How My Weight Loss Journey Can Help You Get Organized

how my 30 lb weight loss journey can help you get organized at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

As many of you know last year I finally decided to get serious about getting healthy and starting my weight loss journey.  I’d put on weight over the past several years and despite all my efforts I struggled to lose it.  Then last January I wrote a post that you can read HERE talking about doing hard things.  I was in the middle of a ‘no chips” challenge and was realizing just how many similarities there are in the struggle to lose weight and get organized.  Here’s an excerpt of that post:

“Organizing comes easy to me because I’ve been doing it for so long and have experienced the rewards being organized produces.  However with losing weight not so much.  I know that I can’t tell you to just get rid of stuff the same way a nutritional expert can’t tell me to just stop eating junk.  I already know what I need to do, the same way I’m sure you do.  It’s just so dang hard.  I’m addicted to food the same way someone else may be addicted to stuff.  Correcting the abundance doesn’t happen overnight.  It’s going to take time.  Period.”

It takes time

And boy did it take time for me to lose the weight.  In fact it took me all the way to April to just get serious about starting my weight loss journey because the idea of starting is hard and it’s scary.  But I finally did start and by the end of 2014 I had lost 25 pounds.  Going into 2015 I was a mushy mess because it was the first New Year‘s in a long long while where I didn’t have to think about my weight.  After all my hard work, after all the mornings getting up to exercise when I just didn’t feel like it, after recording everything I ate day after day for 9 months, after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and being in so much pain, I was finally able to say I did it!

Update April 2015: Many of you asked to see a before and after picture so here you go. I have now lost a total of 30 lbs.

How I organized my weight loss

I’ve learned so much in the process and having gone through something so difficult I now have a better understanding of what some of you are going through on your organizational journeys.  I so get that it’s not easy but I do know it’s possible.  Let me share some more of the similarities I have found between getting organized and losing weight.  I hope this helps some of you overcome the hurdles you have encountered when it comes to organizing (or weight loss) so that 2015 can be your year to say goodbye to clutter and chaos forever.

1.  Mindset and Attitude

Whether it’s with weight loss or organizing, you have to decide you are ready to do it.  You have to be ready to go all in. I realized that I was in a holding pattern of wanting to lose weight but not wanting to put in the work that was required of me to get the results. I had to be honest with myself that if this was truly something I wanted to accomplish, I couldn’t just keep talking about it. I really had to want it or I had to stop complaining about it.  Complaining gets us nowhere.  Action takes us places.

2.  Plan and Routine

As with anything you want to accomplish in life you need to have a plan.  The idea of weight loss, as I’m sure organizing is to many of you, is absolutely overwhelming to me.  It paralyzes me from moving forward.  One of the smartest things I did on my weight loss journey was not to get to ahead of myself.  I took it DAY by DAY.  I set daily manageable goals that didn’t overwhelm me.  I would tell myself, just do it for today. it’s one day, you’ve got this.  And then the next day I would tell myself the same thing all over again.  It’s one day, you’ve got this.  I’m going to not eat potato chips today because it’s just for one day.  For someone else it could be just dealing with one stack of papers on the counter because it’s just for today.

Don’t worry about what tomorrow brings because you’ll just get overwhelmed.  Today is the day that matters.

For me exercising two or three times a week just wasn’t going to cut it because if I went two days without exercising then it was pretty easy to make excuses not to get up and exercise on that third day.  I needed to do it every single day to stay on track.  That meant waking up and getting on my treadmill every single morning for 30 minutes, no excuses. Granted some days I walked faster than others, depending on how my chronic sciatica condition was doing, but I just kept telling myself (sometimes over and over again) that doing something was better than doing nothing at all.

For you that might mean regular daily purging or sticking to strict daily habits that keep your household running smoothly.  Decide what it is you want to accomplish and create a do-able daily plan to make it happen.  Set yourself up for success!

3.  Discipline

I think it’s only natural to want to take the easy road to do something, to cut corners and save time in our already busy lives. There has got to be a quick way to nod our heads and have things magically happen.  It’s how we are programmed and why inventions like the microwave are such a huge success.  However when it comes to things like weight loss and organizing, sometimes we just need to suck it up, roll up our sleeves and get it done.  Sure there might be a fad diet or supplement I can take to rid me of these unwanted pounds or perhaps there is an organizing trick that will allow you to discover hidden storage so you don’t have to part with pounds of your stuff.  But often those things are temporary and don’t get to the root of the problem.  When we don’t teach ourselves the disciplines required to achieve something for the long haul, we often find ourselves in no time at all right back where we started.  Without discipline, eventually the pounds will come back whether that’s in weight or stuff.

Discipline: activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training

4.  Boundaries

With my weight loss I needed some boundaries in place to keep me in check especially in the beginning while the disciplines were still being developed.  I didn’t want to leave it to “chance” and instead knew that boundaries would help ensure my success.  For example, that meant having a set number of calories per day that I could eat and tracking what I ate.  This was so eye opening for me because it turns out that portion size was a big issue for me.  By putting this boundary in place I didn’t have to deprive myself, I could eat whatever I wanted as long as it fell within the parameters.

Boundaries are equally important to implement when it comes to organizing.  Baskets and bins for instance help implement boundaries and establish limits by giving you a visual cue to stop collecting stuff.  When the basket is full, you know you need to purge something before putting something else in.  Having a set number of hangers in your closet makes it super easy to track how many items of clothes you have and forces you to use the one in, one out rule.

5.  Tools

While tools aren’t absolutely necessary, they do make the journey more fun and interesting.  Some of the tools I used to help me lose weight include the following:

Fitbit:

My sister started using a Fitbit Flex Activity Tracker last January and lost 75 pounds in 2014.  Her success in the first three months is what inspired me to get one of my own.  I started using it and tracking my steps on April 1/14.  I was hooked right from the start.  Talk about motivating!

Fitbit Flex

I loved, loved, loved tracking my steps every day.  The tracker synced to the Fitbit app on my iPhone and I could check it throughout the day.  I made it a daily goal to reach 10,000 steps a day.  This made getting up and getting on the treadmill every morning easier too because I knew if I didn’t do that I wouldn’t reach my step quota for the day.  We also went out for a family walk every evening.  You can also compete against friends that use a Fitbit too which is fun.  Another neat feature is being able to track your sleep patterns as well.  Very eye opening indeed.

Fitbit Flex

My FitnessPal:

There are many food trackers out there but the app I use and love is My Fitness Pal (free).  I would enter every bite of food I ate throughout the day and the app would track not only calories but detailed nutrition as well. It has a huge database of foods to choose from so it was easy to find a match for what I was eating.  You can also scan a food product bar code to enter it that way as well.  The best part is that it syncs with the Fitbit app so the on your Fitbit home screen you can see at a glance not only how many calories you have burned through your steps but also how many calories you’ve eaten.  The two apps talk to each other giving you a pretty informative picture on how you are doing on your daily goal.  So awesome!

My FitnessPal

Treadmill:

The other very helpful tool for me was my treadmill and iPad.  I’m not one to go to a gym and work out in front of others so I liked being able to get on my treadmill first thing in the morning and get it done.  To further motivate me to get on the treadmill I would only allow myself to watch vlogs (I like vloggers who post daily, so many great ones, I’m obsessed!) on my iPad when I was on the treadmill.  This was amazingly motivating for me.  We each have to find what works for us as it will be different for everyone.

Treadmill

Like with weight loss, there are hundreds of tools out there to help us with organizing as well.  From blogs (hi!), apps, planners, calendars, baskets, bins, labels, courses, coaches, magazines, etc there are so many resources available to us.  I try to share a variety of organizing resources here on the blog because each person and the stage of life they’re in will have different needs.  Just keep in mind that tools are designed to be helpers or motivators but in order to see results you have to work the tools.  It’s also why I never recommend buying organizing containers until after you’ve don’t the work to purge out excess.  You’ve got to learn to exercise that decision making muscle :)

6.  Celebrate Accomplishments

I’m a big believer in not only celebrating the big accomplishments but the little ones too.  The problem is though, in the past, I’ve always celebrated with potato chips ha!  This time around I used makeup.  For every two pounds or so lost I would buy myself a new lipstick or nail polish.  I love having something to look forward to :)  You can do something similar with organizing accomplishments.  It’s probably not best to add new stuff to an already cluttered home but for every line item crossed off your organizing to-do-list how about treating yourself to a new organizing tool, a bubble bath or even a special coffee drink.  What every floats your boat, take a moment and appreciate what you’ve done.  Be proud of yourself!!

Lysa Terkeurst

7.  Weight Loss Maintenance

Now I’m in maintenance mode. Some of you might be there as well with your newly organized home.  It’s important to recognize that your efforts weren’t a one time and done type of change. I wanted to be a healthy person who ate right and exercised regularly and wasn’t addicted to carbs and sugar so I could live a good long time. I made it but that doesn’t mean I never have to think about what I’m eating or can stop exercising all together.  Thankfully in the process of losing weight I learned some valuable habits and disciplines that will help me to continue this health journey.  And quite honestly it does get easier as you go along.

Organizing is the same way, it is a PROCESS not a destination.  There is no such thing as getting organized and being done.  It’s about daily choices and organized systems that make living chaos and clutter free a thing of the past.

8. Prayer

I write this last in the list but it is no way last in my life.  I would be remiss if I didn’t include it as it was such a huge part of my weight loss journey.  When facing something so challenging I’m so thankful I decided not to do it on my own this time. Daily I pressed into God and asked Him to help me with my cravings and pain.  I didn’t rely on my own strength but on His. Day by day, sometimes moment by moment on the hardest days.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

So whatever journey you’re embarking on this year, I hope you find reading these tips about what worked for me on my journey to be helpful to you on yours.  Don’t give up!  There was a period of months last year where I plateaued and didn’t lose a single pound.  It was so discouraging but I pushed on.  I continued to exercise but I switched up what I was eating (I now eat Paleo and will continue to do so for my RA) and that eventually worked to shed the final pounds. It feels amazing!

If an implemented organizing system isn’t working for you, don’t automatically assume there is something wrong with you.  Tweak the system, make different choices, try a different approach maybe but please don’t ever give up.  For some the journey to “get organized” may be quick and yet for others it may take awhile and there may be setbacks and bumps in the road.  There may even be tears and anger. It’s okay.  Stick with the plan, be disciplined, add some boundaries, perhaps even utilize some tools of the trade and you will get there.  The work and time is so worth it!

I believe in you, stay strong!

  • *I have included a few affiliate links in this post – this does not mean you pay any extra for the product when you purchase through my link. It just means I made it easier for you to find what you might like so I make a few cents if you purchase. Thank you for supporting me!* 

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Filed under: Motivation-Encouragement, My Life, Organizing Basics

Comments

28 Responses to How My Weight Loss Journey Can Help You Get Organized

  1. 1
    Hilda @ From Overwhelmed To Organized says

    Wow Laura… I really needed to read this. Not because I need to declutter or organize more, but because I need to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, and your correlations between organizing and weight loss really spoke to me. I get organizing…I help others get organized. But I need to apply what I do when I’m helping them, to my own life and actually DO this weight loss thing. Thank you so much for sharing what worked for you… and especially for using language that resonates with me (even though you intended to motivate people to get organized not to lose weight LOL!). Congratulations on your weight loss and good luck during your maintenance mode!

    • 1.1
      Laura says

      Thanks Hilda for your comment. I’m so happy to be able to help by sharing my story. Losing weight was such a struggle for me. So many days in tears, especially when I felt like no one understood or got what I was going through. Please feel free to email me if you are ever feeling discouraged or having a tough day. Don’t give up!!

      • 1.1.1
        Hilda says

        Thanks Laura! That’s really sweet of you :)

  2. 2
    Susanne says

    Congratulations Laura! I am so happy for you and thanks for sharing this post. I had no idea you were dealing with those painful health issues along with having to lose weight. And thank you for adding in the prayer. This was encouraging. I’m the opposite of you though in that I have to go to the gym. I am just not an at home exerciser.

    • 2.1
      Laura says

      Yes it’s really important to recognize that we are all different and we’ve got to find what works to motivate us individually. I’m not one to do exercise videos at home alone but the treadmill works because I can watch my shows on the ipad lol. Hope you are doing well!

  3. 3
    Sue says

    hello lovely Laura, WOW, is all I have to say so happy I read tonight’s blog, you have such good tips, I’m at WW a great supportive group with a wonderful leader, and I’m slowly plugging along, I have WW pedometer they now have a FitBit I really want to get one anyways thanks for your pointers Much appreciated!! Hugs Sue

    • 3.1
      Laura says

      Sue that’s great that you are working at it. I’ve heard great things about WW!

  4. 4
    Elaine says

    wow Laura, something clicked. I am in the middle of a major DE-cluttering, I’m finding it really difficult in some areas. my weight also is and has been a problem for me for near on 50 years. I also have an autoimmune illness LUPUS which causes bone-muscle pain and fatigue. so today I made myself a promise after reading this. That I will use my treadmill for 30 minutes a day, probably spaced out throughout the day. but I will do it..I soooo wanted a fit-bit, and have done for ages, but my phone isn’t compatible. I bought one from Aldi that works on android, but sadly not mine. so maybe when I next upgrade. well done and good luck on your journey. elaine

    • 4.1
      Laura says

      Nothing wrong with spacing it out. So many people told me I wouldn’t lose weight by just walking, I’m so glad that I proved them wrong! With my sciatica I couldn’t jog or run or do jumping around of any kind. Walking is awesome, don’t give up!!

  5. 5
    Michele says

    Thank you so much for this post! I long to loose weight, be healthy and get organized… I struggle with both every day. I am a master at making excuses and putting things off until “tomorrow”. I am going to set some boundaries and small goals for myself. Take it one day at a time and worry about today! I too often feel overwhelmed and just give up and then I feel even worse about myself. I am going to make a plan and find some discipline! I love the idea of rewarding myself for the small goals. Thank you for your words of encouragement!

    • 5.1
      Laura says

      Oh you are so welcome Michele! Please let me know how you make out, I’m excited for you!!

  6. 6
    Climene Arruda says

    hi Laura, Thank so much for sharing your experience. it can gave me courage to keep on organizing!
    love,
    Climene from Brazil

    • 6.1
      Laura says

      Hi all the back to Brazil, wow! Yes please don’t give up, you CAN do this!! Laura

  7. 7
    Chris says

    Wow! I’ve been struggling to move forward on the weight loss journey…and you’ve provided a great example and some serious motivation – and organization encouragement as well. Win, win! Blessings to you! (Can’t wait for my Fitbit to arrive – free to me with Air Miles)

    • 7.1
      Laura says

      Wow that is great you were able to get it free with Air Miles, very cool! You are going to love it!!

  8. 8
    Zou Zou @ Sunflowers and Succotash says

    This was a very inspiring post. I loved it. I can relate to almost everything you wrote and was nodding my head while I read. I, too, struggle with health issues and made it my goal last year to become healthier. I, too, have used My Fitness Pal; it helped me lose 40 pounds in 2014.

    Attitude. Discipline. Boundaries. Celebration. Prayer. Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!!!

    • 8.1
      Laura says

      Way to go, that is AWESOME!!!

  9. 9
    Audra wood says

    I would like how to find the things you watch on your iPod when your on the treadmill

  10. 10
    Julie Scarpace says

    Thank you for sharing your informative and inspiring story Laura! Glad we connected through Instagram a few months ago….I can relate to many of your points here in your blog entry, especially #8 regarding prayer. :)

  11. 11
    Jill says

    Congrats Laura, for sticking with it and reaching your goal!! Would you mind sharing your favorite vlogs?
    Thank you!

  12. 12
    Christie Manshack says

    Laura I am sitting reading your blog and I am so inspired by you.
    I never read blogs :( and I stumbled on your Pinterest post about business organization and next thing I know I feel like I’m reading a story about me on your weight loss article.
    I even have the same treadmill lol
    I too suffer from sciatica and just went 3 dates with no pain and today I started back on my treadmill for only 10 minutes and now I feel like a knife is in my behind yikes…
    I am going to start at the beginning and read everything all your articles :)
    Thank You for putting yourself out there for people like me to relate too..
    You look amazing before and after your weight loss great job to you.

    • 12.1
      Laura Wittman says

      Hi Christie, welcome! I’m so glad you left a comment here. I’m sorry to hear you are in pain though. There were some days 10 minutes was hard for me too. It’s so frustrating I know. Don’t give up, just do a little bit at a time on the treadmill but no incline of any kind. I found that was the worst thing for me. I would love it if you kept in touch and let me know how you are doing.

      • 12.1.1
        Christie Manshack says

        Hmmm that’s interesting because it was on incline I’ll try without tomorrow. I’m curious what else you do for relief from your sciatica.
        It is 10:15 in Ca. and I think I will be up very late reading your posts lol so much amazing info :)

  13. 13
    Glenis Ebbett says

    Hi Laura, I have been reading with interest your post about the disciplines needed in weight loss and organisation.
    You look amazing after your weight loss, slim and your lovely bone structure shines through, how has the maintenance been going its always the hardest part.I have been overseas for six weeks eating with others is so hard my willpower just leaves me so back on track with my fitness pal to loose 18 lb.
    Did you feel the exercise made a difference or just calorie counting?
    Anyway well done
    Glenis

  14. 14
    Sari da says

    Thanks for sharing I am in need of loosing 150 lbs 60 to get a back surgery I’ve been depressed but reading this has encouraged me and I desperately need to declutter as well.

  15. 15
    Christine says

    Congratulations!! I need some vlog inspiration for those dreaded treadmill days. Who are some of your favorites?

    • 15.1
      Laura Wittmann says

      Hi Christine, some of my favorites are Marnie Goldgirl, Cullen & Katie (daily), Ellie & Jared (daily), How Jen Does It, Mrs. Erica, The Gold Project, Pretty Shiny Sparkly, Pretty Neat Living, Do It On a Dime and Dominique Sanchez. Enjoy!

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