Fitting Into The Clothes You Love To Wear – Yeah! No More Elastic Waists!!


You really want to fit into those skinny jeans now tucked away in the far corner of your drawer. Maybe, you just want to get back into any of those clothes you used to wear – that ones you loved to wear. Abandoning elastic bands for zippers and buttons is not going to be easy. It is not simply about selecting the right diet or the suitable weight loss plan. It is more than dieting or exercise. Losing weight is also about motivation.

What is Motivation?

At its most basic, motivation is simply what you require to get from the place (or weight) where you are now to where you want to be. It is a drive, an energy, a force to be reckoned with. It is not an overt quality. You cannot see it. You cannot measure it scientifically. Yet, without some form of motivation you will not be able to reach your goals.

Motivating Yourself for a Weight Change

Essentially, there are two different types of motivation. They are autonomous and controlled.1

  • Autonomous motivation – This form involves making changes or advances as the result of a personal reason. For example, you wish to lose weight to look better, for your health or for your family. Maybe you just want to look good in your jeans again! The central characteristic of autonomous motivation is you are doing it out of your own personal desires.
  • Controlled Motivation – This type of motivation focuses on the ability of others to push you to decide. You are making changes due to the pressure, actual or perceived, of others. A feeling of guilt may also influence your motivation to lose weight. Women are particularly susceptible to this kind of motivation because many are under pressure from husbands, partners and boyfriends to lose weight.

Research indicates that motivation is not only essential for healthy weight loss but autonomous decisions to lose weight are more effective than controlled motivation. In other words, you need to make the decision yourself. Your friends, family, the media and total strangers can push you and influence you. You may base your decision upon how they feel about your weight. Yet, if the ultimate decision and, hence motivation is not yours, you have less chance of success.

Letting your Clothes Help Motivate you

While it may seem odd, your clothing, the outfits you used to love to wear, can provide you with the right type of motivation to lose weight. In fact, they can help in a very concrete way. The overall method is very simple.

  • Take out the favorite clothing pieces you once wore.
  • Hang them up where you can see the clothes.
  • Choose one particular outfit you absolutely love.
  • Take a picture of it. Make multiple copies. Alternatively, find a photo of you in that particular piece of clothing and make copies of it.
  • Leave the outfit hanging in your bedroom where you can see it every morning.
  • Post the photographs of the outfit – with or without you wearing it -everywhere you spend time – bathroom, kitchen (the fridge door is an excellent spot), etc.
  • Look at it every time.

The point of the exercise is not to make you feel bad. Do NOT look at the photograph and say how horrible you now look. Do Not use the photo to wallow in the past – This can drive you to eat more food or give up. Use the picture as a tool to help motivate you to change.

Motivation does work best when you take control of your life.2 Taking control means you learn a whole new set of skills and/or strengthen those already present. You do not beat yourself up over your current situation. You decide to change. You decide to make weight loss happen. You motivate yourself.

Other Ways to help Reinforce your Decision

If you want this to work, you need to become both motivated and focused. Focus and motivation work best together when you have clearly defined goals. How can you accomplish this?

  • Write your goals down
  • Be specific – do not say “I want to lose weight.” Say, instead, “I want to lose 2 to 3 pounds this week and 10 pounds this month.”
  • Be realistic. Make sure the goals are those you can work towards. Do not build-in failure by saying, for example: “I am going to lose 30 pounds this week,” if you know you cannot.
  • Put together a list of benefits of accomplishing your weight loss – better health, you can wear clothes you love, etc.
  • Put together a list of known obstacles – well-meaning friends, food enablers, holidays, uncertainty, etc.
  • Identify small sub-goals. These can be better sex, the ability to enjoy walking, being able to wear your favorite jeans again and so on.
  • Visualize. Never underestimate the power of visualization. Imagine yourself in that dress or skirt or pair of skinny jeans. Imagine the weight falling away gradually. It helps.

Yet one of the best ways to accomplish weight loss and keep it off is support. Research indicates everyone needs help along the way, no matter what the goal. One particular study by the Medical School of the University of Pittsburg found that of the 166 individuals who took part, those who had the support of their family and/or friends were the most successful at both losing weight and keeping it off.3

Friends, relatives and family can provide you with further motivation – as long as it is your decision and not a control mechanism. They can also be there to provide you with encouragement and help you over the rough spots.



1 Webber, KH; Tate, DF: Ward, DS; and Bowling, M (2010). “Motivation and its Relationship to Adherence to Self-monitoring and Weight-loss Intervention.” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 42(3): 161-167.

2 Wiseman, Richard (2010). 59 Seconds: Change Your Life In Under A Minute.New York: Anchor Books.

3 Love, SM and Domar, AA (2009). Live A Little.New York: Crown.


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