Going from a 66-inch waist to a 32 and a 6XL shirt to size small can be ridiculously expensive. I call it the extreme cost of extreme weight loss.

The amount of money I spent on clothes while breezing through sizes as I shrank from 420 pounds to 155 was insane.

From the start, I knew that it wasn’t going to be realistic to buy new clothes every time I dropped a size.

Normal pant sizes for men are in two-inch increments (32, 34, 36, etc). So, I lost 17 sizes along the way — far too many to buy every time.

No matter how you set out to lose weight, the pounds will probably often come off the fastest at the beginning of your journey — especially with extreme weight loss. I remember losing more than 20 pounds in each of the first couple of weeks following my surgery.

As the incredible shrinking man, it wasn’t long before my pants began to look like something out of an MC Hammer video. #HammerPants

Hammer Pants
Yes, that baggy

I would tighten my belt as far as it would go. And when I reached the last hole I would punch a new one so that I could keep using it. Eventually, the belts were replaced before they could wrap all the way around me a second time.

Meanwhile, my shirts started to look like I’d draped a sheet over myself and cut out sleeves.

Why “The Biggest Loser” Contestants Gain The Weight Back

I was pushed fashionably baggy to the limit before giving in and buying new clothes. It wasn’t long before I was actually able to shop off the rack. Even as a sports fanatic who’d rather be at a game than at the mall that was a momentous day!

Every time I began to make Hammer Pants look like skinny jeans, I knew it was time to relent and buy new clothes. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to look good… it was more that I knew I would be right back again within a month or so because of the extreme weight loss.

Typically, I was buying new pants about every two sizes (it got dicey when I tried to make a three-size leap). Shirts were a different story as there were fewer sizes to go though. So, I ran the whole gamut of 6XL to small. The same thing applied to underwear where I went from a 4XL to a medium. I would have gone all the way down to a small here too, but my boys have to breathe!

Now, because my choices were extremely limited as a big guy I never really got a good sense of fashion. That didn’t come along until I met my wife whose career on TV has given her a keen eye for what looks good. The great thing about being smaller is that you have so many more options. It’s not all drab colors anymore.

Anyway… my lack of fashion sense actually helped me keep costs down because I surely wasn’t tempted to purchase the expensive stuff. If I knew then what I know now I probably would have spent a lot more.

My Diet At 420 Pounds vs 155 Pounds

I pretty much had the clothing re-up down to a science and rarely deviated from my formula. It didn’t make much sense to buy a full wardrobe only to replace it (again) a month later.

It was always a couple of pairs of pants (mainly jeans), three shirts, two packs of undershirts, and two packs of underwear (boxer briefs, if you’re curious). Because I was already used to having a limited wardrobe in terms of colors making two pants and three shirts work wasn’t really a problem. That amounted to six different combinations to choose from.

Here’s something interesting I learned about extreme weight loss. Much like my waist my feet shrank along the way! My shoes went from a size 10, even a 10.5 in some cases, to size 9. Crazy, right?

So, when you add all of that up it looks something like this…

Extreme Weight Loss

  • 9 pant sizes x 2 pants each = 18 pants
  • 8 shirt sizes x 3 shirts each = 24 shirts
  • 8 undershirt sizes x 2 packs each = 16 packs
  • 6 underwear sizes x 2 packs each = 10 packs
  • 2 shoe sizes x 3 shoes each = 6 shoes

Keep in mind that I actually lost 17 pant sizes, but only bought new pants every other size to keep the cost down.

Until I reached a 54-inch waist and 3XL shirt I was still forced to shop online, which is more expensive. Once I was small enough I was able to start buying off the rack and primarily shopped at discount stores like Marshalls to keep the cost down.

It’s interesting to note that clothes became less expensive as I lost weight. I guess companies charged more because they were using more material with bigger sizes. The only exception for me was shoes.

Cost Breakdown

Chuck Carroll Before and After Extreme Weight Loss
Me at 400 lbs. (left) and 155 lbs. (right)


66-54 inches: $45 each
54-32 inches: $30 each


6XL-3XL: $30 each
2XL-Small: $25 each


6XL-3XL: $25 each
2XL-Small: $20 each


5XL-3XL: $20 each
2XL-M: $15 each


10: $60
9.5: $60
9: $60

Adding all of that up, this is how much I spent on clothes while I lost weight…

Grand Total

Big pants

3 sizes x 2 pairs x $45 = $270

Regular pants

6 sizes x 2 pairs x $30 = $360

Big shirts

3 sizes x 3 shirts x $30 = $270

Regular shirts

5 sizes x 3 shirts x $25 = $375

Big undershirts

3 sizes x 2 packs x $25 = $150

Regular undershirts

5 sizes x 2 packs x $20 = $200

Big underwear

2 sizes x 3 packs x $20 = $120

Regular underwear

5 sizes x 3 packs x $15 = $225


2 sizes x 2 pairs x $60 = $240

Total: $2,210

For me, the price was well worth it. It felt great to spend every one of those dollars!

Every time I graduated to a smaller size I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride. Now, I can’t imagine ever having to shop at big and tall store again.