Day 298 Does This Clutter Make my Butt Look Fat?

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 – 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 that’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 I’d gained disappeared.

Recently, and also unexpectedly, I lost another eight pounds and slid past my long-lost goal of 138. I didn’t trust the loss; I hadn’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 “no effort weight loss” was the best kind – more guaranteed than “plenty of effort weight loss” because it had happened without my conscious effort.  Then she said, “I think this weight loss has to do with decuttering: less stuff, less weight.” I laughed and said that was silly then remembered Peter Walsh’s book. I wondered if there was really anything to it. Turns out, there was.

I still haven’t read the book, but I have read the reviews. (I know, “I’m not a doctor; I just play one on TV.”) In a nutshell, Walsh wasn’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, don’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 Clara’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 – 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 “new veggie of the week” 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 wasn’t until I fully embraced a new way of eating and eliminated everything that didn’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 what’s not good for you: get rid of it and don’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 that’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, “We’re not going to have anything in this house that Clara can’t eat.” It’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 won’t make your butt look fat.


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.

Shopping Bags

5 Things I am grateful for today

  1. Just making it through one more day.
  2. Having our daughter close.
  3. For any little sign that our boy is in there just waiting until he is ready to come back to us.
  4. Modern medicine – there is no way we would have made it to day four without it.
  5. The other young man who came it to the ICU on the same day as Liam is making good progress against the odds.
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Continue reading with these posts:

  • Mini Mission ~ Friday 22Dec2017 Declutter a couple of old shabby shoes that you no long choose to use.
  • How little we really need Every time I go on a long vacation I am reminded of how little one really needs to live a comfortable and functional lifestyle. My husband and I often stay in Airbnb places when on […]
  • Getting the stuff out of your home It has come to my attention, both through comments on my blog and through real life experience, that one of the issues people have with their clutter, once they finally decide to be rid of […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Wonderful post – lots of food for thought here, at least for me. No pun intended. Thank you, Cindy.

    Thinking of you and your family, Colleen.

  2. Good post. Colleen still thinking of your son and family.

  3. Great post. Cindy, I am sending my email address to Colleen to forward to you. I would like to talk to you more about the way you eat as I am diabetic.

    • Deb, I would be happy to share what I know, of course, and I highly recommend you explore the on-line forum I’ve learned a tremendous amount from this site.

    • Deb, I’ll certainly share all the information I have with you, and I highly recommend you explore the website It’s a member-driven forum, and I have learned most everything I know from there. -Cindy

    • Test.

      • I’m sure it seemed odd to see “test” above but the site has not been wanting to let me respond to your comment, and I didn’t feel like typing it all out again.

        I would be happy to share my diet knowledge. In two words – low carb – much lower than the ADA recommends. I also suggest that you check out the website tudiabetes . org. The content is all member supplied, and I learned nearly everything I know about diabetes from it.

        • Om my goodness. I see it was working all the time. Sneakly little website.

        • I thought you were saying “test her blood sugar.” Growing up in a large family, six of us had Type 1 diabetes. My poor mother! I was diagnosed when I had just turned a year old. Another good site to check out is It’s an online community for families with children who have Type 1 diabetes.

  4. Cindy, great post, you are doing a wonderful job.
    Colleen, haven’t said it yet but hang in there, sending you and your family a big strong love vibe. Hugs.

  5. Cindy, I’m just starting the kitchen spring clean and I am going to apply your wisdom to the food cupboards and fridge starting tonight! Colleen, thinking of you all…

  6. Thank you everyone for your encouragement. I want to know, honestly, if my posts are way too long. Since I’m not doing the actual posting, I didn’t realize how long they’d be before I saw them published.

    Also Colleen, I’m thinking about you and praying for your family more than you can imagine.

    • Cindy, they are not too long at all in my opinion. They flow and read easily, and I never get impatient to be done, which is my “test”, if you will. It’s an attribute you and Colleen share. Keep it up!

      • Cindy, you are always offering such useful information that I don’t know where you could cut it shorter without short-changing us. Just right in my book. Thanks so much for filling in.

        Colleen, praying that your boy will come back to you in perfect health.

  7. Cindy, I just started a food lifestyle change last month although I haven’t been posting anything about it yet. I found out in September that a friend had had a heart attack last year and completely changed his diet based on research he did in to reversing heart disease. Because I am genetically at risk to heart disease, I want to start before it’s too late to avoid that. The result is that I am moving in to a vegan and mostly oil free diet. Already I’ve lost about five lbs. No sugar, no meat, no eggs, no dairy (including cheese). I’m choosing to eat a little salmon occasionally and keeping in some olive oil. It’s a good thing I love veggies! And fortunately, my husband is 100% behind me supporting me! Thank you for posting this because I feel like I have some company on this journey to better health.

    And again, Colleen, know that our prayers are with you and Liam!

    • Hi Willow, the vegan diet is so, so healthy, and good for the environment too! My hat is off to you for making this huge change for your health. I’m not vegan although my daughter is and I am trying to move in that direction. It’s complicated when the other two members of the family (male) have no interest in switching 🙂

    • Willow, glad to know someone else has taken that step toward a more healthy eating style. I did it because of high cholesterol levels and to help my arthritis.

  8. Great post, inspiring for many I am sure. Losing weight is all about changing your lifestyle and it takes time. As a recovered doctor I have to say that your take on this is medically right on the money. This is the only way to achieve a healthy weight, slowly but surely.

    You’re doing a great job for Colleen who I hope is doing well.



  1. […] think cleaning the pantry is a good time to think about healthy eating. Long ago, I talked about decluttering the pantry after my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes. We changed our family’s eating habits literally […]