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Healthy living is about more than what you eat!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

As I've walked this road and grown in this journey, I've taken a lot of deep, introspective looks into my life. Part of that has been dealing with my home. As some of you who have read my blog in the past know that I have issues with clutter. To put it bluntly, I live at the step just before you get on TV with a camera crew and a bunch of junk trucks at the house while you scream at people for touching your stuff.

So I'm trying to battle these tendencies, and beat back the clutter. Because taking care of my body in the *inside* isn't enough. I have to take care of it on the OUTSIDE. My home is a reflection of my inner being, and I'm no longer depressed, carrying too much dead weight, and unmotivated to clean.

But I have YEARS worth of clutter to work through. And I'm doing it alone; my girls are too small to be of much help (though they enthusiastically try, they end up making more work.) My husband is too sick and wrapped up in his own issues to be of much use, either. I could scream and nag and yell, or I can just do it and hope he joins in.

So I've made it a goal each day to tackle one trouble spot in the house. There's a lot, so this'll take a while. ;) But I AM making progress. Last week, I spent 3 1/2 hours doing dishes. We now have a clean kitchen!

Then, I tackled a shelf that was cluttered from a previous cleanup attempt elsewhere. It's now neat and tidy.

I organized the headboard of my bed, which was a rickety stack of half-read paperbacks, into a neat and organized shelf uncluttered with random junk.

I also attacked a box of clothes that had sat untouched for months... Everything in it went into a drawer or a donation bag.

Today I got a wild hair... I was feeling really motivated, so I folded all the laundry my husband washed and didn't fold. Then, I cleaned up the pile in the hallway by his desk that was creeping along the floor and becoming a hazard. Finally, I called my husband and asked if he minded me cleaning up his desk.

He gave me the green light, and I did.

So, a full bag of donation clothes, three trashbags, and a lot of 409 later, the hall spot is clean so the girls can hang up their book bags and coats without leaning over junk, and he actually HAS a desk, instead of a teetering pile of papers. I didn't mind helping him with that, since it contained a lot of my stuff from before I got the dining room cleared out and set up a work station.

This is also my way of trying to help his recovery. You see, the clutter in our home is constant stress and cognitive dissonance. It triggers unhealthy reactions in both of us. Anger, binging, even drinking (in his case.) I can't tell you how often I've thrown a temper tantrum over the clutter and then reached for something in the fridge to compensate.

You see, the same principles that have applied to my growth in healthy living can be applied in all aspects of my life. Baby steps! I can't clean this whole house at once... it's too much for one person, I can't afford a personal organizer, and it's not bad enough to end up on TV. ;) So, I take it in bite-sized chunks, the way I did when I started trying to lose weight.

We get SO wrapped up in all or nothing. We look at the sum-total of what we have to do, and we get discouraged. I've been there! You see, I've lost entire rooms to this clutter problem. I've stood there, looked around the house, and couldn't fathom how I'd ever do it. I've stared at my fat in the mirror naked and turned away, discouraged because I can't make it disappear, right NOW.

But you know something? I CAN focus on the next pound. I can pick up those socks over there. I can make it a habit to take something to the trash every time I get up from my desk. I can clear a 3 x 3 space in my home.

I've found that like clutter, clean spreads. If you make a nice, neat space, you're more likely to pick up the pile of papers beside it. This is the principle behind clean-living guru Flylady's program, too. You start with a shiny sink, and magically, the dishes tend to get done because you want to keep that sink shiny. Then you wipe the counter, because who wants a dirty counter next to a shiny sink? ANd well, you might as well wipe the stove too.

And the floors need mopping.

Which takes you to the dining room. Better empty that trash.

Healthy living is the same. What's the point of eating whole wheat spagetti if you're going to load it down with two pounds of cheese? (Guilty!) So you eat a little less cheese. You put a little less sugar in your coffee. You eat another vegetable or two instead of second helpings of fried chicken.

And suddenly, you're 25 pounds lighter, your pants are loose enough you need to use a belt hole you've never used before, you can walk through your house without tripping, and you're going to bed with a smile on your face.

Am I done yet? Not by a long shot. I have a lot of growth ahead of me. A lot of weight loss. A lot of cleaning.

But I know I CAN do it, because I AM doing it.

Oh, and my husband? He's helping too. ;) He's started picking up things he finds here and there... and he's been helping with the dishes. And making salads for dinner.

WE can do this. Together.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Oh, boy. Can I relate!
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    1812 days ago
  • JOSEY98
    Fantastic! I'm the same as you and I emoticon Flylady!

    It didn't get that way in a day, it ain't gonna be fixed in a day! I apply that to both my house and my body!

    Good going!
    1814 days ago
    That's wonderful! My husband was very helpful with the cleaning yesterday also. He even did things I didn't ask him to do!

    Glad this healthy living thing is spilling over into the rest of your life as well. You've inspired me to do the same thing!
    1814 days ago
    I wonder how many of us are just waiting for the crew from Hoarders to show up. For years I lived like this and honestly never allowed people into my home. They would buzz and I would yell down "Be right there" but not buzz them in. When I moved overseas, I literally gave away 100 pairs of shoes to charity. It was horrifying how much stuff I had accumulated.

    Now that I live overseas, I move every few years, so I have not accumulated as much stuff, and I have a cleaning lady--she doesn't throw stuff out really, but knowing that she is going to be coming on Monday morning makes me throw stuff out. And my closets are still stuffed. My bookcases are sagging. But I don't have dirty dishes and unwashed clothing stinking up my place any more. I think that for many people, weight, hoarding, depression are all tied together, and once we start working on one, the others become more manageable.

    Thank you for a thoughtful blog and for being open to sharing this part of your life with us.

    1814 days ago
    That's so exciting and so true!

    I also believe that for me anyway, there's an addictive pattern to a whole lot of things. It's always doing something too much (shopping, which leads to clutter, eating, drinking, reading, TV) to compensate for insecurity.

    As my confidence and security grows in one area, it begins to spread to other areas of my life and, step by step, I am more comfortable and confident in a whole lot of areas.
    1814 days ago
  • _MOBII_
    You are doing a fantastic job!
    1816 days ago
    Great job my friend, you are on your way. You know what is wrong, you know what to do about it, and now you are doing it. My prayers are with you and family as you continue on this journey to health and fitness. And health and fitness means so much more than just eating and exercising. ;-)
    1816 days ago
    This is amazing! You are changing the life of your whole family!
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    1817 days ago
    Is that the same room in the second shot? He it takes a huge amount of courage to post those photos and talk about these issues. Its super hard to raise a family,keep the house decent, work & still have time for yourself. Right now my house resembles a warehouse because I'm selling books and other things from home, seriously a warehouse. Boxes of stuff everywhere, bins of books. Its crazy, but it is what it is right now. My garage is where hubby builds for stuff for work, no room for me there.

    It sounds like your totally on the right track and have the right mindset to move forward. Those hoarder shows and the organization shows actually give great tips so they are good to watch. Keep digging and throwing out and donating!!
    1818 days ago
  • CLARK971
    baby steps! : )
    1818 days ago
    What a wonderful blog. One step at a time.
    1818 days ago
    Great blog! Trying to do it all at once and doing it perfectly leads to being overwhelmed and giving up. Every little step forward adds up to a long, healthier journey.
    1818 days ago
    I agree that when you get it cleaned up, main taining becomes a lot easier. Sounds like you're almost starting from scratch. My wife tackled this alomst on her own a long time ago. Now we both pretty much keep it up. Not necessarily daily, but th3e house is usually neat, clean and comfortable. It really does make one feel better living in a nice space. Good luck to you. Glenn
    1818 days ago
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    1818 days ago
  • KIMBERLY19732
    1818 days ago
    emoticon I have made my table my base of clean and it's great. My kids are big enough to help, and kind of do. I worry they'll inherit the cluttering just like I did.
    1818 days ago
    I love this blog. And you know I know where you're coming from. I rooted for you all the way through reading it. My cleaning isn't so much spreading - it's about clearing a spot and then trying to hold the high ground. It's like I clear a spot and someone comes along and thinks, "Hey! A place to put my stuff since I don't feel like putting it away - how convenient!"
    1818 days ago
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