3 Reasons Why Exercise Shouldn’t be Your Top Priority

Diet Tips, Dietitian, Exercise, Health Tips, Healthy Lifestyle Changes, Stress, Wellness, Women, Women's Health -

3 Reasons Why Exercise Shouldn’t be Your Top Priority

by Caroline O'Connor, RD, CPT


You’re starting a new weight loss program and you feel certain that your lack of exercise is what typically holds you back. You wake up at 430am to squeeze a workout in before the kids wake up even though you only got 5 hours of sleep. You feel exhausted, but you shrug your shoulders and tell yourself this is the only way to achieve your goal. Once at the gym, you realize you forgot to grab something to eat. Your mind wanders off and you begin to think about how well you did keeping your meals under 400 calories yesterday. You complete the workout and leave the gym feeling proud that you made it there but confused why you still feel so drained.


Where did you go wrong?

Exercise isn’t something you HAVE to do, it’s something you GET to do. It’s a privilege that is often abused. Privileges need to be earned.

If you want to workout and have your body respond positively, then you need to prioritize these three things first.

  1. Sleep

Chronic insufficient sleep has repeatedly been associated with obesity, poor blood sugar control, increased food cravings, dysregulation of caloric expenditure, inflammation, hormone imbalance and more.

Rule #1: If you didn’t prioritize sleeping for 7 hours minimum, you didn’t earn the privilege to workout that day. 

  1. Food

Have you ever heard “abs are made in the kitchen?” You can bust your butt in the gym all you want, but if you don’t take the time to learn how to fuel your body appropriately, then you’re wasting your time. Here’s the catch – this does NOT mean eating as little as possible and avoiding food groups. This means learning how much protein, carbs and fat your body needs to get through a day, let alone a workout.

Rule #2: If you didn’t prioritize fueling your body, you didn’t earn the privilege to workout that day. 

  1. Water

There is some evidence to suggest that water intake plays a role in weight loss. When you lose fat, it doesn’t just miraculously vanish from your body. There is a science to how it actually gets metabolized and exits your system. While most fat that is lost is expended through the lungs, a small portion becomes water and is excreted through urine, stool, sweat, tears, etc. 

Proper hydration also plays a role in your body’s ability to function on a cellular level which is crucial to supporting a healthy metabolism! Being dehydrated can cause muscle tightness and imbalanced temperature regulation which also will negatively impact you during your workout.

Rule #3: If you didn’t prioritize drinking between ½ - 1 oz water per pound of bodyweight, then you didn’t earn the privilege to workout that day. 

Markwald RR, Melanson EL, Smith MR, Higgins J, Perreault L, Eckel RH, Wright KP Jr. Impact of insufficient sleep on total daily energy expenditure, food intake, and weight gain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Apr 2;110(14):5695-700. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1216951110. Epub 2013 Mar 11. PMID: 23479616; PMCID: PMC3619301.

Bracamontes-Castelo G, Bacardí-Gascón M, Jiménez Cruz A. Effect of water consumption on weight loss: a systematic review. Nutr Hosp. 2019 Dec 26;36(6):1424-1429. English. doi: 10.20960/nh.02746. PMID: 31657610.

Leave a comment