THE ENTERTAINMENT CRITIC BOOK REVIEW, BY JAMES MYERS
DOES THIS CLUTTER MAKE MY BUTT LOOK FAT? AN EASY PLAN FOR LOSING WEIGHT AND LIVING MORE
By Peter Walsh
Published by Free Press, A Division of Simon and Schuster, Inc
Publication Date: February 5, 2008
Four Star Rating ****
NOTED INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION EXPERT
BEST SELLING AUTHOR, OF HOW TO ORGANIZE (JUST ABOUT) EVERYTHING: MORE THAN 500 STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR EVERYTHING FROM ORGANIZING YOUR CLOSETS TO PLANNING A WEDDING TO CREATING A FLAWLESS FILING SYSTEM AND IT’S ALL TOO MUCH: AN EASY PLAN FOR LIVING A RICHER LIFE WITH LESS STUFF
THIS IS HIS 3RD BOOK CONSECUTIVE BEST SELLING BOOK
HIS WORK HAS BEEN TRANSLATED INTO MANY FOREIGN LANGUAGES AND HAS APPEARED ON 9 BEST SELLER LISTS
A REGULAR ON OPRAH’S SHOW
PETER COACHES PEOPLE ON HOW TO DECLUTTER THEIR HOMES, BUSINESSES, OFFICES, HEADS AND THEIR LIVES
HOST OF A WEEKLY NATIONAL RADIO PROGRAM ON XM 156
HOST OF TLC SHOW CLEAN SWEEP FOR 3 YRS
EDUCATOR AND SKILLED MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER
DESIGNED THOUSANDS OF HOMES AND WORK SPACES
OWNS AND OPERATES HIS OWN PRIVATE CONSULTING BUSINESS, PETER WALSH DESIGN-WORKS WITH PRIVATE CLIENTS, ORGS AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
NATIONWIDE INTERVIEW IS UPCOMING ON HIS NEW BOOK
“This book is about you and your relationship with your body-about what you think about it, what you put into it, how you treat it, and whether you are happy with it…This is a book about the clutter inside you that prevents you from living the life you want and being the person you wish to be. Your relationship with food is complex. If you’re fat, your problems are real, and there are no miracles. Changing is going to take some straight talk, and I’m here to give it. …
The connection between clutter and weight didn’t occur to me overnight. About a year ago, I published my book, It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life With Less Stuff. Soon after the book was released I began hearing from people who’d used it to get rid of clutter in their homes and lives. In these letters, I discovered an unexpected side effect. The link that I had suspected but only dimly glimpsed became obvious through the experiences of my readers. I was inundated with real examples of the impact clutter had on all areas of one’s life-especially weight.
Dozens of my readers started talking to me in letters, at readings and on the radio. They told me that when they focused on the lives they wanted to live, they were able to free themselves from years of gorging themselves. And you can, too.
Clutter or weight? Weight or clutter? What is the solution? We have to step back and look at the total picture…Declutter your mind, declutter your home, declutter your relationship to food. Then watch the ripple effect this has on every aspect of the way you live. Clear out the junk, and in doing so, clear out the patterns of thought and behavior that prevent you from living the life that you want. If you try to clear the clutter by focusing on the stuff, you will fail to get organized. It’s not about the stuff. If you try to lose weight by focusing on the food, you’ll never change your body for good. It’s not about the food. First define the life you want to live. Acknowledge the issues that clutter that vision. Clean up your priorities. Create a world where those priorities can thrive. Learn how to honor and respect yourself. When you do, the ability to take control of your body will follow.” (Pp9-16).
Is there a relationship between the clutter in our lives, our homes and our workplace and our waistline? Is there a relationship between our environment, our mind and our body? Is there a correlation between the clutter around us, and the clutter inside of our minds that prevents us from living the life that we want? Is there a relationship between clutter and weight problems?
Best-Selling Author Peter Walsh in his new book, Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat: An Easy Plan for Losing Weight and Living More, answers these questions with an emphatic and surprising yes. Walsh takes this occasion to shed light on the connection between de-cluttering and loosing weight in this amazing, and some what shocking new book. From the feedback he received on his first book, It’s All Too Much, the discourse from his numerous appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and the emails, letters, phone call and meetings in his private consulting business, Peter Walsh Design, Inc as well as input from his weekly TLC hit television show, Clean Sweep, Walsh has come to the conclusion that by examining people’s lives and determining what they want out of life—what makes them happy, that the process of emotionally and physically letting go of internal and external clutter has a definitive connection to weight loss. The surprising trend he discovered was that for a lot of people, getting rid of clutter and organizing their lives results in loosing weight and gaining the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The same psychological processes that cause us to accumulate and hoard possessions apparently determine how most people desire and consume food.
Peter’s unique approach to these problems has opened a door. In his ergonomic studies, Peter asks his clients, what is it that you want out of life? What do you want your life to be like? What is the ideal model for your life? Once that is established, the client is then asked to compare and contrast their current, existing life to the ideal model. If those are not one and the same, then Peter discusses with the client what must be done to change that. In the case of possessions, we are driven to consume more, purchase more and own more things. Once we understand that the possession of clutter inhibits us from achieving the lifestyle we desire, then we can rid ourselves of the items that keep us from our goal. It’s not the stuff; it is the subtle, psychological influence to possess it. From this same place in our subconscious, it is not the food; it is the external influences to consume it, which once again keeps us from becoming our ideal selves. By unlocking the internal reasons for behind overeating and helping us to identify our personal life goals, Peter believes his method succeeds in make real, lasting life changes where other methods and diets fail.
In this book, Peter does a first-class job in helping us to examine own patterns of buying, eating and exercising, so we can make informed choices in empowering ourselves to understand and ultimately take control of our eating habit, our kitchen, our pantry, and refrigerator to achieve a balance in our lives and a weight that is healthy and maintainable. In his straight-forward style Peter gives us a blueprint for how to achieve our life goals:
(1) Define the life you want to live and picture your ideal you;
(2) Tackle the emotions you possess concerning food and how food makes you feel;
(3) Zero in on the kitchen you create and how to make it a haven for preparing healthy, delicious meals; (There goes your secret stash of Snicker bars);
(4) Understand the reality of the food you stock and how to plan to prepare easy dishes;
(5) Identify the challenges you will face along the way (holidays, special occasions,) and know your weaknesses.
Peter teaches us diets don’t work. Calorie counting doesn’t work. Weekly weigh-ins don’t work. They fail to focus on how, why, and where you eat. By determining what it is that we really want, and clearing the clutter that negatively affects our bodies from our kitchens, pantries, and home will lead to a fuller and healthier life. Peter doesn’t stop there. He teaches us not only how to clean up those spaces, but also the routines we need to succeed. How to plan meals, how to shop, how to exercise dinnertime rituals are all part of his overall instruction contained in this book. The tools and courage to get over all of the common excuses and face the issues to make a change for a better life are discussed in detail. This book and its author are all about living the life we choose to live.
Not that the new book and Peter himself have not taken a little heat for this controversial book. The book has been called “a bombshell”. They have accused Peter of using, “guilt and humiliation” as part of his process. The blogs and discussion forums are full of the sentiment that Peter’s book is anti-size acceptance. The book has been called “deplorable”. I think these arguments are misplaced. Peter’s book is not anti-size acceptance; in fact it is just the opposite. Peter goes to great pains to mimic the size acceptance mantra in this book:
“Imperfection is not a problem-unhappiness is. Happiness is the goal here, and a long life to enjoy that happiness. If you are fine with your weight and satisfied with your life expectancy, great! …if you have a clean bill of health, maybe you should stop harping about those extra ten pounds and enjoy your life. You can put down this book…I don’t believe in weight loss for the sake of weight loss. I believe in living a life that makes you happy.” (Pp 17).
Controversial, but interesting and stunning, this book is one of the most unusual self-help books on the shelves of booksellers. That being said, the analysis and straight-forward style in which the book is written is concise, powerful and persuasive. Walsh in his “pull no punches” manner, and short sentence, word specific style is a great communicator. His constant emphasis on the correlation between our environment and our happiness simply cannot be overstated. This book is about changing your life for the better; about creating the healthy life and body that we ourselves have always wanted. Peter’s approach is a welcome breath of fresh air in the field of ergonomics. Our environment should not be a reflection of what some expert determines is best for us; rather it should be a reflection of what we truly want for ourselves. This is what makes Peter’s book so great; it is our vision, not his which takes priority. Straight honest talk, tempered by tremendous humor and insight make this book a must read. His theory of self-directing change makes this book among the very best of self-help books. When Peter wrote this book, he took a risk. You can take a slight risk to buy and read it. It just may change your life.