27 and a PhD

Home » Me » Ugh. I’m on this evil thing again. Crap

Ugh. I’m on this evil thing again. Crap

Welcome to my blog!

Hello there, awesome reader. My name is Dr. 27. I'm older than that now, but I'm staying faithful to the origins of the blog.

This blog started 2 months before completing my PhD in a pretty southern university back in 2009. It was a way to practice my writing and take a break from all things thesis. My PhD is in a branch of structural biology where I studied some rather impressive stuff.

After completing the degree, I packed my life of 6 years in 3 days and moved to Canada to do a postdoc in a completely different field. Two years later, and after attending a lot of seminars, workshops and doing some much-needed soul-searching, I ended up getting out and looking for an alternative path to academia and industry.

The blog chronicles my mishaps, ideas, musings and tips on entering, staying and finishing grad school. It also talks about some (or a lot) of personal stuff. For a while, the blog became a place to talk about the frustrations of not knowing what to do after PhD. I wanted to explore alternatives to the traditional paths of research (academia, industry and goverment) whilst going back to my field of training (if at all possible). Eventually a job materialized. Follow my quest as I navigate the waters of being a staff scientist at a core facility.


September 2013
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It’s called diet and exercise. Or fitness regime. Or whatever the fuck you call losing all the weight you gained while doing a PhD and a postdoc.

Soooooo, back in the first trimester of 2013, as I was on my way south from the shire of York, I decided that I needed to lose these pesky 50, or 60 or 80 extra lbs I have hanging around me. Around my boobs (I used to be a 36C and now I’m a 42D …. da fuck, it’s worse than if I was preggers). I have a waist circumference greater than that of Mr Dr 27 and I’ve got even more stretch marks than a teenager, all due to rapid weight gain. I’m at a loss. I feel tired all the time. I don’t sleep well. I snore. I feel like a giant blob. Ugh. Yeah, ugh.

I started going to the gym. Was doing both cardio and weights and was losing one pound or so every week. Then I fell off the wagon. And gained it all back. Granted, I’d only gone from 206lbs to 195 … but still.

I know, I know, that we shouldn’t necessarily believe the BMI numbers and percentages. But I see pictures of the time I was below 160lbs … and I look so happy. My clothes fit. My posture is much improved. My boobs don’t look like they’re overtaking my chest. I even had a waist, regardless of what my UG mentor thought.

I  wasn’t a size 14 going on 16. And I was 1.5 shoe sizes less. WTF is wrong with me! And I was in a physiology and anatomy department during my PhD!!! Fuck, there were like 15 million seminars on belly fat and good body fat vs bad and cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome every single day of the week in my former department!

I’m killing myself and I don’t know how to stop!!! I eat all sorts of crap. Sure, I do eat meatless on most days. But I eat just as much as my husband. And he’s 6ft tall. And just because I don’t eat meat, it doesn’t mean I don’t have the need to fill my belly.

I’ve done weight watchers in the past. I did lose some weight. Almost 20lbs. But gained it all back. And 20 more pounds. I can’t afford a personal trainer. And to top it all off, I need to fit in a certain dress for my wedding next year (I’ve already bookmarked another dress that can be shipped in my size, in case I don’t drop all the pounds by the time I need). Good thing I only spent $230 on my wedding dress (though you wouldn’t believe me if I showed it to you). I can always sell it. But it would suck BIG because honey has already seen it and loves it and would love to see me wearing it.

Soooooooooooo, today, Tuesday Sept 10th, 2013 … on the 18th anniversary of my paternal grandfather’s death  due to a massive heart attack (he was 64; due to complications of diabetes … even though he regularly checked his blood glucose levels, and measured and weighted everything and was slim)  …

I Dr 27 and a PhD, do solemnly (but begrudgingly) swear to eat better and exercise. (fuck)

I can’t promise I’ll lose the 50lbs needed to fit in the dress (and not have the gut just take over in every single wedding picture) in time for the wedding. (double fuck)

But I do think I’ll lose some of the weight. (oh, who am I kidding … fuck).

I promise to eat fruits and veggies, lean meat and more veggies.

I promise to stay away from my regular soda.

And eat hummus and low fat cheese.

And drink water (clear coloured, not with HFCS, soda, ice and a lime wedge … aka Coca Cola or Pepsi .. regular please)

I’ll try to work out 30 mins every day of the week, so long as my legs and arms cooperate.

And I’ll try to give it my best.

But I anticipate I’ll give up more than once.

And run into the arms of my two friends Ben and Jerry.

Or anything that’s on sale at Publix. Or Kroger. Or both.

I promise to complain every day until the blessed day in 2014.

Ugh … who am I kidding … this is like climbing Mt Everest, naked, without oxygen, or boots.

And somehow I hope to make it.

Who am I kidding … I’ll fall flat on my face.

This is like imposter syndrome .. but worse.

Because I’ll have to look at my mirror.

And see the disappointment in hon’s eyes when I don’t reach my goal.

I’ll never be fit again …

I. just. want. to. be. healthy. and. look. hot. once. again. Srsly.

I hope I’m not kidding myself. Well, maybe I am. I’m lazy and I get bored and tired easily.

But fuck, I need to see this gut gone. I need to get down to a C-cup (though I’ll balloon again to a D should the husband and I have a spawn).

I’m tired of being another statistic. Another unhealthy Hispanic woman. But fuck, this is tough.

And this is how I’ll look from now until early next year:



  1. Alexandra Paun says:

    Oh honey, don’t dispair! And don’t start by thinking you’re going to fail. I think it’s great you’re doing this to be healthy and not just to look better.
    My sister lost 16 lbs in a couple of months by going off carbs. She ate meat, veggies (a lot), but no potatoes, rice, pasta, wheat or sweets. Some fruits low in fructose were her go-to dessert. She looks fab and is keeping the weight off. But she did say that sugar withdrawal was hell for the first two weeks. It’s like an addiction, i know it! But after you’re past the craving phase, you don’t want it anymore, and you also find high sugar foods disgustingly sweet. I can personally attest to that.
    Stay strong! Don’t give up!

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Thanks Alexandra!! I’m going with mostly fruits, veggies, lean meat 2x/wk and doing 30 mins exercise. So far it’s not so bad … except the part of getting off my butt and out of bed to work out.

      Honey and I are doing this together. He likes to get the blood flowing and likes to not be out of breath. So his reason is mostly to stay healthy, though he doesn’t have to lose any weight.

      We’ll see how it goes. Mostly I posted this semi-rant to try to stay accountable for what I’m doing from now until early next year. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks for your kind words and recommendations!

  2. What if you just reminded yourself everyday, in a kind, loving, gentle way, that “I am healthy and hot”! Why not?

    Think back about positive, lasting changes you’ve made in your life, even if it’s something seemingly small like flossing your teeth everyday when you used to never do it. (My example.) How did you manage to do that? Maybe the answer is something like, “One day at a time (though some days I forgot), because it was extremely important to me to be healthy. It wasn’t easy, but it’s just how I live my life now.”

    Make the goal(s) small, positive, realistic, and tie them to your core values (i.e, make them meaningful to you).

    Sending you love and strength vibes!

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Thanks Jennifer! I greatly appreciate your kind words and encouragement. Indeed, I’m trying to remind myself about how this is good for me, how it takes one day, one day at a time and it will slowly add up. I compare this to a breakup. At first you’re crying and sad and want to call your ex all the time. But it takes one day at a time, one smile, one joke, to slowly but surely move on.

      Will keep y’all posted on how things are going.

  3. Anka says:

    First of all – good on you for having a backup dress. Hopefully you love it, and honestly I’m pretty sure Mr. 27 will love seeing you all done-up for your wedding, no matter what dress you pick! Also – next time you splurge on yourself – get a bra that flatters your shape the way you look now. Go somewhere fancy-ish and get measured. It makes all the difference.

    Second, as a losing-the-thesis-weight person myself, I’ve found that going slowly is working best. Changing my eating habits has made WAY more of a difference to my weight than exercising. (I do exercise, because it’s good for me, but ultimately I can’t exercise enough to burn off all the calories I want to eat!). I’ve switched to only water (no juice or soda) and got myself some unsweetened flavored fizzy water as a treat. I limit dessert to twice a week, cuz I can’t cut it out all the way. And I allow myself 1 snack a day. Back in my calorie counting days, I discovered that I ate reasonable portions at mealtimes, but the would rack up the calories snacking. Now I keep various 100 calorie snacks available at home and in the lab and I get 1 a day. If you haven’t calorie counted before, I’d recommend doing it for ~1 week just to see where you tend to overeat (snacking, big portions, late night hunger, etc), because that def helped me target key bad habits without going nuts obsessing about everything I ate.

    • Dr. 27 says:

      I haven’t tried to count calories, but I think most of them come from snaking and big portions. So I’m focusing on switching to fruits, veggies, simple stuff, whole grains and no juice or soda and see how I adapt to it.

      Mostly the entry/rant was about trying to stay accountable.

      I told hon today about the dress and I usually rush to do something. But he stopped me from selling the dress and said to keep it, if by December I’m nowhere near where I need to be, then get a new one and sell the one I have now after the wedding. We’ll see where we are in December.

      Fingers crossed and thank you SO much for your kind words and advice 🙂

  4. BananaFurby says:

    You can do this!
    I’ve been going to the gym regularly for ca 2 months now and have almost given up soda (1 bottle in the weekend is all, along with 1 plate of chocolate). My best advice is to keep a water bottle around at all times so you get into the habit right away. It’s hard at first, but gets easier fast!
    – and if I can you certainly can 😉
    I only work out 30 min twice a week, but even that makes a huge difference, gives energy and much, much better sleep.

    Also, my research group has organized a 30 min jogging session (any speed you like) each friday at 3 pm. It’s actually a lot of fun and a great way to finish the week. That might be something to consider.

    Rooting for you!!

  5. chall says:

    Small steps will make big marks over time! Take it slow and be kind to yourself. Good luck with the plan!

    (I have started lookingover my food, once again, since I realized that I’ve started eating more and faster lately. Stress will do that to me…. silly but it makes the circle to eat more etc.. ah well, I take it one day at a time. Brining lunch to work helps me enormously though. Less need to snack etc. I’m having fingers crossed for changes to show in December)

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