Trying to get your diet in order while your home is a mess? We asked dietician, Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN, to weigh in on how much your physical space impacts your health. With a little inspo from Marie Kondo, Eliza breaks it down for us.
These days, before the ball even drops on New Year’s Eve, it feels like the whole world is ready to rip off their party hats, skip the champagne toast, and jump into some sort of “New Year, New You” self-improvement commitment. While I am not a huge fan of resolutions, I embrace the overall calling to reset and renew with the start of a new year, and feel the positive energy associated with fresh slate. As the weeks of January progress, I’ve watched as those around me are starting 2019 with intentions to eat cleaner by committing to a vegan challenge or Whole30, or are inspired by their Marie Kondo Netflix binge to spark joy and organize their lives.
In the name of research, I watched a few episodes of Tidying Up….and after I finished maniacally reorganizing my apartment, something Marie Kondo said stuck with me: “Tidying up your home allows you to create your ideal life.” In my opinion, this is incredibly true. Being organized creates a sense of stability and allows you to have more time for yourself, allowing space for positive energy and enabling you to live a more balanced life. I find that clearing clutter can also help to make healthier choices, especially when it comes to nutrition and physical activity.
While I fully encourage purchasing The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, there are many simple things you can do that will improve not only your eating habits, but your overall healthy choices (without hours of questioning whether objects spark joy for you).
1. Clear out the junk (literally).
Do a pantry deep clean, and get rid of all the processed foods, expired products, and anything that doesn’t serve you. Knowing what you have on hand and keeping it organized is key for quick and easy meals.
2. Figure out what keeps you from getting more movement in during the day and clear a space (whether physical, emotional, or time) to allow for it.
If you’re pressed for time to get to your favorite workout class, opt for an at-home streaming option. Can’t self-motivate? Enlist a friend’s support or join a club or class. Always push your workout to the end of the day? Set out your workout clothes the night before and put your alarm on the other side of the room so you’re forced to get out of bed.
3. Make a list of simple and easy ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and keep it on your fridge.
Many of my clients feel uninspired by their meal options or overwhelmed by cooking something healthier. Keep it simple, but also top of mind, so when you go to reach for something you have a few options to keep you on track.
Make grocery shopping easier. If you don’t have time for it, or the time would be better used doing something else, get delivery! There are so many options these days like InstaCart or Fresh Direct (you can include Splendid Spoon in your order)! Want simple and easy meals? Look no further than my favorite Splendid Spoon for portable, nutritious, and delicious healthy options.
At first glance, a diet reset and a home organization project don’t seem to have much in common — but after taking a step back — these acts represent developing a sense of control in an otherwise cluttered and chaotic world. Or in one term: simplifying. Cutting out the physical junk and the junk food can be beneficial to the body and the mind, but as a nutritionist, I’m curious to look further into the relationship between clearing the physical clutter in our lives and improving overall diet and lifestyle choices.
As a registered dietitian, I am open to anecdotal accounts, but out of habit I turn to research for proven evidence. A deep dive into various studies revealed that organized, cleaner homes can reduce stress and depression. One study showed that women who described their homes as cluttered were more fatigued, depressed and had higher cortisol levels than those who described their homes as restorative. Another study showed that physical order produces healthier choices. Participants who worked in a neat space for 10 minutes were twice as likely to choose an apple over a chocolate bar than those who worked in a messy office for the same amount of time. If you’re not thinking about your monstrous to-do list and feeling stressed by your cluttered apartment, you’ll have more time to exercise, cook healthy meals, relax, and get enough sleep.
This may seem simplistic, but I promise that a less cluttered, more organized life will lead to overall healthier choices. If you can’t get on board with cleaning, at least think of what sparks joy for you….and do more of it!