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Is clutter a carb? How cleaning up her home helped one woman lose 50 pounds

Fat, sugar, carbs — it's hard enough to keep up with the list of taboo foods, with new dietary restrictions being recommended constantly.

But a study found that the newest weight-gain culprit has nothing to do with what we're eating.

It's our clutter.

According to the study reported on by The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, people with messy or cluttered homes are 77 percent more likely to be overweight or obese.

54-year-old Nanette Cooley can vouch for the legitimacy of that statistic. She discussed her own experience with pairing a diet plan and an organizing strategy.

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To say she was successful would be an understatement: Cooley lost 50 pounds after conquering her clutter.

When the working mom began to gain a noticeable amount of weight, she looked around her home and reevaluated her choices.

"For as long as I can remember, I lived among a lot of stuff and self-medicated with a lot of food," she told TODAY. "I decided to conquer both the weight and the clutter challenges at the same time."

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How cleaning your house can change your life

Play Video - 3:12

How cleaning your house can change your life

Play Video - 3:12

In addition to dropping the pounds, Cooley ended up donating a whopping 15 bags of possessions to charity.

Peter Walsh, organization guru and author of "Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight," reminded TODAY viewers that Cooley's success story and the struggles she faced are far from unique.

"Anyone can relate to this," he offered. "You go home, your home's cluttered, your kitchen's overwhelmed with stuff, and that feeling is, 'I'm zapped, I don't know where to start, I'm exhausted before I even start.'"

As an organization expert with over 15 years of experience, he's heard time and time again from clients that their new and improved spaces were exactly the catalyst they needed to start "making better, healthier choices." And as he told TODAY viewers, "It has to be a whole thing."

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Instead of hurriedly cleaning your home and looking for instant gratification, people should try to strengthen their organizational skills week by week, all the while beginning to change their lifestyles to include healthier food and more frequent exercise.

The rest, Walsh believes, will slowly take care of itself.

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