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Risk v Reward

During a precious break on Wednesday, I had a TV inspired revelation.

I really enjoyed witnessing this particular What Not to Wear episode’s participant, Alexandra. An analytical, Harvard educated professor, she expressed her objections to the double standards concerning fashion and comfort with her clothing. Her opinions were valid and obvious (how long does it take the men in your life to get ready? when was the last time a man voluntarily had a sensitive part of their person waxed?) but her decisions were only hurting herself. Constantly dressed in over-sized clothing and bizarre ensembles, she clearly pulled out of the “caring for your appearance” race. As the show progresses, it becomes clear that her reasoning is more layered than the initial double standard complaint. Her lack of effort in her appearance was also fueled by a “so-so” opinion of her beauty and a reluctance to send the message that she was actually trying. Cue my “ah-hah” moment.

What Not to Wear is about self esteem, fashion and directing our efforts wisely. But couldn’t this be true of people opting out of the “get fit, be healthy, finally get to my goal weight…” journey? My suspicion and experience lead me to a pretty emphatic: YES. Have some of us pulled out of the race? If we try for something more we actually might be noticed, be judged, be vulnerable, fail or God forbid succeed and gain even more attention – all road blocks worth addressing.

This boycott of fashion was hurting Alexandra more than helping. Although it seemed as though she was solely making a statement about double standards, she was missing opportunities for joy, a more accurate first impression, and to experience the pleasure that results in liking one’s appearance. The stakes in the health/wellness game are even higher. You might be neglecting the opportunity for very powerful improvements to your health, well being, free time, energy, medication or longevity by opting out of being fit. Do you avoid the embarking on a more fit path? Maybe some of us feel that if we try – people will judge us for trying, or why should we risk failure again if it didn’t work last time, or what if I do succeed and I my life changes for the better and those dreams of health/fitness become a new reality?

In helping Alexandra, co-host Clinton Kelly commented: “risk is very closely tied to reward.” Amen, my brother. This week, consider if you are like the old Alexandra. Unwilling to sign up for a fitness class because we failed in the past? Unlikely to order a healthier option at lunch for fear of comments? Concerned about actually being an ideal weight because it might make heavier friends uncomfortable? Hesitant to make a change because someone might notice? When addressed like this, doesn’t it seem silly to waste the opportunity to be happier and healthier because of a little fear? I understand how these obstacles creep into our decision making but I encourage you to embrace the risk. It might be a really joyful process.

Curious? It’s a pretty great episode – watch here: What Not to Wear Episode: Alexandra
Questions? My door is always open!

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