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Some advice on starting shift work and healthy eating

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Old 12-25-2010, 05:20 PM   #1
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Default Some advice on starting shift work and healthy eating

Okay my fellow chickies....I need some advice.

In mid January, I will be starting a new shift at work. 11pm - 9am four nights a week. Gasp, sigh. Blerch. I will have to sleep during the day while the kids are at school. I am not impressed but it is what it is.
I have never worked shifts like this before. How do I eat? Breakfast, lunch and dinner? My whole life will be backwards!
I work in a group home so I will have access to a kitchen to prepare anything I bring in.
Do any of you have advice for me? Personal experience you can share?
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Old 12-25-2010, 05:23 PM   #2
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When you learn, let me know! I work 12 hour night shifts 3 nights a week and I'm having a hard time counting calories for a whole 24 hour awake period during that time. O_O
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Old 12-26-2010, 10:01 AM   #3
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My sympathies but you could end up liking it! When I worked an overnight shift I didn't know it would only last 4 months so I tried to embrace it. I like breakfast foods for dinner and dinner foods for breakfast. I had dinner when I got up and had lunch at work and breakfast when I got home again. This may also help things seem normal for the kids, too. Also, I needed some refreshing snacks so I chose cold items like fruit and yogurt

The hardest part is changing your sleep cycle so you might want to get some melatonin and valerian root (safe herbal supplements) to help you sleep when your new schedule needs you to sleep.

On a side note, thank you for taking care of folks that have a hard time taking care of themselves. Its a difficult job but rewarding too.
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:16 AM   #4
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Thank you DixC Chix. That makes sense! I've just been overwhelmed by the whole thing.
I think it will be okay. I just have to get used to it. Keeping everything normal for the kids is the main thing.
And thanks! I really like my job. I have been doing it for a long time now and enjoy it's challenges. With government cutbacks, some of our group homes have had to close and I have been bumped out of my position. This is why I have a new position that isn't the greatest for me but much better than a regular evening shift. At least I will be home after school for the kiddos.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:10 PM   #5
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There is a thread in another part of the support forums about this subject too...since I don't have enough posts, I will just bump the thread for you since it is almost 2 months old! There is some good advice in there too.

There are so many sub-forums you might just have to search my posts....if you're a newb like me. )

Last edited by Tinky : 12-28-2010 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:01 AM   #6
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Here's the thread Tinky mentioned.

Welcome to my world! I'm currently working 11pm to 9am 4 nights a week in a group home also. I've been working some variationof this for the last 11 years (recently it was 9pm to 9am three nights a week and one 4 hour day - I like 4 ten hour nights better!).

I gained about 40 pounds over the last decade and have lost 90 this year.

Getting enough sleep is essential (and also hard). When you are awake at night your body naturally craves carbs and when you are sleep deprived this is even worse. Getting enough sleep makes controling those cravings much easier. And planning ahead to have healthy options also helps.

I'm terrible at getting sleep - often I only get three or four hours (in hour or two chunks) on the days I'm working and then I sleep 12 hours straight my first night off and revert to a "normal" schedule till it's time to go back to work. It's the only way I've found that works for me and my life.

To lose weight I've been calorie counting (1550 a day) and mostly aiming for whole foods. No "lite" or "diet" foods. An, of course, no "junk" food. I tend to eat a bunch of 300 calorie meals spaced through out the day because there's no good time to have a regular meal. I'm usually not hungry when I first get in to work and in the morning once the kids get up it's too hectic to eat much and then it's my bed time and I don't want to go to bed on a too full stomach and when I get up around 5pm to feed the dogs I don't want to eat too much because I'm always hoping to go back to sleep for a bit before work. Sometimes on my work days I'm lucky to hit 1000 calories because if I have to choose between food and sleep I'll almost always choose sleep.

Here's an article that talks about leptin and ghrelin and how lack of sleep effects your weight:
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders...while-sleeping

good luck!
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:09 AM   #7
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Oh, and back in 2008 we had a support group thread going for a while ( Shift Workers - overnight, overweight, overwhelmed) but I think I'm the only one left from then.

Back in October I tried to get something going again but this Fall I was just too busy to be online much. But I just bumped that thread back up to the first page. Maybe we can all band together to support each other.

Shift Workers Unite!
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:01 PM   #8
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Thank you for the link to the post!
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