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Help...some suggestions for your fellow Grok please.

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  • Help...some suggestions for your fellow Grok please.

    Okay, so it seems that whenever it's close to an exam for me, I tend to eat too much because of what I think is anxiety, worry, and just sick of the thought of sitting on my ass all day reading stuff. I have been good in that all the food I'm eating is Primal, whereas before I would get way out of hand with carbs, so I guess I'm grateful about that.

    This behavior happens when I'm home, and when I plan to get out of the house to study or when I come back home after many hours of studying and it's late. I have tried so many things to try and avoid this and change my behavior, but it's not helping obviously. I try to remain conscious of my goals, but even that does not seem to help. If I keep eating like this, I certainly am not going to reach the physique that I desire. Also, because of this, I get really really down and hopeless with myself, and this leads to losing motivation to be productive and exercise so at least I can expend some of the extra calories. The last couple of days I have been eating close to 2,500 calories, and I'm only 5'3" and about 130-135 lbs (I think so anyways, I haven't weighed myself in a long time).

    Okay, so really I am looking for suggestions on how to stop this. Maybe there is something that you do that makes you stop yourself in your tracks. That's something I need, but as I mentioned, I've tried so many things. The last attempt I made was wearing a ring on my finger to trigger something in my brain to stop, but here I am complaining, and I'm still wearing the ring....damn you brain, you're so powerful...just be on my side!

    I do pretty well in general, but it's just during this time, when I feel overwhelmed.

    Now, away from that subject. I have read a lot about fasting, and I think I need to do some fasts for the next couple days just to reset (I am in the process of one as I speak). I have read a lot from leangains, but there is one thing I am not clear on, and I am hoping someone can help. Is the 14-16 hour fast meant to be an everyday practice or just intermittent as it is so called, intermittent fasting. Maybe I overlooked that point. I also have read there are different views on the duration of the fast, and I guess past the 16 hour mark or so there is not much more benefit. In my case, do you think it's better to go for a longer fast?
    God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way...

  • #2
    I do a 24 hrs IF about 3 times a week. For me just skipping breakfast and lunch works well. I'm not super strict about watching the clock and timing myself. That just focuses your brain too much on food. I just go from dinner one night to dinner the next whenever that may be. I don't leave my tummy completely empty. I have some wheatgrass juice first thing in the am then push a lot of rooibos tea all day until dinner. Liquids will turn off the hunger alarm plus give your hands something to do.

    The best thing I've found to stop overeating is to get the f*&% out of the house as much as possible. Another self control mechanism is don't take any money with you outside the house so restaurant food can be as tempting as it wants, there's nothing you can do about it.


    • #3
      1. study smart, not hard

      by studying smart, you will gain more benefits of your studies in less time. studying smart requires these techniques:

      A. a quiet place;
      B. focused attention;
      C. limiting the time spent studying a given topic (20-40 minute bursts).

      the brain can only really focus on a given concept for a short duration of time, so long study sessions actually work against you. your mind wanders, and you usually end up day dreaming or stressing. by putting on a timer, you study what you can in the 20-40 minute sessions. then, you take a break. the break is important, and will be covered in the next section.

      In addition, you also need these lifestyle requirements:

      A. plenty of sleep;
      B. plenty of movement;
      C. nutritious food.

      I do not believe in all nighters or late night studying *unless* you are also working full time and raising a family, and even then, it's questionable. go to bed and get up at your normal times, and if you need more sleep, take it.

      in between study sessions, though, it's important to get movement. this allows the mind to integrate what you were learning -- to mull it over and make sense of it, to organize it, rather than be in a place of panic and memorization about it. you want to get the information in there so that, during the exams, you're in a state of "flow." You know this information, you don't have to worry about it.

      Taking a break -- and moving -- does the trick. it allows the mind to relax and the body to move and just gets the blood flowing! It can also help to just have limits. "I will not study after 6 pm" for example, frees you to study when you can during the day, and have time to relax. this decreases your stress -- which is imperative.

      2. Decrease Stress

      Decreasing stress regarding exams is important. i do this in three ways:

      A. positive thinking;
      B. reasonable expectations;
      C. avoiding study groups and "stress-talk".

      The first one is just reassuring yourself that you can do this. You are smart, you can learn this information, and you can do well on the exam. To an extent, it's just saying "I've got this, i can do it." when you put your mind in that state, you begin to emotionally relax from the "OMG I DON"T KNOW IF I CAN PASS THIS EXAM AND IF I DON"T I"M GOING TO DIE!" mentality that people seem to hold about exams. if you have been keeping up in class, keeping up with the homework, done well on essays or other exams, there's no reason to believe that you won't do well on this exam. so, there's no need to stress about it.

      The second one is about having a reasonable expectation. being that i took a lot of subjective examinations in university and law school -- essay exams -- you never know if the teacher is going to "buy" your argument or like what you have to say. this can impact the grade, and so at a certain pont, you really do have to take the "I'm doing my best" process. This means, don't stress about the grade itself -- it's out of your control. Think about, instead, what you can control. You can control how muhc you know and how well you communicate what you know.

      i cannot emphasize enough to people how group studying is the most ridiculous process on the planet. first, it largely becomes an "i'm stressed" bitch fest. second, it becomes a "i study harder and have more flash cards than you do" pissing contest. third, misinformation can be perpetuated, and everyone fails that part of the test. and, finally, they are a massive time-suck. it takes way more time to study in a group than it takes to study on your own. *way* more time. so avoid study groups.

      another aspect of this is socializing properly during study/exam times. *do not socialize with your classmates.* first, they will be talking about how stressful it all is. second, they'll be in pissing contests about who studies more and who is more stressed. and third, they will compare notes about the exams, and in so doing, confuse the hell out of you "did i answer it that way? i don't remember! OMG I FAILED!" no, just get out of that headspace.

      hang out with people who are not in your classes (and if possible, not in classes at all). hang out with people who want to talk about other things, anything other than whatever you are studying and exams. just socialize without having to think about the exams.

      it helps to get out of the "stressed out" mind set.

      people were amazed at me in law school.

      this was my daily schedule: i would leave home at 7 am, and get to the pool by 7:45. i would swim from 8 to 8:45, then shower and head over to the school (about 5 minutes from the gym). I'd get to school at 9:15 or so, and review my notes for class. I would take the class (usually 1 hr) until 10:30, and then spend 30 minutes doing my homework (reading cases and making notation briefs in the margins). then, my next class would be at 11, and i would spend about 5 or so minutes reviewing my notes. i would take my second class, and then spend 30 minutes after that class doing homework. then, i would have lunch, during which time i would not talk about school. my third class was usually at 1:30, and so i would review notes before and take that class. after class, i would do my homework for 30 minutes. At this point, it is 3 pm. i would then go to the library and find my favorite hidey-hole. i would spend 30 minutes reviewing the day's class notes and homework, contextualizing each class. that's 10 minutes for each class, mind you.

      Then, i would go to the pool and swim from 3:45 to 4:30 (or go for a run or bike ride, though at this point, i was a swimming addict. LOL i still love it. such a stress reliever. i would drive home, teach yoga locally, and head home after that. i never studied after 3:30 and never studied on weekends.

      when it came to exam times, i would create the outlines then. i felt i had a better sense of the whole context, and since my notes were contextualized daily, the outlining business just wasn't necessary. people's outlines often had a lot of fat in them -- things you didn't need for the exam. so, i would organize my study schedule around my exam schedule. typically, you take 6 classes per semester, and so you have 6 exams, and typically they are spread out across the week pretty nicely -- with only one a day. not a bad deal, to be honest. and we typically had a study week in between the last class and the exams.

      so, i would spend study week studying on the day of that week that corresponded with the next week's exam. On monday, i would study for exam 1 only. then on tuesday, i would study on exam 1 and 2. then on wednesday, exam 1, 2, and 3. on thursday, i would study on exam, 1, 2, 3, and 4. on friday, i would study for exame 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. on saturday (the only time i broke the no-studying-on-weekends rule) i would study for all of them.

      the focus on the first day that i studied for the given exam was to spend about 1.5 hrs outlining the whole class. it usually took this long or even less, to be honest. i would divide it into two or three chunks of time, with equally lengthened breaks in between. if i worked for 40 minutes, i would walk for 40 minutes. then, i would return. a lot of the time, though, i could just get the outline done in one sitting of about 40-45 minutes. then i would take a break. that break might be as much as a couple of hours during which time i would go for a walk, possibly eat if i was hungry, go to a movie even. anything that would "take my mind off" of the studying. allow the brain to integrate the material.

      later that day, i would review the notes and outline together, for about 40 minutes, then take another break, this one usually shorter. go for a walk, go on the internet a bit, call a friend on the phone, whatever. after about 40 minutes "away" from my studies, i'd go back and spend another 20-40 minutes studying those notes. I did all of this before 5 pm, without fail, because i had to go teach yoga anyway. i would go to bed early.

      on the next day, i would spend about 20 minutes reviewing exam 1's material, then take a short break. i might review exam 1 over breakfast, even, and then have my tea in quiet. then, i would start exam 2's 45 minutes of outlining. at the end of that time, i would take a break for about 10-15 minutes, then do another 10-minute review of a portion of exam 1's materials. then, i would take the long break. after the long break, i would return and check the outline and notes for exam 2. after doing that, a quick 10 minutes for exam 1, and then a break. another review of exam 2 and exam 1, and then go from there.

      as you get closer to exam time, the amount of time spent on that exam's information is actually less and less, because the cumulative amount of time spent on it (and mulling it over) is greatest. but, it is also true that less time is spent on the later exams as well, because after you take an exam, you have more time to study for the remaining ones. kwim?

      end of the day, graduated with honors, while only studying about 2-3 hrs per day (in 30 minute chunks), and then studying about 4 or so hours per day during the exam weeks.

      while some may need more or less time than this, it makes it much easier.