By Cindy Bogard
In 2008, I heard about the book Does This Clutter Make my Butt Look Fat? by Peter Walsh. The title is enough to make you take a second look, and as I recall, he made the circuit of all the daytime talk shows. Without knowing more, I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I ever heard and forgot about it until this weekend.
Like a lot of people, I have struggled with my weight. I was always small but after the birth of my second child, I hit almost 180 pounds and stayed there. Maybe four years ago, I decided that nonsense had to change. I joined Weight Watchers and set what I considered to be reasonable goal â€“ 138, the same as I weighed when I got pregnant with my first child. I got down to 143, decided that was good enough, and thatâ€™s where I stayed until last year when I crept up just a few pounds. I could still wear my same clothes. It was fine.
In December of last year, my eldest daughter Clara was quite unexpectedly diagnosed with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes. Overnight, our entire family eliminated most carbs and nearly all sweets. The few pounds Iâ€™d gained disappeared.
Recently, and also unexpectedly, I lost another eight pounds and slid past my long-lost goal of 138. I didnâ€™t trust the loss; I hadnâ€™t done anything to actively make it happen, and I had no reason to think that it would stay gone.
Over the weekend, I was hiking with a friend and I was saying that I could pull some of my pants off without unbuttoning them, but that I was storing these clothes for when the weight came back. She thought that â€œno effort weight lossâ€ was the best kind â€“ more guaranteed than â€œplenty of effort weight lossâ€ because it had happened without my conscious effort.Â Then she said, â€œI think this weight loss has to do with decuttering: less stuff, less weight.â€ I laughed and said that was silly then remembered Peter Walshâ€™s book. I wondered if there was really anything to it. Turns out, there was.
I still havenâ€™t read the book, but I have read the reviews. (I know, â€œIâ€™m not a doctor; I just play one on TV.â€) In a nutshell, Walsh wasnâ€™t talking about losing weight by decluttering randomly around the house. He was talking about decluttering the kitchen cabinets, pantry, refrigerator and freezer – clearing out what is not important to you to make way for what is.
I have an extremely functional kitchen without many extra supplies, so that part is handled and leaves the food. As soon as we got home from the hospital in December, I got rid of nearly all my cookbooks and a lot of food. I gave it to friends; I donated it to the food pantry; I fed it to the dogs. (Shhh, donâ€™t tell their vet). We went along like this for half a year, but as I grew more knowledgeable about diabetes, more clear about how tight I wanted Claraâ€™s sugar control to be, and what it would take to get that control, I realized there was another big cleansing to do. I got rid of 27 foods from my pantry. I reorganized what was left so that the healthy no-carbs snacks were front and center. There is virtually no processed food â€“ most everything is raw ingredients. The same can be said for the freezer. In addition, I went on a campaign to increase our vegetable consumption. I live in a town that prides itself on having fabulous grocery stores. When I looked at all the offerings, I realized that the four or five veggies we ate regularly were a pitiful selection, to say it kindly. We started having a â€œnew veggie of the weekâ€ and I spent a fair amount of time looking for actual recipes for the vegetables, rather than just offering a choice of raw or steamed.
It wasnâ€™t until I fully embraced a new way of eating and eliminated everything that didnâ€™t fit with that model that I lost weight.
Of course, no one wants an illness to be the catalyst for a big pantry reorganization and diet change, but you can use these same principals in your own situation. You know whatâ€™s not good for you: get rid of it and donâ€™t buy more. You know you need to cook at home, so rearrange your cabinets so that the supplies are easy to reach and close at hand. If you do have a special treat thatâ€™s not healthy, have one piece – heck even have half the pan – then throw it away. I know, it goes against my nature, too, or at least it used to. Now I think, â€œWeâ€™re not going to have anything in this house that Clara canâ€™t eat.â€ Itâ€™s decluttering: keeping what is good and culling what is not. When you consider your food like everything else that comes into and leaves your house, I promise, your clutter wonâ€™t make your butt look fat.
ITEM 298 OF 365 LESS THINGS
More of those dreaded shopping bags that last forever. I have learned my lesson and will not accept any more free offers of these bags.
5 Things I am grateful for today
- Just making it through one more day.
- Having our daughter close.
- For any little sign that our boy is in there just waiting until he is ready to come back to us.
- Modern medicine – there is no way we would have made it to day four without it.
- The other young man who came it to the ICU on the same day as Liam is making good progress against the odds.