Grad Student getting back on track... lots of questions!

Hey everyone,

I’m a returning user after falling off the band wagon when I got into grad school. Successfully lost 30lb using MyFitnessPal in undergrad but have since gained 25lb back with the stress of the new school. I want to lose the weight again and do it the right way this time.

I’d like to ask some advice for how other busy students (or others in general) have balanced losing weight / cooking healthy / staying motivated etc with their workloads. Sometimes I feel like I can’t focus if I don’t eat enough and my coursework is really study/memorization intensive. Does anyone else feel that way? Solutions you have found? This is probably one of my biggest concerns.

Additionally, would love to know a reliable / reputable site that calculates your TDEE. What does everyone use? I’ve tried about 4 different sites that have all given me conflicting information and I’d like to set a solid goal.

Lastly (finally!) how do you guys recommend working out to maintain muscle mass during the process? I didn’t do any of that last time I lost weight and I feel like I lost a lot of muscle instead of fat. I have time to go to the gym 1-2x a week but would also be willing to try some workouts at home.

Thanks for sticking with the long post. I would appreciate any advice you guys have to offer!!


  • cheryldumais
    cheryldumais Posts: 1,907 Member
    I'm not a student but thought I would comment anyway. For myself I use exercise to handle stress. I generally just walk outdoors if at all possible and find that lowers my stress level. For food when I first started my program I used alot of Lean Cuisine. I know it isn't the healthiest choice but it is a measured portion. I filled in with fresh veggies and at least I was able to manage my calories that way. If you like tuna it is a great protein and very low calorie if you buy the one in water. I also use the snack portions with rice crackers at 145 calories per package. As for the fitness stuff, I'll let someone with more experience comment on that. Good luck and welcome back.
  • brendanwhite84
    brendanwhite84 Posts: 220 Member
    edited January 2018
    ha1eyed wrote: »
    Additionally, would love to know a reliable / reputable site that calculates your TDEE. What does everyone use? I’ve tried about 4 different sites that have all given me conflicting information and I’d like to set a solid goal.

    I ran my numbers through 4 online Mifflin-St. Jeor calculators and got answers within 15 calories of one another - that's a pretty negligible margin.

    I've always found Mifflin-St. Jeor accurate for me although I was underestimating my burn due to a natural fluctuation in my BMR; I'm a statistical outlier, having a slightly faster metabolism than most. I had that variation quantified by a study I did with my local university's Kinesiology faculty. Since getting my numbers figured out I've been able to tweak my body mass and composition as I intend to.

  • French_Peasant
    French_Peasant Posts: 1,639 Member
    For preserving muscle mass, here is a good thread with a wide variety of programs listed:

    There are both programs you can do at the gym if you can fit it in a couple of times a week, and body weight programs that you can do at home on maybe a couple of other days. But if you are at a school it is always nice to take advantage of the equipment.

    That's great that you are taking muscle preservation into account. It's been a long time since I've been in grad school, but I find that even today when I am puzzling through some intellectual problem, a good lifting session or brisk walk/bike ride can clear my head and help me take a fresh perspective, as well as providing a way to deal with the considerable stress of an advanced degree.
  • me0231
    me0231 Posts: 218 Member
    Full-time student here with a part-time job. It's definitely not easy but I've managed to drop 40 pounds since April with about 12 to go. Juggling the time is tough, but then it's really what grad school is about in my opinion. It's all about managing your time effectively and spending the on important stuff.

    I weigh everything, but I keep it easy and quick for food especially towards the end of the term. I generally only cook for dinner and that's often just a protein and vegetables. Takes me half an hour to make dinner and wash up tops. I keep cheese, cold cuts, veg and dip and also protein bars and shakes on hand when I just need a super quick bite.

    I have my lifting workouts scheduled like a class and they do get done on that day at that time 95% of the time. I usually go in the middle of the day when the gym is quieter and I don't need to wait around for equipment. The only thing that suffers more than I like is regular walks. I try to go for quick ones to get a break from studying, get some fresh air, grab coffee, etc. But to get my 10k steps in, I'd need at least an hour with my otherwise sedentary lifestyle and that is just not always possible.

    As for motivation? I want to rock a nice dress at graduation, completely shallow but there it is. I hate looking at my undergrad graduation pictures and I promised myself that I won't look like that ever again.