spectating participant

March 16, 2006

Book Review: Body Clutter

Filed under: flylady, books — suzanne henderson @ 10:27 am

[Body Clutter: love your body, love yourself] by [Marala Cilley] and [Leanne Ely]

Written by the author of [Sink Reflections] and the author of [Saving Dinner], Body Clutter is a joint endeavor by the Flylady and Leanne Ely. The flylady email list that I am on has given numerous testimonials regarding the book, setting it out as a wonderful tool for starting on that path to removing personal body clutter (fat).

Now, the book boasts the fact that it is more than just losing weight. Eliminating body clutter is also about addressing the reasons we over eat, including emotional attachments to food and childhood experience that may give us an unhealthy excessive craving for certain items. There are activities in the book, mostly journaling activities, designed to address the issues behind over eating and poor nutrition and exercise.

In Marla’s typical narrative style, there is a lot of conversational material in the book that seems to barely get at the issues. Yes, she discusses them and tries to provided her standard motivation of encouragement without accepting whining or excuses, but it really works out to a lot of flat paragraphs. Personal examples have filled all of her writings from Sink Reflections to her website and emails, but in this instance, they seem to be overwhelming her message in a negative way.

Leanne Ely offers a lot of insight in how to make eating healthy possible. I like having her insight, especially considering that I’m one of the many subscribers to savingdinner.com’s weekly menu lists. But she also seemed to adopt Marla’s style of writing that really just filled 227 pages with what could have been done in about 50.

Now, to be fair, I am not starting out on searching for the right motivation to get healthy. I’ve already figured that out for myself. However, I was hoping ot find some suggestions or comments that would stick with me, as I did in the Sink Reflections book, that would make it easier to continue on my path. Flylady (Marla) has often directed her prose at the individual who feels hopelessly out of control of their life and this book is a reflection on that. But, unfortunately, it just seems like a long narrative highlighting that issue without truly empowering someone to stand up and take action or how to start that process. For someone so focused on “babysteps” for progress, she didn’t fufill her goal of helping people on to their personal journey for eliminating body clutter. Instead, she just threw her experiences (and Leanne’s) out to the masses, mentioned how our mind plays a role in our habits, and just let the pieces fall where they may.

Finally, I have to admit to my discomfort at giving a negative review of this book. Mostly because I admire Flylady’s methods and her ability to get people motivated. But, I just can’t say that this book is of any use to anyone who needs to make a change or who wants to make a change. There are other books out there that address the mental and physical issues surrounding weight loss while empowering the reader with real, tangible steps to start taking. Body Clutter is just another passive excuse for not dealing with the issue, it’ll get read and people will be able to agree with the writings, but in the end it will just end up at the bottom of the book shelf, if not garage sale pile, because there is nothing in it to refer back to or hold on to.

February 3, 2006


Filed under: flylady, life — suzanne henderson @ 11:43 am

yes, more [flylady] stuff…

I’m on the FlyLady announcement list and the discussion list. The announcement list has an incredible volume of emails coming out of it, mostly because they try to send you emails throughout the day to remind you to do something. Great for the person who is doing nothing but sitting around the house all day — which is a contradiction to the whole purpose of [FLYing] — but not so useful for those of us drowning in email. I ignore those emails and I’ll eventually get around to filtering them out. However, there are also “testimonials” that get passed along. These are ofte nice little bits of encouragement that I is probably quite helpful and encouraging to many members. I find some of them to be redundant and unnecessary but am occasionally struck by one. Of course, regardless of how redundant I see them as, I think they are an important element to the whole system because encouragement and inspiration is essential to maintaining momentum.

But, the other day I read one where someone was actually complaining about having to do the routines. They are redundant, thats the whole point, and although they may feel constrictive they are really a tool to allow more freedom through out the day. So, if someone is feeling all rebellious because the routine says to get up and do x, y, and z they may decide to skip it. But, come late in the day when they’ve glanced at the x, y, and z that isn’t done it starts to weigh on their mind. And pretty soon, instead of being able to enjoy the free time they should be having, they are then having to pull a chunk out of the day to get it done. For people who don’t care about those things, this doesn’t really matter. But, for those who care enough to get annoyed at the once-a-month clean-till-you-drop and giving up an entire day or weekend, it might pull a little weight. And, for those who’ve done the routines may say that it seems silly to do some things every day if something doesn’t look like it *needs* it. But, why wait until you bathroom sink is looking gross, why not just keep it clean to begin with?

Oh yeah, and the real disclaimer, I don’t actually do the routines *every* day. I do them most days and notice that those days move so much more smoothly than the days that I get lazy. In fact, this is one of those lazy days and it is somewhat absurd that I’m talking about routines while I’m not actually doing my routines. But, I’ll blame it on skipping the bedtime routine where I write what I am going to do the next day — without that note I am now floundering and killing time wondering where to start my day. I think it’d be best to get the routine going, even if it is a little late, and then see where that leads. Plus, it’ll only take 15 minutes. :)

February 2, 2006

The California Wine Country Diet: Honest Help

Filed under: flylady, food — suzanne henderson @ 7:26 am

The California Wine Country Diet: Honest Help

This is a very well written and thorough review of the [California Wine Country Diet] book. I think I will check it out if it ever makes it to my library to give a good once over myself. I’m not a fan of “dieting” and instead have found that a sound diet (and consistent exercise) is the key to improved health.

Another book I want to check out is [Body Clutter]. This is written by the woman who wrote [Sink Reflections] and the woman who wrote [Saving Dinner] — both who are related to the [flylady] method I’m always raving about. I’ve requested that my library get a copy and am patiently waiting for it to be ordered. However, I just might decide to pick it up off the bookstore shelf since i’ve been reading so many wonderful reviews and testimonials about it on the FlyLady mailing list.

December 29, 2005

I -heart- my control journal

Filed under: flylady, family, life — suzanne henderson @ 3:50 pm

I’ve mentioned [flylady] in the past in this post. I’ve also talked about it a bit with friends, but not in too much detail. So, if you’re familiar with it, this post will make sense; if not, then probably not. If you need help keeping your life more organized and house clean, then I really suggest you look into the book [Sink Reflections] and the flylady website and email lists. If you’re also behind on household things, there is a chance that homecooked meals are also lacking in your life and for that I’d also suggest [Saving Dinner] the book, the website, and their menu mailers.


Due to being a fulltime student, I have to rearrange my schedule every semester. The days that I run errands or the days I need a crockpot meal must be shifted to another day when my class hours change. This means that I have to make changes to my control journal. When I first started doing flylady, I remember hearing about how we were not supposed to become perfectionists with our control journals, but I couldn’t help it. I love making documents and lists and it is really something I take joy in doing. This change of semester is also a good time for me to look at my zone and house blessing schedules and see where I could improve things.

Yesterday, I took apart my weekly house blessing list (it includes 15 rooms) and broke the tasks down. Before, I had “Bathrooms (all three): sweep, polish mirrors, empty trash, …” but I noticed that I couldn’t mark it off unless I’d done all three bathrooms; sometimes I’d only get 2 done. So now, I have a separate list for each bathroom and also separated all other combined tasks. For some, this may be overwhelming because the page that was once just one column is now two full columns, but it means that I’m able to mark more things off the list when I do them. For example, emptying all the trash cans was just one task before but now I get to mark it off for 12 of the rooms. The additional lines that get crossed off are a better representation of the work done than just one little line and it feels good to see the checkmarks.

Also, I think this also helps my daughter (age 10). She has chores every day and is free to chose her chores and can have as much or as little variety as she wants. The only requirement is to pick from the list of weekly house blessing or something from the current zone. I ask that she does 15 minutes worth of work, wether that is one task or three. She used to complain about the chores she was required to do because she didn’t like having to do the same thing every week or being told what she had to do. Now, she gets a lot of options — sometimes too many at the beginning of the week and too few at the end — and things are moving much more smoothly.

August 17, 2005

fly baby, fly

Filed under: flylady, family, life — suzanne henderson @ 10:55 am

Summer is drawing to a close, the routines of school and life will replace the long mornings and empty afternoons. And, in preparation, I’m getting back to the [flylady] routines. I’ve talked about this before, but it has been a while.

FlyLady.net is a wonderful resource for people who are not naturally organized, who want to keep their house and life in a more reasonable order, and those whose life is a complete mess with no hope in sight. It is a really simple concept and it all starts with a shining sink. In her book, [Sink Reflections], FlyLady talks about how people think that a shining kitchen sink isn’t that great of a motivational tool, but she assures you and I assure you, it is. I spent last night re-shinning the sink, it had lots its glow and luster months ago even though it still stayed fairly neat. But once I finally had it shining, I hated to even run the water for it would obscure the glow and possibly wipe out all the work I had done.

But worries over a little water are nothing. The biggest benefit is that since the sink was so clean, I didn’t want to put anything in it (something I rarelyy do anyways) nor did I want to leave the dirty dishes piled up next to it. They had to go right into the dishwasher as to not disturb my accomplishment.

Now, the FlyLady method is about more than a shining sink, but it is all designed for taking little steps at a time, no mad rush to clean your house or organize your life. She makes it clear that the mess built up over time and it’ll take time to get rid of it. So, if you want to change your habits, but feel overwhelmed at tackling an out of control house, this is certainly the way to start. My small steps include a daily routine that keeps the sink clean, dishwasher emptied regularly, kitchen counters clean, and the bathroom counters and commode looking presentable (not sparkling clean, just presentable until I get around to giving it a good scrubbing).

And, the other great part is that when you do want to do a little more thorough cleaning, she emphasizes the use of a timer to help motivate and prevent burn out. The motto is that you can do anything in 15 minutes and it is so true. Cleaning my room that has become so overwhelming disorganized and messy is an impossible task. But I hit it with 15 minute bursts 2 or 3 times a day and it is slowly starting to come together.

Okay, I guess I’m done preaching about the virtues of her method. Plus, I think I’ll set the timer and get something else done (I also set timers on internet time so I don’t fall into my laptop and lose hours of the day).

March 15, 2005

Book Review: Sink Reflections

Filed under: flylady, review, books — suzanne henderson @ 3:14 pm

book by Marla Cilley - The FlyLady

A book focusing on home organization. This book provides a realistic view and method for getting organized, decluttering, and cleaning your house. Finally a system that takes in considerations people with habitual procrastination and difficultly following a organizational plan.

The FlyLady method really focuses on starting small, very small, and working up from there. She points out that you shouldn’t try to suddenly organize and clean your life overnight, or in a week. Instead, you should work on establishing certain habits or patterns, realized that it takes weeks to start a new habit, and work up from there. Major cleaning tasks, if you must tackle a major task, are broken up into 15 minute increments. It is amazing how many things can get done when broken up like that.

House cleaning is broken into small, manageable chunks of time and tasks spread throughout the week. Each week focuses on one area of the house, so there is no need to try to clean everything every week. And all of these tasks are done Monday through Friday, leaving the weekend free for fun family time.

For people concerned about getting their family members help, FlyLady points out that if you want the house clean and if it makes you happier, then it is up to you to clean it. This was a great one for me, I felt very overwhelmed trying to clean the house alone and would get mad that no one was helping. When I finally accepted that having a clean house is something that is important to me (and not as much to everyone else) and that it makes me happy, I was able to let go of the frustration that I was doing it alone. And, as FlyLady suggested, family members began to help out more when they saw me taking such an active role in keeping things clean.

Also, this system also focuses on removing any guilt you have about your messy situation. A wonderful consideration for people who feel so overwhelmed that they don’t know where to start. And, again, she focuses on taking small steps. No need to suddenly turn a brand new leaf and decide you’ll do everything perfectly from here on out.

I found this book to be extremely helpful in changing my view toward housework and organization. I admit that I am still at the babysteps stage, but I manage to keep my sink clean (it’s important, read why) and my kitchen running smoothly.

The [FlyLady] website is another resource for email reminders and good tips to keep you motivated.