When I was in my early 20s at my first real job in Atlanta, my coworkers used to compliment me on my sense of style. I made a real effort to keep up with the latest trends, and I prided myself on being one of the most put-together people in my office.
After I got married and was raising two babies, I gradually started slacking off in the wardrobe department. I eventually dumbed it down to the point that a dressy outfit for a night out with my girlfriends was a white t-shirt and jeans. I remember looking at some of the nicer tops in my closet and thinking to myself that I would save those for a really special occasion. (Not that I had one.)
I finally started realizing that I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel and that my lack of effort was affecting other areas of my life. I stopped wearing makeup, I stopped doing my hair, I stopped sitting at the table while I was eating.
It seemed that the less of a sartorial effort I made, the faster I slid into absolute apathy in everything. I had to force myself out of it, and it wasn’t easy.
I made myself put on makeup each morning, even if I wasn’t going to see another soul, and I pushed past the voice in my head telling me that it was pointless to wear such a cute top just to go to the grocery store. But I did it anyway.
And you know what? It noticeably improved almost every aspect of my life.
What you wear has an effect on your attitude and your mood and how you live each day. How you feel affects your mindset — and when it comes to food and eating, mindset is everything.
I’ve said it a thousand times, and I’ll say it again: what you eat isn’t nearly as important as the way that you eat it. And how you eat is driven by how you think.
That’s why I keep writing about these little hacks that are seemingly unrelated to dieting and weight loss. They’re actually directly related, because they have to do with your mental state. And the best part is, they’re super easy to make.
So if you’re reading this wearing yoga pants and are still stuck in the diet/lose/gain cycle, here are three ways that simply dressing up in the morning will help you change how you eat:
1. You’ll make more of an effort. Making the effort to dress up is an act of self-care that spills over into your eating habits. When you think about what you put on and carefully choose what you wear, you’re more likely to do the same with your food. You’ll pick something healthy instead of just grabbing what’s in front of you.
2. You’ll feel more confident. Feeling good about the way you look makes you hold yourself differently. It changes how you stand and how you walk. You feel strong and in control. When you feel confident like this, you’re less likely to act on the urge to binge and to mindlessly shove something down.
3. You’ll get out of a rut. When you get to the point that you’re wearing basically the same thing every day, you’re going to also eat the same foods over and over again. You get into a major rut — you keep eating the same frozen meal or grabbing some of your kids’ string cheese.
And slouching around in your sweatpants all day makes you feel gross and drained of energy. When you have no energy, you’re less likely to cook something or try something new. When you force yourself out of your clothing rut, it’s a lot easier to get out of your eating rut.
I’m not saying you have to dress like you’re going to a cocktail party or that you need to waste an hour of your day getting ready. Just do a little more than usual — put on some jewelry, fix your hair, wear a little makeup.
It’s hard to remember sometimes when you spend all day doing everything for everyone else, but you’re worth taking care of, too. And when you get yourself dressed each morning — even if you’re just working from home all day — you know you’re doing it because you truly care about yourself. And if you care about yourself, you’re going to eat better.
Try it for yourself, and see what happens. With the exception of the weight, you have nothing to lose.