Clutter and Weight Gain – There’s a Connection

Have Nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautifulDo you spend a lot of time looking for misplaced items? Maybe you feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff piled on your countertops or inbox. You may hesitate to invite friends over because you’re embarrassed by the state of your life, I mean house. Being chronically disorganized can be a huge source of frustration. Clutter turns your home (and office) into a stressor instead of a safe haven.

You may not realize that clutter and carrying extra weight are often connected. For starters, the stress of being disorganized can lead to emotional eating. Food is a distraction from the organizational tasks we’re avoiding. If we are feeling crummy about the state of our kitchen, how can a cookie or two make us feel any worse?

Clutter can also be a sign that we have a hard time parting with THINGS. For some people, stuff carries a lot of sentimental meaning, so it’s tough to give it away. These feelings are linked to our attitude towards food. Do you clean your plate even if you’re already full? Do you turn to food for its emotional power rather than it’s nutritional content?

Professional organizers know that disorganization isn’t simply a space problem. Buying more storage bins is not the answer for someone who’s chronically disorganized.  When we decide to get serious about decluttering and maintaining our space, that commitment will spill over into our self-care. Taking time to tend to our home shows that we value it, just as making time to prepare good food, exercise, get plenty of sleep, demonstrates that we recognize our own worth. We recognize that our health and happiness are important.

In a NY Times article A Clutter Too Deep for Bins and Shelves, professional organizer Lynne Johnson noted she often sees efforts for weight loss and getting organized go hand in hand. “I think someone decides, ‘I’m not going to live like this anymore. I’m not going to hold on to my stuff, I’m not going to hold on to my weight,’” she said. “I don’t know that one comes before the other. It’s part of that same life-change decision.”

Smarts and Stamina Online ProgramI too see this phenomenon among my coaching clients who want to lose weight. This idea of an underlying connection between different aspects of self-care fascinates me. In fact, it’s the central idea behind my upcoming workshop that helps participants explore the interconnection between sleep, food, mood and exercise in their own lives. In the course of the six-weeks, we learn that if you have an obstinate problem in one part of your life, tackle a related area. In this case, if you’re having a tough time losing weight, confront your clutter with a commitment to letting things go that you no longer need.


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