Jenny it sounds like you've taken some great steps already! Kudos to you for that! You are beginning to drink water, you've joined a gym, you've stocked your freezer with some healthier alternatives, and you have found -- and, more to the point, USED -- an enormously important resource in any successful weight loss effort: a support community.
Where I think you're misstepping is in falling into an "all or nothing" frame of mind. Sister, I'm here to tell you, "That way lies madness." Don't set yourself up for heartache and disappointment like that. Build on these baby steps by:
1. Acknowledging that the gym probably isn't going to see too much of you over the next 3 weeks -- and t.h.a.t.'s. O.K. Maybe you could commit to going twice? Or even once?? Just for a half hour even, so you refresh your memories of it being a good feeling to work out and won't seem so long ago since you did it when you get back into it 3 weeks from now.
2. Pulling those healthy eats OUT OF THE FREEZER and cooking them so you have healthier alternatives ready-made. A lot of us have a lot of experience with this, so if you need any ideas, turn to us. Additionally, get some other lowfat alternative snackies that are portable, and make a commitment to yourself to turn to them instead of something that you know is fattening, even as it's convenient. After eating the off-plan food you're just as full as if you'd had the on-plan food, but now you're mad at yourself or disappointed. Initially, the on-plan thing might not be as appealing or convenient, but after eating it, your conscience is clean, you feel a stronger and more positive sense of self, and you're making steps to creating permanent healthy eating habits that will show when you're losing sizes and increasing your energy.
3. When you do need to eat a meal out, don't fall into that, "Oh well, I'm not really living on plan 100% now -- or not as I'd envisioned it -- so I'll just eat things that make me happy until I can focus on this full-time 3 weeks from now." Follow Howie's great suggestions above. Additionally, a deli is always a great find, because you know exactly what you're getting, and can create a healthy sandwich and still be full at the end! See, the thing is, these 3 weeks are going to pass regardless -- so in the meantime, why not make a little progress in weight loss and a lot of progress in feeling in control. It's that, or continue with the "all or nothing" gig and gain more weight and find yourself in 3 weeks worse off than you are now, feeling like crap about the decisions you made to eat larger portions of unhealthy foods, and wondering why the **** you did that.
4. At some point your studying in your room now, right? What about taking a 10 minute break twice a day to turn on some music and walk in place, or jump rope, or do jumping jacks? It would help your energy during this stressful time, clear your head for your studying, help out your metabolism, and burn some calories to boot!
5. Even with all you've got going on now with school, it's still possible to really "get in the moment" when you're making a decision about your next meal. Be conscious of what your goals are and ask yourself if what you're eating -- or how much -- is in keeping with what you want the most. Ask yourself if it's worth it. If you're really honest with yourself, you'll know that it isn't.
6. Shoot for "more" right choices rather than "all" right choices in your eats, water consumption, and physical activity. It totally sounds like you're not set up currently to get it all right at present. That's ok, but it doesn't mean you have to have a big plate of a couple of cheddarwursts and french fries. You know?
Do what you can, and don't beat the crap out of yourself if you do something that you regret. At the same time, find that balance that keeps you from letting yourself off easy just because it's harder to manage right now. What are you going to do when school starts again in the fall? Or when you're busy with your internship (CONGRATULATIONS, by the way!!) If it's all at the most stressful now, start with a compromised plan (I'm finding I have to do that now, and I feel much better than when I wasn't on plan at all! I swear.
) and then build on it this summer so when school starts up again, you're not right back where you are now, with no coping skills or routines or healthy preferences developed to bolster you and keep you on track when it all hits the fan again.
I really hope I've helped you here -- and that you take all of this in the spirit in which it is intended. None of us got fat with good habits or healthy choices, so there's a real process we each have to go through to put that behind us and move forward into a new, self-loving way to live. Without making any of those changes, you won't develop the skills to weather the hard times and you'll end up with more oversized, unhealthy meals and frustration that you can't manage your time and resources to set yourself up for success.
There's so much information and knowledge here among us. I give you major props for turning to us, but now it's up to you to really listen to what we have to offer and learn from our own experiences. There are folks here who are doing it while working, going to school, raising kids, and finding some time with their spouses or partners!! It can be done! The thing is, just starting out, who the **** KNOWS how to approach the thing and manage their time and organize their foods and eke in some exercise wherever it's possible -- we aren't BORN knowing this stuff!
So that's why we're here for one another. We're always learning from others' experiences. But then it's putting it into action, and making the hard choices.
My very best to you -- I know you can do this. You don't know me, because I haven't been very present here for a while, but I used to post quite regularly. I lost 78 pounds in 8 months by consistently making the choices that were in alignment with what I wanted the most. I wasn't perfect, but I kept moving forward.
And you can, too, Jenny.