Stress Gut and other ailments

Jul 20 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

I'd like to talk for a minute about this phenomenon wherein your body, in your hour of greatest need, turns against you. It doesn't matter how many hundreds of crunches you do, how many gallons of sweat your you lose in spin class, or how many freaking salads you have for dinner.  If you are under considerable stress and you are a lady, your body goes into Arctic crisis mode and decides to horde fat around your core like you're a baby seal trapped on an iceberg.

Body, are you listening to me? It is 95-100 degrees in New York this week. MY CORE IS WARM, I ASSURE YOU. 

God, it's maddening! Doesn't my body understand that on top of the stress of leaving my job, starting a new super scary one in which I have like, 100 times more responsibility, moving to a new city, draining my bank account to sign a lease on a new apartment, and leaving my boyfriend behind (more on that in a minute), the absolute LAST thing I need is to also feel fat?

This stress gut, I am not into it. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy, in a way, because I am now also stressed about having it. What's further upsetting is that I don't imagine my stress ending any time soon. Once the move is done, I will have to actually, you know, make a lab? I get heart palpitations just thinking about it. Thank god, at least, for the maxi dress.

Speaking of the heart, mine is also very sad because J is going to stay in New York for the immediate future, until he gets a job in NJC. After much back and forth, we decided that this was the responsible thing to do--in J's field in this economy, it's pretty much crazy to quit your job when you don't have another lined up. If he moved now to NJC with me, we'd be broke and he'd be miserable and bored, and I think it would be worse on our relationship than living apart will be.

J has found a lovely long-stay hotel in which to bide his time--just like Eloise, except for the part about the hotel being the Plaza. At first I was all, live in a hotel, are you crazy?!! But when you think about it:

1. No broker fee
2. No security deposit
3. No lease = leave as soon as he gets a job
4. No utilities
5. Housekeeping!

And all of a sudden, this is clearly the perfect solution! Maximum flexibility, minimum financial commitment. And with any luck, he'll be in NJC before I know it.


23 responses so far

  • namnezia says:

    Just give in to the stress and break out the Doritos — a junior faculty staple nationwide.

  • pinus says:

    I was told by a mentor that the first year of being a faculty was in almost all cases, the most stressful year of ones life.

    Have fun!

  • I tried so hard to convince Husband that I should move into a long-term hotel when he moved away (mainly because, um, HOUSEKEEPING!) and the whole no lease thing, so I could leave as soon as it was over. But seeing as how we're now in our third year of long distance marriage, I guess it's a good thing he talked me out of it.

    Thinking good thoughts for J finding a job ASAP (but I hope he really enjoys that housekeeping in the meantime)!!

    • Dr Becca says:

      Thanks, Julie! I'm staying optimistic that it will just be a few months, but of course, you never know with these things. I hope you get to live with your husband soon!

  • pyrope says:

    Having just survived year one of tt, I don't think it was as bad as people have made it out to be. My field is quite different from yours in that I don't have a lab to set up (just computers). But, I did start teaching my first semester. I think what helped me was to just keep my head down and try not to look past the week ahead for what I had to get done. Research got enough of my attention to keep projects from stalling, and this summer has been solidly productive as a result. As long as I didn't start thinking about 'everything that I have to do to get off to a good start to achieve tenure' and all the weight that that implies, it was fine. Don't spend time stressing about next week, just get done what you need to get done this week. You'll make it through. And, come the summer you'll have time to pick your head up and start making more longer-term plans.
    And yeah, I put on 5-10 pounds. I had to buy new jeans this spring. That sucked (sucks), but fortunately I love wearing dresses in the summer 🙂 And, maybe I'll manage to retool my routine this next year since I'm teaching the same classes for the second time...should free up some more evenings for the exercise bike.
    My general philosophy is that things are as good or bad as you make them. It seems like you've got lots of research experience and a broad support network, so there's every reason for your first year to be exciting and awesome. It will still be exhausting, but it'll be the good kind of exhausting (like exercising! maybe that'll persuade your body?)

    • Dr Becca says:

      Great advice, pyrope. I like this idea of just plugging ahead bit by bit, and not letting the volume of it all get to you. Glad to hear you made it through the first year!

  • Dr. Dad, PhD says:

    This is not good news to me - I'm still dealing with my pregnancy weight. My wife lost her's, but dammit if mine wants to hang around....

    In any case, I hope that your stress will prove to be a good thing, even if it only serves motivation to get sh*t done.

    One more quick thing - you're awesome and I know you'll make it. SO STOP STRESSING ABOUT IT. 🙂

  • DrLizzyMoore says:

    Once you start going through the steps in setting up your lab, it won't be so bad. Promise. Those butterflies in your stomach and glorious fluffy middle are part of the process..sorry Chica, can't talk around those. On the upside if you get into a regular workout routine in NJC-that will also get better. Promise. I'll be hoping that J will be able to move with you to NJC sooner rather than later ;)....

    • Dr Becca says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, DLM! My lab is like half a block from the swanky NJU gym, so I'm hoping I'll be able to sneak out for a quick workout on the regular. I just need to find a spin class that I love as much as mine here!

  • chall says:

    "you're a baby seal trapped on an iceberg"

    ahh... I'm a baby seal 😉 now, need to convi9nce the body that you're not stressed.... hmm...

    Good luck with the move, breathe and try and relax! You'll do great in the new place!!

  • pinus says:

    Eh, my first year was tough, but I have had tougher....definitely the toughest 'work' year. At times it was crazy stressful...after a couple of years with some is still stressful at times. other times, not so much.

    I think the key is to just keep on chugging, and don't be shy in asking for advice o help. I always like to remember this nugget of wisdom: "Nothing is ever as bad, or as good, as you think it will be."

  • JaySeeDub says:'s not the Plaza? Is it the Waldorf? They used to have nice extended stay facilities. I think that'd be a pimp solution. I remember trying to swing a further stay on the company dime at the Waldorf in my past life. They told me to use my housing allowance for an apartment. Boo.

  • Genomic Repairman says:

    Can you temporarily allow a parasite to take up residence in you?

  • Dr. Koshary says:

    Becca, you have my sympathies for the stress. However, honesty compels me to say that I laughed really hard at your baby seal simile. I think "MY CORE IS WARM" should be a new blogging mantra of some sort.

  • becca says:

    I've had stress gut and I've had ulcers. I prefer stress gut. But yes. MY CORE IS ALSO WARM!

  • Dr. O says:

    Ugh, I sympathize. Stress induces bloating, acid stomach and all other kinds of gut issues for me also. Seems to have gotten worse since getting pregnant and having Monkey, too. 😐

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