Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?

book cover, Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?

Peter Walsh has a way with words, so this book is fun to read - as well as full of good advice. To focus on the organizing-related aspects, he makes the following points.

1. You need an uncluttered home to support proper eating habits. "You can't lose weight if your home is out of control. If your house isn't welcoming, you won't want to spend time there and you certainly can't expect to enjoy meals there."

The kitchen and pantry get most of the attention. "I have seen that for most people the more they prepare food and cook it at home, the more weight they'll lose. But it's no fun to cook in a messy, disorganized kitchen where you can't find what you need or take pleasure in the process."

But some other areas get mentioned, too. "I want you to make a stack of all the diet books and other self-help books on your shelves. How much did they cost? How much do they weigh? How much room do they take up? Get real. These diets failed you. So why do you still have the books? Because you think that you're the one who failed. Maybe you are. Congratulations, now let's move on. Get rid of the dead weight of fad books that promise miracles."

2. You need to make the time to eat properly: to plan your meals and to cook them. "If a healthy diet doesn't fit your lifestyle, well, we'll just have to change your lifestyle."

3. How do you find that time? "Give up TV. Before you throw this book out the window, just try it for a month. Tape your favorite show if you must. ... At the end of the month you'll have a rare opportunity - the opportunity to make an active choice about how much TV you want in your life instead of passively letting it consume your evenings."

(And yes, this is the same Peter Walsh who became well-known for his work on the TV show Clean Sweep.)

Related Post: It's All Too Much, by Peter Walsh


SueBK said...

Give up TV? What a radical idea!

I grew up without a TV. Guess what? I'm a pretty well adjusted person. We haven't had a TV for the 14 years we've been married. Guess what? We're both pretty well adjusted people (well, I am :-)

It is actually possible to live your own real life, not just watch other people living false lives.

Recently (last couple of years) we have compromised. We have a DVD on our computer, and we do own DVDs of two TV shows.

People often ask me how I manage to work part-time, run a home, raise a child, be a mother, be involved in our church AND study for my degree. My answer is nearly always that I don't watch TV.

Cynthia Friedlob said...

I know you support that "no TV" point of view!

I haven't read Peter Walsh's book yet, but I do take issue with the quote about diet books and diets: ". . .you think that you're the one who failed. Maybe you are. Congratulations, now let's move on."

I realize that he's being a bit sarcastic (he does refer to "fad books"), but I wouldn't ever want anyone to think that they failed trying to adhere to a diet. The whole concept of failure is such a sensitive issue for people who struggle with their weight and/or clutter. I always say that people don't fail, diets and organizing systems fail because they're not right for the person.

Jeri Dansky said...

Suebk, I'm curious which two shows you own on DVD!

Cynthia, I totally agree with your point - at least when it comes to organizing. (I'm no expert on dieting.) People often have trouble with organization because they are trying to use a system that was right for someone else, not for them.

And the flip comment from Peter sort of distorts his message. (I just included the quote because I think getting rid of useless diet books is a good idea.)

His point is this: "Dieting doesn't work. Have you ever met someone who used to be fat but conquered the problem long ago? That person probably doesn't say, 'I've been on a diet for ten years.' She says, 'I learned how to eat.' Think of it this way: If your new eating plan succeeds, it's a change in your life. If it fails, it's a diet."

SueBK said...

We own MASH. At 20 minutes a show it's great for when you need a brain space while working on an assignment.
We also own most of Northern Exposure. I love quirky things. I find it very hard to explain to anyone why I love NEx unless they're a fellow fan.
If I could find it at a 'nice' price I'd also have Red Dwarf (the original English version). Again quirky. The Girl (10yo) would love me to buy The Crosby Show.
We often borrow shows from the local video store. I think because we sit and watch three or four in a row it makes it easy to see how flawed some of them are and they very quickly lose their charm.
I find TV makes me fearful. Maybe I'm a sensitive person, but there's too much personal violence on TV for me. I start turning on lights just to go to bed at night. Doesn't help that I really enjoy a good mystery ;-) I also find that as a family we are less inclined to buy 'stuff'. We're not being constantly bombarded by ads. I haven't a clue what's supposedly "trendy" to eat, wear, do, drive this year.

Jeri Dansky said...

Suebk, I love MASH. I've probably seen most episodes numerous times by now - and could happily watch them again.

But I've never seen Northern Exposure - maybe I was already TV-less by the time that one came along. I think the last show that really caught my attention was China Beach. Maybe I'll rent some of Northern Exposure sometime; I'm a fan of quirky, too. And I seem pulled to ensemble pieces; I really enjoyed WKRP in Cincinnati.

I too use my computer for watching DVDs; it was easy to give away my TV and VCR once I realized I had my computer (with a good-sized monitor) as an alternative. With more shows coming out on DVD, I can always treat them as I would a movie on DVD - something fun to watch once in a while - rather as part of my daily or weekly routine.

And yes, escaping the bombardment of commercials is definitely a nice side effect of skipping TV.

Now sometime we will have to compare favorite mystery writers. I've listed a few of my favorites.

Cynthia Friedlob said...

Just another shout-out for "Northern Exposure." I thought it was one of the most enjoyable shows on TV (except for that one season when they decided to make it "edgy;" Heaven help us when "edgy" gets foist upon a non-edgy show!)

Also, "Taxi" remains one of my all-time favorite comedies.