/week. It was a game changer for me!

  • gaulthotel

    The first thing one must do is to be motivated to exercise, condition your mind and the rest will follow.

  • runfromthecouch

    It is a constant emotional battle…

  • Laura

    These are great excuse busters. I really love your attitude! And they’re all so true. You don’t need a gym–I’m in the best shape of my life, and I haven’t been inside a gym in three years. That said, when I did go to the gym and saw people of size really giving it their all–I admired them! It’s easy to work out when you’re in the habit of doing so. But doing it with extra weight or if you’re just starting out is really admirable. I’m proud of you, and you should be proud of yourself! Congratulations!

  • Albert B Hammond

    I would like to post this on my blog @

  • Vicky Fountain

    Great tips and advice! I have plantar fasciitis (heel pain) and sometimes it is downright debilitating, and makes even standing up an Olympic event, let alone walking. I try not to let it slow me down, but it’s so hard sometimes. I know, if I could lose a good chunk of weight, my symptoms would be so much better, but how do you lose the weight without exercising and being in pain? I try to stick to indoor cycling, which is low impact, but it still hurts a lot of times. I love walking and I hope someday I’ll be able to walk as much as I want without being in pain.

  • Miriam Bonet

    My husband and I started walking a month ago. I have reached my personal goal of 10,000 steps per day. Not bad for someone who’s longest walk was from the door of the house to the car. We haven’t focused on weight loss but rather on being healthy. It doesn’t feel pressured this way. The weight loss should naturally follow with exercise and good eating habits.

  • Christina O

    These were some easy to follow and helpful tips for people that aren’t sure how to go about exercising. I know I always have excuses and this helps put everything into perspective. Starting small is key and so is not caring about what others think. Thank you for the positivity and motivation!

  • Andrea

    Great tip. A friend of mine and myself, did our own workout video. It is our own routine, but we encourage anyone to use this as a guideline to help them workout. Our mission is to get the fitness industry to make fitness video’s that move like an overweight person moves, in a typical size living room. We are also starting to blog our accomplishments and challenges. Please check us out at youtube, at losingweightwithdna, or our website As we start getting more fit, we will post more fitness videos.

    • Vicky Fountain

      I agree, that so many of these “easy” workout videos you see in stores are NOT for your average overweight, middle aged person! The people in them are jumping all around and doing moves that would probably break my ankles lol. I think your video is a great idea.

      • Andrea

        Don’t forget they never give a breather either. They except you to just be able to breathe fast for an hour. LOL! Thanks Vicky

  • Vicky Fountain

    No offense, but I think you missed the whole point of this post, which is about people who haven’t exercised in years, and are probably overweight, out of shape, and past their “spring chicken” years. The moves on the site you linked to are NOT for middle aged, overweight people living sedentary lifestyles. Jumping jacks, jumping rope – really? That would be absolute torture on someone like that. People who are out of shape and have been for many years usually tire easily, have weak muscles and joints, and need to start very gently and gradually.

    • April

      Thank you. You understand where I need to start.

  • Emily

    Thanks for the post! Such a great positive read. I recently found a gym that I’m very comfortable in, avoided other gyms because of how I thought people saw me, just got my 10% loss charm and joined a boot camp… And I’m still 238 lbs… Long way to go but blogs like this help keep me motivated and in perspective.