Lets talk about the shirt. You know the one. That skintight shirt in the back of your closet that you save for Fridays and days you wake up feeling extra lean. THAT shirt.
For me, the shirt is a bright pink V-neck shirt I’d bought during my half-year employment with Gap Outlet. It was on clearance, which is the main prerequisite I considered when purchasing clothing at that time. It was skintight, definitely made of the stretchy moisture-wicking material that athletic clothes these days are made up of. Looking back, I definitely wasn’t on any sort of a mission for fitness at the time. In fact, my days at Gap were fueled by fast food, Venti Starbucks Frappuccino’s, and candy from the vending machine in our crowded break room.
I’m still not sure exactly why I bought the shirt. What was I expecting to wear it with? It must have been REALLY marked down. But nonetheless, I did. And here I sit. Wearing the bright pink V-neck shirt I bought from my job more than 2 years ago.
Recently, I’ve moved and somehow this shirt keeps floating up to the top of my dresser drawer. The other day I thought “Why don’t I ever wear this? Super cute!” and threw it on with some yoga pants. Surprisingly I didn’t look absolutely horrible in it. I noticed when I bent over or to the side there was some visible rolls happening, but I didn’t care.
After a particularly stressful day at work, I found myself whipping into Sonic for some good old fashioned comfort food. I knew when I did it that I was going to be disappointed in myself. Sitting in the drive through line, I remember thinking “I can just drive off right now. I don’t have to do this.” But *shocker* I didn’t. I waited and got my food. When you’re thinking about cheating, you think about the hottest most wonderful meal you’ve ever had just melting in your mouth and your taste buds cheering. But in reality, that doesn’t happen. The food wasn’t fresh, it wasn’t hot, and it didn’t taste good. I instantly regretted my decision to cheat. And I knew my body was going to thank me for it appropriately.
When I went to bed that night, I was already bloated. I could see oil on my face just half an hour after washing it in the shower. My stomach was churning, and I could feel the lethargy setting in. I went to bed as early as I could that night but unfortunately didn’t sleep well (this often happens when I don’t go to the gym after work).
The next morning, I pulled on my jeans and boots and stood there trying to find a shirt. That’s when I saw it. The shirt. I had never worn it to work before for the plain fact that I knew I wasn’t very confident while wearing it. But an idea flashed through my mind – Wear the shirt today while you’re bloated and think about how it makes you feel the next time you want to cheat. I pulled the shirt on and looked in the mirror. Worn over jeans, my body looked lumpier than the last time I wore it. But I grabbed my keys and headed out anyway.
Two things happened on the day I wore the shirt. First was the expected – I was less confident. Walking past mirrors, I would catch a glance of myself and grimace at how bloated I looked. How round and lumpy I felt. I saved this feeling. I wanted to remind myself of this the next time I thought about cheating. The second thing that happened was completely unexpected, and I’m very proud of myself for this – I felt at peace with my cheat. Yes, I looked bloated. But even in my bloated state, I looked better than I did when I started my fitness journey. Hell, I looked better than I did when I bought the shirt in 2013. It didn’t take me one day to lose all that weight, and I certainly wouldn’t gain it all back in one day.
I encourage you to find the shirt in your closet. Find something relatively old, maybe a little snug. Wear it after a cheat meal, and see how it effects your day. I know that I’ve been much more mindful about how my cheats will affect me since my experience. Feel free to comment your feedback!
I already know what happens when I give up. I want to see what will happen if I don't.