How I Lost 580 Pounds This Summer

I love this post on Simplicity from Robynn! Enjoy and be challenged!

I’m always intrigued by the glossy magazine covers that claim with great enthusiasm that I can lose 25 pounds in 5 weeks. Even more perplexing are the ones that insist I can do that while eating cake and ice cream. I have struggled with my weight since I left Pakistan, 25 years ago arrived in Canada’s cafeteria and discovered that at least the food was comforting. During my first two years of reentry into my passport country I gained 60 pounds.

But this summer I finally discovered how to lose weight! And I’ve lost over 580 pounds!

This summer I rediscovered the joys of the spiritual habit of simplicity and I’ve gotten rid of over 580 pounds of stuff. I feel lighter, and freer. I’m experiencing more joy, less stress. I’m less weighed down. Less encumbered.


It’s hard to describe how this works but somehow our souls are often tied to our stuff. Stuff bogs us down and trips us up. Our clutter, knick-knacks, tchotchkes, Precious Moment’s figurines have a way of moving off the shelves, off the end tables, off the desk and into our spirits. It takes over. Stuff, like a first-born, has power and takes charge. She starts dictating how I spend my day. She breaks and demands attention. She whines and I take notice. I find myself coddling her, moving her around, moving her over to make room for more.

And all the while my soul is deadened and darkened and dulled.

For me sin in spiraling circles hides in the shadows of stuff. I want more. I get greedy. I need a bigger house. I feel sorry for myself. I only have a few. I judge those with more. I deserve a bigger collection. I am jealous of those who have more. I feel angry at God for holding out on me. I regret not having more money to buy what I need to make my collection complete. I wish I had more money to buy the house to house what I have and what I still need to get. I demand. I plead. I whine. Lust for stuff steals my limited joy. My satisfaction is eroded. Suddenly I’m absorbed in me.

Stopping it is so sweetly simple and yet is met with unimaginable resistance. Just stop. Purge. Give away. Less really is more and you’ll know it right away. Stuff sets traps. Lightening our load sidesteps those same traps.

We begin to live with No Thanks, and I’m Fine Thank You and I Don’t Need It. Contentment and satisfaction move in swiftly.

And that’s how I lost so much weight. We got rid of some bunk beds, a dresser, a desk, stacks of books, piles of clothes. Two garbage bags of stuffed animals joined the exodus. A coffee pot I no longer use, a stack of plates, some glasses, a couple of tea cups all went down to the Goodwill. The kids have joined the fun. They’ve gone through their drawers too. They have eliminated things they no longer love, clothes they no longer wear!

This is a weight loss program that really works…!

I have less baggage. And as a pilgrim just passing through that feels simply divine!


14 thoughts on “How I Lost 580 Pounds This Summer

  1. Wow! Lost 580 pounds, huh? You just made the 30 pounds of post-pregnancy sound easy. ;) On a serious note, I can totally relate. In preparation of going back to work, I’ve been de-cluttering extensively. I know with 3 kids and a full-time job (outside of the full-time job of motherhood!), keeping it simple will save my sanity. Great writing!


    1. I’m right where you are Ahlam! the more I have going on the outside of home with work and more, the more I realize the inside has to be simpler! Here’s to simple saving our sanity (as you put it so well!)


  2. Love this Robynn! “Stuffitis” is a uniquely first world disease, I think. Haven’t purged in awhile. You’re spurring me on to get after it again!


  3. I’ve always loved giving things away and the only enjoyable part of the gut-wrenching experience of leaving North Africa was the fact that I could give away half of our stuff, sell the rest and reduce down to 7 suitcases. I would like to keep this up in America, but I am married to a “saver” who always tells me, “We still need that! I might use it again someday.” :)


    1. I do miss the mandatory airplane trips across continents. Those forced us into 5 suitcases and 5 carry-ons…. Alas…. It’s time to take another big trip!!


  4. Oh how I want to lose a ton! I just get overwhelmed with the question of where to begin! Did one small cupboard in the kitchen because I was looking for something :-). You just motivated me!


    1. Marla Cilley of recommends 15 minutes every day of sorting things into 3 piles: Things I love/use, Giveaway, and Trash. Find a home for the Keepers if they don’t already have one. Put Giveaways in the car to be dropped off at a thrift store or charity. Throw trash away. But don’t spend more than 15 minutes a day or the job becomes overwhelming.


      1. I relied on FlyLady extensively the first two years back. I had no idea how to do housework here in North America. She helped me. I’ve loved her stuff on sorting too. It’s simple and practical. I like to invite God into the process too though. Sometimes He leads in astounding ways. He introduces generosity and humility. He exposes the greed or the idolatry. It’s more than simple simplicity….it’s Spirit led simplicity! And there’s so much Joy!


    2. Like Katherine said…I think it helps to break it down into smaller sections: 15 minutes in a different room each day. I set the timer. It’s fun to see how much can be done in a short amount of time! If I’m on a’ whirl I sometimes set it for 15 more! I also break it down into manageable chunks and write those things down in a long list. It’s fun to cross off things on the list!


  5. I love this, Marilyn! One good thing about a transcontinental move is the magnifying glass it puts on the “stuff” in our lives, making us take a closer look at what we really use or don’t use, and downsize to fit the shipment parameters. As much as I hate to move, the purging and donating that precedes each pack up, almost makes it worth the hassle. I admire you for getting after it without a move looming! It’s rather liberating, isn’t it?


      1. Stacy – that was my fault! I had forgotten to note that in the first paragraph so your comment reminded me. I totally agree with you on the admiration piece. As long as we were living overseas packing up houses we were much better at keeping stuff to a more manageable level. Now in a condo in the middle of a city – we have too much stuff!


      2. Thanks Stacy! (don’t worry about confusing authors…it’s always a high honour when someone confuses my stuff for Marilyn’s stuff!)


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