Last of five parts
Determined to lose weight and keep it off, our Dieting Dispatches bloggers have spent a year writing about their journeys to better health.
Muriel Watson, Tahira Nyabinghi and Alan Foster let readers come along for the ride as they adopted a raw foods diet (Tahira), grudgingly hit the elliptical machine (Alan), and even braced for public ridicule (Muriel) in the name of staying accountable as they shed pounds and inches.
As incentive, they got free gym memberships, and I put the cherry on top by giving them makeovers that celebrate their healthier bodies and attitudes. (You can read their farewell posts at blogs.newsobserver.com/dieting, and the first four parts of this series at www.newsobserver.com/exercise .)
To help build stylish wardrobes, I concentrated on finding key pieces: jeans, versatile tops, well-made shoes and even a little black dress. Tanger Outlets, off Interstate 40/85 in Mebane ( tangeroutlet.com/mebane), provided a $300 gift card for each. And haircolorxperts at the Arboretum in Cary ( hair colorxpertsraleigh.com ) gave Muriel and Alan free hairstyling worth hundreds. Tahira did her own extreme hair makeover.
Muriel Watson, 37, deli manager at Food Lion, dropped from 326 to 236.
Hair: Nicole Ritzi at haircolorxpert colored Muriel's brown hair red and added caramel highlights that play up her skin tone; she modernized Muriel's haircut "to get away from the same style she's had for 20 years." (Muriel's old habit was teased hair sprayed into place.) Ritzi recommends getting hair color and a cut every 8 weeks because time, sun, products and styling will dry hair out and make it look dull.
Muriel had never had a LBD, so this dress, (Jones New York) with a bow that defines her waist, makes her feel chic. The sparkly shrug cardigan (Lane Bryant) keeps her arms under wraps. A bold ring adds personality, along with coordinating bracelet and earrings (Lane Bryant). Borrowed pumps and a goldtone clutch bag (my own) finish the outfit with style. "Honey, I'm just so excited to get this makeover," she said. "You don't understand: This kind of thing doesn't happen to people like me."
Well, now it does.
Alan Foster, 50, manager of critical care transport at Rex hospital, went from 225 pounds to 203.
Hair: Drew Horton at haircolorxperts slow-walked Alan into a modern hairstyle, "softening his grays" with a semi-permanent wash to warm up the color. He brought in the sides and cut the top different lengths so it doesn't fall flat. Horton recommends maintenance cuts every eight weeks.
Alan was surprised that straight-leg dark jeans (Levi's Outlet) would look this good on a middle-age guy; he even looked good in "skinny" jeans but thought that was pushing things too far. Plain-toe loafers (Cole Haan) continue the long leg line. Alan's wide shoulders and barrel chest are shown to best advantage in a purple, three-quarter zip sweater and purple and white striped button down (Off 5th, the Saks outlet). "Perhaps there is a some correlation between looking better and feeling better," Alan wrote on the blog. "I learned ... I don't have to look as old as my age."
Tahira Nyabinghi, 40, specialist at the Guilford County Health Department, went from 230 pounds to 160.
Tahira had never had a pair of jeans, because for religious reasons she wore ankle-length dresses for many years and never got out of the habit. Wide-leg jeans make the most of her petite frame, while a ruffled, floral blouse (both Jones New York Outlet) frames her face nicely. A quilted denim jacket with faux leather trim (Lane Bryant Outlet) is the completer piece that pulls it all together. Wedge booties (Nine West Outlet) add length and height. Tahira cut off her waist-length locks a few months ago, and her short cut puts her face in the spotlight. "I just wanted you to know how thankful I am," Tahira said of her transformation. "The entire process has been liberating and fulfilling."