June 4, 2013 at 11:31 AM ET
Take a second and look around your desk. Is everything neat and organized – places for everything, etc? Or are there papers and Post-Its and half-consumed cups of coffee scattered everywhere? If it’s the latter, you may be interested to learn that a professional organizer – and adviser for A&E’s “Hoarders” – claims that getting rid of excess clutter will also help you get rid of excess pounds.
“There’s a clutter problem when you start missing appointments, right, when you are not returning phone calls, when your voicemails are stacked up, you’re not opening up your mail, you’re not hanging up your clothes,” Dorothy Breniner, author of the cleverly-titled new book “Stuff Your Face Or Face Your Stuff: The Organized Approach to Lose Weight By Decluttering Your Life,” told TODAY anchors Natalie Morales and Al Roker this morning. “Those are all clues [that] maybe I need to look at me, too.”
She may have a point. If you’re the type of person who carefully hangs up your clothes at the end of the work day, who never leaves dishes in the sink, who always makes your bed -- it makes sense that you’d also be the kind of person who plans healthy meals and makes time to exercise. In fact, studies have suggested people who are conscientious – those who are organized, meticulous, or careful – also tend to be healthier. One 2008 paper published in the journal Health Psychology even found that conscientious individuals tend to live longer than the rest of us hot messes.
So what’s a disorganized slob to do? Breniner offers a couple tips.
Identify your “bewitching hour.” She defines this as “the time you always cave in, and, you know, go for the contraband.” If you know you’re always starving right after work, for example, plan ahead – keep some healthy snacks around like energy bars or a piece of fruit that'll quell your hunger but won't spoil your dinner.
Put yourself first and be compassionate. Breniner suggests keeping a baby photo of yourself out in the open. “Put it across from you and see it, and say, would I feed that little girl that kind of food? Would I be acting that way to that little girl?”
Plus, obviously, a clutter-free home means it'll be easier to find your running shoes, and regularly doing laundry - and putting those clothes away - means you can quickly find your workout clothes, too.