Since I went back to the student life, staying fit has been and still is a struggle. I was able to maintain my weight in first year, however second year has been really challenging in terms of being healthy, physically, mentally and emotionally. I lost my Dad in a blink of an eye and I lost my grandmother five months after. It was basically a year of focusing on sanity and on not dying.
Despite all of these I still try my best to survive medschool and be healthy, although it’s more like gravity keeps on pulling you down whenever you just reached a momentum. However, I keep in mind that health is actually subjective. There are standards set by the World Health Organization about the ideal body weight, body mass index etcetera. In an ideal world we would have all the money, food, and time to focus on our health but when shit happens, do what you have to do to keep you sane.
If you are like me, who has a tumultous relationship with food, and a genetic predisposition to getting fat, losing weight is a source of stress. Staying fit has been a struggle for me and it has affected my mental health for years. I have tried running, going to the gym, and dancing, but still, I gain weight.
Not everyone can afford a trainer, a nutritionist, or a metabolic disease doctor, especially here in my country. I feel like there is something wrong with my abrupt weight gain, but since there’s a lockdown because of COVID19, I can’t follow up with my Obstetrician Gynecologist. I have also just went through a series of treatments on my right ear, a minor surgery on my right hand, a dermatological issue and my allergies are getting worse. It is financially draining to tackle these issues on top of med school, the overwhelm just keeps on piling up.
The good news is, I am still sane. There still are times when my mental health just takes a toll, and it seems like all the hardwork toward wellness goes to waste, but we are still kicking. What I remind myself is, it’s okay to be a mess, to gain weight during the most stressful to date, year of my life. And also, I try my best to be grateful despite anything that I am going through, and luckily I also have a supportive partner who reminds me of the good stuff out there, and how not to lose hope.
I stay kind to myself and tackle things one by one. I just make sure that I am surrounded by people who support me all the time. Meditation helps evey single day. It just creates this white space to start off the day with less worries and more calm approach to everything. I have a gratitude journal as well. I pray for three minutes and then plan my day. I also do a three to five minute exercise before making a cup of coffee and watching videos on youtube.
Afterwards, I will study and then prepare for class. My solid morning routine keeps me grounded and healthy.
Since the food choices are limited for a dormer, I do my best to have a fruit or vegetable, protein, and carbs in my meals. I avoid junk food, and soft drinks. But when I am so stressed these really are my comfort food and, for now, I have to give in, because I will get crazy.
I also talk to my family and my boyfriend regularly, just to make sure that I am emotionally healthy despite the lack of sleep and daily mental exhaustion.
So am I healthy? Naaah. I AM NOT HEALTHY AT ALL. However, I do my best to be healthy everyday. When my energy is off I know that the balance is not there, so I make it a point to check if I am still doing okay physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I check myself on a consistent basis because at the end of the day, being a doctor wouldn’t matter if you are sick. That’s it.
Even if I keep on failing, I still think I am taking good care of myself. I don’t let the scale pull me on the dark tunnel of depression, or even my test scores. I can do better but I will love myself first, and love my dreams second.
How about you? Make sure that you are prioritizing your well being. Take good care of yourself so that you can effectively take care of others and be the amazing human that you are. It will get better.