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Save money, feel fabulous with a stable weight and investment clothes

Tonight is the big party for finalists in the Health Innovation Challenge. We're going to meet other finalists, Blue Cross Blue Shield execs, Bull City Forward VCs, and other community leaders. I'm excited and want to make a good impression with the hopes of getting funding for Wildly Good Cook teachers' training.

I've just tried on my favorite fund-raising suit, purchased with my dot-com money when I was a political staffer eight years ago. I bought it on sale, but even on sale, an Armani suit will pay for a lot of groceries!

Lo, baby, it fits! In fact, it's just a leeetle bit loose! If I'd gained the U.S. average of pound or two a year, it wouldn't even zip!

Does this outfit look dated? Maybe to a devil in Prada, but not to a normal person. It makes me feel like a million bucks, which is just how you want to look when you are asking someone to fund your project or candidate.

That's not all that fits again, now that I've lost weight eating the Wildly Affordable Organic way. It's one of the side-effect savings of cooking like it matters. I wore a sassy, strappy dress out for our anniversary dinner last month. That inspired me to try on a negligee that my mother-in-law bought me just before my Taster and I got married twenty-four years ago. Yes, it fit! Now I waft about like a new bride every morning.

I'd been gaining weight like most people before I started the Cook for Good project. I lost 10 pounds the first summer. And despite a setback last year triggered by injuries and family troubles, I'm back on track again: up only 5 pounds from when we got married, not 24 or (shudder) 48 pounds. By the end of the summer, I should be back at my wedding weight. My Taster already is!

Do you want to feel like a million bucks without spending more? Cook real, healthy food at home to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Your clothes will fit better. And you'll simply feel better and look better, no matter what you wear.

When your weight is stable, you can build a wardrobe from your favorite pieces over five, ten, or thirty years. Keeping two or three complete wardrobes in different sizes is really expensive!

Here's how to get started. 

  • Buy one or two terrific, top-quality outfits or key pieces a year to keep up with current styles.
  • Mix new pieces with older favorites from your closet. 
  • Avoid expensive trends all together by developing a look and sticking with it. It worked for Steve Jobs and it can work of you, even if you aren't ready to buy 100 turtlenecks at once.
  • Alter your finds or favorites to keep them up to date. You or a tailor can tune the fit for a modern look, adjusting hemlines, pulling out shoulder pads, and upgrading buttons.

Scrimp and splurge wisely, just as you do for food:

  • Scrimp on trendy or pieces you'll wear just one or two times.
  • Splurge on classic designs and pieces you will wear a lot.
  • Scrimp by making clothes last longer with good care and creative use. I garden in white cotton blouses I bought twenty years ago to work at IBM, just before they relaxed the dress code.
  • Spurge on pieces that will help you achieve your goals, whether that's raising money for your candidate or climbing Mount Rainier.
  • Scrimp on items that demand a specific weight, such as form-fitting pants.
  • Splurge on items that work with any body size: a great scarf, tie, necklace, purse, or wallet.

Wildly affordable outfits. This approach works at any budget level. With a little luck, you can find designer pieces for dollar-store prices at thrift stores, yard sales, and on eBay. My biggest score was at Second Bloom, a thrift store that raises money for a family-violence and rape crisis center.  I stopped by after teaching a class at Chatham Marketplace, just after someone with great taste who wears my size dropped off a Pendleton wool peacoat, a stunning silk party blouse, and a fun holiday sweater. I got them all for $20! (This made me feel somewhat better about getting the blouse soaked in a freak rainstorm. Both the blouse and I look like drowned rats here, but we survived.)

Just remember, if a piece doesn't make you feel and look great, don't waste your money on it. You want something you'll love to wear for a long time.

Reader Comments (1)

According to the BBC's body fat calculator, my BMI is most like someone from Gambia. Check yours out!

Jul 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson
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