Spring clean and slim down
Having both a mental and physical declutter can help you go after your weight loss goals with renewed focus—here’s how…
Just imagine if you never threw out any of your old clothes—how long would it take for your overstuffed closet to stop being useful, and start being a source of stress? Strange as it may sound, the same thing can happen to your mind. Without a regular clear out it can become cluttered, and that can take its toll on your mental wellbeing. So grab a pen and follow our guide to spring-cleaning from the inside out.
Blow away the cobwebs
We’re all creatures of habit and a routine can be a lifesaver when you’re busy—you’re far more likely to exercise regularly if you do it at the same time every week, and many Slimming World members swear by having a set day for batch cooking. However, when routines get over-rigid, they can act like webs, making it hard to change a habit even if we know it’s not helpful. Making tiny tweaks to your daily routine—like taking a different route to work, or sitting in a different chair at the dinner table—can be enough to break the web, setting you free to make more conscious choices, including what you eat.
Make space: If you haven’t seen the weight loss you wanted, ask yourself how you could tidy up your routine so that you get there next week. If you find it hardest to stay on track in the evening, for example, put a plan in place—like keeping strawberries and a few sugar-free Jell-O snack pots in the refrigerator ready to turn to.
Create a haven
Do you feel like you have too much stuff? Feeling overwhelmed by a cluttered house has been linked to decreased mental wellbeing and raised stress levels—an added slimming hurdle for those of us who reach for unhealthy snacks or alcohol when we’re tense. And if you share your space, having different approaches to tidiness can bring its own stresses. Seeing clutter-clearing as something you can do together helps, particularly if part of the reason you’re overwhelmed is that it feels like it’s all your responsibility. As well as being a way to get to know your own and your loved ones’ priorities, the physical act of moving things and deciding what stays and goes is wonderful for releasing stagnation. You may find that once you start organizing your home, you’re able to make bigger inroads into other areas of your life where you previously felt stuck—like weight loss!
Make space: Take a moment to picture your home and notice how you feel in your body as you do this. Do you tense up? Do you focus on your home’s “flaws”? In contrast, how do you feel when you picture something in your home that you love as it is? When we accept things—our homes, our bodies, or anything else—exactly as they are, we stop triggering our stress response with endless thoughts of not being enough. This state of acceptance can then give us the headspace and energy we need to make lasting lifestyle changes.
Clear out your worries
It’s normal to worry from time to time. However, going over and over the same worries can clutter your mind, leaving little space for anything else, and putting you at risk of low mood, and even depression and anxiety. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re “working things out” by devoting mental energy to your worries, but it actually has the opposite effect—putting you into a negative frame of mind, which can undermine your confidence about making changes, including losing weight.
Make space: Regular mindfulness exercises can help you tune out the background noise of worries. Find a quiet place to sit, close your eyes, and focus your attention on your breathing for a minute. Then breathe in to a count of eight and out to a count of 10, for several minutes.
Declutter your calendar
Take a quick glance at your calendar or planner. If you can’t see much white space, there’s a good chance you’re overloaded. While some of us thrive on being busy, doing too much at once makes us less productive, and more prone to experiencing stress, frustration and pressure. Being super-busy can also mean you spend most of your days in “fire-fighting” mode, which makes it easier for healthy eating and keeping active to slip way down your list of priorities.
Make space: People who’ve decluttered their homes have to learn to say no to new clutter coming in. And it’s the same with being busy. You have to learn to say no, both to things you don’t want to do, and things you’d like to do, but don’t have time for. To put it into perspective, do a planner audit: Take a look at your calendar from last year and ask yourself, what would you have liked to have done more of? What do you wish you’d spent less time doing? Now, think about what action you can take to make that vision a reality.
Update your body image
You may have been Food Optimizing for a while, and seeing the results on the scale, but in your head, do you still view yourself as your previous size? Even when we’re successfully losing weight, we can hang on to a body image that’s out of date, and changing our mental image of ourselves can actually be more difficult than changing our size—especially if we’ve been overweight for some time. By getting into the habit of questioning the assumptions you make about your body, you’ll find it gets easier to spot when your thought patterns are stuck in the past. So you can spend less time on outdated, negative self-talk, and more time enjoying what your slimmer, healthier body can do!