I just wrapped up my annual physical, and things went smashingly. The only number that was a bit concerning was my age, but there’s not much I can do about that – it gets worse every year.
The numbers I control looked great, and my new doctor seemed impressed that a 40-something dinosaur like myself was as fit as a fiddle.
He commended me for a healthy weight and asked what I was doing to stay in shape. I mentioned playing soccer and stuff, but I didn’t tell him the real reason I stay slim.
I’m sure being overweight does pose many health risks, but there is a far more pressing reason to avoid adding pounds. If I gain weight, I will have to buy new clothes. We’re not talking a pair of jeans or a couple of shirts – I would need a whole new wardrobe. And there’s no way that’s happening.
It’s probably not news that I’ve never splurged for a whole bunch of new clothes at one time. I’ve just added incremental bits as needed, so it’s always made sense to match my current size. Which happens to be the same size I wore in high school. I’m like a goldfish stuck in a small bowl with no more room to grow. Frugality can be a harsh mistress.
Other folks take a hermit-crab approach to their clothes. They’ll buy a bunch of clothes at one time, so, if things are feeling just a wee bit snug, why not go one size up?
You might think my discipline with clothes extends to discipline in eating. You would be wrong. When presented with food I love or when special treats abound (like around the holidays), I binge away just as God intended us to do. But as soon as I feel my clothes start to constrict, I lay off everything and get back down to my fighting weight. If I allowed myself to buy “just one” shirt in a larger size, I’d probably be in a mumu within a year.
While I could easily afford a new wardrobe, I can’t stomach the waste of buying new clothes when I have a perfectly good closetful. The only way I’ll ever go on a clothes shopping spree is after an insurance claim.
I know my approach won’t work as well if you’re already above your target weight. You could certainly throw out your current clothes and buy smaller ones, but (in addition to looking like a juicy sausage or being forced to go naked a while) you’d spend a lot of money. Perhaps you could find someone going the opposite direction and swap wardrobes? That sounds hard in theory, but remember, with the direction most folks are headed, the numbers are in your favor.
Refusing to buy bigger clothes seems like an odd and rather indirect strategy to stay slim, but it’s worked for me. And is it really more ridiculous than some of the crazy diets out there?
So add that to the list of frugality’s benefits. It makes you look and feel better, helps prevent many health problems, AND saves you money.
If you’ve never seen hermit crabs line up for a “shell-swap”, you’re in for a treat. Just don’t be that big one at the end of the line!
Have you been swapping shells as you get older, or have you stayed at your target weight? What healthy habits do you have to share? Let me know in the comments.