Small Changes – Dress for Success

I recently went from a size 46 to a size 36 waist, and started realizing how important clothes were to successfully reaching my fitness goals.  Here’s some tips:

Most importantly, dress nicely and comfortably.  A lot of unhealthy eating habits stem from emotional eating.  I realized as I began to lose weight that my emotional eating was fueled by being uncomfortable with my appearance and my clothes.  Wearing a coat and tie would make me hot and fidgety.  The same slacks that looked good on me through college now pooched in bad places.  It was time for a makeover.  Even before I began losing weight, I started by getting a tailored coat, changing to another brand of khakis and wearing knit short-sleeve shirts instead of T-shirts.  By paying attention to my appearance, I began practicing mindfulness and empowerment of choice; in small doses, I  was preparing myself  to undergo a lifestyle change without even knowing it.

Replace clothes wisely during weight loss.  Because I was losing so much weight quickly, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money replacing my entire wardrobe every month.  I focused on belts (they were cheap and extended the life of my existing pants) and boxers (being comfortable in clothes starts with the basics).  In addition to regularly replacing those inexpensive items, I focused on the clothes I wore the most of, and are the most versatile – khakis.  I can wear a T-shirt, a knit shirt or a shirt and tie with a nice pair of khakis.  Near the end of my weight loss, I started slowly replacing other items, like jeans and shirts.  Not only did I save money by replacing clothes in that order, it helped reward my success in reaching my fitness goals – my new clothes felt better, and I started enjoying going clothes shopping.  Standing in that mirror looking at myself trying on clothes, and showing the clothes to my wife, was an incredibly positive affirmation.  (It also helped that my weight loss occurred during my birthday and Christmas.)

Buy good quality clothes.  Not all clothes are created equal.  You don’t have to spend $100 on a pair of jeans, but it would be a good idea to start at a department store with a large selection of brands like Belk and try on different brands of jeans, shirts, khakis, whatever you are there to replace.  Different brands have different cuts, different pleats, different fabrics, and thus breathe and fit differently.  Start getting a sense of what brands you feel comfortable and nice in, then stick to that brand.

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