April 11, 2010 at 8:48 AM I was sitting and enjoying my first big glass of cool, refreshing water for the day and wearing my “new” robe. A lovely soft cotton, with pastel flowers and a leaf pattern. It is light but has a toweling lining which is great for after the shower. I got it for a $1 at a moving sale in my neighborhood yesterday. Brought it home and washed it and dried it and had it warm from the dryer to slip into this morning. At the same sale, for about $30, I got 4 beautiful linen dresses, a pair of red linen capri pants that are ADORABLE, a boiled wool jacket for fall, a couple of nice skirts and dress pants that need to be dry cleaned (but for $1 each, who cares?) and 6 dress shirts for work that are all cotton, summer weight and beautiful colors. I bought so much stuff (and of course talked the whole time about my surgery, changing my life and exercise and everything) that they kept going in and finding more great stuff to bring out for me. Also found a food dehydrator so I can make some weight loss friendly backpacking and camping food – $10; and cute little glass sundae dishes for making my Greek yogurt snacks look pretty – just $50 cents each.
Second Hand Sally I love yard sales and tag sales and estate sales and garage sales and whatever sale you want to call them. Also the Goodwill, Salvation Army and St Vincent d’Paul’s and Oxfam (when I’m in London I always go to the one on Putney High Street, near my friend’s house). I love scavenging; it’s like a treasure hunt to find a great bargain.
Essential Treasures Losing from a size 26W down to a 14R (and they are getting loose) requires a change in wardrobe, at least every few sizes. Some people wear belts, use pins or have alterations done and keep their old clothes. My plan is to have any article of clothing that is too big out of the house, because if I gain this weight back, I’m going to be naked until I lose it again. So I want all my clothes to fit- maybe even a bit tight until I get to goal. It’s a constant indicator of my progress and if I start to slack off, my clothes feel tight and it becomes impossible to lie to myself. Then I yank myself back on track.
Not There Yet I decided early on that I would not buy new clothes until I figured out what my goal size was going to be. I THOUGHT it would be a size 14, but lo and behold, here I am, a size 14 and I’m not done yet. So I’m pretty glad I didn’t go crazy at the beginning and buy a lot of new size 14’s as goal rewards.
My Weekly “Reward” Trip Every week I spend a couple of hours flipping through the racks and piling up great finds in my cart. I focus on the color, the fabric and feel, but I try not to buy anything that fits now, unless I have a specific need that is coming up (need a suit for an interview, a dress for an event, a swimsuit to start swimming, etc). When I see something in a smaller size that is fabulous, I snag it and put it on the bottom rod in my closet. The top rod has things that fit NOW.
Making them Mine Every week after my shopping spree, I come home, wash and dry everything (some things go to the dry cleaner, but for $5, sometimes I risk the W&D and see what happens.) Once a month (or when my clothes are all getting loose) I have an orgy of trying on EVERYTHING in my closet. If it is at all loose, it goes into the donation pile. Then I hang up the ones that still fit and all the bottom rack (previously too small) come out and I try everything on. Some things are so small, that I try them on, month after month and get to watch as first I can’t get them on, then I can almost get them on, then on, then buttoned and finally – they fit. It helps me see my progress because sometimes I can’t see it. (I weigh 135 pounds less than my highest recorded weight and sometimes I feel fatter than I did at 321 pounds).
Money, Money, Money Over the last 9 months, I have spent an average of $50 a week and have bought clothes in sizes 18W, 16W, 14W, 12W (rare!), 18Reg, 16R, 14R and about two months ago I started buying sizes 12 and 10. I’ve now created 7 complete wardrobes for about $1600. That includes underwear which I just can’t make myself buy that used. Ick! But it seems to last for several sizes, if I buy it really small and then wear it until it is very loose. Jockey outlets – that’s my secret. Shoes are another story since my feet shrank from 11wide to 8 1/2 medium, and I buy about a pair a month.
The Size of Success For Easter/Passover I wore a size 12 dress. It was a bit snug, but it looked GREAT and I felt wonderful. I just had my trying on spree for the month and have a car load of clothes to donate to the Goodwill, plus two piles of suits and business clothes for Dress for Success. My accountant says I could take a larger deduction for these, based on the replacement cost of the clothes, but I’m delighted to have the Goodwill price for them. (So glad I saved all my receipts.)
The Folly of Youth When I think of the full price Jones New York suits I used to buy at Nordstrom’s for $300+, well, I feel really good about how well I’ve done. Plus, I dress better now than I ever have. Much more color and variety. Goodwill organizes all the clothes by color and I try to stay out of the black unless I need a basic piece like one great pair of black pants, or one great black jacket.
Changing My Brain I was reading in Dr. Oz’s book You – Getting Younger – that doing something like that on a regular basis creates new patterns in your brain that help to re-frame your habits. I think this must be true, because when I got to the point where I thought I had enough size 14s and quit buying, I got really sad. (I was worried that I had created a transference habit, but I stick to my budget, so I’m not so worried any more.) When I started buying the size 12’s and then the 10’s I felt more positive and hopeful about where I was going to end up. And you know what? I bought a couple of size 8 shirts at that yard sale. Who knows?