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Take Advantage of Your Inner Sloth

Monday, March 07, 2016

As I've gone through this dieting journey, I've come to realize that there are a lot of little things that go into it. As much as it is important to count calories and make dietary changes and, for most, to add physical activity, there are mental/psychological things that happen too. Our brains only weigh about 3 lbs. (praise the Lord you're not a sperm whale, or it would ring up on the scales at a hefty 17!), but they really play a huge role in weight because they directly affect our behavior and the choices we make.

One of the things I've often told people is this: "One of the best things I've learned to do to help me control my diet is to use my laziness to my advantage." It may seem a bit counterproductive, even ironic (or even moronic), but it's true! I am convinced that I've taken quite a bit of my weight off just by letting my inner sloth control me at the right moments. "How?" you ask. "Aren't weight-losers supposed to join gym, fill their garages with weights, run half-marathons, and replace their recliners with treadmills?" I didn't, and I've gone from looking like Jabba the Hutt to looking more like Sid the Sloth, who is actually quite fit (for a sloth).

I am a routine, boring person who enjoys my R&R when I can. When I finally decide to put the laptop down and stop working for the day, I want to veg out in front of the TV--and I don't mean the "veg" literally, like nibbling on rabbit food like carrot sticks and lettuce. Rather, I look for something at least slightly entertaining on Hulu (long live the AIRWOLF and BRADY BUNCH reruns! I still have a huge crush on Jan-Michael Vincent, and I still wish Alice would come work for me) and place something salty or sweet within my reach. The same holds true when I go to bed at night. Sure, you may have recently seen my confession of going all Gluttons 'R' Us with it and devouring an entire giant bag of buttered popcorn, but that just proves my point. Knowing how lazy I am, it is far more conducive to my next weigh-in that I take only one serving of that snacky goodness with me to the sofa or to bed. When the urge comes to get up for a refill, I mentally remind myself how comfortable I am and how tired I am, tell myself that walking 50 ft. to the kitchen is absolutely too much effort. Imagine how much physical strength and energy I'd waste opening that heavy fridge door! Then - sigh - I'd have to go to ALL the trouble of readjusting my pillows and climbing back in my blankies, and God forbid if I disturb my two dogs, who will surely want to go out for one last romp around the yard if I wake them up. Seriously, it's just too much effort to grab more pretzels or another cheese stick or a handful of Honey Combs. It's easier to just stay on the couch or in bed and settle for the calories I brought with me in the first place. I can always eat in the morning, right? Besides, then my hot boyfriend will be able to join me.

See? It really, really works! Humans are naturally inclined to want to rest, especially at certain times of the day. Use this to your advantage and remind yourself that you simply cannot exert the energy to drag yourself up to get more snacks. My wise daughter told me last night that she has lost much of her 76 lbs. by changing the time she brushes her teeth; now, she brushes them very late, the very last second before she goes to bed, and the thought of having to re-brush them if she eats anything else keeps her from midnight snacking--not to mention that it's good for the chompers and has helped improve her dental health. I can't say I'm glad she's inherited some of her mother's disdain for getting out of bed/getting off the couch once she's settled in, but having the awareness to get in touch with our inner sloth has helped us both.

It is a balancing act, of course, as so much of life and dieting is. This lesson in taking advantage of your laziness does not stretch to all hours of the day. It is not advisable to start buying your food in bulk so you can place a 50-gallon tub of chips near you and hook up a Coffee IV and a catheter in the living room or bedroom so you don't ever have to leave your cozy spot. However, when you can find ways to use even your own weaknesses to your benefit, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that putting your 3 lbs. of gray matter to work can help you get rid of a lot of unwanted lbs. elsewhere. Sometimes, that even means taking advantage of your inner sloth!

P.S. While I am prone to mistakes/typos just as much as anyone (especially when relying on auto-cor-wrecked or voice wreck-ognition, which ironically keep me in biz), the inner editor in me is unnerved by abbreviating "lbs.," but I intend to do this from now on, simply because I don't believe they deserve to be treated with a respectful spelling out. By the same token, my absolute adoration of Coffee will always have me capitalizing his name.
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