You Can Be Healthy and Fit While in Grad School (I’m living proof)

Music Television (MTV) produces some pretty great TV shows…America’s Best Dance Crew, Teen Mom 2, Teen Wolf, JERSEY SHORE.  Though I could write an entire blog about MTV shows, the base of this blog is coming from a show they have titled “I Used To Be Fat”.  Basically, MTV takes some teenager with low self-esteem (caused by his/her weight) and sends him/her a trainer.  They have an entire summer to lose the pounds, and by summer’s end they can officially say “Hey! At the beginning of the summer I Used To Be Fat!” Genius.

Recently, I have had a physical transformation myself.   When I started graduate school, I looked semi-normal.  As I progressed throughout graduate school the pounds kept adding and adding and adding.  I had to go up a size in pants.  I had to abandon certain shirts, because they no longer fit me.  Everything was tight.  I embarrassingly broke several zippers off trying to put on pants, and many times I would have to pray to God to get clothes on.  I almost even considered wearing pajama jeans.  The worst part was the fact that I looked terrible in pictures!  I would have to crop out my stomach or not even upload or tag myself in certain photos, because of how awful I looked.  Also, my worst fear of graduating undergraduate was not finding a job or not getting into grad school.  If I was homeless, it would be fine as long as I was skinny.  My fear was developing what I call the “old man pooch”.  It is where you seen adult men who’s arms, legs, upper body, neck, face, and everything else all seem at a relatively average size for their body.  But their stomach is out of control, and they look like they could be expecting to have children or something.  THAT was happening to me.  Plus, other than that time of my life where I was an infant and barely alive, I’ve ALWAYS been really thin.  Plus, I ran cross country in high school which was a the prime time height of skinny in my life.  I felt like people were judging me, and it was just abnormal for me.  I got up to a weight that was way out of my BMI range.  It was just so terrible.

So at the end of the summer, I want to say right around the third week, I decided that I was going to start running again.  When I started was weird, because it was technically finals week, but all of them were side projects, so I thought it would be the perfect time.  Since then I have been consistently running at least 5 times a week.  I obviously hated it at first, so to better motivate myself, I started to run on the treadmill at my work during my lunch.  During winter break, I used the time not studying or learning anything to work out and run more.  I think one week I ran 40 miles (which was technically more than I worked that week, because we had a holiday).  Second week into winter quarter and I actually MISS running.  Like I wish I could be wearing my running shoes more.

Anyway, my place of employment had a holiday challenge put on by my office (Human Resources) called “Maintain Not Gain”.  The goal was to maintain your weight from the third week of November (during the Thanksgiving Holiday) until the end of the first week of January.  The idea was to maintain your weight, because with all of the eating that goes on during the holidays, pot lucks, bowl games, parties, and everything it can be a real challenge to lose weight.  My office, the sponsors, did not make it easy when they  were bringing in deserts and throwing random pizza parties for what felt like every day of December.  I got really into the challenge.  I knew I could maintain my weight, so my challenge was to lose.  Ideally, I wanted to lose 15 pounds but realistically I set my goal for 10.  So in doing this, I took my health to the next level.  I completely changed my diet and eating habits just to win (I’m not actually really that competitive of a person but when it is something I’m really into I can get a little crazy).

So last Friday was the final weigh in.  In 6 weeks I lost 11 pounds (1 more than my goal)!  Since I initially started my running again in August I’ve lost THIRTY ONE POUNDS.  It feels so good to be skinny again and in a healthy BMI.  Also, my friends, classmates, coworkers, people I don’t even know have given me rave reviews on my weight loss.

So remember.  The freshmen 15 (more like 50 for me) is not just a thing that happens to freshmen.  Actually, they should call it the “first year fifteen”…any kind of weight gain that could possibly happen under the new circumstances you are going through in higher education.  I’m sure this applies law students, doctoral students, and other first-year grad students.  However, as impossible as it may seem with going to class, reading out the you know what, studying, group meetings, quizzes, tests, work, internships, group meetings, student organization activities, and making some attempt to having a social life YOU CAN be healthy and fit in grad school!

Next week, I will give you insights in what I have done to get rid of the small human child that I lost off of my frame.

BEFORE and AFTER photos:

BEFORE – heinous with an obscene amount of stomach and face and I couldn’t even button up my vest (I know harsh and I may look normal to most people but I thought I was out of control).  Circa 8/2011

AFTER – vest is like HUGGING me tightly now. Circa 1/2012