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JLMARTIN922 SparkPoints: (1,684)
Fitness Minutes: (1,110)
Posts: 31
12/3/13 1:05 P

Night shift is definitely hard on diets! I had the same issues. After some experimenting and talking to my doctor/boss I've figured out what works for me. The only way I don't feel starved all night is to cut out almost all carbs and eat a lot of protein rich foods like cheese, almonds, and the occasional yogurt. Also love the Adkins Advantage shakes, they're great in a pinch and yummy and stave off my hunger for hours.

SMSWATZEL36 SparkPoints: (166)
Fitness Minutes: (45)
Posts: 3
12/3/13 12:24 A

Yours makes sense too. I also flip back and forth. I work 3 12s one week and 3 12s plus an 8 the next week and then when I'm off, I flip to day shift. I am looking for tips for my struggles. When do you fit in your exercise?

SMSWATZEL36 SparkPoints: (166)
Fitness Minutes: (45)
Posts: 3
12/3/13 12:22 A

I just typed this whole message of how to balance working nights and all that. I am superstoked that I found your post. I am a night shift nurse and even though I don't do the whole 7 days thing....that actually sounds kind of nice, I like your eating plan. It makes alot of sense. :D Thank you for sharing that.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
2/7/13 9:24 A

I worked at a pizzeria 3 p.m. - 1 a.m. and used to get my dinner at 2 a.m., and lunch was at work at 8 p.m. Just rotate your eating times, and count a 24 hour period.

What I had to do was set up mealtimes, and pre plan all my meals. Then I ate exactly what I planned, at exactly the time I planned. After 3 weeks, it becomes a habit, and you will feel ready to eat at the right times.

KMINEHAN77 Posts: 20
2/7/13 5:16 A

You all are describing my life! It is nice to know that I am not the only one who struggles with this!
I am an emergency dispatcher as well. I work 2 days and 2 nights a week. I never get enough sleep, because how do you train your body when your schedule changes like that? And how do you sleep when you work at night but your children don't sleep in the day?

The more I read, the more I am learning that being well rested is key to weight loss. Chronic sleep deprivation slows your metabolism, and being tired makes you hungry. I eat like a monster after I've worked a night, and I make terrible decisions! My weight loss is painfully slow, and I'm becoming convinced that sleep is the missing link for me.

We have a unique challenge here.

One thing to remember, is that your daily calorie intake is only daily so it is easier to remember. So long as you stay at your average for a week, you should still see results. So, on the days you are up for 20 hours, allow yourself some extra calories, so long as you shave a few here and there throughout the week. On your home days, try to work in some exercise, then bank those cals for your night shift. I alternate between 1100 on my "I slept at home last night" days and 15-1600 on my "I'm practically sleeping standing up right now" days, and try to earn a few on the stationary bike on my "weekends"

Helpful snacks for me :
Pistachios (lot of work for just 110 cals)
Jolly Time popcorn (lot of bulk for just 100)
Flavored tea (I like chai, warm and cinnamon-y... Is that a word?)
Tootsie pop (might I suggest the candy cane ones) 60 cals and it takes a alf hour to eat
Any in season fruit. Oranges are A-maz-ing right now. Practically candy for like 60 calories
I make smoothies with chia seed and a ton of fruit on my home days. It doesn't help with the mindless/boredom munchies, but it definately helps with actual hunger

What are your go to snacks in the wee hours?

Good luck out there fellow night shifters!

RN34NURSE SparkPoints: (928)
Fitness Minutes: (115)
Posts: 2
1/27/13 1:41 P

I am also a nurse doing shift work, and I have adapted the same kind of schedule, tracking from 0000-0000. eating something small every 2-3 hours. it keeps me from experiencing hypoglycemic episodes, and keeps me from getting extremely hungry. even on the busiest nights I force myself to make time for a snack. it works great.

AJLAVOIE Posts: 155
1/26/13 8:42 P

Oh God... Thread leader you just nailed 99% of my caloric intake issues. My word, woman, am I ever in the same boat. Only I don't "under-eat"... I over-eat.

See, my body works on the usual 24 hour clock. I've been doing this job for 2 years now (911 dispatcher) and I STILL can't get used to it. We work 2 days (7am-7pm) then 2 nights (7pm-7am).

My issue is that when I work nights, I wake up never later than noon. Sun's up, body's up. Can't nap. This means, I'm up from noon to about 8am. Just ridiculous. But this also means I have more hours away, ie hours to eat!! I suppose drinking water/chewing sugar-free gum (but I hate aspartame), eating popcorn, etc. are all good tricks, but it just seems I'm always at risk of going over.

What do you guys do when you've got way long to go and only 200-300 hundred calories allotted?

Example : it's 9:38pm right now. I've been up since 9am this morning (today is a night shift, yesterday was a day shift). I'm at 900 calories now. Limit is 1200-1300. I've got 9:30 hours to go. I know I should have held back... but 900 calories at 9:40pm is usually quite low!! It should be nearing bed time!

What do you guys do when you've got plenty to go, and no calories allowed!

Edited by: AJLAVOIE at: 1/26/2013 (20:45)
ONELITTLEPILL SparkPoints: (71,864)
Fitness Minutes: (42,408)
Posts: 1,056
11/25/12 5:00 A

I also work 3rd shift, 7 days on, 7 days off. I usually have a healthy choice type dinner about 2am, an apple or banana, light string cheese or pudding, fiber one bars, sometimes popcorn throughout my shift. I usually try to keep it under 500 calories after midnight. I sleep as soon as I get home (7:30-ish), get up around 2 or 2:30- make some fried eggs or PB on a sandwich thin, work out (INSANITY) for an hour or however long it is for that day, shower and usually have a chicken breast or something similar on my way to pick up my kids after school at 4:30. A few little snacks and a decent dinner around 7:30 or so before I go in, and it works out great for me. Good luck with this!!!

SUNSHINE6442 Posts: 2,301
11/24/12 7:41 A

Sodium, sugar and carbs stall weight loss and also give you cravings.

Always eat a carb and a protein 2 hours before bedtime to balance your blood sugar, something like one bread stick with seasame seeds and 1 ounce of cheese, oatmeal & blueberries, cottage cheese and matchstick carrots and a bread stick.

Cottage cheese if low in fat and high in protein. One cup of low fat (1%) cottage cheese contains 163 calories, 28 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fat.
Since cottage cheese is high in casein protein it is the perfect food to consume before bed. Casein digests more slowly than other types of protein and hence can supply the muscles with a steady stream of amino acids while the body is alseep,
Cottage cheese has between 25 to 30 grams of amino acid producing protein, which is an efficient fat burner

Eating a high-protein meal without accompanying carbohydrates may keep you awake, since protein-rich foods also contain the amino acid, tyrosine, which perks up the brain
These are foods high in the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan:
Dairy products: cottage cheese, cheese, Seafood Meats Poultry Whole grains Beans Rice Hummus, Lentils. Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Eggs, Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds

Sleep is an important factor for your health, as much as diet and exercise," says University of Chicago researcher Kristen Knutson, PhD, who has studied sleep and diabetes.And most sleep deprived people don't snack on fruits and vegetables, Knutson points out.... she also points out Too little sleep can raise your diabetes risk. If you already have diabetes, sleep loss can undermine blood sugar control. Poor sleep worsens diabetes and may even help cause it
Diabetes itself can cause poor sleep in several ways. High blood glucose can wake you up to urinate, while low blood glucose can wake you with hunger

MAKING_LEMONAID SparkPoints: (121)
Fitness Minutes: (205)
Posts: 2
11/24/12 2:41 A

I've been dealing with the same issue. I work tues-fri nights, and am trying to figure out how to coordinate eating the way I'm supposed to on the nights I work and then how to switch it back to a "normal" schedule for the 3 days I'm off. emoticon The way I'm figuring it is that i'm going to pack myself a lunch to eat about 12 or 1am and then maybe have a small small snack when I get home before I go to bed (I usually end up feeling near starved by the time I get home from work) and then have "breakfast" about the time my son gets home from school at 3pm, and "dinner" before I head to work about 8:30 or so pm, and pack my lunch at that time too. I'm starting that schedule tomorrow, so we'll see how it works! :)

MWEBB0210 SparkPoints: (1,872)
Fitness Minutes: (22)
Posts: 16
10/5/12 8:57 A

That does help. Thank you! I always pack my lunch with me but my problem right now is I work from 5 30pm to 4am 4 days a week so I as well switch from days to nights but where I'm struggling the most at is I'm hungry when i get home but don't want to eat because i know I'm going to bed soon and then when i wake up im not hungry and normally don't get hungry till about 8 or 9pm and sometimes not at all and I'm struggling to make myself eat and as you know being in the healthcare field and working in an ER its sometimes hard to find the time to eat but thank you for the advice.

RMURROCK Posts: 17
10/4/12 4:15 P

I am a nurse and I work 3 12 hours night shifts per week. I flip back and forth from a days schedule when I'm off to a night schedule when I work. I find the best thing to do is count your calories from midnight to midnight--that way you have a reasonable way to track what you are eating. For work I pack things like soups, veggies and hummus, yogurt, apple slices and I try to eat every 3-4 hours. I stop eating at 2 because I am off work at 6am. Hope that helps!

MWEBB0210 SparkPoints: (1,872)
Fitness Minutes: (22)
Posts: 16
10/4/12 3:30 P

Since I have been working night shift my eating and sleeping schedule is so messed up. I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to help me get my eating habits converted over. As of right now I'm not getting hungry through the night and I know I'm not eating enough to keep my metabolism working. Thanks!

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