I have a secret weight loss tip…. And it is nothing about the food. Yep, you’ve heard right. This is how decluttering can help you to lose weight.
The parallel with food and things
I have noticed such a parallel with my clients who want to lose weight and hanging on to things. For instance, with Sam. She came to see me for weight loss and a couple of sessions in she mentioned that she is a bit of a self-confessed hoarder. She cannot get rid of her stuff. We talked about her childhood a little and what comes out is she was quite poor and didn’t have much. She didn’t get many presents and wasn’t given many clothes, so when she did, she held on to them. These few things became prized possessions. When she was feeling down as a child her toys and things helped to cheer her up. As she moved into adulthood and started working and could afford things, these things became prized possessions and she hung onto them. For some reason, this behaviour, the hanging on, transferred to food and her weight as well.
The emotions behind stuff and food
The weight she was carrying had nothing to do with food and the stuff she was hoarding had nothing to do with the stuff. She didn’t want to get rid of anything because it would remind her of her poor childhood. Having stuff around her was in some way a comfort. Being surrounding by things that are yours and knowing what is there, being able to see it and feel it, even though it was cluttering the house, it was a comfort. It turns out that the extra weight she was carrying was also a comfort. Without it she felt vulnerable, bare and open to unwanted comments and attention. She couldn’t throw away stuff and interestingly also couldn’t throw away food.
This goes deeper then stuff and food, for Sam it was about hanging on to something. Wanting comfort and assurance and to feel secure.
However she desperately wanted to lose the weight so we needed to work on her feeling comfort and secure in herself so she could feel comfortable chucking her stuff away and throwing food away.
Tips for how decluttering can help you to lose weight
- Look at parts of your life that are full. Where do you feel satisfied? Bring that feeling to apply to other parts of your life. For instance, Sam had a really happy relationship with her husband and we grasped that feeling and I encouraged her to keep feeling that feeling. What parts of your life are you happy with?
- Each week clear out one item at a time. This might seem slow, but with each item sit with your feelings and work out why you keep the item. What joy does it bring you? Do you really need it? Have you used it in the last year?
- Pick out the top 3 things that are special to you and have lots of meaning and throw away the rest.
- Each night throw away a spoonful of food from your plate. This is about being able to get comfortable with throwing food away. It is not about wasting it, but realising it is only hurting you by eating food that otherwise would be thrown away.
This would have been challenging for Sam, but this is why we kept up the therapy throughout the process. She felt supported and was able to work on any challenges that come up for her.