How Clearing Clutter Helps with Weight Loss

How Clearing Clutter Helps with Weight Loss

It’s so easy to let things get out of hand around the house. Shoes here, a jacket there, all because you’re busy being a working parent or spending time with your kids. Guess what? That’s OK! We don’t all always pick up after ourselves every single time. But, when your surfaces are piled high with you-don’t-know-what you start experiencing negative health effects. This isn’t just physical clutter; mental clutter counts, too! How does clearing clutter help with weight loss?

Clutter Holds You Back

Clutter has this innate ability to keep you stuck where you are. It physically holds you back and keeps maintaining the status quo. It’s stifling; it smothers you and drains your energy. You already know this. How many times have you cleaned your room or a room in your house and felt SO much better afterward? You actually feel lighter when you’re finished, right? I don’t know how many times I’ve stood in the middle of my living room just looking around at how clean it is. Of course, that doesn’t last long, but, for those brief moments, I feel amazing!

When you have a lot of clutter (I live with Fred Sanford so I know what I’m talking about), you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. It’s easier to close the door, push it in a cabinet, or just ignore it all together. Before I took full control of my household, I would often walk through the door and automatically feel blah. I could be in the best mood ever, but, as soon as I walked in, I’d feel completely drained and unmotivated. I was overwhelmed with the amount of shit piled up everywhere.

Decluttering Teaches You Discipline

It’s not enough to spot clean – yes, that’s important – but those big, deep cleans are what getting rid of clutter is all about. Going through all of your crap teaches you discipline. How? Weight loss is all about taking one step at a time. Decluttering is the same principle. You can’t go from full on clutter to absolutely no clutter overnight…just like you can’t go from overweight to skinny overnight. You have to painstakingly handle each and every piece of stuff to determine if you need it, use, want it, or to toss it.

It’s been within the past few months that I’ve taken full control, I’ve followed a few rules, if you will, when it comes to hanging on to stuff. These rules come from a few different places, like David Allen’s book Getting Things Done.

  • If I haven’t touched it in more than 3 months, I think about whether or not I need it.
  • If I haven’t touched it in more than 6 months, I throw it away or donate it to charity.
  • When I think of something, I stop what I’m doing and write it down immediately.
  • If anything is considered a “maybe” (maybe I’ll use it, maybe I’ll follow through with that idea), I hang on to it for 4 weeks then re-evaluate. If I haven’t done anything with it by then, I probably won’t so I let it go.

It takes discipline to adopt a new way of doing things, such as keeping clutter at bay. This type of discipline is exactly what makes weight loss successful. Once you have developed this discipline, nothing will ever stop you from achieving your goals. How awesome is that?!

New House, New You

Your weight loss journey is all about making improvements to your habits and your health. Changing your habits is hard work – it’s the single hardest thing you’ll ever do in your life, in my opinion. If you’re going to change your habits, why not change them all the way around? Remember in math when you were taught to combine like terms? It’s basically the same thing with clutter and weight loss. Let go of what’s holding you back! Your clutter represents who you USED to be, not who you’re BECOMING.

The new you deserves to enjoy being at home, in a clean room, without stress or worry about having so much stuff to sort through. This new you also deserves to have a mind that’s free (well, as free as it can get) of random thoughts and ideas always floating around. Start writing all that stuff down onto different lists, such as Home, To Buy, Someday/Maybe, etc. Each of these lists serves the purpose of getting thoughts out of your head (you’ll forget them anyway) and onto paper for you to process later, when you can give your undivided attention to them.

Do you see how clutter is related to weight loss? It’s all about clearing out your mind, body, and environment to achieve your goals. I highly recommend reading David Allen’s book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity to help you get started. I firmly believe that weight loss is more of a mental game than a physical one. With that being said, it’s important that you prepare your mind for the journey you’re about to take and this includes learning to let go of the past.

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How Your Relationship with Time Impacts Your Health

How Your Relationship with Time Impacts Your Health

Have you ever thought about your relationship with time? That’s right – you have a relationship with time. Think about it for a minute; everything in your life revolves around time. You’re constantly scheduling things, running out of it, wish you had more or trying to stop it. You probably have a love/hate relationship with it; I sure do. If you don’t realize how your relationship with time impacts your health, it’s time to get educated.

Rushing Through Life

If you find yourself rushing more often than not, you’re actually negatively impacting your health. How? Well, if you’re always rushing, you’re probably not making healthy food choices. I bet you’re always reaching for quick and easy foods; in other words, junk. Am I right? You’re not leaving yourself a lot of room to make health choices if you’re always running around like a chicken with your head cut off. This is where meal planning comes into play. It helps you plan ahead so you’re better equipped to make healthy choices.

Rushing Through Meals

Rushing through your meals also has a negative impact on your health because you tend to eat more than you actually need. It takes 20 minutes for digestion to kick in and send the signal that you’re full. How fast do you eat? I bet you’ve never even timed a meal…I know I hadn’t done it before. But, I’ve noticed a huge difference in how much I eat, especially at dinner, when I time myself. If you time yourself and find that it only takes you 8-10 minutes to eat a meal, that’s ok. All you need to do is stretch it out a little longer the next time. Don’t try to go full on 20 minutes at once because it’ll drive you crazy. Ease into it and you’ll be amazed at what you learn.

Creating Added Stress

Cramming your days full of stuff creates more stress on your body. Added stress can often cause binge eating and it increases the production of cortisol. Increased stress and cortisol produce….wait for it….excess belly fat. This type of fat is harder to lose (trust me, I know) and may cause you to give up on your weight loss goals entirely. Ya know, that whole instant gratification thing. Your body doesn’t know the difference between being chased by a bear stress or work stress. To your body, all stress is created equal. What happens when you’re really stressed out? Digestion stops. Yep, you read that right. It stops. Think about it – your body isn’t worried about digesting your lunch when it thinks it needs to prepare to run from a bear. In reality, if you were face to face with a bear, you wouldn’t be worried about your lunch either.

Pitstop in Lazytown

How many times have you decided that you’re going to have a lazy day? Just veg out in front of the TV watching Netflix, munching on whatever you wanted to? It’s ok…we all have those days. But, it’s when you get stuck in that mode that it hurts your health. Snacking on junk can be somewhat cathartic but only in moderation. Sometimes it just feels good to eat a slice of cheesecake or whatever. Be sure to keep it moving, though. Don’t unpack and live in Lazytown. Stop in and visit on your way through but do not take up residence.

I bet you won’t look at time the same way again, will you? It’s time to sit back and take stock of all the happenings in your life to see where adjustments can be made. Don’t know where to start? Start by making a list of what a typical day looks like and see where you can trim the fat. Start keeping track of how long things take you so you can see if you’re being as productive as possible. Improving your relationship with time can improve your health and your entire life.

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Want Lasting Weight Loss? Follow this 1 Rule!

Want Lasting Weight Loss? Follow this 1 Rule! It's not what you think!

Maintaining your weight can be just as difficult as losing it! Why? Because it’s something you’ll need to be fully aware of for the rest of your life. Lasting weight loss doesn’t just happen; you have to monitor it frequently and figure out what works for your body and what doesn’t. Exercise, although important for weight loss and management, isn’t the key to lasting weight loss. But, don’t stop doing it!

Food is the key. Yes, food. Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t out run your fork.”? It’s true. No matter how much you exercise, your food choices dictate lasting weight loss. Carbs, sodium, sugar…they all contribute to weight gain. What you eat matters! Continue making healthy choices and keeping track of everything you eat. Want a brownie? No problem – eat one but make sure you budget for it accordingly and log it.

Weight loss is all about calories in versus calories out. You need to burn more than you consume to see a loss. If you’re not making healthy food choices and see that you’re consuming 3,000 calories per day but you’re only burning 1,500 calories per day, you’ll eventually start gaining weight. We all burn so many calories each day just by being alive. It’s called our basal metabolic rate (BMR). You can calculate yours here. The trick is to burn more calories than you consume.

If your BMR is 1,700 calories and you burn 300 calories through exercise, you shouldn’t eat more than 2,000 calories. If what you burn equals what you eat, you’ll maintain your current weight. Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t go over your calories every once in a while, but don’t make it a habit if you want lasting weight loss.

You should always, always keep your body in motion! Don’t think you don’t have to exercise as long as you’re under your daily calories. Exercise isn’t just good for weight loss. It helps improve your overall health and your mood.


Weight Loss is Body over Mind

Weight Loss is Body Over Mind: Move your Body to Train Your Mind

After losing more than 100 pounds, one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is that weight loss is simply body over mind. Well, not simply because it’s far from simple. I don’t care what anyone says….there is NO quick fix to weight loss. You HAVE to make a permanent change to your lifestyle if you want to be successful. That’s it. The secret to weight loss is….CHANGE!

The first thing you need to change is your thinking. Now, let me tell ya, this is the hardest freakin’ part to change! That’s why this entire post is dedicated to it. If you’ve ever struggled with food, you know what I mean. When you first decide to lose weight, you’re often overwhelmed by a few things. It’s either the amount of weight you need/want to lose, the amount of exercise you should do, the constant stream of never-ending, conflicting information, and the list goes on. How in the hell are you supposed to know where to start?! It’s simple – K.I.S.S. I learned this acronym when I was in business school and it means Keep It Simple, Stupid. I’m not calling anyone stupid, so don’t think that. What’s it mean? It means that you start where you are with what you have….

Your mind is the first thing that needs a reboot. You’ve probably been so damn hard on yourself for being overweight that it’s become a core part of who you are. It’s not who you are! Let go of thinking you have to be perfect; that you have to do it all right every single day. That kind of thinking isn’t productive. Our minds are very powerful and will, oftentimes, talk us out of changing. Why? Because change is uncomfortable. We’ve become so complacent with how things are that we often resist making changes for the better. Change is work!

Our bodies were made to move; it’s inherent in our DNA. Don’t deny your body a vital function because your mind is like, “Nah, we don’t need to take the stairs because the elevator is right here.” Whether you believe in the Garden of Eden or the Theory of Evolution or neither, it makes no difference to me, but our bodies were designed to take us where we need to go. We’re built with a fight or flight reflex; you’ve probably noticed it at one point or another in your life. That reflex has been there since the beginning of time and it’s not going away. Our bodies know what to do to survive and it’s high time we start listening to them again!

It’s time to tell your mind to shut the f*%! up and start doing what your body wants you to do! If it helps you to say that out loud, go for it (that’s what I do). Each time I have a negative thought creep into my head, I work on shutting it down fast. If that means I have to get sassy with myself, that’s what I do. What do I mean by that? If a thought enters my mind that tells me I’m not going to be physically able to walk 5 miles or I don’t have time for a walk or whatever, I say, out loud, “you watch me!” I don’t like being told what I can’t do, even by my mind, and I don’t tolerate it very well.

We’re our toughest critic; no one will ever be harder on us than we are. While that has the ability to help us become better, it can also lead to overwhelm and eventually shutting down. It’s time to start talking to yourself and treating yourself the way you would a friend or family member. If a friend told you she didn’t workout today, would you call her lazy? Probably not. But, I bet that’s exactly what you’d say to yourself, right? STOP IT!

Eating healthy and exercising are expressions of love for yourself and your body; they’re not punishments. Your mind will have you thinking that your body is being punished because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. Turn that thought around for a minute. What if you thought about exercise as a way to be able to eat a piece of chocolate cake? My conversations with myself go a little like this:

Mind: “Ok, I want another iced coffee from Dunkin.”

Me (usually out loud): “Do I really want a second coffee or is my body craving something else? Let me do [insert activity here] before and if I still want the second coffee, I’ll get it.”

Mind: “Why do [insert activity here] when you’re already so close to Dunkin now?”

Me (again, out loud): “Because I’m not going to spend the money or the calories if I don’t really want the damn coffee!”

Mind: “Ok, ok, you win. Do [activity]…sheesh!”

If you think I’m joking about this, just ask anyone who’s ever ridden in the car with me, talked to me on the phone, or has just gone out in public with me. I’ve just applied the body over mind technique and won! It’s a constant struggle that will never go away but it will get so much easier. I don’t always win, and neither will you, which is why it’s important to celebrate each and every success! Even when you don’t win, let it go – don’t beat yourself up over it. Shit happens and, despite what anyone may have told you, you’re not perfect. We’re going to mess up, have set backs, and get discouraged; it’s all part of the process. The important thing to remember, and to do, is always keep going!

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4 Ways to Boost Your Energy in the Morning

4 Ways to Boost Your Energy in the Morning

I used to be the person who couldn’t function if I didn’t get at least 12 hours of sleep a night. I was also the first person to hit snooze or just not hear the alarm at all. My husband used to have to call me, on the phone, every morning to make sure I was awake. I just couldn’t get it going in the mornings. But, all of that has changed for me and I couldn’t be happier about it! Here are my top 4 ways to boost your energy in the morning.

1. Keep a Sleep Routine

Keeping a sleep routine is one way to boost your energy in the morning. What is a sleep routine? Well, for me, it’s going to bed around the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. My bedtime is generally between 9 and 10 pm every night (yes, even on the weekends) and my alarm goes off at 5 am every morning (not on the weekends). Even when I get to sleep in on the weekends, I’m usually up by 7 ready to go. What works for me may not work for you and that’s OK. Listen to your body and do what it needs. If you need to go to bed earlier, go. If you can stay up later, do it. Tune in to your body every morning to see how you feel and adjust your sleep routine accordingly.

2. Don’t Hit Snooze

This was SO hard for me in the beginning because I’m the queen of the snooze button! Even when I moved the alarm across the room, I found myself getting out of bed, hitting snooze or turning it off entirely, and climbing back in bed. I’m a die-hard sleeper, y’all. Hitting the snooze button disrupts your sleep and often leaves you feeling more tired in the end. I no longer keep my alarm on the bedside table but I don’t have it across the room either. I have to get out of bed to turn it off and it’s been working. There have still be times when I’ve climbed back in bed but not many.

3. Exercise

Yep, exercise will boost your energy in the morning and may even suppress your appetite and make you more productive throughout the day! This doesn’t have to be balls to the wall circuit training or Cross-Fit; just something to get the blood flowing. Yoga or Pilates will do the trick. Even just taking a brisk 20 minute walk will do it. Feeling ballsy? Go hard for 5 minutes and see how your body thanks you. It’s an amazing feeling to know you’ve done something for YOU first thing in the morning. Your body will thank you and love you for it all day!

4. Eat a Protein Breakfast

I’m not going to lecture you on eating breakfast but I will say that adding protein to your breakfast is a great way to boost your energy in the morning. This is especially true if you exercise because you need to refuel your body. For many of us, breakfast consists of coffee and something quick and starchy because we’re usually running short on time. Some great sources of protein are eggs, nuts, and lean meats. As a rule, for me, I stay away from turkey sausage and bacon because they have more sodium than “regular” breakfast meats. Obviously, the choice is yours; just make sure you’re getting some protein.

So, what does a typical morning following these suggestions, look like? This is every morning for me…

  • 5 am wake up & coffee
  • 6 am breakfast of 1/2 c of egg whites and 1 whole grain English muffin with 1/2 Tbsp of unsalted butter (real butter)
  • 6:30 am morning routine (washing my face, brushing my teeth, sunscreen, etc)
  • 6:45 am out the door to walk 5+ miles

Some of you may feel like I have more time because I work from home. Well, guess what? I have the same 24 hours that you have but I may use them differently. My health is a top priority for me so I make damn sure I get my 5 miles in every morning, weather permitting. You may not want or need to walk 5+ miles and that’s OK; do what’s best for you and your body will love you for it. Always, always, no matter what, do what’s best for your body!

4 Ways to Boost Your Energy in the Morning

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But, I Eat Healthy. Why am I Overweight?

Eat Healthy

I hear this all the time. Hell, I used to say it! But, since I began this journey (again), I’ve learned so much more about what it truly means to eat healthy. And, guess what? Neither of us have been eating healthy.

You may, in fact, eat a lot of healthy foods, but you need to examine HOW you prepare them. Do you cook with vegetable oil? How about butter? Do you cook veggies too long? All of these things, and more, need to be taken into consideration.

I hear people say they eat a lot of fruit and don’t understand why they’re not losing weight. Well, what are you putting on that fruit? Sugar on strawberries? Salt on cantaloupe? How about whipped cream? How much are you eating?

The truth is, you can eat whatever you want and lose weight but the trick is to eat it in moderation. I still eat Hershey’s Kisses but I don’t eat the whole bag. I still have potato chips, but I count out a serving. See where I’m going with this?

Even if you’re eating in moderation, you still need to be very mindful of how you’re cooking your food. A baked potato isn’t bad for you….until you load it up with sour cream, butter, bacon, etc. You’ve just eliminated any nutritional value that poor little potato had. If you’re having broccoli for dinner, great! Just don’t boil the hell out of it with a stick of margarine.

Think about the food you eat and how you eat it. Are there things you can do to make your foods a healthier option? Of course there are! Here are just a few:

  • Swap sour cream and mayo for plain Greek yogurt
  • Use unsalted real butter instead of processed margarine
  • Use olive oil instead of vegetable oil

Saying that you “eat healthy” is more than just the food you eat – it’s how much of it you eat and how you eat it. I highly recommend tracking what you eat of an entire day. What I mean by that is, if it goes in your mouth, you write it down. There are a ton of free apps that will help you with this and Lose It! is my go-to. Take a close look at your calories, fat, carbs, sugar, and salt and I guarantee you’ll be surprised by what you see.

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When Should I Weigh Myself?

When Should I Weigh Myself

Weight loss is as unique as we are. What works for one person may not work for another so it’s important to pave your own way. Sure, take suggestions, try new things, but don’t beat yourself up if they don’t work for you. You’re not doing anything wrong. Your body just doesn’t respond to certain things like someone else’s body would and that’s OK! People are always asking me how often they should weigh themselves. My answer is always the same – as often as you want but be prepared for what you get.

Daily Weigh In

When I first began 2 years ago, I would weigh myself every morning religiously. I didn’t miss a day. I got that idea from Candace Cameron Bure’s book “Reshaping it All” so I figured what the hell. The premise behind weighing yourself daily is so you can keep a very close eye on the fluctuations in your weight. Because I would weigh myself daily, I could almost immediately see what foods made me retain water or see what changes in my eating I needed to make.

BUT – after a while of this, I started to become obsessed with the scale. If it didn’t go in the right direction, I instantly became discouraged and even gave up a few times. If you’re going to weigh yourself daily, be sure that you don’t let the number on the scale define you. I’m not going to tell you that muscle weighs more than fat because, the truth is, they weigh the same. One pound of fat weights the same as one pound of muscle – one pound! The difference between fat and muscle, however, is that muscle is more dense, which means it takes up less room on your body. Fat, on the other hand, comes in and sprawls all out everywhere.

Weekly Weigh In

When I got back on the wagon in February, I started weighing myself daily again but moved to weighing in once a week, thanks to the Weekly Weigh In post in the Lose It group on Facebook. At first, it was difficult for me to only weigh myself once a week but, eventually, I got used to it. Stepping on the scale once a week allowed me to see a “bigger” loss than I did when I was weighing myself daily. Well, that was all the incentive I needed to keep it up.

Monthly Weigh In

Back in April, a few of the Lose It group members and I decided to give up the scale for the entire month. I was really nervous at first because I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep track of my progress. I made it through the month and learned a valuable lesson! After a month without the scale, I realized that I CAN stay on track WITHOUT stressing myself out about my weight. On the first day of May, when I weighed in, I had lost almost 10 pounds! Since then, I only step on that blasted thing once a month.

Long story short….how often you weigh yourself depends on who you are and what you can handle. There is no right or wrong way to weigh in so find one that works for you and stick with it. Way back, I never would’ve thought that I could handle weighing myself once a month but now I can’t believe there was a time I was so obsessed with the scale. Weight loss changes you in so many ways; you’ll learn to let go of shit that once irritated you because it no longer serves you, but more on that in another post.

How often do your weigh yourself? I’d love to know what works for you so leave a comment below.

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