Is your chaos making you fat?

What are your mornings like? A well-oiled machine, everyone out the door on time, lunches and backpacks ready the night before? Or is it a bit chaotic, throwing lunches together, signing school papers in the car, running 5 minutes late?

What does your closet look like? Are your clothes where they belong, or do you consistently have to dig through laundry baskets to find what you need? Do your kids know to just grab socks from a laundry basket?

I know we aren’t all organized all the time, there are moments when things just fall apart no matter how much planning goes into life, but if you are someone who always struggles to stay organized, it could also hinder your best efforts to get healthy.

I know what you’re thinking. “Great, now she’s judging me for living out of a laundry basket.” Believe me, I have a basket of unmatched socks, and there are times that I am the only one that understands my organized chaos.  But, during my year of transformation I learned that being organized and having a plan were vital to my success.

In his book, “Does this Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?” Peter Walsh, who is a professional home organizer, found that one side effect of helping clients organize their homes to allow for them to live the life they wanted to live was weight loss.

JD Roth, the creator of Extreme Weight Loss and Biggest Loser, who spent time with us occasionally during the year, told us several interesting stories about organization and weight loss. He said that during one season they had Suze Orman on to talk to the Biggest Loser contestants about the connection between having organized finances and losing weight. JD said that at the beginning of the season Suze asked to see the financial records of each contestant, and based only on their financial background, she would pick who she believed would win. And she did. He said that she chose the winner, based solely on financials. Does that mean you have to have money to lose weight? Not at all, but there is a connection between paying your bills on time, having your money in order, and being organized enough to lose weight.

JD also told us that Jillian Michaels, a trainer on Biggest Loser, said that she could choose the winner from the finalists when they went home, based on what their home was like. She said that when the final few go home, she could visit them, and just by seeing what their bedroom was like, she could tell who would be successful at home. If their home was organized and clean, they had a better chance for successful weight loss at home.

I completely understand this idea. First let me confess: I am not a meticulous housekeeper. I remember seeing Peter Walsh on Oprah years ago talking about his book and it was a slap in the face. I felt like Mr. Walsh was talking right to me. I knew that we lived a slightly chaotic life. I always tried my best to be organized, on time, and keep a neat house. But there were definitely times that the busyness of working full time, running to volleyball matches and church commitments caught up with our best-laid plans for organization.

Then we would play catch up. An evening folding laundry, vacuuming, mopping the kitchen, and voila! We were back in business. But on those nights when I had worked all day, then gone straight to volleyball, and had a messy house, we ate out. The last thing I wanted to do after a long day was clean and cook. So, eating healthy was not even on my radar. It was late, we were hungry, and I had no plans for us. We ate out a lot. Several nights a week.

During boot camp, Dr. Holly stressed the importance of looking ahead to when we got home. What was going to hinder us from success? Was our kitchen organized and ready for food prep? Did we have good plastic ware in which to store our meals? Did we have a good system for laundry and having our workout clothes organized and ready each morning?

When I got home after my three months at boot camp, I knew life was going to be different. Not only was I going to be working out, I needed to have solid plans in order to be organized and succeed at home.

What did that look like for me? It meant organizing my kitchen. I re-organized a few cabinets, bought plastic ware to accommodate different sized portions. While I was gone to boot camp, my husband, Scott, cleaned out any junk food and began eating like I was. So, I didn't have to purge my kitchen of food that would hinder my success. But, I did clean out my fridge and made sure there was always room for lots of containers of pre-portioned food.

I also stepped up my laundry game. Confession number two: I hate putting away laundry. I can wash, dry, and fold clothes all day, but there was something about getting it put in the right place that I hated. What is it with hanging up clothes and putting them in drawers that is so hard? Nevertheless, I had to do better. I needed to know that I had clean workout clothes, clean socks, clean sports bras, and I had to know where they were. Not just that they were in the dryer or a basket, but that they were where they were supposed to be. When I was getting up at 5:15am, the last thing I needed was to have to dig in a laundry basket for socks. I typically went to bed with an idea of what I was wearing so I could get up and get out the door on time.

And speaking of being on time…Be on time! If you are heading to the gym or meeting with your trainer, be on time. Don't shortchange your workout because you are running late. I am a stickler for being punctual. I even scheduled my cardio. I wasn't meeting anyone, I could do it anytime I wanted to during the day. But, each night, I would look at the next day, see what I had on the calendar and then schedule my cardio hour. Even if I was just going out in to my garage, I scheduled it. I knew if I waited until I “felt like” doing cardio, I would put it off. So, I considered it an appointment I couldn’t miss.

Are there areas in your life that are hindering your ability to be healthy? Are you running around at night, coming in late and grabbing something junky to eat? If so, plan ahead! Do some food prep early in your week. Now, if we have a night where we are coming in late, we don’t just default to eating out. I keep chicken cooked, a big salad made or I have something ready in my crockpot. I don’t let a busy life keep me from eating healthy.

Take a look at your life. What can you do to have a better plan for being healthy? Be honest with yourself. Are you too disorganized to lead the healthy life you want? If so, do something to move towards a more organized life. Clean out one cabinet. Make a meal plan for the week. Look at your schedule. When can you fit in a good workout? Don't let the chaos of life keep you from being healthy. You can take control and live a calmer, more organized, healthier life. I did it, and I believe you can too!