A Little Red Dress…And a Way of Life

With temperatures consistently in the upper limits of the thermostat, I have been wearing dresses nearly every day. All of my dresses had made an appearance at my job except for three: a clingy, leopard-print Ralph Lauren number, a close-fitting army green shirtdress from H&M and a red shift dress from The Limited. I had deemed these dresses to be best left for “off duty” times.

I have worn the animal-print and green dresses out on dates with my husband, but I never found the right occasion to wear the red number. As a result, this dress has been languishing in my closet for two years–until this week.

I bought the dress in 2009, after finding myself back on the job market. I planned on wearing it with a blazer, but soon came to the decision that it was too dressy (and too red) for an interview. Did I mention I couldn’t really wear the dress when I first bought it either? That had a little something to do with my decision, too…

Fast forward a year, and I triumphantly found myself being able to zip the dress and smooth it down properly over my hips… But I still didn’t have any place to wear the dress. Fast forward another year; same thing–or so I told myself.

Getting tired of wearing my go-to professional dresses, and getting tired of staring at the dress on the hanger, I decided to throw caution to the wind, throw on a denim jacket and some exotic flat sandals, and head off to work. I was happy with my decision to put this dress into rotation, and I will wear it again.

Changing my outlook to make it OK to wear this dress got me to thinking about changing my outlook on my eating and my life. I recently mused about being able to continue a healthy lifestyle on my own, without the aid of Weight Watchers; this situation also made me think about re-drawing the boundary lines I have set for my eating.

You’ll hear people say that Weight Watchers is not a diet but a lifestyle. However, many people do seem to treat it like a diet. I know I have, eating the same meals week in, week out, because I know the POINTs values and that they are “safe” foods for me. Although the rules I created in the earlier days of my weight loss journey served me well to lose weight, they are not really inspiring me now to continue to lose weight.

Personal rules may be comforting in how orderly they make your life feel, but with growth, they become constricting. The reality is there is a lot of latitude for eating healthy. There are many recipes out there for me, waiting to be tried. And occasional, portion-controlled indulgences are acceptable (and even encouraged). This is the balance I need to find.

In the future, my little red dress will remind me of two ways in which I have won: with weight loss, but also with gaining the courage to change my outlook on how I live my life.

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