Without adequate sleep, losing weight is challenging. Physically exhausted, I feel emotionally sensitive and crave carbohydrates for immediate energy, I search my refrigerator and pantry haphazardly without rational, mindful, and responsible forethought, desperate to relieve the discomfort of needing shut-eye. When healthy, prepared foods are unavailable, a smorgasbord of disastrous choices beckons the weakened consciousness.
During a temporary hiatus from a responsible, alert, and coherent mindset, I visit my pantry. Owned and operated for my children, processed, enticing, sugar-filled goodies are readily accessible to my sleepwalking body nearing these temptations. Foods that foster binges lay within my grasp. When mindful, a closet of characteristically addictive carbohydrates has little effect upon my will power. Yet add a sleep deficit and my acutely sensitive, reactive body craving comfort, relief, and energy, meets easily with unhealthy choices.
Some assemblance of reason chimes into my consciousness to force me to close the pantry door. Yet soon my head is gently knocking against the refrigerator door, I close my eyes, and see myself wanting, falsely needing, and craving sweet carbohydrates. My heart hurts from the conflict between weakness, desperately gathering strength to oppose an unruly sugar addiction versus the obvious yearning for anything filled with instant gratification and sugar. It taunts and begs me to inhale sugar’s appeal and reach for the boxes that contain it, reneging from my commitment to change, health, and self-care.
This tug-a-war between what I want instantly versus what I want long-term are opposing forces. I slide down the refrigerator door, feeling the cold hardwood sink into my sore, over-exercised gluteus maximus. Tears stream steadily down my face. Pain nestles in my chest. An acute emotional, deep hurt conjures a vision I cannot shake away. Aiming to distract it, I cry harder, yet the scene reappears without wavering.
I am walking quickly down the street, jacketless, toward the field house, aiming to retrieve the only large pair of softball pants for the game this afternoon. The vision of the Medium-sized pants cutting into my skin and the discomfort, shame, and embarrassment of seeing judgment cross the faces of my teammates makes me walk faster. Though I know my competition for the pants is only one other girl, I cannot bare to let her have them. I conclude I need them more than her. Compassion for her plight flashes across my mind, my inner turmoil douses the thought.
Then it happens. At first, it was simply the sound of a bus from behind, growing louder as its engine roared closer. Suddenly my radar via a piercing shout and cackle from the school bus sends shock waves vibrating through my veins, shaking the blood in my heart to travel faster. An unmistakable, gnawing ache courses through my insides, painful enough to paralyze me and plant me in my heavy feet that hold me up. I stop, hit from behind, stabbed with the words that reverberate in my ears. “Fat Ass!” echoed with chirps of laughter long after the bus flickered in the distance. My shoulders hunch deeply forward, the softball game already lost to me, the pants retrieval shame validated by the menacing, laughing voice from the bus confirms my fatness of being, not thin enough for the mediums, and not worthy of feeling loved or that I belong.
Water full of my anguish drenches my shirt, the firmness of the refrigerator door holding me up finds a gap to release me to the floor, and fetal position is all I can muster. I lie aware that I deserve better. I am better. As the agony releases with my tears, the cold floor awakens my senses. Relief seems to distract the cravings, their importance suddenly a foreign entity. My memory surges energy into my legs, disempowering the addiction, luring me away from the kitchen entirely. I cringe that my mind and will power went asunder easily.
When my body is frail and vulnerable from sleep deprivation unhealthy food infiltration has tremendous susceptibility and potential for disaster. Sleep deprivation weakens me physically and mentally, creating dysfunction and craving. Sugar addiction is empowered when sleep lacks. The disturbance disrupts mindful, disciplined, and purposeful behavior. My success relies on these elements for change. The more I snooze, the more I lose … weight, that is, and my resolve of worthiness grows stronger.