You Can Be Healthy and Fit In Grad School-How To

Last blog I had, I was bragging discussing my weight loss, but did not share any of my secrets.  Though it pains me to share how I’ve lost it all, and having someone in the program look better/skinnier than me, I guess it is all for the best.


As much as we hate to exercise, it is a MUST.  You can lose weight by eating healthier, but you can lose even MORE weight by eating healthier and engaging in exercise.  It is standard to workout at least 30 minutes a day.  Thirty minutes may not sound like that much, but factoring in shower time, putting on gear and getting to and from the gym, whatever tiredness you may feel afterward that hinders productivity, and motivation (sometimes I have had 20-minute coaching sessions to get myself up to go to the gym) it can be a lot longer.  My modification of this standard exercise is to do something that makes you sweat at least for 30 minutes, 5 days a week.  You should give your body a break, but the other days you should engage in moderate physical activity…be moving but you don’t have to feel gross when you’re done.

As odd as this may sound, if you get into a long enough routine you can actually enjoy working out.  When I first started running, I HATED IT.  Nothing made me cringe more than having to go out on my run.  I actually look forward to exercise now, because I have seen the results, heard the compliments, and actually can feel the endorphins coursing through my body.  It takes a while to get there though, but you have to stay on top of it.

It is helpful to find a time of day where you just need to get away from everyone and go to the gym.  Some people find it easier to go to the gym with others, but most of my friends are not as motivated as me and when I am exercising I tend to be “in the zone” and not one to talk to anyone.  Some people  can get up early to workout (just getting it out of the way for the day), or do it at night at the end of their day when they are done with all of their activities.   I can’t do any of these things, because I am too tired.  By the time it is lunch at my workplace, I need to get out of the office so I head to the gym.  It breaks up my day, and I come back to the office jittery off of endorphins.  You just have to find out what works for you!

Last, campus has plenty of gyms all around campus.  There are 2 really close by Gerlach Hall.  There is the Recreation Physical Activities Center (RPAC) located by the football stadium.  It is state of the art with tons of equipment and they have shower facilities, so it is the perfect place to go to after work or class to get a quick workout in.  I don’t believe in being sweaty in class, and I’m pretty sure all of my classmates would hate me if I was funky in class, but there is a gym literally right across from Gerlach.  The only bad thing about campus gyms is that they are swarmed with young and overly muscular showcase exercisers (aka bros) that can kind of be annoying


Diet is the most important aspect of losing weight.  You can spend 2 hours in the gym a day (which is actually unhealthy for you), but if you’re still eating Taco Bell every night (like my roommate) then you won’t achieve all that you can in losing weight (and are still susceptible to a stroke).

First of all don’t buy snacks.  One time I read something that if you don’t buy snacks at the grocery store, then you won’t have them in your house.  Aka you won’t eat them.  Simple but genius!  By not snacking on bad food, you can have extra money to buy fruits and vegetables.  Okay the annoying thing about this is that fruits and vegetables are super expensive and expire super early.  However, they are better and skinnier for you.  Want a bag of Doritos?  Put that down AND HAVE SOME CELERY.

Second, cut down on red meat.  As discussed in an earlier blog, cows, pigs, and sheep are the fatties of the animal world.  Chicken (kind of) and fishes are the leaner (aka skinnier) meats, so that is what you should go for.  I mean it is still hard for me to resist Taco Bell sometimes, but if you are craving the taste ground turkey is lean and tastes almost like beef.

Third, cut out everything you KNOW is bad for you.  This can be hard, but like exercise, if you do it often enough it will become routine.  Like a veggie tray makes me as happy as a plate of cookies to me now.  I almost swear for the last 2 weeks, there has been Adriatico’s (this delicious but obscenely unhealthy pizza) in every class.  It can actually be annoying sometimes, so it is good to have that apple handy and then mentally compliment yourself for your self-restraint. Self-compliments also help.  If you have to eat out, eat the healthy options provided if they have any.  One thing that I have learned about being a Fisher graduate student is that the Subway across the street (NEXT TO THE GYM) is practically a staple.  The sell really good salads (enough for a meal) for only $4…and yogurt parfaits!

I also cook more and eat less.  What that means is that I cook a more than  an average size meal for myself.  I don’t eat it all in one sitting.  I pack up about half of it to use for lunch/dinner the next day.  So instead of eating out, you already have a meal the next day.  And in doing so you save money on eating out or have cut out one thing you have to worry about doing the next day.

Last, I know right, generally eat less in one sitting.  You can eat more but break  up that one meal throughout the day.  This helps because I am eating, but never really hungry (because when you’re hungry you tend to overeat).  I also never eat until I am full anymore.  Oh and  I drink  A LOT of water.  Many times when someone is hungry, they are actually thirsty (or so says this article someone posted on my mini feed on Facebook one time).

Ok so once again, I apologize for a super long post, but many have asked me how I’ve lost my weight (and no not really eating disorders which is a joke in my cohort).  I am no fitness expert, and I definitely am not a calorie counter or someone who analyzes every single nutrient of what I am eating.  These are the simple things that I do that have worked for me as a busy graduate student.

Hope I see less of everyone (as in weight not as in frequency)!


Five Tips for Stress Management

Let’s face it, being in graduate school is pretty stressful. As my former roommate said, “I always feel like I should be doing something, even if I’ve completed all of my assignments.” This is one of the truest statements you’ll ever hear about graduate school. The constant feeling that something, somewhere needs to get done can get really stressful and fast.  Here are some things I’ve found are helpful in managing stress:

1. Yoga- Everything you’ve heard about yoga is true. It’s so relaxing. I try to make time for 45 minutes to 1 hour of yoga every Sunday. There are classes at the RPAC (both for class credit and not-for-class credit) if you’re just starting and there are studios on W. Lane and High Street (Short North). Most places offer 1-2 free classes if you want to try it out before purchasing multiple classes.

2. Make time to sleep- It’s so easy to stay up reading or trying to edit those last few PowerPoint slides before the presentation in the morning. But sleep is really important when it comes to stress management. Sleep is the best way to “recharge”, so try to make the time. I’ve found my new motto to be “if it’s not due this week, then try not to worry about it.” This has come back to bite me only a few times, so for the most part it works. It certainly helps put things into perspective.

3. Have a week day schedule- It doesn’t have to be the same thing everyday, but think about what you need to accomplish everyday and manage time accordingly. If you do this either the night before or even the morning of, you’ll find you’re not stressing all day about when you’re going to have time to do all these things. It also keeps you on track, so you don’t start doing something that doesn’t need to be done.

4. Take time out for yourself- I allow myself between 30 mins to 1 hour per day to do what I want in terms of relaxing. That may mean watching Top Chef right after class, working out, even painting my nails (yes, I have to plan time to paint my own nails…. sad, but true), etc. During this time, I don’t allow myself to think of all the things that need doing or about what I really could be doing instead of figuring out who I want to leave on Top Chef.

5. Exercise! – After about a year long hiatus, I finally got motivated (with the help of one of my best friends) to start working out again on a regular basis. People in the health-care field, parents, friends, etc. who work out always talk about what a great stress reliever exercise is and now I can give you confirmation that this is true. I feel great after running on the treadmill for an hour. Unfortunately, I can’t workout everyday, but three times a week seems to work for me. It has definitely helped with the stress, especially because I can talk to my friend about whatever is going on and vice versa. Gym time has turned into exercise/therapy time, which is even better 🙂

When you’re constantly stressed, you are more likely to get sick, have physical pain throughout your body, eat more, etc. In order to stay happy and healthy it’s important to manage stress.