Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Clutter Bugs... Worse than Bed Bugs.

Yesterday, I gave a corporate workshop on how to De-Clutter your Space, Mind + Body. It's one of my favorite topics to speak about because making positive changes in any of these areas can have a profound effect on all areas of our well-being.

Most people think about physical objects when they hear the word clutter but unwanted habits, emotions and thoughts can also be clutter. People (negative relationships), food and even body fat can be clutter.

I know you have all heard the saying “We are what we eat.”  Although what we eat has a huge bearing on our health, it’s not the only factor.  As Dr. Isaac Eliaz said in an article for the Hufffington Post earlier this year:

We are all products of our environments, and vice versa, since the environments we create reflect and affect our physical, mental and emotional health.  When life becomes messy or disorderly, our physical as well as mental/emotional health can also get muddled and we become less energetic and less efficient.
Accumulating and living with clutter can actually affect your mental and physical health.  Yikes!  So how do we get rid of the clutter bugs???

Below are some of my favorite tips for De-Cluttering/Detoxing your space, mind + body:


Create 4 piles:

1.   Keep things you love and get enjoyment from, things you use and/or need. Set a time frame for things in this category that need repair, mending, dry cleaning, etc… If it doesn’t get done in that time frame, these items should get moved to one of the other 3 piles!
2.   Toss anything that is broken and can’t be repaired, anything you were saving in case you “needed” it or anything you discovered that you didn’t even know you had
3.   Donate things in good condition but that are no longer in use or that you no longer LOVE or need
4.   Give Away things that you know someone else in your life will get enjoyment from. Make sure it’s really something they will Love or something they need or will use. Don’t just pass clutter around!

Some things to consider when making your decision about an item…
  • If you saw it in a store today, would you invest in it?
  • Does it bring you joy?
  • Do you still use it… often?
  • Exceptions: Off-season clothing or shoes and items with sentimental value: ex. Your winter coat, wedding dress.

  • Don’t handle things more than once. Every time you touch something it should go to its proper home. This goes for when you are clearing the clutter for the first time and for everyday maintenance
  • Re-evaluate often. Our feelings about objects evolves
  • When making purchases, invest only in things that you LOVE and can’t live without
  • Tidy 10: Take 10 minutes each morning to clean the surfaces in at least the bathroom and kitchen. Take 10 minutes to put things back where they belong at the end of the day.
  • Resist the urge to fill up the open space you create.
  • Go paperless. Sign up for electronic billing. Use the paperkarma app to reduce junk mail.
  • Cyber Clutter- Open and read emails or social media messages ONLY if you have time to respond to them at that moment. Otherwise, the action steps that need to be taken as a result of that email message, or even just the mere fact that you just have to reply at a later time, become mental clutter.  *This is my favorite tip.  It was truly life-changing for me!


1.  Invest in experiences and not material items.
2. When considering whether to keep an object or not, consider the energy you are exhausting by holding on to it and then consider what you could do with the energy if you had it back.
3. Breathing is a simple form of meditation. Try any of these simple breathing exercises.
4. Journaling- Before bed, write down all of your thoughts in a journal or notebook. They don’t have to make sense, just write whatever comes to mind until you can’t think of anything else to write. Putting your thoughts on paper helps to signal to your brain that it’s OK to let go of them. This will silence your mind in preparation for a sound night of sleep.


1. De-clutter your diet. Instead of focusing on the foods you should NOT be eating (sugar laden foods, processed foods, candy, soda, etc…) concentrate on introducing IN high quality, nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, greens and whole grains
2. Introduce at least 20-30 minutes of physical activity as many days as possible. Start with a 20 minute walk 3 times a week if that’s all you can manage and then work your way up.
3. Make sure you are getting enough sleep.  Click here for some tips for better sleep. 
Clearing the clutter bugs can be overwhelming so start small... pick 1 room, 1 closet or even 1 shelf and then put one (some or all) of these tips into action and notice how you feel.   But be careful... when you have de-cluttered a space, what do you think your natural instinct is? You want to fill that space right up again! Resist the urge.  Once you have taken the positive step of de-cluttering, live with the open space. Try it on for size, enjoy it, appreciate it. See what changes in your mind and body as a result. 

Have a Happy + Health Day!

*Photo Credits: Google Images + Pinterest

Monday, August 13, 2012

30 Day Shred: Before & After

Here we are at the end of my 30 day Shred Challenge.  Finally!  

30 days (and what feels like an eternity) ago I committed to doing the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD after being inspired by my sister, Meg, who had just completed a 30 day Bikram Yoga challenge.  The DVD promised the potential to lose up to 20lbs and that I would be "shredded" at the end of the 30 days.  With my towel, 5lb weights and $10.99 DVD in hand, I gave it a shot. 

While I can't say I lost 20lbs or that I now rock six pack abs, I am 3.5 lbs lighter and I'm beginning to see signs of ab muscles that I haven't seen in a while.  My "love handles" are smaller and I'm seeing some definition in my shoulders and arms that definitely wasn't there on Day 1.  (See my Before + After pictures below.  Eek... it's a little scary to put these pictures out there for everyone to see... my friends, family, co-workers, clients, blog/facebook followers, newsletter subscribers and fellow health gurus.  It's not like selecting and cropping your favorite, most flattering picture for your facebook profile.  These pictures are what they are... the good parts, the bad parts, the improved parts and the still to be improved parts.  But, I promised to show them to you so here they are. I hope you find inspiration and motivation in them.

During the past 30 days:
I worked out in my living room. 
I worked out on the terrace. 
I worked out before work.
I worked out in my hotel room at 10pm after a 16 hour flight to Hong Kong...

...and again the next morning at 6am.

 I worked out on vacation (where my amazing Mom joined me for 3 workouts). 

I worked out on the balcony at the beach. 

I worked out in a hotel gym in China where, clearly, no one else was doing a 30 Day Challenge as the gym was empty.

 I even did the video and then ran 3 miles on some days.  

At first I really had to plan to make sure that I made time for my workouts each day.  But, it actually became easier as the days progressed and started to become a habit and, dare I say, almost addicting!?! 

I hope you know that I am in no way telling you this to brag or to be self promoting!  I am sharing this with you in hopes of inspiring and motivating you.  We are all capable of achieving whatever we desire as long as we believe it is possible and we make the decision to re-commit ourselves to our goal every day. Even though I'm a Health Coach, it's no easier for me to make this commitment.  I still suffer through every push-up and jump squat just like everyone else.  I still have to wake up each morning and make the decision to eat well and to make time to work out.  Then I have to wake up and make the same decision again the next day.   

Although I worked out regularly prior to my 30 Day Challenge, I certainly never worked out for 30 days in a row and was lenient with myself when conditions for working out weren't perfect.  Publicly making the commitment to this challenge, made me realize that not working out because I was tired, had too much to do or was simply not in mood was just a lame excuse to be lazy. We all have the same amount of time, the same 24 hours in a day, and there is no one I know that can't find 30 minutes each day to work out and who won't benefit from doing so... including you and me!

Bottom Line:  After 30 days and 900 minutes of working out, I didn't see the results the DVD promised, but it was still a ridiculously hard workout and I do feel like I am tighter, firmer, stronger and have better posture.  I also feel more confident and am really proud of myself for my achievement. 

I hope this inspires you to try something new, to challenge yourself and to push yourself above and beyond your comfort zone.  Anything is possible for you... I just know it!   

Have a Great Day!

           before                +                after