Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Be prepared - Duck - mental clutter incoming!

I love how synchronicity works its magic. A few weeks ago I was wondering how could I inspire members of my weight management pilot project during the 5 week break before we meet again for the 6th and final class. I had seen Peter Walsh on Oprah a number of months prior and recalled his book DOES THIS CLUTTER MAKE MY BUTT LOOK FAT. He found that in clearing the clutter in one’s home many of his clients dropped pounds. How brilliant is that!

Should I look into the book, I wondered as I sat at my desk. At that very moment in walks one of my students having just bought said book for her boyfriend – another pilot project participant. I got the message so down to the library I trotted.

What clutters your life clouds your vision and blocks the flow of energy towards manifesting your desires. This principle is demonstrated literally through the mindless accumulation of stuff we keep in our homes. Do we know where the things we truly value are or are they buried under piles of distraction. Have we gotten so overburdened by “stuff” that we have lost connection with our inner self?

Walsh stresses, as do I that we not only ask ourselves this question, but keep it at the forefront of our mind throughout the day “what is the vision of the life I want to live?” He states, “Weight control isn’t about diet it is about your decisions.” Since the choices we make each moment determine the life that we are going to live then mindful awareness of what we want and who we want to be in this moment will guide us along the path towards self-respecting decisions.

I liked his message. He is a tough task master, throw things out, change your behaviour and don’t look back, keep in the present. Yikes!

Believing that small steps make for the biggest change, following a moderate path, could I take one of his ideas and see what happens?

My biggest challenge is that I tend to eat on the fly. So, I often resort to poor food choices such as carbs and sweets to stave off hunger until I can get some real food into me, but by then the damage is done.


Getting into a routine is his recommendation for seeing through with this intention. He loves the word routine. Resistance raises its ugly head. Despite being a very disciplined person, I hate routine. Routine = boredom in my books. But the word habit did appear now and again. Could I get into a "habit" of doing something good for myself? Sure. Sometimes it’s only a matter of semantics.

Following are his recommendations; the mental clutter that arose for me; my solution which became my revised plan and the results:

Clutter: my schedule is very irregular.
My solution: don't try and deal with when but see what happens regarding where.
Result: When we ate still varied but we ate at home every day last week. Great on the budget! We made it a point to eat together more often as well.

My solution: shop only once a week but get Rod in on it.
Clutter: I have to guess what he wants (he is a dedicated carnivore and I an almost vegetarian which complicates the picture).
Result: Getting Rod in on it cuts down on the stress of having to decide for another person. I make poor food choices when I feel stressed. When we can choose the foods we want for ourselves it provides us with a win, win situation.

Clutter: Plan every meal? Is he nuts? For a period of time during my childhood Sunday was roast beef, Monday roast beef sandwiches, Tuesday that weird tuna casserole with the potato chip topping (which I loved - chips for dinner really?!), you get my drift. I remember the night the tuna casserole made its debut. In a rare non-routine food moment Mom decided to try out a recipe from the back of a soup can. In desperation my poor Dad pulled all 5 of his brood aside, “I don’t care what it is or what you kids think of it. Please, please I can’t go back to Spanish rice again. I beg of you tell her you love it!” And, so tuna casserole replaced Spanish rice on the "menu".
Clutter: "Well, that’s not going to happen. I am not the domestic type", I protest.
My solution: formulate a guide for 7 nights from the foods we perused as we cruised the perimeter of the store. Buying some freshly prepared grocery store meals, enabled us to use their expiry date as a guide for the order of consumption and gave us enough choice to allow us to switch it up if we changed our minds. Intersperse with freshly cooked home made meals.
I got “real food” to choose from for brekkie and lunch – things I could throw together for a quick meal – salad, veggies, sliced meats and buns for my carnivore hubby etc.
Result: We threw out far less food, consumed less “junk” and, feeling less pressure around mealtimes I cooked and froze some entrees myself which either of us could pull out and warm up, add some rice and a salad and presto.

My own addition:
Always have food on hand (grazing type items – nuts, apples etc) and ready because another rule I abide by is to eat real food (not junk) when you are hungry which fits in with be prepared.

In observing always be prepared I am eating better and have more variety in my diet. I have naturally implemented another of his suggestions. Clean up as you go, getting rid of the clutter in more ways than one.

Thanks for your inspiration Peter!

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