Next time you’re standing in a dressing room feeling fat, think of this

I was standing at the door of my closet, trying to wiggle into a pair of red jeans. I’d purchased them three months prior, when I was in training for my first Figure competition. I had been dieting hard, and weighed 123 lbs to my normal 145.

Now, they wouldn’t even fit over my thighs. I’d put on weight after competing in my show.

I could feel myself getting flushed with heat. I started to cry.

Luckily, my friend Becky heard me and came into the room.

She realized what was going on and said gently, “Don’t go there, Val. It’s not worth it.” I threw something else on instead.

I know I’m not the only woman who’s gotten upset over the fit of my clothing. Those pants that won’t button at the top… The dress that won’t zip even halfway up the side... The babydoll shirt that used to fit loosely, but now cuts into your ribcage… So frustrating.

I’m interested in how our experience of clothing fit translates to something I call aspirational shopping. What’s aspirational shopping, you ask?

  • Buying jeans in what you think of as your “regular size,” even if they’re a little too small. No biggie (pun intended), you’ll just squeeze into ‘em.
  • Purchasing a blouse that will look great once you lose those last 5 lbs. If you wore it now, you'd tug at it all day. But you're foregoing carbs next week, so hopefully you'll feel smaller then
  • Buying a hot dress that’s too small as motivation to lose weight

What do these scenarios lack in common? Acceptance of the present.

Acceptance of the now is the missing talking point in mainstream discourses on how to transform your body and lose weight. It’s the linchpin. And without that piece, you (and lots other people) will continue to get the body transformation formula backwards.

Here’s what I mean.

Often when we’re not fully satisfied with how life is going, we decide having an incredible body is the light at the end of the tunnel. More guys will want to commit to you, the world will look at you with admiration, and you’ll finally be that thing called “happy” that everyone talks about.

In other words, you’ll accept yourself later. Weight loss → amazing body → acceptance of yourself → happiness in life.

Aspirational shopping is one form of not accepting the present. It feeds the thought loop that says, “My body isn’t good enough yet! But I’ll get there if I just keep pushing.” Add the pressure of putting money behind that thought and you have yourself a toxic behavior.

Here’s the challenge: acceptance has to come first. Acceptance that your thighs touch, your tummy has some fat on it (you need that! Topic for a different day…), you’re not in a job you love, you really want a boyfriend, or whatever else.

Full-on, flat-out, at-first-uncomfortable, sometimes yucky-feeling acceptance.

Acceptance lets you look with honest eyes at the issues at play, and their origins. Because here’s the issue: your body isn’t what's preventing you from getting the body you want (counterintuitive, right?).

It’s your mind. Your mindset.

Once your issues rise to the surface, they receive the light they need to heal. No more running. No more burying. Acceptance → behavior change → happiness in life → weight loss → “amazing body” (if you choose to look at it that way after your transformation ;)

Here’s how to practice acceptance in regards to shopping:

Buy what fits you right now.

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There is something subtly powerful about telling your body you’ll meet it where it’s at. Then putting dollar power behind it.

Give it a try and notice what shifts.

Love and light,