Tag Archives: cheating

Short Cut to Deal with Sleep Shortage: Inflating the Count with Placebo

As the pace of society quickens, and we want to sardine as many tasks as we can into one day, short cuts and sacrifices are inevitable. Unfortunately, sleep always seems to be the unlucky candidate that gets the short end of the stick and told: “Sorry, maybe I’ll get to you tomorrow.”

Well, if these are just the facts and realities of the times, then we may have to be creative and find our own kind of placebo effect to convince ourselves otherwise, and maybe derive some unanticipated health benefits from our strapped circumstances.

Here is an example: We usually count sleep duration by erroring on the side that puts us in the category of being sleep deprived. We may be in bed 8 hours, but not all of it is quality sleep time. So, in our sleep journals, maybe we put total of 7 hours or even less to account for all the tossing and turning, aches, thinking, and, yes, procrastination. Accurate? Yes, but depressing. Realistic? Yes, but doesn’t do anything for the ‘feel good’ side of the ledger.

I want to argue that some days we should try to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. If we are in the midst of a hectic period where the allotted time and hours don’t add up, then let’s skew the statistics in our sleep journals, a little bit. On the odd chance, in the odd morning, that you find yourself sleeping all the way to your alarm, with the alarm actually waking you up, but it still totals only 6.5 hours of sleep, then let’s inflate the numbers a bit. For myself, I imagine myself, and tell myself, that I could have slept another half an hour at least, if the alarm didn’t go home, then I’ll just reward myself with the bonus. I could have slept a quality 7 hours, so just give me the credit.

Will this placebo effect carry me through the day? I know I could be just deluding myself and this could actually have adverse effects on my health over the long term, but it sure feels better than fretting and dwelling the entire day over how I’m short of sleep. We can deal with the truth in therapy later on when things die down, but can we be allowed this short cut for the time being? Instead of always shorting ourselves of it, how about we go long for once? Really, I’m refreshed.

-Patrick Law



Filed under Short Cuts, Sleep

The ‘Sort of’ Method of Cooking (Cheating a little…)

Short on time? But still want to eat semi-healthy? Don’t want to eat out? Feels better to make an effort to cook and eat at home? But cannot do the full preparation?

Maybe there is a short cut for this in-between scenario. We don’t have time to prepare dishes from scratch, yet we don’t want to eat out, and we also don’t want to do take out. And what if guests are coming? Just doing a frozen dinner thing may not look too good. Is there any way to sort of half cheat?

Take a look at the picture below:

Cheating a little with my cooking!

Cheating a little with my cooking!

Guests are arriving any minute. My plain pasta needs to accelerate. Grab a Lean Cuisine frozen pasta dish, and just mix it in. Would they know? It’s sort of like cooking, isn’t it? It’s not eating out and it’s not take out. It saves the effort to prepare sauces and spices and, out of all the frozen varieties, is Lean Cuisine not one of the most healthy brands? Even if the frozen portion lacks authentic health, most of it is covered, blended, camouflaged with my original whole wheat (not enriched) brown pasta.

Is this similar to how some people add Campbell’s soup to their original soup stock to give it that little extra?

Maybe this in-between style can be called the ‘Sort Of’ method of cooking. A kind of intermediary step for people to take before graduating into full out food preparation. It’s sort of healthy, is it not?

-Patrick Law

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Filed under Short Cuts

Is it the Left Side Improving or is it the Right Side Declining?

While some of the other short cuts posted so far may be humorous and amusing, I find this one hard to laugh at. In fact, it straight out hurts. Time saving may be a worthwhile pursuit but sometimes taking the quick way actually results in short cutting life itself.

This realization hit me hard during my workout this morning. While I have pretty much fully recovered from my left knee surgery well over a year ago, the left leg is still not quite as strong or as big as the right leg. Even though I’m back at sports and doing most activities without restraints, I still have to remind myself to put some extra work on my left side in the weight room so it can eventually catch up, and I can be more balanced with less compensation overall. This, of course, will improve overall performance, health, and reduce risk of further injury.

It’s been a long, arduous process. Often, while in the middle of a set, I hear myself saying out loud “Come on Left!” to give myself some extra motivation and a reminder to focus in on the weakness. No doubt, after all this time, the left has gained in both strength and size. However, it seems that no matter how hard I work, it’s still trailing behind my dominant right. Frustration started to set in and I found myself taking a short cut. In essence, I lowered the bar.

The right side was already doing less reps than the left, but now these reps lost their quality as well. I was almost going through the motions and even caught myself saying just before commencing a set on the right: “Okay, now for just a few quick token reps on the right.” It’s almost as if I’m trying to weaken my right side to make it easier for my left side to catch up! This is sort of like saying one side won because the other side purposely gave up and allowed it.

This short cut is a real punch in the gut for me and a wake up call. It offers a very temporary easy victory, but these kind of shallow victories hurt more than losing in an honest and real fight. Come on left! The right side is not going to pretend anymore.

-Patrick Law


Filed under Short Cuts, Sports and Fitness