Book review: Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?

Peter Walsh doesn’t sugar coat anything, and the title of his latest book is testament to his style. Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? takes his “creating the life you want” message from his previous book, It’s All Too Much!, and applies it to food, eating, and the body.

Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? will help you examine how your emotions, your home, your kitchen, and your pantry are working for — or against — the life you want for yourself.

Walsh doesn’t talk calorie counting or delve into the ills of preservatives, instead he offers a philosophy for change as his solution for weight loss. In my opinion, he really only discusses three things to change to lose weight: stop watching tv, start eating meals at home at a table, and get rid of clutter in your life. Although my statement of his process sounds simplistic, I actually agree with his premise.

At the start of 2007, I made a resolution to stop eating meals outside of my home. I had been eating out seven to 10 times a week throughout most of 2006. In the first five months of last year, I lost 20 pounds. I didn’t change anything else in my life except for where I ate meals. Sure, it’s anecdotal evidence, but my personal experience tells me that Walsh’s advice isn’t off base.

Walsh’s book is intended for a mass audience, so if you’ve read more scientifically detailed health books or even Walsh’s colleagues’ You: On a Diet, this book may not have anything new to share with you. However, for what it is, Walsh’s book is well written, full of straightforward advice, practical, and sincerely helpful. If you need to lose a few pounds and your house is cluttered, Walsh’s book will be perfect for you.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • From page 2, “As a nation we are reveling in an orgy of consumption and it shows no sign of letting up. We can’t get enough of anything. The American mantra has become ‘more is better’ and we are applying that motto with gusto to almost every aspect of our lives. If consuming is good, then consuming more is better.”
  • From page 47, “The math of weight is the same as that of clutter: You can only have as many books as you have room on your shelves or only the number of shirts that can hang comfortably in your closet; if you eat more calories than your body needs, they will be stored as fat. Of all the possessions in your home, your body should be most treasured. Treating your body with honor and respect means you are treating yourself with honor and respect.”

There are a few things that confuse me about the book — like how he tells you not to watch television, but television is certainly a large factor in how he made his name — but on the whole I think it’s a worthwhile self-help book. As I mentioned above, if you need to lose a few pounds and get your house organized at the same time, Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? is a great place to start. The book is available Feb. 5, and Walsh will be doing promotional appearances for it on The Oprah Winfrey show Feb. 7 and on The CBS Early Show Feb. 11-13.

11 Comments for “Book review: Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?”

  1. posted by Mary Anne in Kentucky on

    I have to say my anecdotal evidence is different. I don’t eat away from home as often as once a month, I haven’t had a television since 1996, I have no clutter, and I need to lose twenty pounds. So, should I read the book?

  2. posted by amy on

    NB Botty Clutter by the Fly Lady is on this same theame – it’s a good read actually ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. posted by mamacita on

    Good call, Erin. I’ve preordered it from the library. I have to give him credit for saying “turn off the television,” in spite of it being his bread-and-butter.

  4. posted by Jenny on

    I’m not sure that television is Peter’s bread-n-butter. Looking at his web site it seems he does far more untelevised work than his name recognition would lead one to believe. So, while I don’t doubt that TV has helped increase Peter’s exposure (and name recognition), I doubt very much that TV was “a large factor in how he made his name.”

  5. posted by Robin M. on

    I will concur that decluttering goes along with weight loss. I don’t have a tv and I don’t eat out that often, but I needed to lose more than 20 pounds.

    About two years ago, I began a decluttering project, that cycled in and out with a weight loss program. In the end, I lost about 1/3 of my body weight and about 1/3 of my possessions. I feel much better now, in both ways.

    In both cases, it was about being ready to shed the things that were getting in my way.

  6. posted by LV on

    As a newlywed, it’s a Big Hairy Deal to me that my husband and I eat as many home-cooked meals as possible. I love to cook. Nah, I LIVE to cook. And dinnertime is a very important time for us to slow down, talk and enjoy ourselves.

    But this just isn’t the case for many people. So many of the couples & families we know don’t cook regularly, if at all, and the dinnertime routine is generally making a choice between take-out, fast food, frozen food and waiting for a table at Applebees. Not just newlyweds like us, but couples with kids and without, young and old, comfortable with money or struggling, healthy or with a list of dietary restrictions as long as my arm.

    The thing I hear most is that cooking is a “waste of time” because you can get just as full eating food from anywhere as you can cooking it yourself. Therefore, it’s all the same.

    No way. We get a lot more out of a home-cooked meal than filling our tanks. We get a more wholesome meal than we would from even a soup and salad “healthy” restaurant. We get to ease into a nice evening instead of yelling into a speaker and getting grease on our car seats, or standing in line for a table with other cranky hungry people. We get to save a LOT of money in the long run, instead of having to eat at ever cheaper places to make up for the cumulative financial damage of living on food prepared by others.

    If you end up still sitting at your dinner table so late at night that you miss American Idol, trust me, that’s not a BAD thing! ๐Ÿ˜›

  7. posted by Eponin on

    I’m not sure he meant don’t watch television at all, but possibly don’t watch television while eating. TV is a distraction, and one of the best ways to lose weight is to pay attention to your body so you learn the cues to stop eating when you’re body is satisfied. If you’re watching TV while eating, not only will you not taste your food, but you’ll miss that cue and, quite often, will overeat.

  8. posted by Jo on

    his points are of course new to me, but I did unclutter a lot last year from july through to end of september. In October I started my new plan for health and I’ve lost 20 lbs up to now. Uncluttering works.
    Now for not eating in front of the tv…. that will be a bigger task ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Eponin — He makes the points that you’re making, but he goes on to say to give television up completely for a month.

  10. posted by Terry on

    I can say from recent experience that this is why i have opened up my kitchen by tearing down a few wall. I wanted a space that i would enjoy being in. I am in the process of designing my new kitchen but just having the space opened up has inspired me to cook more and eat healthier foods. Even without having all the new bits that i plan to install. One thing I did is that I left my computer in the kitchen. This is truly my multimedia center. I surf the internet, get recipies, help my son with his homework, listen to itunes and also hooked it up to my cable tv and now watch the new while I cook or watch prerecorded programs. So it is not necessary to stop watching the tube, just try to be productive while you are doing it.
    Along a similar line of decluttering, i built a large attached garage with plenty of space for my toy, this allows me room to work on my toys in a clean organized space.

  11. posted by Rachel on

    I agree with Terry. Homecooked is the way to go for those who enjoy cooking, for all the reasons she said. As for clutter and a fat butt, there may be some relationship, and taking the steps to unclutter may complement weight loss effort–both implement the idea of less consumption. However, while staying trim and staying free of clutter both ideally require modifying one’s lifestyle and lifelong habits, the habits that need to be modified for each are different!

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