Cathy Alter's life was a mess. She was divorced, unhappy, lost, etc. So she spent under 200 bucks and in one year, she was greatly improved. The gimmick? She used women's magazines to get herself back on track. "Women's magazines definitely have a bad rap, but… I looked at them as being full of hope, like they were showing me what this perfect life could look like," Alter says. "I sat down and wrote this list of what I wanted, the changes I wanted to make, and they really did resemble these cover lines you see on the front of women's magazines." Now she's happier! And, as the above clip from the Today show insinuates, more importantly: Married! And she has a new book: Up For Renewal: What Magazines Taught Me About Love, Sex, and Starting Over. Why did Cathy think Cosmopolitan, Glamour and In Style would help her to cope?

It was the decision to do something, to get myself out of the rut I was in. I had had enough and was supremely unhappy. You get advice from everybody anyway, why not women's magazines? It would have been great to live in Italy and Indonesia and India for a year, like Eat Pray Love, but I spent $144 on my subscriptions. It was an affordable, doable and really relatable idea. Magazines have millions of subscribers and I think there's a real common thread for the women reading them, which is the sense of possibility.

And she's right! Without Allure, we would not know how to shower. Without Glamour, we would not know how best to sexually harraass a coworker and shag him on a desk. Without Elle, we'd never know that $5,000 bags are for hiding genitalia. Without Marie Claire, we'd never know that high noon in the desert is an appropriate place for a $13,000 evening gown. Thanks, magazines! And congrats, Cathy. You actually seemed really happy on the Today show this morning. But just so we're clear: The message is not that women's magazines saved your life, but that deciding to save your life saved your life, right?

How 365 Days Of Cosmo Advice Saved My Life [Globe And Mail]