The Dress Test

Tis the time of year when I cast aside my winter sackcloth and try to trim down a little so I look foxy in my spring clothes. But unless I have a fun 'hook' to my fitness regime, I tend to stray the course more than stay the course. I need an incentive that engages my mind, makes me want to commit, and steers me away from negative self-talk and comparative thinking.

Past hooks have included the Weight Watchers app (fun with OCD!), the Bulletproof Diet (butter in my tea!), working with a nutritionist (love you, Cynthia Stadd!), vegetarianism (when in California!), and going sugar- and gluten-free (not so fun).

Along the way, I've learned that my truest incentive is having my clothing fit comfortably. I like having choices and when I gain weight, half my wardrobe is off-limits, which is soooo frustrating! Plus, buying new clothes is expensive and I have better, more powerful plans for my money.

So this year, I decided to forgo other people's patented systems and come up with my own system, which I'm calling The Dress Test.

I pulled all of my warm weather dresses out of my closet and tried each one on, observing how they fit and whether they flattered my body. Then I arranged them in my closet in descending order from "best fitting" to "worst fitting". I subdivided the dresses into five weight-loss stages, demarking them with little signs:

1. Comfortable - Dresses I can wear now
2. Low-Hanging Fruit - Dresses I can wear when I lose 3 lbs
3. First Big Milestone - Dresses I can wear when I lose 5 lbs
4. Doing Great - Dresses I can wear when I lose 7 lbs
5. Truly a Champion - Dresses I can wear when I lose 10 lbs

I selected a particularly sexy frock as my goal dress. When I can fit into it, my work is done. And I have a way of knowing where I am at each stage in the journey in measurements that matter to me. No more beating myself up for not conforming to other people's beauty milestones, or failing to obey someone else's rules.

When I meet my goal, my reward will be a closet full of pretty clothing that expresses my taste and personality, ready to wear in celebration of feeling good!