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August 3, 2009 9:29 PM   Subscribe

I'm half way through my weight-loss goal but my clothes no longer fit. How does one bridge the half-way point to the "new you"? Likewise, does anyone have advice for what I assume will be the more difficult half of the process?

I'm 21 years old and previously weighed in at 260 lbs. I've pegged a long-term goal for my weight-loss as being 100 pounds which would get me into what most would consider a 'healthy weight' for someone my age and height (not strictly from a BMI perspective). Thus far, I've lost 45 pounds and now weigh in at a less alarming 215. This is after a period of a little over two months through routine healthy eating and exercise.

Now, the problem lies in the fact that I'm about half-way to where i want to be, but clothes no longer fit (both casual and professional). For those who have been in this situation, how can I bridge my fat stage and my healthy stage? Is repurchasing everything I wear necessary or are there alternatives that'll make my current attire not look as baggy (and unprofessional)?

As for the second part of the question, I assume the easy stage is over. What are some best practices for tackling the second half of my weight-loss goal?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Second hand and thrift stores are great for this. There are lots of gently used clothes, and while they might not last you for years, they will work great for the transition period without breaking the bank.
posted by markblasco at 9:37 PM on August 3, 2009

Part the first - have a handy friend who would help temporarily retailor the clothes? Round out your wardrobe at a thrift store, then have the friend tailor some pieces he or she thinks he could tackle, and work up the difficulty or donate some of the pieces away.

Congrats on the progress!

Part the second - what did you start with? Change it up. Couch-2-5k or a new kind of class of exercise?
posted by tilde at 9:40 PM on August 3, 2009

congratulations on your weight loss!

two suggestions that worked for friends/family members who were in the same situation:

- do you know anyone who is handy with a sewing needle? if you have some clothes that you absolutely love/don't want to part with, see if your friend/grandma/great uncle Fred can make some alterations for you. if said pseudo-tailor is skilled, you might be able to save money on longer-lasting items like jeans, blazers, dress pants, etc.

- shop for "in the meantime" clothes at less expensive stores and thrift shops. since you don't want to buy an entire wardrobe until you're approaching your goal weight, you can pick up the essentials (plain t-shirts, cheap jeans) at discount stores or thrift shops. bonus: if you've ever wanted to experiment with a look, you can do it now without having to worry about keeping the clothes forever if you don't like them! take advantage of your transition stage!
posted by gursky at 9:41 PM on August 3, 2009

Congratulations on the weight loss. Loosing 45lbs has got to feel great.

As for the clothes: Dress clothes can be altered down a size for a few bucks. So, maybe shift more toward dressy stuff in the interim? You don't mention your gender, but I think this it is easier to have men's clothes altered (pants and jackets at least.) Even if you have to go out and buy new dress stuff, you can have it taken in later on as you continue to loose weight.

Then again a lot of people can get by on one or two pairs of jeans and a handful of t-shirts, so it really has a lot to do how you need to dress.

I like the thrift store selection. I mean, why not?

Stay healthy.
posted by wfrgms at 9:46 PM on August 3, 2009

Depending on where you live, there may be clothing swaps for people in your situation. A lot of people fluctuate in size and therefore are looking to trade stuff that doesn't fit for stuff that does. Google "YOURCITY clothing swap," and variants, and see what comes up.

Otherwise, thrift stores and Old Navy have always been good to me. You can buy a ton of t-shirts to wear with everything for $5-10 apiece, and then a few new jeans, skirts, blazers, and cardigans will round it out.
posted by decathecting at 10:24 PM on August 3, 2009

And when people say "thrift stores", here's some things to know about them:
- Depending on your town, look for the 'high-end' thrift shops - Junior League, National jewish League, Cancer Society, etc. These often have very high-end clothes/accessories for low $s
- Value Village, baby! Yes, their prices tend to be higher than Goodwill and St Vincent's, but I also notice a generally better quality overall, with occasional tremendous bargains (Escada jacket for $5.99 anyone?).
- Sizes are not to be believed in a thrift shop, go down/up a size, hold it up, grab a cart, and when it's full, try on everything. This will take time - lots of it, so plan for a morning at least.
- Find out when they do have their 99 cent days, or special sales. It can be worth a morning off (you must arrive at the opening to find the truly good deals). Go through every article you might be interested in (long-sleeved shirts, blazers, for example), and only look for the tag that's on sale (it's usually a color - so all purple tags are 99 cents). If you see something you gotta have, okay, but try to stick to the sale price. The first time you take home a bag full of clothing for $5.00, you'll feel like you've won the lottery!
- For really good clothes, find the 'good' consignment stores in your area. Big metropolitan areas usually have several. You can dress extremely well (don't forget shoes, bags, coats, hats and scarves at all these places - accessories can make the outfit) for pennies on the dollar - but it can still be a pretty penny. For example, $600 pants may 'only' cost $60 - but make you look like a million bucks.
- As you continue to lose weight, recycle those clothes back to the Goodwill or charity of choice. Even when worn, they'll go to a good cause.

Congratulations - keep up the good work!
posted by dbmcd at 11:31 PM on August 3, 2009 [3 favorites]

Maybe you could hold a swap meet and invite over a bunch of friends of all different sizes. Tell them all to bring clothes, shoes, books, and accessories that they don't wear or use anymore, and then dump it all out on the floor, (put out some full-length mirrors and munchies) and do some trying on and claiming of stuff. When my old roommate lost 100 pounds we did this. She scored some decent new-to-her stuff for free, and our one other friend who was 250 lbs scored majorly with roommate's old clothes. Man, she was one happy girl.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:48 AM on August 4, 2009

Great advice on clothing, in my case 5 years ago I had a few key pieces taliored but had to buy mostly new and used at thrift shops. Others in a group I belonged to brought their clothes to a swap-shop and as we were all different weights starting off that helped a lot.

45 lbs in 2 months is quite fast, and as you correctly identify, the earlier stage tends to be easier. If you keep doing what you are doing you will notice a slow down and even frustratingly some times when it just seems to stop. What I don't see in your post is any reference to the help you will need.
The mental adjustments are critical, do you have good support? Family, friends, a trainer, a weight loss group? It is vital to be able to talk through the highs and lows because the next part is tougher. Is your physician supervising this? (cos the 45lbs will have caused some comment if so). Can he/she recommend some groups?

Also, regardless of gender watch out for the moment when you are again "visible" to the opposite sex. I wasn't ready for this and was extremely uncomfortable for a while. Feel free to MeMail me for support, what you're doing is fantastic and will completely change your life!
posted by Wilder at 3:22 AM on August 4, 2009

On the second part, especially since you don't want me to give fashion advice....
treat yourself to a great pair of walking or running shoes. Go into a running store and have them analyze your feet, and then try on some suggestions. Since you have lost some weight (yippee!) getting out side for long brisk walks will help towards the rest of your goal. Getting the right shoes is a good 'step' in that direction.

Kudos to you...
posted by fluffycreature at 5:29 AM on August 4, 2009

Now, the problem lies in the fact that I'm about half-way to where i want to be, but clothes no longer fit (both casual and professional). For those who have been in this situation, how can I bridge my fat stage and my healthy stage? Is repurchasing everything I wear necessary or are there alternatives that'll make my current attire not look as baggy (and unprofessional)?

Why not pick a few really good things that you know you really love, and would miss having, and take them to a tailor? Tailoring really isn't all that expensive -- on average, I've spent about $20 per item for the things I've had tailored, and I've had everything from a hem shortened on a dress to a neckline tweaked to some really weird-fitting pants revamped.

It would be a little overkill to get everything done, so save this for dress pants and a few blouses, say. Maybe a jacket or two. Knit sweaters can't be altered like this, and t-shirts aren't worth the cost -- but fortunately t-shirts are also cheap enough.

So if you get dress pants and a few blouses, and maybe a jacket altered, and then get a bunch of t-shirts for your current size (get these from someplace like Old Navy or Target or somewhere cheap), that'll see you through.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:34 AM on August 4, 2009

Congratulations! I've definitely struggled with trying to decide whether to invest in new clothes even though I had a ways to go or make due with baggy clothes. I found a happy medium. As many people have suggested, invest in a few items that fit, but start with discount retailers such as US stores Marshall's, TJ Maxx, and Ross. You can probably mix them with some of the items you have that might be baggy but can work in other ways (for example, a t-shirt that has become more like a tunic). Your wardrobe may not have the variety you would prefer, but it's a real boost to wear clothing that fits. I found that wearing things that fit post weight-loss really brought it home how much I lost. Wearing baggy, over-sized clothing dwarfs the impact of what you achieved and personally, it has also been a great motivator for me to keep going.

I'm not sure if you're a woman or not, but if you are, I would suggest also investing in a couple of a really nice bras that are your correct (measured for accuracy) size. That will help with whatever you are wearing, and on me that is the last area to reflect weight loss, so it might be the last thing you need to replace done the road, but YMMV. Again, congrats & good luck!
posted by katemcd at 7:16 AM on August 4, 2009

I am also in this camp, having lost about 25 pounds so far, and hopefully on my way to losing 25 more pounds, if I don't sabotage myself in the meantime.
It's really a problem because I am picky about how clothes fit me, and I'm not yet used to shopping in this in-between size.

I do not recommend alterations. I altered some pants that previously fit well, but this did not work out at all. They fit at the waist now, but they fit badly at the butt (all weird and saggy). I think, at plus sizes, the proportions vary so much from one size to another that it's just not worth it for the $15-$20 to alter some pants, especially if you're not going to stay the altered size for much longer. Might as well spend that cash at the thrift store or outlet mall, like others have suggested.

I think you're female, and so am I, and I recommend buying skirts and dresses. They are much more tolerant of weight fluctuations than pants. You're also showing off newly-toned legs and knees, which makes you feel better about where you've been and where you're going! I never wore skirts before this summer because I hated my legs, but I've worn the hell out of the skirts I bought this year. Paired with some stretchy tanks and t-shirts and those flowy cardigans, and they seem to fit and look good.

Congratulations and good luck on the second half!
posted by aabbbiee at 7:25 AM on August 4, 2009

I'd do thrift stores for the most part, but reward yourself with one new outfit in your new size for every 25 pounds you lose.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 12:17 PM on August 4, 2009

Find yourself a good tailor to take in all your tailorable clothes (slacks, jeans, blouses, suit jackets). You may end up taking them in again when you complete your weight-loss goals but in the long run it'll be cheaper than completely replacing your wardrobe two times over.
posted by wiretap at 3:25 PM on August 4, 2009


A suggestion for phase II: Donate all of your clothes that no longer fit properly. All of them, but one outfit in your largest size. This will help you to keep going; if you keep those clothes around, you'll be more likely to slowly grow back into them. Donate them and get them out of your closet!

As for saving the one outfit, that is a great motivator to put it on and check out how much you've lost and how great you look now.

Also take some pictures of you now and compare them to what you used to look like. Big motivator to stay on track as well.

Good luck!
posted by NoraCharles at 3:43 PM on August 4, 2009

Sell your old clothes (that are decent) on the Fatshionista LJ community. Please be sure to read ALL of the community rules (ie: no diet talk) and the rules for Friday Sales Posts (the only day you can sell stuff). Once you have it all down, you can sell your pieces, take the money you make and buy some new stuff, either from another user there or at a thrift store. Prices on Fatshionista items range, but generally you'll get more than you did from consignment. The only real hassle is making sure you can handle getting everything in the post properly.
posted by SassHat at 7:22 PM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

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