HG: Annie Payne Column January 03, 2009


I didn’t wake up Jan. 1 and look at myself in the mirror and think, “I could stand to gain a few pounds, and I need more stuff in my house.”

No, my New Year’s resolutions, like so many people’s, revolve around living a healthier, happier, more simplified life.

There seems to be a correlation between a cluttered home and a “cluttered” body. Whatever causes a person to over-fill the areas of their home with stuff is often the same thing that causes them to over-fill their stomach.

No one explains this correlation better than organizational guru and New York Times best selling author Peter Walsh from TLC’s popular TV show “Clean Sweep.” Walsh has dedicated his career to helping people live a richer, fuller life through de-cluttering their homes, bodies and souls.

I’ve been a follower of Feng Shui principles for years. I understand how my environment effects my mental attitude and well-being. What I have not explored, until now, is how my home may be effecting my scale.

I have a stack of books about home organization and decorating, and I have another stack of books on nutrition and diet. This is the first time I have found a book that incorporates both.

I recently checked out Walsh’s latest book from the library. It’s called, “Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?”

Walsh touts the philosophy that, “Your home is a reflection of you. Not in some airy-fairy way, but in a real and tangible sense. It’s no accident that at the same time we are struggling with the national ‘epidemic of obesity,’ we are also living in homes weighted down with clutter and filled with ‘stuff.’ ”

He goes on to say, “Are you ready to take on your weight ... Not if your house is a junk pile. Do you have a home you deserve; a bedroom that is a sanctuary; a living room where you can gather friends and/or family without feeling embarrassed; a closet that contains only clothes that flatter you and make you feel comfortable ... ? If you’re cheating yourself out of a happy home, then ... why in the world would you expect yourself to stay true to your plan to clean up your food habits? If you don’t respect yourself enough to create a happy space to live, then how can you treat your body with the honor and respect it deserves.”

Here are some of Walsh’s tips for de-cluttering your home and removing food-clutter mirror each other:

•  Imagine the home and body you want, and hold that idea in your head while you work through the process.

•  If you don’t love it, use it, wear it or have room for it, get rid of it. It’s clutter. If it isn’t healthy, colorful and part of your meal plan, don’t eat it. It’s junk.

•  Remember that this mess and those pounds didn’t appear overnight and won’t disappear overnight. Break down your goals for de-cluttering your home and body into small, manageable tasks.

•  If you don’t make de-cluttering a way of life, the stuff will creep back in your home. If you don’t make mindful eating a way of life, the fat will find it’s way home, too.

•  Live in the present. If you are holding on to things you don’t use, figure out why. Memory? Hope? Fear? If you are eating for emotional reasons, figure out why. Anger? Despair? Comfort?

Walsh also encourages readers to create a kitchen that will help make healthier choices. Nobody makes good choices in a messy kitchen. Use your kitchen for what it is meant for: storage, meal preparation and eating.

It’s no fun to cook in a messy kitchen where you can’t find what you need to take pleasure in the process. A pleasant, organized kitchen leads to eating out less, which in turn leads to better nutrition, less money spent on food and more family time.

For as many times as I have organized and re-organized my home, 2009 will be the first time I turn the bright light of inner reflection on to find the real cause of the piles of paper on my desk and the late night bowls of sugared cereal. If Walsh’s philosophy rings true, the answer to both will be one in the same.

Three days into January and I already have my feet on the path to a meaner, leaner and cleaner year.

My Christmas decorations have been neatly stored, my pantry has been cleared of chips and restocked with healthier snacks, and my new pedometer has been purchased.

If you want to learn more about Walsh’s advice for home and body, I will be returning “Does

This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?” to the Fruita Branch of Mesa County Libraries in a couple weeks ... with a little less clutter where it counts, I hope.

For more on an unpredictable variety of other topics, visit Annie Payne’s “Anniethology” blog online at Anniethology.blogspot.com.

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