Dressing For Success
First published in InfoAve Premium - Issue #171 - January 26, 2007

It seems that for everything you do in life there's a right way to dress and a wrong way to dress. It doesn't seem quite fair, but that's they way it is. When you come right down to it, life isn't fair. But what can you do about it? You either fit in or get branded a "Bohemian", "rebel" or "trouble maker". Or worse yet: a slob.

Last spring I embarked on a walking regimen for health reasons. And for weight reasons, too. I was very fat and being very fat made me sick. That was sixty pounds ago. I'm still a fat person, but now I am a fat person in a thinner body. Makes you think doesn't it?

Isn't it funny that the older we get the more work we have to do in order to stay healthy? That doesn't seem quite fair either does it? You'd think that the older we got the less we'd have to do, since we've already done so much to get where we are. Doesn't that seem logical to you? But they way things are, when you're young you can stuff your face with all sorts of fattening substances and still be active and svelte. It was nice to be young. And svelte. And active.

Don't give up though, no matter how old you are, walking is a great way to stay active. And, if not svelte, walking can at least keep you slimmer. Walking will not make you young again, but you'll feel younger! And hey - the best you can do is the best you can do. Right?

Anyway, if you've ever had the misfortune to join any sort of fitness club where they have indoor walking tracks, then you already have learned how you need to dress for walking or exercise success. You gotta look good when you go to "the club". Right? Not me. I'm sorry.

For those of you who are older and haven't had to start any kind of exercise program and who are more-or-less healthy, this article is for you.

First, I want to say that I envy those who eat anything they want and never gain weight. I also envy those who eat anything they want, don't give a darn, and just keep buying bigger and bigger clothes. It's great if you feel comfortable doing that. Throw caution to the wind. You only live once! I envy you - because I'll tell you what: a big chocolate sundae with peanuts and whipped cream sounds mighty good right now. And so does a big juicy double-cheeseburger (or two) and a big order of hot greasy fries. Mmmm!

But alas, I'm getting bundled up for a walk right now. It's January in Ohio. The wind chill is 7 degrees (That's 7 degrees Fahrenheit. For those of you in those metric countries that's minus 14 centigrade.) Whatever your system of measurement you prefer -there's only one word for the weather today and that word is C O L D!

And, you're going to think I'm really fruity when I tell you that I, indeed, have a membership to an indoor walking track. But, I'd rather go outside and freeze to death than spend $400.00 on stylish walking attire. In order not to appear "Bohemian" I'd need to have the following to walk indoors and blend in with the fitness crowd:

1. Sporty Nike walking pants $70.00
2. A proper Nike walking shirt (red) $45.00
3. A light indoor training jacket (Nike) $75.00
4. Ecco Walkathon walking shoes $180.00
5. Nike headband $14.00
6. Nike walking socks $22.00

Not only would this outfit set me back over $400.00, but by the time I got all this stuff on, I may as well just dress for the outdoors and walk out there. At least I can be myself as I slosh through the salty, grungy snow; all in the name of health.

So my indoor walking pass has gone mostly unused but as they say - necessity is the mother of invention.

If you're thinking about starting an exercise program (spring is less than two months away!) now is an excellent time to devise a plan. And make sure it's a plan that you can live with; and live with for a long time.

This brings me to exercise machines. Like, for instance the ubiquitous "BowFlex". It won't do you much good if you choose something like a BowFlex machine and do it for three days and then put it in a garage sale. Or end up using the BowFlex bench for supporting a big bowl of potato chips. Garage sales and rummage sales are where most abandoned BowFlexes end up.

Plus, they're ugly, bulky, and they take up too much room. And besides that, even if you worked out on that thing for twenty hours a day, you're never going to look like those sweaty, muscle-laden, beautiful people on TV. You can bet that while the commercial says you can have a body just like theirs by working out for 20 minutes a day, three days a week, you're never going to look like they do. Besides, it's too easy to eat while you're sitting on the BowFlex. That's not good. Not good at all.

There's something in your genes probably - just like in my genes. I call it the "imagine gene". If you look at chocolate cake and then get on the scale, you find you've gained two pounds. You don't have to eat the cake, you just have to look at it and imagine you're eating it. The calories are like wireless calories - your brain absorbs these wireless waves from the chocolate cake, makes your mouth think you've eaten it, and then your brain does whatever it does to make it go into your stomach. There, the chocolate cake is digested, the calories extracted and stored on your belly as fat. So, my theory is that fat people don't get fat by eating too much, they get fat by thinking about food or looking at food too much. It's in the genes. If you get fat just by looking at food, you have got the same gene that I have: The imagine gene.

And before you get all riled up about me using the word "fat" (as in fat people) you need to understand that I have every right to use that word for the following good reasons:

1. I have been a fat person (and still am -but now in a thin body)
2. I am not politically correct nor do I have any desire to be

If you're fat, you know you're fat. You can call yourself "BIG" if you want; but you're fat. You're not pleasingly plump, husky, big-boned, or chunky. You're fat. Period. There's no sense beating-around-bush. The word that best describes fat people, is fat.

I was a fat person (still am - but now in a thin body) and I know what I'm talking about. I used all the euphemisms too. I know all the excuses and all the words. I'm still a fat person in but I live in a thin body now. If I were to go back to my old ways, I'd be a fat person in a fat body. I have an overactive "imagine gene". If you've read this far, you might have one too.

Well, by now you're probably scratching your head about a couple of things, for instance: Why in the heck is the title of this article "Dressing For Success"? What does all this gene theory stuff have to do with anything?

Well, my friend, with my usual verbal dexterity and alacrity; I'm about to tie it all together. And I will do it surprisingly succinctly too :)

In a few short paragraphs I'm going to give some great advice on starting a walking for fitness program and save you hundreds (maybe even thousands) of dollars.

I will require the assistance of my friend who lives down in Dixie, in order to show you both winter and summer walking attire. As it's January in Ohio, I'm not about to walk outside in shorts and t-shirt just to show you how to dress when it's warm.

Indeed, my Dixieland friend will demonstrate the proper walking attired for a warm climate. And it's attire that you can pick up for very little money. Heck, you might even find the kinds of things that he wears just laying around the house in boxes that you once set aside for your next rummage or garage sale. Or perhaps these are the kinds of things you'd normally donate to Goodwill.

Above all, we're going to show you have to dress stylishly and functionally.  Stylish, functional, and practical: We two walkers are!

Dressing for Success In Warm Climates

I call upon my friend down in Dixie, who has been kind enough to pose for a picture dressed in normal spring and summer walking attire, to help assist me with this lesson.

Notice how my friend in Dixie has used his resourcefulness to put together a walking outfit that is hard to beat for comfort, functionality, practicality and price. The whole outfit cost him less than $10.00!

Note the "dust/pollen mask". This was purchased in a local hardware store for 39 cents. It lasts a whole summer and protects my pollen-sensitive friend from pollen, dust, and other allergens. This also saves him money on prescriptions too. Since he can wear this mask indoors as wall. This eliminates any need to take expensive prescription medication for allergies. Good news for the Southern Man, bad news for Pfizer.

The t-shirt was something he's had lying around the house for at least two decades. Any t-shirt will do. Note the absence of any kind of Nike logo or any logo at all. This saves money, but provides all the protection of an expensive Nike brand t-shirt.

He found the sunglasses under a dumpster behind a Publix supermarket. A fortuitous event, no doubt. But you could pick up similar sunglasses for $2.00 at any Dollar store in the USA.

Perhaps the most thought-provoking piece of clothing my friend is wearing here, is the hat. While it looks exotic, it is nothing more than a white ball cap with a white napkin sewed on the back. If you don't have any white napkins, any color will do. However, remember that white reflects the sun's rays better than any other color. You can also use handkerchiefs, dish cloths, or wash cloths sewn onto the back of the cap. The important thing is to provide adequate protection from the painful "redneck syndrome" that many Southerners experience. By redneck syndrome, I mean no disrespect. Honest! What I mean is sunburned neck syndrome.

My friend buys his walking shoes from Payless. On sale he can get two pairs of walking shoes for about $8.95. And he (trust me on this) always buys things on sale. We don't call him "Mr. Thrifty" for nothing.

He doesn't wear any socks ever (he's from Georgia).

The Southern Man wears whatever shorts he has lying around. As long as they keep him covered and legal he doesn't much care about color or style. You have to hand it to him, he looks like a dedicated, yet fashionable walker, doesn't he?

Cost of Hat? $5.00
Cost of T-Shirt? Zero dollars
Cost of Dusk/Pollen Mask? 39 cents
Cost of Walking Shoes? $4.50
Cost of Socks? Zero dollars
Cost of Shorts? Zero dollars
Benefits of Walking? Priceless!

Dressing for Success In Cold Climates

For this example, I have subjected myself to a lot of potential embarrassment by posing (against my better judgment) for a photograph dressed for a rather lengthy spell of cold weather walking. I can only hope this photo did not steal too much of my soul. I need all the soul I can get. Trust me.

Note that it's always good to dress in layers. Since you couldn't (fortunately for you) see me getting dressed, you have no idea of how many layers of clothing I am wearing. Let me enlighten you.

Underneath all this I am wearing thermal undies - let's not get too personal now. Suffice it to say that I got them on sale at Wal-Mart for $12.88.

Over that I have a red t-shirt (no Nike Logo or any logos of any kind), an Ohio State Sweatshirt (that I'm sort of embarrassed to wear now after the Florida game), a cheap ($9.99) gray hooded-sweat jacket, a ski-mask type stocking hat (one my son used to wear when he went sledding), an old fake-down filled winter jacket that I've had laying around for over a decade, a pair of $3.00 sunglasses (The Dollar Store), and a pair of "Thinsulite" gloves ($5.99) that don't keep my hands very warm.

And, I almost forgot. I do wear socks, just plain old white socks ($1.99) and an old pair of New Balance Walking Shoes, which when new cost around $40.00 - and yes I know that's a lot of money!

Against the advent of me collapsing in some snow drift somewhere and being left for transient indigent, I have hidden under my ski mask a Bluetooth head set wirelessly connected to a cellphone hidden rather ingeniously in my right coat pocket. If all goes awry during my walk and I fall over, I can instantaneously dial 9-1-1 and hopefully the phone's internal GPS system will help the rescue squad locate me before I freeze to death. There's always a risk when walking in very cold weather. But, being the adventurer I am, I accept these risks with almost a sense of exhilaration.

As you can easily see, walking in cold weather is intrinsically more expensive than walking in warm weather. That's the price one has to pay for the privilege of living in Ohio where we have the best climate in the world :-). My grandfather used to describe Ohio's weather this way: "Six months of winter, three months of fall, three months of spring and no summer at all." We all have our burdens to bear. I'm about to bear mine in about fifteen minutes when I begin an hour and a half walk in the nine degree wind chill. Yes, I know, it was 7 degrees when I started this, it's up to nine now. I'm thrilled!

It takes me about fifteen minutes to put all this stuff on, by-the-way.

Let's break down the cost of my walking outfit:

Thermal undies: $12.88
Old T-shirt: Zero Dollars
Ohio State University Buckeyes sweatshirt: $22.00 (yes I know!)
Hooded sweatshirt jacket: Zero Dollars
My Son's Old Ski Mask-type Stocking Hat: Zero Dollars
Old fake-down filled winter jacket: Zero Dollars
Sunglasses: $3.00
Old New Balance Walking Shoes: $40.00
Socks: $1.99
Thinsulite Gloves: $5.99
Benefits of tromping through snow drifts, risking freezing to death in the cold, the spirit of recklessness and adventure? Priceless!

I guess I have about $90.00 worth of cold weather walking attire on when I venture out the door. But you have to admit, it looks like a million bucks.

By now you're thinking: "Boy these two are real goofballs." And you may be right, but Eightball also walks too. Have you ever heard of Under Armour? It's very expensive stuff. My Southern friend and I can only dream about being able to afford "Under Armour". But Eightball wears Under Armour and snowshoes too. That's another story for another day.

I guess the important thing to remember is that spring is coming. This is a great time to make a decision to exercise, lose weight and improve yourself. Walking is a great way to get the exercise you need without spending much money. Starting a walking fitness program does not take any special equipment and you can "dress for success" when you're walking by wearing almost any old thing you have laying around the house. You don't need to join the fashion parade at your local health club. You won't spend the first three weeks of your new fitness program laying on the floor writhing in pain as your muscles cramp in protest against being over-exerted for the first time in twenty-five years. You won't end up taking Tylenol every 4 hours for muscle pain and back spasms. You won't have an ugly BowFlex sitting around your living room to make you feel bad every time you glance at it and decide it's too much work.

If you start a walking program you can set your own goals. Start off with 30 minutes of walking every-other-day. Then increase it to every day. When you're ready to walk more, you'll know it. You can lose weight and feel better just by walking thirty minutes a day. And you can make a huge difference in the way you look and feel by taking two 30 minute walks five days a week.

The Southern Man and I have always battled the "imagine gene". We look at food, imagine we are eating it, and we get fat. Walking not only burns calories, tones muscles, and helps your heart, it also keeps you from imagining that you're eating food (or really eating food) and keeps you from getting fat. If you're already fat, it will make you thinner. The more you walk the thinner you'll get. Of course, you still can't eat everything you want (sigh), but you can eat three good meals a day and still lose weight. And just as good as losing weight you'll be much more healthy. You don't lose much weight by watching "American Idol". In fact you probably eat stuff while you're watching it. It's hard to eat while you're walking (but not impossible). The more you walk the less you'll eat. The more you walk the more fit you'll be. The more you walk the healthier your heart will be. Your muscles will come back to life and you'll feel better. Guaranteed.

Spring is less than two months away. Most of you who don't exercise are probably wishing you did. A walking program that you plan for yourself is one of the best things you can do. Walking is an easy exercise to stick with. It requires no special equipment and it doesn't need to cost a lot of money. You can look great like us :) and feel great too. All you have to do is decide to do it.

Make the decision to start walking soon. Set goals for yourself and stick with them. And pretty soon you'll start enjoying it (really!) and you'll look forward to your daily walks. You'll look and feel better and you'll be doing something good for yourself.

Even if you have the imagine gene like us, you can still have a thinner, slimmer body. And if you keep walking

But don't expect to ever look as good as we do. We're like those people on the BowFlex commercials: We're buff and we know it. Plus, we dress for success and really cool too!

Have a comment? Care to rant? Please

Make a small donation via PayPal, Amazon, or regular mail

  Try Spyware Doctor Free!

Registry Mechanic - A Cloudeight Endorsed Product
Download A Free Trial of Registry Mechanic by PC Tools

With Registry Mechanic you can safely clean, repair and optimize the Windows registry with a few simple mouse clicks! Problems with the Windows registry are a common cause of Windows crashes, slow performance and error messages. By using a registry cleaner regularly and fixing registry errors your system should not only be more stable but it will also help improve your system performance without expensive hardware upgrades. Download A Free Trial of Registry Mechanic by PC Tools

Registry Mechanic uses a high-performance detection algorithm to quickly identify missing and invalid references in your Windows registry. These problems can occur for many reasons including being left-behind after the un-installation or incorrect removal of software, by missing or corrupt hardware drivers, or orphaned startup programs. Download A Free Trial of Registry Mechanic by PC Tools

With a few easy steps Registry Mechanic will scan your entire registry for any invalid entries and provides a list of the registry errors found, you can then choose to selectively clean each item or automatically repair them all. For your convenience and protection Registry Mechanic can also make a backup of any repairs made so that you can easily recover any changes if required. Try it free now! Download A Free Trial of Registry Mechanic by PC Tools

Home Page | Smileycons | Email Guardian | FolderMagic | CalendarPal | Start With Us |  More Rants

All content is