Stress, sugar addiction, and lack of motivation may be the catapults that deter weight loss, but exhaustion is my nemesis. Sleeplessness sinks me deep into depression, contributes to excess caffeine consumption, and hotwires my decision-making, causing my healthy eating habits to drive off a cliff temporarily. Seems such a simple solution to get some shuteye, yet late night meetings, restless young offspring, and early rise schedules thwart success. I utilize my reserves, throw it into high gear, get the troops on their way out the door, make work and life happen while the energy tank is close to empty. Seems like a normal day, that is, until it isn’t.

I arise zombie-like, but rifle through the day outsmarting fatigue. Adjusting to exhaustion, I convince myself mentally and physically, is an irrelevant predicament. Except like Cinderella, there is a cutoff for my magical recovery, dressed in fairy tale garb I throw together in an instant, riding in luxury in my imagination making life smooth, happy, and beautiful, when all felt shakily unsettling upon wake up. Late in the day things begin to disassemble, arguments develop between me and anyone in my path, and failure to engage rationally enters the scene. I wonder why the magic, energy, and stamina, dissipating from an “I’ve got this” type of day is transforming into shambles.

Exhaustion is the culprit, and my transition from riches to rags is four o’clock in the afternoon. Suddenly supposedly famished, food finds its way abundantly consumed subconsciously, numbly, and without merit. Lacking mindfulness, sleeplessness feebly drives decisions like a drunk driver, veering off the road, hitting bystanders, speed bumps, and obstacles that normally can be seen from a distance. Unfortunately weight loss attempts and daily rituals cannot accommodate lack of essential zzz’s. My body has been hijacked by new drivers, incapable of responsible choices. Weight loss efforts suffer dramatically by overeating and irrational reactions to fatigue.

Even with this mighty knowledge, it remains a great struggle to maintain equilibrium post sleepless nights. Twenty-minute naps sometimes band-aid the symptoms, but essential sleep is ultimately the only solution. Shocking that something as simple as sleep changes the game play, its strategic advantage is critical to the weight loss game. Cinderella may have been fortunate to get to the ball, but her run for the exit at midnight shows the clock only strikes when you think, “I’ve got it!” Perhaps she, too, was sleep deprived, demonstrated by leaving her glass slipper behind. Yet if the shoe fits, her dreams come true. Achieving a healthy lifestyle is a dream come true when sleep turns from foe to friend.