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Change Waiting it Out to Working it Out


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Whether you're still anxiously waiting for news, in the midst of making a tough decision, or you're in the state of post-rejection blues, it's easy to say we're all stressed. In addition, I have seen some struggling with stress-eating or failing to eat as a consequence of months of being in limbo about where next our lives will take us. 

I'm no trainer or nutritionist, but I have been a coach for several years and an athlete and motivator for a much longer time. I can only give so much advice, but I thought this would be a good place for people currently struggling to turn negativity and doubt into a positive experience.

If you just want someone to talk to, if you want some advice on getting started on an exercise program, or if you need some support or someone to hold you accountable, I would be happy to help. We are all used to working out our brains, but let's work towards making both our minds and bodies strong. 

 

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For me, running is the greatest stress reliever there is and it has gotten me through a whole mess of troubles. However, I've been trying to get myself to run to help with grad app stress for the last 2 months and have just been utterly failing. I know the cold has a lot to do with it, but the treadmill is just downstairs in the gym at work and I've got my running clothes on me pretty much at all times, but I just can't get the motivation together. Do you have any recommendations to help me get things back into gear? 

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I think this is a great approach to managing the stress of waiting. I just hit my goal weight today after having my second baby in October (35 pounds of pregnancy weight plus 10!) I feel great!

 

That's absolutely fantastic! It's amazing how much better overall a person can feel after that kind of substantial weight loss. If you don't mind me asking, did you meet your goal through standard diet and exercise? I know many women love hearing these types of success stories because they're achievable through hard work, especially since women typically have a much more difficult time losing and maintaining weight loss. 

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For me, running is the greatest stress reliever there is and it has gotten me through a whole mess of troubles. However, I've been trying to get myself to run to help with grad app stress for the last 2 months and have just been utterly failing. I know the cold has a lot to do with it, but the treadmill is just downstairs in the gym at work and I've got my running clothes on me pretty much at all times, but I just can't get the motivation together. Do you have any recommendations to help me get things back into gear? 

 

Running has become my de-stresser as well! The weather, I've noticed, does play a major role in motivation, and though I love the treadmill, nothing beats a good outdoors run. Honestly, this is coming from someone who has recently come onto the running scene, but one thing that has really helped me is trying to keep a consistent schedule. A series of obstacle races called the Spartan Race had a 30-day training challenge, which is where I got started. I made an Excel spreadsheet (nerdy, I know) and committed to the challenge. What made it work, I think, is that it was manageable even on a tight work/school schedule. All the challenge asked was for you to log at least one mile each day. Most people can afford to spend the 9 to 20 minutes (or less for those better runners) it might take to run the mile, even if it's a bit colder outside. For the first two weeks, all I ran was the single mile each day, but I focused on trying to decrease my time and, in general, work on pacing myself enough that I felt better each time I ran the mile. I didn't have access to a treadmill, but I loaded on the layers and would go running. Some people say that if you dress for 20 degrees warmer than it is outside, you should have just the right amount of layers on to keep you warm enough that you don't feel like you're breathing in shards of ice, but not too warm to where you overheat. After those first few weeks, on a day that was warmer, I tried to run for longer. Now that we are finally moving out of the ice age around here, I have been able to run outside for longer and more frequently.

It's always an easier motivator to have someone right next to you pushing you, but if you want to get back to it, I would be happy to help however I can! (Even if it means spamming your mailbox to see if you've run that day).

The other important thing I have learned is to not get frustrated if you miss a day or get sick. Those types of things will happen, and getting frustrated only makes your motivation decrease. I'm trying to work on improving my upper body strength, and my ultimate goal is to be able to do pull ups. It's a small goal, and it seems silly I'm sure, but if you set those small goals and gradually work up to that goal, you'll have a great sense of accomplishment (such as we feel when we receive good news from grad schools, right?) :)  

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I need to start exercising regularly soooo badly! 

 

I was blessed with a great metabolism and generally good self-control. But that doesn't make me healthy...

 

Two years ago I was running semi-regularly. And then they renovated the gym at school and I haven't stepped foot in it since. I'm not sure what's wrong with me but I find gyms really intimidating and this one was a frickin' labyrinth before they renovated so who knows what it's like now. That first step is definitely the most difficult for me. 

 

So here is my plan:

- Start eating healthier: regular meals, enough veggies, less processed crap. (This suffered in the last month!) 

- Once classes and exams are over (in 5 weeks) I'll start exercising properly. If I get the research grant I'm waiting on from school I'll force myself to go to the gym. If I don't get it I'll be living next to a beautiful park so I'll run outside. 

 

I figure this an ok way to ease myself back into a good routine. One that I can hopefully maintain when I start grad school...

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The other important thing I have learned is to not get frustrated if you miss a day or get sick. Those types of things will happen, and getting frustrated only makes your motivation decrease. 

 

This is so true! And probably the easiest thing to forget. 

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That's absolutely fantastic! It's amazing how much better overall a person can feel after that kind of substantial weight loss. If you don't mind me asking, did you meet your goal through standard diet and exercise? I know many women love hearing these types of success stories because they're achievable through hard work, especially since women typically have a much more difficult time losing and maintaining weight loss.

Thanks so much for your kind words! I weight train at least three times a week, and try to get out for walks and runs but those are a little harder with two kids ;) I refuse to follow one of those trendy diets (and I suck at it), so I just try to make smart food choices. I did, however, cut out all starchy carbs except for at dinnertime (I love rice, pasta and potatoes too much to avoid them altogether!). I make all my own meals and avoid fast food and takeout for the most part (also to save money), with occasional treats of course. I just try to eat well and for nutritional rather than weight loss purposes. It was a hard groove to get into though.

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I need to start exercising regularly soooo badly! 

 

I was blessed with a great metabolism and generally good self-control. But that doesn't make me healthy...

 

Two years ago I was running semi-regularly. And then they renovated the gym at school and I haven't stepped foot in it since. I'm not sure what's wrong with me but I find gyms really intimidating and this one was a frickin' labyrinth before they renovated so who knows what it's like now. That first step is definitely the most difficult for me. 

 

So here is my plan:

- Start eating healthier: regular meals, enough veggies, less processed crap. (This suffered in the last month!) 

- Once classes and exams are over (in 5 weeks) I'll start exercising properly. If I get the research grant I'm waiting on from school I'll force myself to go to the gym. If I don't get it I'll be living next to a beautiful park so I'll run outside. 

 

I figure this an ok way to ease myself back into a good routine. One that I can hopefully maintain when I start grad school...

 

It is really difficult to work out, especially with how busy school can be. There was a time last semester when I was student teaching and taking classes, and I swear I had fast-food at least three times a week. It was awful. And, worse than that, most of the dinner meals I had were at 10:00 p.m., which really destroys a person's metabolism. 

Healthy eating is especially difficult, I think. What has helped me is that I really enjoy cooking, and so I like to look up recipes and try out new varieties. There are a ton of ways to use spinach! lol Though less emphasis is often placed on having regular meals, that can sometimes be the greatest detriment. I know that I gained the most weight, actually, when I had a semester where I was skipping lunch every day due to school and work schedules. I would come home, cook dinner, and just eat everything. When you start working out, or even when you begin your healthy eating plan, I know that many people swear by the eating smaller meals more often during the day plan. I've started having a stock of granola bars or nuts that I keep in my purse/bag. 

 

The best of luck to you! You should update us on what types of food you're experimenting with or trying out. :)

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It is really difficult to work out, especially with how busy school can be. There was a time last semester when I was student teaching and taking classes, and I swear I had fast-food at least three times a week. It was awful. And, worse than that, most of the dinner meals I had were at 10:00 p.m., which really destroys a person's metabolism.

Healthy eating is especially difficult, I think. What has helped me is that I really enjoy cooking, and so I like to look up recipes and try out new varieties. There are a ton of ways to use spinach! lol Though less emphasis is often placed on having regular meals, that can sometimes be the greatest detriment. I know that I gained the most weight, actually, when I had a semester where I was skipping lunch every day due to school and work schedules. I would come home, cook dinner, and just eat everything. When you start working out, or even when you begin your healthy eating plan, I know that many people swear by the eating smaller meals more often during the day plan. I've started having a stock of granola bars or nuts that I keep in my purse/bag.

The best of luck to you! You should update us on what types of food you're experimenting with or trying out. :)

I struggle with finding the time (and energy) as well. I find it's easier if I break my workouts into smaller routines. My entire weights routine takes just over an hour or so, so if I do half every other day, and sometimes with a rest the third day, I can still improve my fitness and manage my time well.

I love cooking and baking too! It's so fun to try new recipes and make up your own dishes, while saving money and improving on your diet.

Edited by *Jenny*
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Thanks so much for your kind words! I weight train at least three times a week, and try to get out for walks and runs but those are a little harder with two kids ;) I refuse to follow one of those trendy diets (and I suck at it), so I just try to make smart food choices. I did, however, cut out all starchy carbs except for at dinnertime (I love rice, pasta and potatoes too much to avoid them altogether!). I make all my own meals and avoid fast food and takeout for the most part (also to save money), with occasional treats of course. I just try to eat well and for nutritional rather than weight loss purposes. It was a hard groove to get into though.

 

That's awesome! What I love most about the way in which you achieved your goal is that you did so without any of those "lose weight fast" schemes or any monumental changes to your lifestyle. I think I would have the most difficulty with losing out on the carbs as well. I'm one of those people who, when thinking of a restaurant to go to, always chooses the place with free bread. lol 

Weight training has been the hardest exercise regiment for me to maintain. I used to do free weights with the boys when I was in high school (I was the only female wrestler on our team), but even when I had access to the gym, it was more difficult for me to stay motivated when it came to weight training than to cardio. This is where I agree with rj16; gyms, especially the weight area, has always been intimidating to me (more so since I stopped weight training in high school). 

Although I do not have kids, I have trained a few mom-triathletes for swimming, and they have a very similar difficulty. Their kids are still small enough that they have running strollers they use, but one of their kids is old enough that he always wants to "run with mommy." :) It's adorable, but I can understand how it can be a concern!

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Thanks for the encouragement! I generally enjoy cooking but I find that doing it for one is such a drag... I also have a really inconvenient schedule for regular suppers and I all too often end up buying food that I shouldn't. I just can't get a hang of packing suppers to eat before class. I hate eating supper really early but later isn't any better. 

 

Also, great idea about eating smaller meals more often. I think that might be something my schedule would go well with. 

 

Any suggestions for recipes I should try out? 

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Thanks for the encouragement! I generally enjoy cooking but I find that doing it for one is such a drag... I also have a really inconvenient schedule for regular suppers and I all too often end up buying food that I shouldn't. I just can't get a hang of packing suppers to eat before class. I hate eating supper really early but later isn't any better.

Also, great idea about eating smaller meals more often. I think that might be something my schedule would go well with.

Any suggestions for recipes I should try out?

My go-to is allrecipes.com. They have thousands of recipes for every meal and snack imaginable. I love it! You can sign up for a daily email and they send you recipes to try out :)

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My go-to is allrecipes.com. They have thousands of recipes for every meal and snack imaginable. I love it! You can sign up for a daily email and they send you recipes to try out :)

 

I'll check that out! thanks :)

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I go to allrecipes.com as well! It's great because you can change the serving size and input what ingredients you have or don't have. I also commit to the "color rule" my mom always swore by. When you have a meal, you want each part of the meal to be a different color. That way, generally you are forced to make sure you have at least one vegetable, but sometimes even two. For example:

 

Although I'm always really tempted to make baked chicken with a potato, the chicken and the potato are the same color. Therefore, I might make the baked chicken with broccoli, lima beans, or salad. Or, if I really want a potato, I'll have to get creative and make the potato into potato salad or something else that will change the "color." There are some times that this rule is broken, of course, but it helps me stay on track (and, in general, my dinners look more appealing!). 

Also, I have had to learn to take smaller portions. This goes out the window a little bit when you have a consistent exercise schedule (since it's worse to starve yourself when exercising than replenishing those calories). But, I have found out that I am more satisfied when I have a variety of food on my plate in smaller portions than a heaping helping, even if it's of my favorite thing. That way, even if I make too much food, there is just as much variety left over for the next day!

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That colour rule is genius! I will try to implement it. 

 

I find portion size to be one of the hardest things when cooking for one, aside from actually finding the motivation to cook at all. I don't want to go hungry so I always make a tiny bit more, but then it ends being too little for leftovers, which I'm not a fan of. And then I eat more than I need to. Typing that out made me realize  that it probably wouldn't be too hard to fix that habit! :P Another thing to work on!

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That colour rule is genius! I will try to implement it. 

 

I find portion size to be one of the hardest things when cooking for one, aside from actually finding the motivation to cook at all. I don't want to go hungry so I always make a tiny bit more, but then it ends being too little for leftovers, which I'm not a fan of. And then I eat more than I need to. Typing that out made me realize  that it probably wouldn't be too hard to fix that habit! :P Another thing to work on!

 

My mom swears by it! lol Just taking on a little at a time can make a huge difference! You can do it!

As for me. . . I'm running my first 5k tomorrow solo. Wish me luck! lol  :unsure:

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My mom swears by it! lol Just taking on a little at a time can make a huge difference! You can do it!

As for me. . . I'm running my first 5k tomorrow solo. Wish me luck! lol  :unsure:

 

Good luck!!! You'll do great! And enjoy it! :D

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Just an update: The 5k was awesome! It was really hot, though, and I took out the mile way too fast (excitement and nerves probably). I was hanging out after, talking with some of my professors who also ran/walked, and I heard my name called during the awards ceremony. Second place in my age group!! 

As someone who has been unable to run a mile since third grade, this is a major accomplishment. I have undiagnosed syncope (fainting), and so I haven't been able to run or exercise strenuously for years without the fear of passing out. (Exercise makes the symptoms/likelihood of it occurring worse). Last summer I started trying to run, used the Couch to 5k program, which was great since it worked up my endurance slowly but gave my heart plenty of time to rest. Since then, I've moved from running half a mile, to a mile, to a 5k almost every day. The most I've run is a 10k for practice, but maybe someday I'll be able to go even farther! 

Never give up, and don't let anything or anyone get in your way. 

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Just an update: The 5k was awesome! It was really hot, though, and I took out the mile way too fast (excitement and nerves probably). I was hanging out after, talking with some of my professors who also ran/walked, and I heard my name called during the awards ceremony. Second place in my age group!!

As someone who has been unable to run a mile since third grade, this is a major accomplishment. I have undiagnosed syncope (fainting), and so I haven't been able to run or exercise strenuously for years without the fear of passing out. (Exercise makes the symptoms/likelihood of it occurring worse). Last summer I started trying to run, used the Couch to 5k program, which was great since it worked up my endurance slowly but gave my heart plenty of time to rest. Since then, I've moved from running half a mile, to a mile, to a 5k almost every day. The most I've run is a 10k for practice, but maybe someday I'll be able to go even farther!

Never give up, and don't let anything or anyone get in your way.

How fantastic! Good for you! Races are so much fun. I placed second out of all the women in my 5k last summer. Like you, I've run 10ks for fun but I've never raced one. I hope to one day! I did the Warrior Dash up at Whistler a few years ago. Now that was intense, but so much fun!!

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How fantastic! Good for you! Races are so much fun. I placed second out of all the women in my 5k last summer. Like you, I've run 10ks for fun but I've never raced one. I hope to one day! I did the Warrior Dash up at Whistler a few years ago. Now that was intense, but so much fun!!

 

That's awesome! You can do it for sure!

You liked the Warrior Dash then?? I am hoping to do a Warrior Dash in October, and I have another obstacle race coming up in April. We had a blast at the Spartan Race in Georgia, so I was hoping to hear good things about the Warrior Dash as well!

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That's awesome! You can do it for sure!

You liked the Warrior Dash then?? I am hoping to do a Warrior Dash in October, and I have another obstacle race coming up in April. We had a blast at the Spartan Race in Georgia, so I was hoping to hear good things about the Warrior Dash as well!

It was fun, although it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. The hardest part was the HUGE mountain of a hill to run (labour) up in the beginning, but after that it wasn't as difficult as I was expecting (intense, but not as excruciating as they make it out to be). Of course, I was running 30K+ a week back then. I did it with my husband, who was not in shape then, and he thought it was absolutely brutal.

The food and beer at the end were great, though. :)

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It was fun, although it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. The hardest part was the HUGE mountain of a hill to run (labour) up in the beginning, but after that it wasn't as difficult as I was expecting (intense, but not as excruciating as they make it out to be). Of course, I was running 30K+ a week back then. I did it with my husband, who was not in shape then, and he thought it was absolutely brutal.

The food and beer at the end were great, though. :)

 

Food and beer are always positives! :) We had a pass for a free beer at the end of the Spartan Race, too, but we were too tired to drink it. I guess that's a good sign, though! lol This upcoming Warrior Dash is just the 5k distance, though someday I'm hoping to do at least a Spartan Super (8+ miles). My two obstacle course buddies aren't terribly in shape either (at least in terms of running), but it wouldn't be fun, I don't think, to beast through it all by myself. The best part, after all, for me was hearing my two buddies behind me, breathing heavily, but still able to talk about how, "After this damn race, we are getting pancakes at IHOP. No questions." And, "Come on, man. Just one more wall. Then we can get pancakes." :P

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Wow! That's incredible! Couch to 5k is such a good program.

I've been eating well and it's so nice. I feel really good. And it's amazing how fast I starting feeling better.

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