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How Getting Organized Can Help You Lose Weight

Prevention Logo By Joni Sweet of Prevention | Slide 1 of 6: Think your crowded countertops are just an annoyance? Think again. A recent study has found that “stressful and chaotic food environments” influence people to reach for high-calorie snacks. In effort to determine the impact of mindset and environment on eating, researchers from Cornell University invited around 100 women to write about a time they felt out of control, neutral, or organized, then eat snacks in kitchens that were either cluttered or orderly. They discovered that participants who were in a more chaotic mindset in the messy kitchen consumed more cookies than those in the tidy space.The research echoes previous findings, like a 2013 study that found people in orderly rooms chose healthier snacks than those in cluttered environments, as well as what books like Slim By Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life (by Brian Wansink, one of the researchers behind the Cornell study) and Peter Walsh’s Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? have preached to dieters for years: Tidying up and planning ahead might be just as important to weight loss as committing to exercise and a reduced-calorie diet.Dafna Chazin, RDN, a registered dietitian in Cherry Hill, NJ, notes that getting organized has been a key factor in the lives of her clients who’ve successfully lost weight. She says people with untidy homes often struggle to stick to their weight-loss plans.“If you’re constantly trying to catch up, organize, and declutter, you’re stressed. When people are chronically stressed, the body responds with a surge of hormones that increase cravings and hunger throughout the day,” she says.Chazin adds that stressful environments erode our ability to create plans we can commit to. Our discipline to eat better and exercise more is diminished by the visual noise and the distraction of piles of stuff all around us. “If you can’t control a mess, you begin to doubt your ability to control your eating. It gives you mental permission to overeat and eat mindlessly. You end up reaching for foods you don’t really want to eat, like chips, and then feel ashamed and demotivated.”Fortunately, you don’t have to clean out every last cupboard before you can drop some pounds. Chazin has some tips for how you can get organized and create a weight-loss plan at the same time.This protein-packed yogurt dip is the perfect afternoon snack:

Clutter is the culprit.

Think your crowded countertops are just an annoyance? Think again. A recent study has found that “stressful and chaotic food environments” influence people to reach for high-calorie snacks. In effort to determine the impact of mindset and environment on eating, researchers from Cornell University invited around 100 women to write about a time they felt out of control, neutral, or organized, then eat snacks in kitchens that were either cluttered or orderly. They discovered that participants who were in a more chaotic mindset in the messy kitchen consumed more cookies than those in the tidy space.

The research echoes previous findings, like a 2013 study that found people in orderly rooms chose healthier snacks than those in cluttered environments, as well as what books like Slim By Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life (by Brian Wansink, one of the researchers behind the Cornell study) and Peter Walsh’s Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? have preached to dieters for years: Tidying up and planning ahead might be just as important to weight loss as committing to exercise and a reduced-calorie diet.

Dafna Chazin, RDN, a registered dietitian in Cherry Hill, NJ, notes that getting organized has been a key factor in the lives of her clients who’ve successfully lost weight. She says people with untidy homes often struggle to stick to their weight-loss plans.

“If you’re constantly trying to catch up, organize, and declutter, you’re stressed. When people are chronically stressed, the body responds with a surge of hormones that increase cravings and hunger throughout the day,” she says.

Chazin adds that stressful environments erode our ability to create plans we can commit to. Our discipline to eat better and exercise more is diminished by the visual noise and the distraction of piles of stuff all around us. “If you can’t control a mess, you begin to doubt your ability to control your eating. It gives you mental permission to overeat and eat mindlessly. You end up reaching for foods you don’t really want to eat, like chips, and then feel ashamed and demotivated.”

Fortunately, you don’t have to clean out every last cupboard before you can drop some pounds. Chazin has some tips for how you can get organized and create a weight-loss plan at the same time.

This protein-packed yogurt dip is the perfect afternoon snack:

© Photograph by Nate Harvey / FOAP / Getty Images

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