When the suit fits 10/08

October 2008

measuring tape

Believe it or not, when I’m working in my home office I’m NOT wearing a snappy little outfit, shiny shoes and fresh lipstick, though you may have imagined me that way. My company dress code is pretty relaxed most days of the week, not just Fridays. But I do leave the comfort of my home office once in a while and put myself in the public eye, not to mention in the traffic.

Thinking about all the public events on my calendar, I got this idea in my head that I should buy myself a new business suit. I had no desire to shop for weeks to find just the thing, so I decided I would give it one evening and if it was meant to be, I would have a new suit.

Immediately upon entering my favorite department store I saw a sign – Suits 70% off. No kidding! The universe responds.

But already the story turns sad. Though the suits on display were allegedly my size, they just didn’t fit. I bought one anyway and proceeded directly to the tailor begging for a miracle. After all was said and done, I saved about five bucks. But I have a new suit that fits, along with a few other items from my closet that I had altered as well.

Do you know what happens when you have a suit that fits? You wear it. Happily. Does that seem obvious? Then why are so many of us struggling with diets and fitness plans that just don’t fit, and trying to force them to work? The same also holds true for jobs, careers and even relationships.

Be it physical activity or diet, it doesn’t matter how sound a plan, or what works for your friend or neighbor, it’s only works if it works for you. You wouldn’t wear your friend’s suit would you?

"I Did it MY Way"

The key, then, is creating a plan that matches your preferences and needs. Sometimes it takes a little effort to figure that out, particularly if you’ve dieted for many years. A tailor-made program eliminates the feelings of deprivation and the rebellious binges that follow when we give up certain foods or food groups because the diet says so.

Ultimately, we must learn to trust ourselves to make good choices, to eat what we enjoy and enjoy what we eat. Trusting ourselves allows us to develop a healthy relationship with food – essential for long-term success. This takes time; patience and forgiveness are essential during this process.

Try to get along

A healthy relationship with food includes getting satisfaction and pleasure from food, as well as nourishment and good health. A client recently said, "I made this delicious squash soup that I would have never allowed myself to have when I was dieting, and I really enjoyed it." This represents a breakthrough shift to trust self and relinquish the controlling ‘dieting’ mentality where certain foods are off limits and you feel spineless and bad when you consume them.

Eating what you want is not a loophole. It’s logic. There is room for all foods in a healthy diet. Of course this comes with responsibility. For starters, I strongly recommend eating slowly and consciously. You will enjoy food more, notice when you’ve had enough and consequently eat less. You might gain weight before you lose, but you will be in a much better place. When you’re happy you want to make better choices.

If you think all you will want to eat is cherry cheesecake, you’re wrong. Clients tell me their "go to" foods no longer work for them when they slow down and pay attention.

How does fitness fit in?

One-size-fits-all fitness doesn’t work either. Here again, the program has to match your preferences and needs. The physical activity you will actually do is the best physical activity for you. If you love line dancing and you feel a natural pull to do so, then line up and enjoy. The important thing is to be active.

It’s a lot easier to get up in the morning when decisions like: the clothes you wear, the foods you eat, the relationships you kindle and the work you do, are made to fit based on your personal preferences. If you consider your core values, it’s even better. Doing so creates pull structures that draw you like a magnet versus push structures that feel like obligations. The basic principle is – when pushed we tend to push back. It’s that rebellious child in all of us.

If you’ve got clothes in your closet that don’t fit, get them altered or get them out. Stop promising yourself they’ll fit when you lose weight. You’ll want new clothes. You deserve to look great at any size. What the heck! Go out tonight and buy yourself a new suit. There’s a great sale on.