Why I decided to go on my first real diet while studying for the Bar.
By K Hernan • June 10, 2008•Bar Exam
All advice I received for bar study strategy said that you eliminate all obligations, responsibilities, and distractions from your life before BarBri starts. Bar study, I was told, will demand every brain cell and every free minute of your life. On the first day of BarBri a rep from the company even told us that we shouldn’t take time to grocery shop or get hair cuts and that we should basically outsource every aspect of our lives to our personal support system of friends and family.
I took this advice to heart. I prepped my spouse for months and months before hand that I wouldn’t be available to help with family responsibilities. I warned my family that they wouldn’t be hearing from me and that I would be absent from all events for three months. I was ready to disengage from life with the exception of my books, notes, and practice tests.
Here’s the thing with this strategy, I am better at juggling four balls than three. I perform better when I am busy and multi-tasking. I think that many women are like that. We are naturals at doing more than one thing at a time. Therefore, I found that focusing on one thing wasn’t enough for me. I needed to be ‘managing’ my time in order to get the most out of myself. However, at the same time I didn’t want to take on any big responsibilities (at least not any more big responsibilities -- remember that I have two kids) or take on something where other people would be depending on me in a way that would interfere with my ability to rely on myself. I decided to embark on a diet plan for essentially the first time in my life.
I set a reasonable weight loss goal of a pound per week. I started thinking about healthy eating, counting calories, drinking water, and eating small meals (really snacks) instead of meals. I weighed myself everyday. I didn’t really increase my exercise time because, well, because I didn’t have more time to exercise. I didn’t skip breakfast or lunch or try to cut out caffeine. Those were things that I needed in order to be able to study. However, I did skip a lot of dinners because I was not really a night studier anyway. I tried a lot of diet foods like slim fast bars and the like. In the end, I was successful each week with the exception of 3.
I found that the amount of energy it took to count calories, think about food choices, and fight off hunger pains was just the right amount of energy that I had to spare. I kept me engaged in something besides studying which was crucial for me and it was something that took daily effort on my part. At the same time, my own personal diet wasn’t anything that was life or death; it wasn’t something that interfered with studying. It was just enough of a challenge to help me keep my sanity. I know other people that used their extra energy to knit a sweater or spent time writing blogs. Whatever it is for you personally, I recommend you to go against the grain and keep some balls in the air if juggling helps you perform to your highest potential.
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CC_NC June 10, 2008
I completely agree. Just studying for the bar is going to wear you out, physically and mentally. I found a diet was too much work for me personally, but I did start going to the driving range once a week and going to the gym a little more. It really helped my state of mind to stay active! Good luck to everyone studying for the Bar!
mimigaribian June 12, 2008
Here's another perspective, which applies to many bar-related postings on this blog…just chill out and know you'll be fine. I lived my normal life (a part-time job, a social life, etc), attended most (not all) of the Barbri classes, did nothing extra after or before class, and then studied for less than two weeks at the end. It worked just fine. Obviously, this approach is not for everyone. But, one of the most stressful aspects of the bar exam is how much everyone hypes up the preparation aspect and freaks themselves out. People take all sorts of approaches and pass the bar exam.
JurisDomina July 01, 2009
Weird enough…I must agree. The first few times I took the Bar I wasn’t working at all, stayed at my parents with my daughter being my only reponsibility. I didn’t pass the Bar even though I had time to spare especially during the day while my daughter was at school.
This year having more responsibilities forced me to manage my time. I got married, now I have two kids, husband, and a full time job. Guess what ? I passed the Bar. It’s amazing, I didn’t cut out anything in my life, did the usual, and passed the Bar.
But all glory goes to God, I noticed that made a huge difference in my life as well.