I started my MBA in 2015, around the same time that Meg did. Pursuing a master’s degree while working full-time at a demanding job is what I call a big fat challenge.
On average, I was spending four nights a week at school between classes and team meetings. Weekends were also dedicated almost completely to studying and more team meetings. Safe to say that my gym habits fell behind in the busy schedule and I slowly started seeing my pants getting tighter and my blouse getting smaller (hey they were changing, not me!).
Along with my lack of exercise came my new habits of eating. While I was able to maintain meal prepping most of the weeks, which gave me a good meal for lunch at work, I had most of the trouble at night where I was not faced with the healthiest options around school. Also, double supper was often a thing. And oh my favorite, the snaccidents. What’s a snaccident, you may ask? This is when you end up eating 4 slices of pizzas or 18 cookies or a family size bag of chips, by mistake. Oops!
Stress of course didn’t help, especially when you’re an emotional eater. I however often found myself finding lame excuses to not eat the salad or not go for a run: the weather (of course) or the lack of sun or the Pope was sick that week. All this to say, that under these circumstances it was easy to find myself trapped in a vicious cycle: ‘I’m busy, I can’t work out today. Ah, maybe I can have comfort food’ – which leads to having less energy, which reduces the motivation needed to work out as often as I can, which leads to lack of energy (again) and poorer meal choices.
In the middle of this chaotic mess, I found myself being hard on myself. Every weight gain comes with a difficulty to accept your new shape. It also comes with the lack of confidence of how you’re going to rock these new layers your body is accumulating. But I took two steps back and I learned to look at the bigger picture and to understand why all these changes were happening to my body. I was doing an MBA, damn it! I am doing something great for myself, even if it came with a small (or rather, medium) cost. The primary goal is to complete this MBA and the rest is reversible.
I also learned to be nicer to myself and to adjust my extreme wanna-do-it-all goals. I set realistic goals instead. For example, instead of aiming for 2-3 times work out sessions per week ( and feel bad if I couldn’t make it), I would aim for 1 time and the second time would happen if (and only if) it is convenient for me. I also learned to break the cycle if I saw myself getting sucked into it (which is easier said than done); I would always reset the second day and start fresh again. For the better part, that meant that I would be eating fast food in less than 48 hours – but hey! I kept on hitting that reset button.
Life throws lemons at you, and by lemons I mean big fat challenges. Focus on the big picture, and be kind to yourself because last time I checked, you were not defined by a size label.
photo source: http://themetapicture.com/friendly-scale/