clothes

Importance of Feeling Good

When you’re trying to lose weight it’s easy to get stuck in a rut in a lot of ways. One of those ways is taking care of your appearance. When I was losing 100 pounds I was definitely in a rut because I couldn’t really afford new clothes. I’d buy some new clothes but then I’d lose weight so quickly that often times I didn’t get a chance to wear my new clothes before they were too big. Some outfits even had tags on them still! Check out this old post about the topic: Losing Weight and Shopping.

One of the things I regretted was how much money I spent on new clothes I never got to wear. If I could go back and tell my younger self I would have advised myself to buy clothes at thrift stores to save money. Despite that, there was one thing about that whole experience that I think is important: when you’re losing weight it’s important to dress for your body type.

When you’re losing weight it’s easy to get frumpy. Clothes become ill-fitting and baggy. When I was at my heaviest I already wore clothes that were bigger because I thought it hid my size. In reality it just made me look even bigger. As I lost the pounds the clothes got baggier and looked terrible! I had workout clothes that were literally falling off my body because they were too big. It doesn’t motivate you or maybe you feel good when you feel like you’re walking around in clothes that are falling off.

I think it’s really important to reward your weight loss efforts with non-food rewards. Shopping for new clothes is a good one. You’re not sabotaging your successes by “treating” yourself to a hot fudge sundae. Instead, you’re rewarding your successes by buying a new outfit at your new weight to make yourself FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF.

Buying New Clothes at Your Current Weight

You don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe at every weight you get down to. That would be expensive and ridiculous. But so many times I bought clothes that were too BIG for me OR too small, hoping that “one day this will fit.” Don’t do that. Just buy a few interchangeable outfits that fit well and look stylish. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. Sometimes just some fitted black pants and a few colorful shirts is all you need to boost your self-esteem.

Since I put on about 13 pounds in the last year I found that a lot of my clothes weren’t fitting properly anymore. Sure I hadn’t gained a TON of weight but it was enough to make my clothes look odd. Pants were too tight. This caused a muffin top and my legs looked like they were busting out of my jeans. Fun times. Shirts were tighter, a little bit shorter around the waist. It was demoralizing. It made me feel BIGGER than I actually was.

It’s really important to pay attention to your body shape and buy clothes that are flattering for your shape. I found this chart that was really interesting too:

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When I first got back from Hawaii and realized I’d gained some weight, I went through my closet to get rid of stuff I  knew I’d never ever fit into again. I kept the stuff that I knew I’d be able to wear again and then I bought a few pairs of pants and a few shirts in a larger size. Sure it wasn’t what I wanted–I hated having to buy clothes in one size up, but feeling comfortable in your clothes makes a huge psychological difference.

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Recently Michael’s mom and stepdad gave me a generous gift card to Kohl’s for my birthday. I went out and bought some new shirts and even some new underwear and a bra. Not that I needed to buy a bigger size, they were all generally the same size I’d been wearing but I felt so much better about myself with some new clothes. They were cute clothes, they fit well, they were flattering for my current body shape and it just MADE ME HAPPIER.

Haircut

This is another thing you can do while losing weight. A new hairstyle! It’s something easy to do and can make a world of difference. A new hairstyle can change the shape of your face, make you look nicer and in turn make you FEEL better about yourself.

Like I said in a previous post, I’d let my hair get really long and hadn’t taken care of it. I felt super frumpy. I hated my hair. My clothes weren’t fitting right. It made me feel bummed out about my weight. I didn’t need to wallow anymore. A few new outfits and new hairstyle made a humongous difference for me!

Getting Your Nails Done

Going to a salon to get a mani/pedi can get expensive but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself at home. I know that when I do my nails in colors I like I feel feminine and pretty. Again, it’s all psychological. Boost your mood in ways that don’t include food and you’ll be successful!

Accessories

I love earrings and necklaces. I have a large collection that I’ve accrued over the years. I have my favorites that I wear all the time and then once in awhile I re-discover something I had that I’d forgotten about and it’s like wearing something new!

Again, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Go to thrift stores, antique stores, consignment shops. You can find some really neat, unique jewelry if you keep an eye out.

Celebrate Progress

I definitely recommend that people trying to lose weight take progress pictures! I wish I had taken more. I was not comfortable being in front of a camera when I was bigger and I regret not taking more photos of myself as I lost the weight. I have pictures of when I was over 250 pounds and then I have some pictures from my brother’s wedding when I weighed 200 pounds. Then there were more taken as I got closer to my goal weight.

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But I think it is a positive, uplifting ritual to take progress pictures. Sometimes when you are looking in the mirror you can’t see the progress you are making. Photos will show you that!

Take Care of Yourself

The point of doing all of this stuff is to make yourself look attractive to yourself. Wear things that you like and think positive thoughts when you look at yourself in the mirror. Try practicing positive self-talk and tell yourself something you like about your appearance. So often we get stuck in a rut where we tell ourselves “I’m so fat” and “I hate my stomach rolls” and “Why can’t I lose this flab in my arms?” and it becomes a broken record in our mind. Before you know it, all you do is talk shit about yourself and that brings down your mood and self-esteem. I know, I’ve been there many times.

I am trying to silence that negative voice in my head that’s always pointing out my flaws instead of celebrating my victories…

Losing weight is hard and it’s a drag sometimes and sometimes it TAKES FOREVER. Anything you can do to boost your mood and take the focus OFF your weight and the number on the scale is a good thing for making progress!

What are some of your favorite things to do to make yourself feel good about your body?

What Not To Wear

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I am by no means a fashionista. I am probably the most boring dresser ever. I’m much more comfortable in jeans and running shoes than anything else. I don’t have a dress code at work so I usually am wear jeans, running shoes and a nice shirt. I CAN dress up and a do like to get all girly and dressy; I like jewelry a lot so if I want to be dressier I wear necklaces and earrings. But not for the gym. The gym is very basic for me.

When I work out I sweat a lot. I only have two speeds: sleeping or moving fast. I walk fast, I workout hard, I push myself, I sweat when I work out! Figuring out what worked best for gym attire was a process. In fact, figuring out everything weight loss-related was a process!

I saw this article on how to dress appropriately for the gym and it got me thinking. I see a lot of weird stuff at the gym. Seriously. Sometimes you just wonder, is that person actually here to work out or are they just trolling for a date? There was one time where I saw a woman on the elliptical machine next to me wearing a dress and knee-high boots with stiletto heels. I kid you not. I was shocked. I was so distracted the entire time. I wanted to know WHY. Did she forget her gym bag at home? Was this her “normal”? How has she not hurt herself working out in STILETTOS?!?! EXPLAIN! It was maddening. I kick myself now for not asking her!

A long time ago I wrote a little bit about my experiences with losing weight and having to buy clothes.  I went about it all wrong. I was buying new clothes monthly as I dropped sizes and before I knew it, I was dropping sizes so quickly that I sometimes never even WORE the new clothes I bought.

I spent way too much money on new clothes as I lost weight and my recommendation to anyone losing a lot of weight: shop at second hand stores. Save money. Until you get to goal weight, or close to it, spending a ton of money on brand new clothes is just a waste. Don’t make the same mistake I made!

I bring this up again because when I was first working out, I didn’t really know what to wear. Sweat pants? Tried it. They were really hot and it’s no longer 1985. The only time I wear sweat pants now is over my swim suit as I drive to the pool. Any other instance it wouldn’t be conducive to a good workout.

Check out some of the other gym-type posts I’ve written over the years:

G is for Gym Bag Essentials

Excuse: “I Don’t Want to Look Dumb”

Don’t Break the Bank Getting in Shape

All About Gear

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What NOT To Wear

Leotards aren’t really in style anymore…or are they?? And Richard Simmons….um, those shorts just aren’t cutting it anymore! But…I think you guys already know that! What are some other general no-no’s?

Jeans: Seems like a no-brainer but I’ve seen lots of people in yoga class and spin class in jeans. It seems like that would be really difficult to me, especially in yoga class. More stretchy materials are definitely preferred for that!

Cotton t-shirts: They don’t wick sweat and can turn see-through! Especially a white t-shirt! But besides that, since they don’t wick moisture, you just get drenched and the shirt gets heavy…it’s uncomfortable and unattractive.

Baggy pants/sweat pants: While I totally understand that tight-fitting pants are probably not most people’s #1 choice, the baggy pants can actually be more of a pain and a danger than anything. There have been a few times where I wanted to warm up on the spin bike before going swimming and I was wearing bagging sweatpants. The pants got caught in the bike. That was not fun.

Old shoes: This one is SO IMPORTANT!!!! If you’re a runner, please read this post I wrote: Is it Time for New Shoes? Old running shoes that are worn and losing support can cause INJURY. Replace your shoes! I buy running shoes 2x a year, sometimes 3x if I’m really running (no so much these days).

What To Wear

You should wear what you are most comfortable in. If it’s a sweat shirt and long stretchy gym pants, do it. If it’s booty shorts, do it. Whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident, wear it. For me, as I stated above, comfort and function reign over fashion.

Sweat-resistance clothes: This one is the opposite of the cotton t-shirts. Thankfully a lot of events (cycling and running) are now passing out wicking shirts at their events instead of the cotton tees. SO much better. Wearing clothes that are made of wicking fabrics make a huge difference. It can help you stay cool while working out, you won’t be dripping in sweat, it reduces chafing and I find that wicking clothing doesn’t smell after many uses. This also goes for wicking socks. I personally like the Smart Wool brand. Prevent athlete’s foot AND blisters with these type of socks.

Sweat bands: Whether it’s a hat or sweat band or bondi band (my favorites), something to keep the sweat out of your eyes is a must. Sweat doesn’t drip into my eyes, my hair doesn’t become a frizzy mess and the bands don’t slip around. Love bondi bands!

Sleeveless shirts: I know, I know, we’re all self-conscious of our arms. Me too! Even though I lift weights and have lost 110 pounds, I still have the lunch-lady arm thing going on. It’s not fun and I sometimes feel embarrassed. But sleeveless shirts are pretty much the best workout shirts I’ve used. I don’t get over-heated in sleeveless shirts.

Spandex: No one likes spandex, but sometimes it’s necessary. And one of the bonus of the spandex type/compression shorts is no chafing! I’ve never ever had an issue with chafing or “chub rub” with my thighs when I run because of those compression shorts. They are my favorite design and solely what I wear.

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But this is all what *I* like to wear when I work out. It really comes down to what you can afford, what makes you FEEL GOOD about yourself, and what is FUNCTIONAL for YOUR fitness. My suggestion is to try out some different brands and different styles from a more affordable store (Ross, TjMaxx, Nordstrom’s Rack, etc) before spending the money on name-brand things. You can often find Nike and Adidas gear at Ross, you just have to look for it! Good luck!

So what do you like to wear to the gym? What’s on your no-no list?