Nursing school and weight gain?

  1. So I've been reading the thread: "What did nursing school do to you?" and I'm getting worried because a common complaint was this 20+ lbs weight gain...

    What's with that? What would you say is the main cause of that?

    I go to the gym for an hour 5 days a week early morning, like at 6:30am. Is it realistic to expect to still be able to do that during nursing school?

    thanks! :-)
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  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   Cinqly
    Quote from waterlily
    So I've been reading the thread: "What did nursing school do to you?" and I'm getting worried because a common complaint was this 20+ lbs weight gain...

    What's with that? What would you say is the main cause of that?

    I go to the gym for an hour 5 days a week early morning, like at 6:30am. Is it realistic to expect to still be able to do that during nursing school?

    thanks! :-)
    I don't see why not! It takes a little time and effort to maintain a fit and healthy body. However, if health and fitness is an important part of your life, then you'll MAKE time for it.

    Main cause: I bet that a large number of people who report weight gain in nursing school (or any school or new profession for that matter), probably didn't work out, and turned to quick-fix food, such as junk food and fast food. No wonder they gained weight!

    As long as you make a concerted effort to remain active and healthy, I would think that you'll be find. Pack lunches to take to class/clinicals so you'll be prepared, and not tempted by cafeteria food or vending machines! Also, you can always put a few flashcards in front of you when you are doing cardio, or listen to lectures on your iPOD when you are in the weight room. That way you'll make good use of your workout time. Or better yet, use your workout/exercise time as a brief hour AWAY from class and studying! You'll thank yourself in the end! There's really no good excuse. In fact, nurses and health care professionals SHOULD be in shape, eat nutritiously, and be the model of helath! Anyway, hope that helps!
    Last edit by Cinqly on Dec 14, '06
  4. by   Alexsys
    Quote from cinqly
    I don't see why not! It takes a little time and effort to maintain a fit and healthy body. However, if health and fitness is an important part of your life, then you'll MAKE time for it.

    Main cause: I bet that a large number of people who report weight gain in nursing school (or any school or new profession for that matter), probably didn't work out, and turned to quick-fix food, such as junk food and fast food. No wonder they gained weight!
    I never ate junk food and I still do not. However my workout schedule was messed up due to class and clinical start times (clinicals started at 6 as MOST schools do, so good luck trying to keep a 6:30 am workout there) Studying takes up a lot of time as well. so by the end of the week, a person can be wiped out on top of the fact that many of us worked while in NS. I didnt gain much weight (10 lbs) but lost it all before graduation. You can be surprised what determination can do. You may just have to switch your workout to another time of day. NS WILL take up the majority of your time, even away from class. I bet people that think that it is THAT easy have not been to NS, no wonder they are so quick to generalize those that have been.

    I think that all you have to do is rearrange your workout schedule around school and study time and you should be fine, but seeing that clinicals start so early , 0630 may not be realistic
  5. by   momathoner09
    I used to be like you before I started nursing school. I wouldn't say that I have gotten lazy but I think that I generally move around less being in nursing school. Before I started I was working in a wellness center where I got paid to teach classes and jump around most of the day. Now I sit in class for 3-4 hours 4 days a week. Also it is hard to study w/a bag of carrot sticks...for me anyway. Sometimes it comes between sleep and working out and so I choose sleep. I would say that I have gained maybe 10 pounds since august so that is not too bad. There just aren't ever enough hours in the day when you are in nursing school b/c you could always study more..speaking of which I am going to the gym today b/c finals are finally over! umpiron:
  6. by   Cinqly
    Quote from Alexsys
    I never ate junk food and I still do not. However my workout schedule was messed up due to class and clinical start times (clinicals started at 6 as MOST schools do, so good luck trying to keep a 6:30 am workout there) Studying takes up a lot of time as well. so by the end of the week, a person can be wiped out on top of the fact that many of us worked while in NS. I didnt gain much weight (10 lbs) but lost it all before graduation. You can be surprised what determination can do. You may just have to switch your workout to another time of day. NS WILL take up the majority of your time, even away from class. I bet people that think that it is THAT easy have not been to NS, no wonder they are so quick to generalize those that have been.

    I think that all you have to do is rearrange your workout schedule around school and study time and you should be fine, but seeing that clinicals start so early , 0630 may not be realistic
    It's a generalization, yes, but in all reality ANY schooling, and often a new job or personal situation, saps people of time and energy. However, I am not quick in making that generalization. It is based off of personal experience in the field of health & nutrition, working with clients that commonly experienced weight gain in these situations, including nursing students. My opinion is also based off of my own experiences as a student, and indeed, a soon-to-be nursing student, as well as the many, many complaints I have read on this forum of nursing students (and students in general) gaining weight and having inactive lifestyles while in school.

    Most things don't stay the same for long, and if we don't adapt to new situations (i.e. changing a workout time), then things aren't going to work out. And I never said it would be easy. In fact, it's much harder to try and keep a healthy lifestyle on top of everything else that one does, student or not! There are no easy solutions, and one answer doesn't work for everyone. In order to eat healthy and workout, you have to find the time to actually do such, just as in order to become a nurse, you must go to school and sacrifice your time and money to become one. I think it is much harder to live an active, healthy lifestyle. I simply stated that you have to prioritize and make it a goal. If you don't do that, it will be too easy to fall into bad habits. Additionally, in my opinion it is extremely important for nurses and medical professionals to develop good habits early on, as their schedules upon gradution are often as hectic as during school.

    Having attended school before, I did work while taking classes. Despite that, I completed my first undergraduate degree in 3.5 years, I attended classes full time, usually 18-20 credits a semester, and still found time to work, study, practice (sometimes as much as 5-6 hours a day), workout, and have a social life. I was the queen of prioritization, though, and still am. Now, as pre-nursing, I totally realize that nursing is not easy, and takes TONS of your time and effort. However, I really think that although it is difficult, you still have to make health a priority. It is what gives you the strength and energy to complete every other task. I know that the more you have going on, the less time you have for things like working out (or eating healthy, for that matter). However, even with children, a job, and being in school, you can make it work. If you are dedicated and manage your time well, you can make anything work. I was simply going off the fact that so many people on this forum have posted of their weight gain "woes" during nursing school, partly due to bad eating and inactivity. Also, in my experience working in the health and fitness industry, I find that the reason many people gain weight in new situations (school, a new job, marriage) is simply a lack of prioritization. They dont' make an effort to keep themselves healthy.

    Ultimately, I would just recomend that you do the best you can. You don't have to be perfect, you just have to try. Make the best choices you can regarding food, and try to as active as possible. In reality, you don't have to go to the gym to get a great workout. Just find something that works for you, whether it's at the gym, at home, at a class, or in the park. Also, as I mentioned before, you can use your workout time as study time. Make it work for you!
  7. by   Alexsys
    Quote from cinqly
    It's a generalization, yes, but in all reality ANY schooling, and often a new job or personal situation, saps people of time and energy. However, I am not quick in making that generalization. It is based off of personal experience in the field of health & nutrition, working with clients that commonly experienced weight gain in these situations, including nursing students. My opinion is also based off of my own experiences as a student, and indeed, a soon-to-be nursing student, as well as the many, many complaints I have read on this forum of nursing students (and students in general) gaining weight and having inactive lifestyles while in school.

    Most things don't stay the same for long, and if we don't adapt to new situations (i.e. changing a workout time), then things aren't going to work out. And I never said it would be easy. In fact, it's much harder to try and keep a healthy lifestyle on top of everything else that one does, student or not! There are no easy solutions, and one answer doesn't work for everyone. In order to eat healthy and workout, you have to find the time to actually do such, just as in order to become a nurse, you must go to school and sacrifice your time and money to become one. I think it is much harder to live an active, healthy lifestyle. I simply stated that you have to prioritize and make it a goal. If you don't do that, it will be too easy to fall into bad habits. Additionally, in my opinion it is extremely important for nurses and medical professionals to develop good habits early on, as their schedules upon gradution are often as hectic as during school.

    Having attended school before, I did work while taking classes. Despite that, I completed my first undergraduate degree in 3.5 years, I attended classes full time, usually 18-20 credits a semester, and still found time to work, study, practice (sometimes as much as 5-6 hours a day), workout, and have a social life. I was the queen of prioritization, though, and still am. Now, as pre-nursing, I totally realize that nursing is not easy, and takes TONS of your time and effort. However, I really think that although it is difficult, you still have to make health a priority. It is what gives you the strength and energy to complete every other task. I know that the more you have going on, the less time you have for things like working out (or eating healthy, for that matter). However, even with children, a job, and being in school, you can make it work. If you are dedicated and manage your time well, you can make anything work. I was simply going off the fact that so many people on this forum have posted of their weight gain "woes" during nursing school, partly due to bad eating and inactivity. Also, in my experience working in the health and fitness industry, I find that the reason many people gain weight in new situations (school, a new job, marriage) is simply a lack of prioritization. They dont' make an effort to keep themselves healthy.
    NS takes up MORE time than just ANY program. It is much more time consuming. To say people that gained weight during NS probably pigged out on junk food and just didnt exercise is just plain generalizing. In your second post, you stated that was your experience, which you failed to state in your first post. As I said, this coming from someone that has not been in a nursing program yet. You will see how going through NS is different than obtaining a different type of degree (when you get into NS) I do not disagree that health should be a priority, but we all didnt pig out on junk food simply because we went to NS

    Anyway..

    To the OP: Just rearrange your workout schedule a bit. But dont quit exercising
  8. by   PurrRN
    I had posted on a previous thread about gaining weight this last semester (1st semester of NS) so I'll just let you know my experience.

    Everyone hears about how hard nursing school is, but it's just that it's "difficult" in ways that you can't understand untill you actually DO it. Now that I kind of know how things are going to go for me, I can take steps to plan for diet and exercise. One of the other posters said it was about planning and I have to agree. I didn't make a plan for diet and exercise, so that was one of the first things that went by the wayside when I got behind and stressed.

    On my clinical days I got up at 0400, got three children under 5 up and dressed, to the sitters by 0530, on the road at 0550, clinicals started at 0630. This next semester my clinicals start at 0600.....time is a cruncher and if you dont plan for it, it can be easy to fall into the habit of grabbing high calorie snacks for on the run times.

    During my break I'm going to concentrate on what I'm going to do next semester to help me be successful in losing/not gaining anymore weight. It's just that my experience taught me that it's going to take more structured input and planning on my part than I usually put into thinking about food. Does that make sense? I hope so, anyway good luck in your endevors.
  9. by   WickedRedRN
    I worked out regularly before NS, and was able to work out through most of the 1st semester. BUT, once clinicals began, and in the 2nd semester (which was packed into a summer session btw) sleep and study became the priorities. I am also a mom to a 6yo and worked part time. By this last semester, I was able to work out sporadically.

    Exercise, for me, helped clear my head and recharge my batteries in the 1st semester. I wish I had had the stamina and ability to keep it up in the last part, but like I said, sleep became the priority. I was averaging 3 hours a night at best.

    That being said, last Monday was my last final. Once I realized I did not have anything to do looming over me, I hit the gym with my husband. Had a great 2 hour workout and finally am getting back into the routine I want.

    I wish you well, if you can schedule your time well, you should be able to find time.
  10. by   Cinqly
    Quote from alexsys
    ns takes up more time than just any program. it is much more time consuming. to say people that gained weight during ns probably pigged out on junk food and just didnt exercise is just plain generalizing. in your second post, you stated that was your experience, which you failed to state in your first post. as i said, this coming from someone that has not been in a nursing program yet. you will see how going through ns is different than obtaining a different type of degree (when you get into ns) i do not disagree that health should be a priority, but we all didnt pig out on junk food simply because we went to ns
    this is a public forum. 95% of the posts are opinion. it's fine that you don't agree with me. i don't agree with what you say. however, i don't feel the need for anyone preface each of their posts with the statement "this is my opinion so be sure to take it with a grain of salt." it's simply understood that a forum is just that, a public medium for an open discussion of ideas and opinions. you have to consider that not everyone thinks the same or has the same background, and that your experience doesn't trump that of anyone else. i realize that i am reading, for the most part, peoples opinions and experiences, and that they are not necesarily the last-say on a particular subject. but i do respect their opinions.

    as for my first post, you obviously did not catch the subtly of my words. i said: "i bet that a large number of people who report weight gain in nursing school (or any school or new profession for that matter), probably didn't work out, and turned to quick-fix food, such as junk food and fast food."

    this clearly implies that:
    1) by using the word "bet" i am wagering, or theorizing on this topic.
    2) by saying "people who report weight gain" i am referencing the people who have already voiced their opinions on this topic, and have in fact reported weight gain. i am clearly not lumping just nurses together, as i state that this also commonly occurs with other students and professionals. rather, i am hypothesizing that from what has been said (much of it on this forum), that the two main reasons for weight gain are poor eating habits and lack of movement.
    3) by using the word "probably" i am clearly saying that this was what i think likely happened. take that word out, and i would have made a very definitive statement. however, since it's there i am only theorizing.
    4) i did not limit my observation to only nurses. i clearly stated that many people who start something new, such as nursing school, any other school, or a new job, often find themselves in situations of limitation. this limitation usually is one of time and resources.
    5) i did not say that anyone "pigged out" in any of my posts. in fact, i said nothing at all about the quantity of food consumed, merely about the quality. people can just as easily "pig-out" on healthy food!
    6) by saying that people often turn to "quick-fix" foods, i used junk-food and fast food as an example and relate that by saying "such as". if people did not do this, then there would be nary a vending machine or mcdonald's to be seen. i was merely stating that the likelihood exists. for me, "quick-fix" foods are typically fruit, fresh vegetables, and pre-prepared meals. however, that is not the case for many.
    7) finally, the evidence from this very forum:
    -"and gained a lot of weight from all those late nights and unnecessary eating sessions."
    -"i gained 10 pounds and lost considerable muscle mass."
    -"i gained around 50 to 60 pounds...out of nursing school since may but have kept the same eating habits (food for comfort and much easier than excercise)."
    -"i, too, gained 35 pounds during nursing school. however, i have not lost the nursing school weight. in fact, i have gained an additional 10 pounds by way of eating fast food on the run and living a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle."
    -" i'm starting back to school in two weeks and have been contemplating my 5 lb. weight gain last semester. my downfall is dinners...we seem to be eating drive-thru more often than not. i'm sure that contributes a lot. we all make good choices for breakfast and lunch but dinner is a problem."
    - i have probably gained 10lbs from eating out of the vending machines and at burger king! too tired and lazy...lol to exercise"

    in all i feel that i clearly gave my opinion. you just don't agree with it. and that's fine. i don't agree with your opinion that a nursing program is more difficult to handle than "any program". you obviously worked very hard throughout your studies, and took them very seriously. that's wonderful. however, as hard as it is to believe, nursing is difficult but it's not the only college major that's difficult and time consuming.

    i think that there are many other degrees that suck up a lot of time, and although i'm not in the nursing classes yet, from my experiences (aka in-my-opinion) i think that it will be hard, but manageable. everyone is different. for you, it may have been very difficult. i just find it rather narrow-minded to think that "ns takes up more time than just any program". there are many degrees and disciplines that have as much "practical application" as a nursing degree. what about pre-med? they take many of the same classes, including many more difficult math and science classes, and most pre-med students immerse themselves in the field through jobs and internships to make themselves more appealing to med schools. or how about music? music students take a huge number of 1 credit courses that often meet a minimum of 3 hours a week, usually meeting for 6-10 actually hours a week. musicians also spend up to 6 hours a day practicing their instrument. or what about education majors? the spend several semesters student-teaching and often have classes that require observation and hands on experience, which is always outside of classroom work. or what about foreign language students that are required to spend countless hours in the lab? many disciplines involve a ton of practical application, as well as schooling. most undergraduate programs are all about 130 credit hours, no matter what major! anything outside of that 130 credit hours is practical application, may it be clinical or something else. i think that it is ridiculous and rather narrow minded to think that only a nursing student will have a schedule that "will take up the majority of your time, even away from class". i have the utmost of respect for students of any major and discipline, and it is my opinion that any student should work hard, and try to make the best effort to balance their studies, social life, and personal time.

    if your opinion is that nursing students work the hardest, so be it. however, if you were to ask my opinion on the same subject in year, i can guarantee that it will be the same. and it will still be my opinion.

    anyway, this is the last i'll say of this. if you have any other concerns about this matter please pm directly so that we can give the op the thread back. i think that aside from this, everyone seems to have great advice for the op, and i really hope that you'll be able to make things work for you! good luck!

    oh, and here's a good thread to look at:
    http://allnurses.com/forums/f240/hea...ng+weight+gain
  11. by   Alexsys
    Hey, I am not the one getting uptight. You made a general statement about the eating habits of nursing school students. I contradicted it and you turned it into a debate with your long posts ( ). I am speaking from experience as an ex nursing student that graduated.(Something some people obviously have not done yet) But its cool. I sang that same song before I went to NS. I have already read that thread thank you very much

    To the OP: Do what works for you but 0630 workouts may be out of the question. Any chance for exercise after class?
    Last edit by Alexsys on Dec 14, '06
  12. by   raekaylvn
    Wow... those were some long posts! I'll be honest, I didnt read them lol

    OP: I wouldn't worry too much about your weight. The majority of my classmates have reported weight gain to us all, but thats because we need energy to think and the closest food source in theory is a vending machine and McDonalds. I have actually lost weight since NS started. Weight gain/loss really depends on the person. When I stress, I don't eat. Hence the loss of weight. Maybe cut back your working out days to those when youre in theory only. Clinicals are a workout in themselves. I find myself exhausted when I get home on clinical days! Just avoid junk food and you should be fine.
  13. by   tiredmom
    final semester= 4 total pounds=18 total grey hair=759 hours not slept=many friends left (outside school) 2? promises owed to my kids=25
    yup, nursing school!!!!!:smilecoffeecup:
  14. by   Cinqly
    Quote from tiredmom
    final semester= 4 total pounds=18 total grey hair=759 hours not slept=many friends left (outside school) 2? promises owed to my kids=25
    yup, nursing school!!!!!:smilecoffeecup:
    18 grey hairs?!? or 759??

    And I apologize to all about the long posts. I wouldn't have read any of my longs posts either, but some things needed obvious clarification! I promise it won't happen again!!!

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