I’m starting a new job in July (I’m a first year doctor) and I’m worried about fitting my healthy lifestyle into my new schedule. In the past few years I’ve gotten really good about my food and finding the time to exercise – I even took off 60lbs! – but now I’m worried that it’s all going to go down the toilet, because I’m not going to have any time to even breath. What can I do to make sure that I don’t lose everything that I’ve worked so hard for and still stay sane about it all?
Thanks, Desperate Doctor
Dear Desperate Doctor,
Firstly, I want to tell you how awesome it is that you’ve worked so hard and took off 60lbs! Secondly, you should know that taking off 60lbs isn’t easy and that you’ve already gotten through the really hard part, which is creating the habits and behaviors necessary to accomplish that. Your new schedule is just going to take a bit of adjusting to, but it’s nowhere near as hard as beginning from scratch (can you remember what that was like?). Speaking of starting from scratch, I’m sure that when you started all of this “healthy stuff” you began little by little, by taking baby steps, until you got to where you are now. So, starting your new job is going to be the same thing. Pick one thing that you are going to work on every week to make the transition as comfortable as possible.
Here are some of my survival tips:
1. Be kind to yourself and be as realistic as possible. Meaning, have the goal of maintaining your weight when you first start your residency. If you’re too hard on yourself and want to try to lose weight while you’re having so many changes in your life you’ll be really disappointed if it doesn’t happen.
2. You’re probably going to be faced with lots of new and stressful things, so make a note of the behaviors you engage in when you’re stressed, so that you don’t fall into their traps. If you tend to reach for food during difficult times be aware of this and catch yourself before it gets out of control.
3. Keep lots of prepared foods, such as cut up fruits and veggies, Kashi Bars, portioned out servings of cereal, yogurt, etc. on hand, so that you don’t reach for that Snickers bar out of the vending machine when you get off your shift and you’re starving.
4. Plan what you’re going to eat the night before. Having a plan for the next day will keep you from scarfing down poor choices in the cafeteria.
5. Take the stairs! You’ll keep your heart rate up, which means you’ll be burning calories throughout the day.
6. Keep a jump rope and resistance bands in your locker, so that you can sneak in mini workouts whenever you get the chance.
7. Get sleep whenever you can! When you’re tired your body will secrete hormones that make you want to eat, so whenever you get the chance to sleep, grab it!
Ok, so there you have it. My 7 survival strategies to help you get through this tough first year. I’m always hear, so give me a holler whenever you need anything!
Good luck, you’re going to be great!
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