There are many helpful ways to reach your goal weight, and being organized is one of the most important. Did you know that organization is right up there with eating healthy and exercising when it comes to weight loss? Eating healthy and exercise are important, but they aren’t the whole piece of the puzzle. Stress can actually contribute to weight gain just as much as unhealthy foods or a sedentary lifestyle can. Studies show that people who suffer a higher stress lifestyle excrete more cortisol, the fat-storing hormone released during stressful times. Being unorganized is one way that we allow more stress in our lives without even realizing it. The messy house we come home to, the refrigerator that has stuff randomly thrown in, the laundry sitting everywhere, and even our pantries that have things falling out of them. All of these things seem small, but they create a little bit of stress every time you see them or have to deal with them. Many people overeat, or eat addicting, stress-relieving foods like sugar and unhealthy fats as a way to deal with stress. One way to eliminate stress is your life is to start organizing your home and your life better. Consider some of these ways to reach your goal weight by just organizing a few things. I think you might be surprised just how well they work!
1. Organize Your Fridge
The most important way to reach your goal weight by adding some organization to your life is by starting with your fridge. Since it holds, or should hold, most of the foods you’ll be eating, it should become your number one focus area for getting orderly. Start with the top shelf and work your way down, removing everything off one shelf, and then moving onto the next. Set everything out on your counters and group like items together. Then, wipe down all your fridge shelves and clean them so they’re free from bacteria, food spills, and stains. Even this one step makes you less stressed when you look in your fridge. Then, place your items back in your fridge, preferably placing fresh fruits and vegetables in the front. Also, keep condiments in your fridge doors, instead of things like eggs, milk, and yogurt, since these should be stored on your shelves for maximum preservation. I use the crate at the top of the door, and store my dark chocolate, probiotics, and nuts there for easy keeping. If you don’t have healthy foods in your fridge, it’s time to go shopping! Fill up your fridge with healthy foods, and get rid of the bad stuff like sugar, most animal fats, and processed foods. Veggies, fruits, nut butters, nuts, seeds, and lean protein like plain Greek yogurt and pastured eggs, are all great foods to keep in your fridge.
2. Organize Your Pantry
Now that you’ve got your fridge in order, mosey on over to your pantry. If things are falling all over the place in your pantry, it’s time for a mini reboot! I find that when I group like items together in my pantry, and keep things I use daily in the front at eye view, it makes life so much less stressful. No digging around in a hurry in the mornings, or rummaging late at night when you’re tired and trying to make dinner. Clean out your pantry and do a little organizing. It can make planning healthy meals easier, and can even save you money at the store from buying foods you might already have at home but didn’t realize it. Just like your fridge, clean out all the bad stuff like the sugar cereals and boxed cookies, and go for whole grains, nuts, seeds, spices and herbs, cartons of unsweetened almond milk, stevia instead of sugar, herbal teas, coffee, and healthy oils like coconut and olive oil.
3. Plan Simple Meals
Meal planning stresses a lot of people out, but it really doesn’t have to. I know meal planning can get really stressful if you try to make too many complex meals, so just keep it simple! Roast a couple pans of vegetables, or boil some on the stove for the week. Keep these in a big dish in the fridge, and then prepare a big batch of lean proteins to go along with it. Fish, chicken, quinoa, oats, or lentils are all great ideas, along with boiled eggs if you eat them. Then, just plan your meals as simple meals. No need to get fancy! A simple bowl of rolled oats with flaxseed, cinnamon, stevia, and almond milk in the morning is a great way to start the day. Fish and roasted sweet potato wedges with asparagus make a great lunch, and dinner can be as simple as hearty veggie soup, or even a whole foods large smoothie filled with fruits, vegetables, and lean protein like Greek yogurt. Keep your meals simple and try to eat similar style meals all week so you don’t have to put too much thought into it. This will keep you from being stressed, and will keep you from reaching for unhealthy meals because you’re too tired to cook.
4. Make a Stock Shopping List
I like to keep a stock shopping list, which is essentially a basic shopping list I stick to every week. I keep it on my iPhone in the Notes app, which makes it incredibly simple to keep up with. I don’t have to make a list each week, since all of my stock items, or staples, are on this list. Sure, every few weeks I might add an item, or change out one for another, but I know if I need simple healthy foods, I have my stock shopping list to fall back on. This takes away stress from planning healthy meals, and can keep you eating healthy. It also prevents impulse purchases on unhealthy foods. When you can shop without thinking, and stick to your main list, you know you’ll be eating healthy all week long.
5. Lay out Your Workout Clothes
This works for some, and not for others, but it’s worth a shot if you’re one to dread exercise. The night before your workout, get organized and lay out all your workout clothes together. Even fill your water bottle and put it in the fridge, ready to go. When you wake up in the morning, you have no excuse not to get dressed and exercise since everything is organized and ready to go. If you work out during lunch or in the evening after work, pack your workout bag the night before so you never forget it in the morning. Being organized in exercising and eating has been found to help more people lose weight, simply from the motivation it brings and the sense of accomplishment it gives you.
6. Do Laundry Once a Week, All at Once
Instead of doing a load of laundry here and there, always having clothes to fold that you never get around to, do your laundry once a week. Then, fold it and hang it up all after it’s done. Pick a day, and just do it! Your entire home and wardrobe will be in order, and this small change will help you feel more “together” than you even realize.
7. Tidy for Twenty
Here’s one little tip that will make a huge difference in your home and your entire day, concerning stress. I know it sounds crazy, but it works. Every morning or right before you go to bed at night, take 20 minutes and straighten your home. Make sure all the dishes are washed or in the dishwasher, wipe off the counters, do a quick vacuum and sweep, and put away odds and ends. Then a few times a week, take ten extra minutes and dust off your main pieces of furniture. You have no idea how much this will help relieve stress, especially when you come home each day. If you have 10 more extra minutes, take time to mop a few times a week too. This makes weekly cleaning much quicker and makes your home so much more relaxing to be in everyday, helping you be less stressed to make positive choices. Clean your bathroom once a week, perhaps on the weekends when you have some extra time. I don’t know about you, but I tend to eat more when I’m stressed knowing things are a mess around me, and procrastinating doing them just makes things worse. So, by taking care of them daily, it becomes a part of your routine and can easily be switched out for that meaningless 20-30 minutes of television watching or surfing the Internet. Plus, it’s a free way to be active!
Organization is not a hard skill to learn. Anyone can do it when they put their mind to it, so don’t think twice about it, just do it! Do you have an organizing tip that you think might help someone lose weight?