…but it’s not what you think!
What do weight loss, texting boys, and playing with babies have in common? Read on…
I received a question inspired after my Day in the Life mini series about dietetic interns and students in grad school: How do I lose weight when I’m really stressed and busy (like in grad school!!)
I’ve got good news for you: I lost about ten pounds in my first year of grad school, so I’m totally down to answer that!
First and foremost, weight loss should not be thought of as a task or a diet or anything other than just living a healthy life! Stressing about how to lose weight is unhealthy, and although everyone does it anyway, should be stopped. By changing your mentality about “weight loss,” you not only make losing weight easier on yourself, but it makes losing weight when you’re crazy busy even easier than that!
Losing weight follows the same techniques as getting a boy to like you. Side note, this also works on getting cute little kids to want to play with you. (And yes, I’m taking full responsibility for this theory and totally want to write a book about it as of two minutes ago, this idea is coming to me on an airplane* while writing this soooo let’s see how it goes, shall we?)
*Some people cry on airplanes, I get my BEST ideas on airplanes. Seriously, stick me on a twenty hour flight to East Asia with a latte and a glass of red wine and I’ll come up with a new theory of relativity.**
**Or, you know, theory on weight loss and getting boys to like you.
Lisa’s Theory of Weight Loss (& getting boys to like you)
My mother always taught me: if you ignore a boy, you’ll get his attention. No boy is going to pine after the girl oogling him and texting him 100 times a day. They want the girl who doesn’t know they exist and ignores their texts. If I am interested in a boy (Man? Yikes.), do you think I’m going to text him?! Heck no! That boy better text me first. On the other hand, I text my best guy friend probably 20 times before he even wakes up. (#needy)
My niece and nephew are freaking PRECIOUS monkeys, but they can be a little shy/get the fuck away from me when I’m in town. It’s easy to see that these kids get “gimmie attention” comments from all my family members literally all day. “Austie! Look over here!” “Ari! Come play!” “Austin I have a surprise for you!” “Ari! Want chocolate?” They’re overwhelmed with attention from adoring fans. You know what I said instead? (After my offer of chocolate/candy/lipstick/playing with big kids was consistently ignored)
“Ari! Don’t follow me! You stay over there! Whatever you do, DON’T come play with me over here!!”
I have never seen that little 2-year-old run into my arms so fast. The girl followed me around all day, and when she wasn’t following me around, she was repeating my name – Mommy! Mommy! Seesaw! Seesaw! Where’s seesaw?!. Nailed it.
So now that I have the boys I like texting me and the babies I like following me around, I’ll finally get to how you’re going to lose weight knowing these things.
By paying constant attention to weight loss, you’re going to constantly overeat out of indulgence, frustration, and sheer will power. When you tell yourself you’re not going to eat unhealthy, you immediately jump to eat unhealthy. (“Don’t follow me!” Bam. Following me.) By giving food so much attention, you make it impossible to stop shoveling it in your face. (Texting a guy 3 times in a row? No chance you’re getting a response, girlfriend.) Catch my drift?
Grad school was incredibly stressful. I was so. freaking. busy. I didn’t have time to think about food and exercise a lot, and that’s when weight poured off me. I ate well and I exercised because I wanted to be healthy enough to tackle my busy days, not because I wanted to lose weight. I didn’t have time to over eat or eat all day. I didn’t have time to text boys. I focused all my attention on school and learning – food was not a priority. I made the choices to eat healthy when presented, but I didn’t stress about it. At most, I thought: Okay, I can only eat for these 30 minutes and I need energy for the entire afternoon → I need protein and healthy fats!
I also made sure that the healthy foods that really filled me up were on hand at all times. I made massive stir frys (chicken, shrimp, onions, carrots, broccoli, spinach, kale, brown rice or quinoa, chia seeds, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and garlic – all tossed around in a pan for a bit), always had hummus and baby carrots for snacks, and loaded an apple and bag of almonds into my purse before school. I didn’t have time to think about doing these things, I just made them routine. I would eat when I was hungry, but focused so much on school that I never ate out of boredom. This is HUGE for weight loss – I cannot stress this enough: Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored. Seriously, spend one day really focusing on this and you’ll see how crazy it is. We are never really that hungry. Most of the time we eat because we are bored or were in a social setting where others are eating. Cut those out and you’ll be SHOCKED how little you actually eat. If I’m really only eating to satiate hunger, I only need about 400-500 calories per day. (I never eat this little, but I did it as an experiment to see how much I really wanted out of hunger vs boredom/social factors.)
When it came to exercise, I added it to my routine AND used it as a sanity crutch. I worked out every single day at 7 pm when I got home – it was routine. It was in my iCal, in my planner, and it was what I did every day. I got home, had an apple or baby carrots and hummus, relaxed for about 20 minutes (book/tv/facebook), and changed for the gym. I called my parents while walking there, I kept my yoga mat and towels next to my front door. It was second nature. I didn’t have time to sit there for an hour and go Ugh I’ve had such a long day I should skip the gym… Nope, no time. I just did it. Just DO. Don’t think, just do. Thinking about simple things like going to the gym or not wastes brain power you can use for more relevant tasks. Think about more important things, don’t waste that on the gym.
If there were a night where I really didn’t want to go (about once per week), I used motivation. I thought to myself: You’re stressed, overworked, exhausted. Will skipping the gym for an unhealthy meal actually make you feel better? Or will it make oyur stomach hurt and make you have trouble sleeping? Then I’d realize that going to the gym is my peace for the day. It’s my calming, relaxing “me” time. Exercise is so, so, so therapeutic, and it really will make you feel amazing – especially when stressed.
So, I’ll sum up these techniques to lose weight when incredibly busy or stressed in a few short bullet points for those of you intelligent people who want me to get to the point already:
1. Reproritize. Focus on your task at hand. If you’re buy and stressed or in grad school – focus on that! That is your main task. Dive into studying and you won’t notice it’s been hours since you last ate.
2. Make the healthy choice the easy, fast choice. Have healthy snacks on hand at all times.
3. Eat to fuel you – if you know you have a crazy afternoon, know that you’ll need protein and healthy fats to fuel you without burn out. All nighters are much easier with that instead of sugar.
4. Don’t eat out of boredom, eat out on hunger. Are you eating to avoid work/studying? Stop it!
5. Don’t think, just do. Don’t think about what to eat or if you should work out, use your brain for more important thoughts. Just grab the hummus, just go to yoga. Don’t overthink it.
Hope that helps! If any of you have health questions, I LOVE answering them, so send them my way or comment below!