Q&A: “How can I stop gaining weight in nursing school?”

Thinkstock | iStock
Thinkstock | iStock

Dear Nurse MER,

I am SO busy. As a junior in nursing school, I am running back and forth between class and clinicals. I barely have time to breathe, let alone exercise, and I am gaining so much weight.

I am 15 pounds heavier than freshmen year. How can I get back down to normal with such a busy schedule?

–Junior 15

Dear Junior 15,

You are at a very important milestone in your life. You are no longer an 18-year-old–you’re an adult who must learn to take of him/herself, even in times of stress. This is your trial run. This is your time to formulate good habits of self-care, habits that will be with you for a lifetime.

It seems to me that you have two choices. One choice is that you could pretend that you are still that same 18-year old, that you can continue to foster the same eating and exercise habits, that you can brush the adult necessities of sleep and renewal under the rug. The other option is to accept that you are changing and growing.

You can start to listen to the needs of your body. Take a serious look at the foods you are eating and how you are feeling when you eat them. You can start paying attention to your signs and triggers. How are you reacting to stress? You also may need to reconsider your stress response and work on changing habits that aren’t suiting you.

Fifteen pounds is not the issue here. Weight will come and weight will go throughout your entire life. Whatever. The ability to learn to recognize that your choices may be detrimental to your health is the true work here.

You must learn that your brain does not always know what’s good for you. You may need to dig deep as habits can be quite ingrained. You may want to start keeping a “stress response journal” or start a five-minute mindful meditation practice. You may want to join a yoga studio or spinning class.

You will need to manage your time impeccably so that you can always have time for you. Fill that space with something wonderful. Do it every day.

You’re worth it.

Nurse MER

Got a question for Nurse MER? Leave it in the comments below and she might answer it in a future article!

Like us on Facebook and join the Scrubs Family