Exhaustion and an uncomfortable sensation encourage sleepwalking through choices, an opportunity to sabotage hard work and momentum along the weight loss journey. A series of small decisions made under the influence of sleep deprivation significantly throws the destination off course. Without careful deliberation, poor eating habits gain momentum, miles off kilter from goals. Seemingly inconsequential adjustments may affect results significantly, as an airplane 1% off course from California ends up 150 miles north or south from an east coast destination, depending upon the trajectory. Ultimately, sleep deprivation causes subpar choices, leading to lousy habits and failure.

Recently behaviors, cumulative in nature, seemingly inconsequential, and mindlessly conducted, awakened my senses. Without resting a minimum of seven hours, I function in an intoxicated-like state, asleep at the wheel. On autopilot, inattentive, and a barely breathing, my body walks through the day surviving, unaware like sleepwalking through life. Decision-making becomes elusive; choices are habit-driven. Hence, old habits haul to the frontline to lead the battle. When the battle is weight loss, healthy eating, and intense exercise, former leaders who typically lost that war resurface, with old tactical equipment, poor strategies, and disastrous results.

Therefore, when sleep deprived, or running on disrupted sleep, I may pull off a successful boot camp class, yet arrive home exhausted, depleted, and walking on borrowed time. Numbed into submission upon the couch, the uncomfortable sensation ensues. Unsteady, famished, and imbalanced, I reach for the habitual recovery protein shake, complete some parental duties, and return to the couch in a semi-conscious state. The next meal, prepared by a habit-formed ritual, I consume unmindfully. Soon, the sweetness of the blueberries from my recent meal catches my attention, reminds me of comfort, tastiness, and relief. The discomfort of low energy, exhaustion, and depravity, leads to a careless choice and consumption of two pounds of organic blueberries. (900 grams)

While lobbing berries into my mouth one by one, the sweet sensation relieves and numbs the discomfort. Serving its purpose, I am dumbfounded, looking at an empty container as the last blueberry vanishes. Suddenly aware of a bloated feeling, emotions point toward shame, sadness, and disappointment. Unable to comprehend the why of it all, I accept responsibility and journal the blueberry consumption into My Fitness Pal. Yet within an hour, the physical effects of bingeing on blueberries surfaces, as the blood sugar level plunges into discomfort with low energy and exhaustion, commonly identified as “food coma.” I lay upon the couch, surrendering to the semi-loss of consciousness with momentary lapses of shut-eye. Upon waking, shredded parmesan cheese whispers my name intuitively, and a sleepwalking body consumes half a pint of the salty scrumptiousness, balancing with former blueberry sweetness.

Again, a subconscious choice repeats until I awaken long enough to recognize the mishap, change environments, and contemplate the root cause of sleep deprivation. Some argue that blueberries and parmesan cheese are acceptable choices for overconsumption with limited damage and rapid recovery. Yet this habit-forming behavior of blueberry bingeing has occurred a half dozen times in the past few months. Unaware the source lay in lack of sleep, the habit dug deeper and gained strength; uprooting the tendency toward repeating has proven challenging. Getting to the foundation of “why binge?” is half the battle. Consciousness, analysis, and problem solving are crucial to recovery.

Sleep is imperative in winning the weight loss war. Sleepwalking decision-making is consequential when repeated. Initially without significant impact, yet bingeing diverts a recipe for success, off roads goals, and produces negative, zigzag, weight loss patterns habitually sabotaging concerted efforts. Successful ingredients for weight loss include conscious choices made under the umbrella of a rested mind. Sleep deprivation as the foundation of future actions is a recipe for disaster through subconscious eating, raised Cortisol levels, and habit-forming actions. Blueberry bingeing may seem negligible, but overtime it may be the leader of the losing battle. When waging a weight loss war, it is best to hire a well-rested leader, consistently and consciously able to choose best practices, leading to a successful, sustainable lifestyle.