Thank you so much! I read your message this morning, and it helped me get a good start to the day. My goals for my blog are to share what helps me, what I learn about health and fitness, and to engage with wonderful people =))
Everything turned out fine, phew. I’m so grateful for everyone’s support and encouraging words.
I normally don’t post the instant I feel terrible, for fear that this post will be visible on my main page long after my emotions pass and exist as a reminder, a blemish.
Basically, my exam today didn’t go well, and I probably failed. I prepared as well as I could, as well as my judgement deemed fit, as much as it took for me to feel confident walking into the lecture hall today. But still…I was so confused.
I can’t believe grades mean this much to me these days. I guess to me higher grades validate that I’m keeping up with the crowd, doing my job as a med student well, and am learning a lot. My school is pass/fail btw, so it’s designed to not be competitive and too stressful.
I’ve thought about why I was confused, the topics I needed to review, and ways to study better for the future exams and Step 1. But I don’t want to talk about that right now.
As I was walking home, up my 1/2 mile with an incline of what feels like 70%, I asked myself, “Sure, grades and scores are important to me now. But if I lived 10 years longer, what would really still be important then?”
My answer, “That I graduated from medical school, completed residency, and became a practicing doctor. That I helped all the people I could as a medical student. That I formed mentorships and friendships. That I fell in love, twice. That Benjamin was my best friend. And that I could do something that is undoubtedly good for the world.”
So sure, I may have to take a test over again and have it interfere with studying for boards. Yes, many of my classmates are more effective at studying than me and have found what works for them long ago. But, I’m going to be fine and should try to be as happy as I can be. Being sad, worried, or stressed (when you can help it) doesn’t change any of the facts, so why suffer.
As my 24th birthday grew nearer (Did I not do a birthday post?!! It was Dec 13th) and 2014 came closer, I decided I need to check where I’m at. I went to Student Health and had appointments with a doctor, nutritionist, and psychiatrist.
At this time, I was in a rut of all sorts…I hadn’t lost any weight (goal has been to lose 5 lbs since June 2013), I was having a tough few weeks in school, and negative thoughts about myself were destroying my focus. I wasn’t in the worst of shape, but I felt like everyone around me was achieving their goals and I couldn’t even make any headway with mine. Anyways, I learned very crucial information from my check-ups!
Doctor’s appointment/Physical check-up:
Me: Dr., I’ve been a strict vegan for a couple years, and am concerned about my Vitamin B12 levels.
My Vitamin B12 levels were low! The normal range is 200-1000 pg/ml. Older adults can have symptoms from deficiency at levels 200-500 pg/ml. I was sitting at 250 pg/ml! It’s not a huge surprise because I’ve been vegan for a couple years and don’t take regular supplements. But this was so crucial to know because if I had kept going, I would have become deficient. So now I take a Vitamin B12 pill 4x a week. Vegan-friendly sources of B12 include nutritional yeast and apple cider vinegar. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia, and chronic deficiency damages nerves (I was not anemic). So please please, if you are also vegan, request a Vitamin B12 blood test next time you’re at the doctor’s!
Me: I’m vegan, and I haven’t been losing weight.
The student health nutritionist told me that, “Vegan is not her favorite diet,” and “she was vegan for a while and gained a ton of weight.” She looked at my food diary and basically told me I was eating too many carbs. She didn’t emphasize counting calories or anything because fats, carbs, and proteins do entirely different things in your body. Basically, all calories are not created equal. She advised me to focus on proteins and healthy fats. For example, I could give myself a big serving of peanut butter and a piece of toast for breakfast. Or a salad with beans and a whole avocado for lunch.
She also said that I was working out too much. I work out 5-6 days a week with a day of yoga. She advised me to take a couple rest days which allows your mind and body to relax. If you’re working out constantly, more cortisol (stress hormone) is released causing you to feel anxious and tense.
Although I found her difficult to talk to, I still took most of her advice. Since December, I’ve been eating A LOT more healthy fats. I feel less bloated, a little weight loss, and feel full for longer. Some easy changes I’ve made include eating nuts for snacks instead of crackers, bread, or crisps. I’ll have nuts twice a day, about 200 calories each serving. I also avoid putting grains in my salad. and instead flavor it generously with avocado, olive oil, and sunflower seeds. I also can eat dark chocolate as a snack too! Try flavors that only have around 5g of sugar per serving. I eat SO much peanut butter and almond butter, it’s great. I literally go through a jar in 7 days.
Psychiatrist/Med Student Well-being counselor:
Me: Dr., I keep comparing myself to other people, have cried 4x in the last month, and need to focus and study for Step 1 better than I’ve been doing.
He basically told me that I needed to indulge in relaxing activities more. But I was like, “No Dr, I can relax fine…I need to FOCUS and WORK more!” Funny concept…relax more, to get more done =). The take home messages for me were:
I’m really glad I took the time to meet with all these professionals who helped me determine my baseline for mind and body health as I move forward. I have more direction and tools handy to deal with stress and to make better decisions.
Have you had your regular check-ups or check-ins this year?
All the best,
That’s awesome! I’ve practiced for 3 days…BUT from forum lurking, internet shopping and searching…It seems like Brine is a popular and respected brand. I bought an intermediate STX stick/head.
Anyone have recommendations?
If you’re at a plateau, you’ve probably have already made significant progress! Congrats! Try taking a break from heavy and long exercise for a week and just eat very clean. Then start up with your regular work out again. Or, adjust the focus of your exercise- if you do more cardio, now focus more on weight lifting…or vice versa. As long as you eat well, changes in your workout plan will not make you lose any progress soon (i.e. gain or lose weight). Also think about doing high intensity interval training like jumping, sprints, circuits that include pushups-burpees-tuck jumps in a row. If there’s any area of fitness that you’re weaker in, work on that until the plateau yields.
Basically: To relax and to focus…
1) Youtube channel. At least give it a real shot.
2) Be a better family member: speak kindly to parents, and have 1 meaningful conversation with little brother per month…hopefully he’ll cooperate.
3) Focus when I study/work: less facebook, online shopping, but still take necessary breaks. Keep the productivity going.
4) Stress less: Stop comparing myself to others. Just stop the thoughts in their tracks. I’ve already made significant headway here, but more needs to be done.
5) Blog 1x per week.
6) Practice piano 1x per week.
7) Make and stick to an meal plan.
8) Enhance my closet with more eye-catching tops and fitted clothing.
No problem! I’m going for a 45 minute tempo run in the morning (10 minutes easy, 25 minutes at 10k speed, and 10 minutes easy), then 100 push-ups, and 2 sets of 3 core exercises. All starts at 6:30am!
What’s your plan? Don’t let the holidays weigh you down!