Today, Live the Change You Want To Be
The "Someday, when I've..." trap. When I can wear a size 12 instead of a 20 I'll buy new clothes. When I loose 50 pounds I'll run a 10K event. When my face has slimmed down I'll let people take pictures of me.
When I started studying to become a personal trainer, I decided to look like a trainer from the very beginning. The universal uniform is a polo shirt monogrammed with the name of the club or agency on the top left shoulder.
It’s very difficult to find women’s polo shirts in plus-sizes. Athletic companies make apparel mostly for people who are already fit. The largest size I could find, even from ACE, the organization I was studying with, was XL, and those barely fit over my head. A nagging voice in my head tried to scare me into waiting until I was "the right size" to "look" like a fitness trainer, but I ignored it. I found a company on Amazon that sells plus-size womens’ polo shirts in dozens of colors.
The first set of shirts I ordered were plus size 2XL. On the top left shoulder I embroidered something even more powerful than a club or organization: my name.
After a few months I ordered a new batch of shirts in 1XL.
I’m working toward M.
There’s more. I also replaced my dress pants with zip-leg cargo pants (I had to buy mens’ sizes at first) that have plenty of space for my wallet, keys, iPod and headphones. In the time it takes to zip off the legs I'm wearing shorts and ready to go for a walk on my lunch hour.
This look is my uniform. Polo shirts are inexpensive (seriously, about $12 from Port Authority on Amazon), so it's not a huge investment when I trade-down sizes.
In coaching terms, changing my wardrobe is an element of cognitive behavior therapy, which basically says our thoughts can affect our behavior and feelings. When I look in the mirror I see a fitness trainer and health coach named Kitty looking back at me. That reflection reminds me to eat and exercise like a fitness professional throughout the day. There's also a bit of stimulus control going on: this simple outfit lowers the barriers to walking and stretching throughout the workday. Powerful stuff.
But I skipped a part of the story. Polo shirts are pretty darn boring, so I decided to have some fun with my new look. I cut out the sides and added coordinating "sidewalls" to make them look sportier. I embellished the sleeves, added hoods and cuffs, remade the collars, and on a couple I even added little secret pockets. No two are the same. I didn't wait until I "got into a smaller size." I started with the very first 2XLs and embraced the power of creating something unique for myself at the size I was.
Don't let life pass you by while you wait for that someday. Be present in the moment. Buy new clothes now, in the size you wear right now. Enter a 5K event and walk it. Take those selfies now, and embrace the brave woman looking back at you from those photos.
Live the change you want to be, whatever it is, and before you know it, you'll be changed.