How the Stomach Flu can "clean you out" in a good way


Organizational expert, Peter Walsh, wrote in his book Does This Clutter Make my Butt Look Fat? that weight loss isn’t simply eating less of the foods that make you fat. He reports that “the clutter around you and the clutter inside you prevents you from living the life you want and being the person you wish to be.”
Now, after I’ve been down with the stomach flu along with the rest of my family (it’s a wicked one this year), I’ve had a lot of time to think about food and everything around me. You know that pile of papers and stacks of magazines by my bed that I’d ignored for the past several weeks? Well, they were starting to get on my nerves, but how to get rid of them? How in the world did I get an entire box of lotions and hand cremes? Why do I still have maternity clothes in my closet?
These were things I’d think about when I was too sick to move and wondered what I could have been doing instead.
Ugh, the idea of cleaning things, “projects” and “to-do’s” that sat around my home made me feel worse.
Kind of made me wonder if I did been a low-grade of “sick” all the time with all this extra stuff sitting around. The task of really being organized seemed too daunting and too overwhelming. How many times had I wished for a magic wand (with dragon heartstring of course) or house elves to come to my home and make things “all better.”
Hmmmm, all better, huh? I’m noticing a theme here.
According to an article posted on Suite 101, weight loss and clutter are intricately linked. They also quote Peter Walsh and his trademark saying “your head, your heart, your hips, and your house are all interconnected.”
As I recovered, I realized the stomach flu did more than clean out my gut, I think it cleaned out my brain.
Does that make any sense? Did the flu clean out toxins that were clouding my attempts to improve myself? Did I get the Holy Grail of intestinal viruses and have an epiphany because of it?
Well, I do know I prayed a lot during the sickness, so maybe God had a slow day and helped me out, regardless, things are much clearer now.
Interestingly, when I couldn’t eat, I thought of all the things I would eat and didn’t find many of them appealing. Anything fried, greasy, covered in cheese, or super sweet only made me feel sicker. I wondered if I actually felt bad all the time or maybe I don’t feel as good as I could because I like to consume these other foods on a regular basis?
When I was functional again, I looked around me and saw projects that had simply sat there. Stacks of magazines, boxes of lotions and fru-fru items, piles of  papers, writing projects half outlined or lists of article ideas. HOw many times had I looked at all these things only to turn around and find something else to do? Why? Because the idea of sorting and throwing away so many things was simply a task that weighed too heavy on me. It made me, wait for it, sick~~~there’s that word again!
I had two options–do nothing different or try something new.
I decided on the latter because the former hadn’t worked so great for me so far.
While my body reset, so did my brain and I felt compelled to begin small projects. (I didn’t have to be anywhere due to the fact I’d put the family under house quarantine. Sorry, we were feeling a bit selfish with the stomach flu. Didn’t feel like sharing it with anyone else.)
First I rearranging the bathroom drawers in my children’s bathroom and worked from there.
Now, don’t think I entered into such projects without thinking “oh man, this is going to be a total pain in the ass,” but I did something new. I started small. Only entered into a project I knew I could finish in the next hour. I remember Oprah talking about organizing her closet and how you can get half way into it, everything is thrown about and you all of a sudden feel tired and defeated so you don’t want to finish it. I didn’t want to be that person anymore. I didn’t want to be the woman who kept getting about half way through something and quitting, shoving all the crap back into a box or pile or bag or under the bed so I wouldn’t have to look at it all anymore. But the idea of being truly organized would take time, lots of time and I knew I wanted to accomplish this. How would I do it without overwhelming myself?
I thought small. Just like I have with my weight–a pound at a time. One meal at a time, one day at a time, and there are moments when it’s an hour at a time. 
Because of this new attitude my results have been amazing.
Since last weekend, I’ve gone through my bathroom, my children’s bathroom, my clothes, my kids rooms, the closet under the stairs, my window seat, holiday decorations, and part of the pantry. I’ve made a couple of trips to Salvation Army and dropped off a few loads of toys, projects, art stuff to the preschool. 
During that time I wasn’t hungry or snippy or any of the other dwarves for that matter. Well, I was happy, more like elated, because I’d made progress, lots of progress.
Not only was I sorting things out and getting organized, but I didn’t hope or want for anything unhealthy. Part of this was because the stomach flu completely wrecked my gut (told you it was wicked). I was so happy with a cup of yogurt or chicken broth, but I found that I really didn’t miss all the other crap that I’d so often fallen victim to. Just like I didn’t miss the stuff I was throwing and giving away. It seemed as though part of me had made peace with something or simply, I was grateful I wasn’t sich anymore. None-the-less, I’d stepped into another phase of my life. I don’t want to call it a grown up phase, because there are plenty of grown-ups who never make peace with anything.
For whatever reason, I’m decluttering more than my body, but my home, my life, and my well-being. I’ve stopped making things more complicated than they have to be, I’m saying “no” to extra obligations and requests, and I’m figuring out a good, routine for me and my family.
Since I’ve started this entire journey, I’m feeling lighter than I have in years and that has nothing to do with the scale. Kind of makes me wonder if that’s why I haven’t eaten a bunch of crap or totally fallen off the wagon yet.
Interesting…who knew the stomach flu could do good things? (I don’t recommend this as a course of therapy though.)

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