20-Somethings - Any shift workers? I need help!

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06-16-2014, 08:52 AM
The last few years I've went back up in weight but I found since starting shift working and 12 hour shifts I haven't been able to lose any damn weight. I mean I was stuck at 170 for about 1.5 years. I met someone who is amazing 4 months ago and gained a wonderful 15 pounds!

So here I am at my highest weight ever and I want to lose it, I just find it extremely hard. I work two days 12 hours and two nights 12 hours and those four days I find it hard to eat healthy and to get fitness in there. (Not saying I've done any better on my days off since all I do is sleep because I'm always so damn tired!).

Does anyone have any advice on how to cope with this? Even if I bring healthy food I find myself wanting to binge and eat crap!

06-16-2014, 07:44 PM
I really disagree that exercise is not important. What type of work do you do? Are you standing all of the time? Walking around? That still counts as activity. Maybe there are some parts to your work day where you can stand instead of sit, or walk to where you need to go at a brisk pace. Every bit counts. For me, exercise and fitness is integral for my weight loss. It keeps me motivated and keeps me in the right frame of mind. It decreases my stress and makes me want to choose healthier options (kind of like when the sink's empty you're more likely to put your plate in the dishwasher as opposed to when the sink already has a few items in it you'll probably just put the plate on top).

Is this the first time you've committed to losing weight? Have you identified your poor habits? You mentioned you would binge and eat crap if you brought healthy foods. Well, what do you consider healthy food? Does it have enough protein/fibre? Is it food you actually LIKE? You should'nt feel forced to eat "diet" food, but if you get enough protein and fibre you should feel satiated longer.

I worked shifts a few years ago but mine were two weeks days, two weeks nights, easier to cope with. On your days off, what do you typically do? When do you wake up and go to bed? Maybe you are over sleeping thus contributing to your lack of energy? I'd suggest to try to get in some exercise on those three days off, if you can. Even if it's just going for a brisk-paced walk around the neighbourhood - it will could towards some cardio fitness goals and will give you a chance to decompress from your crazy work week and get your spirits lifted.

I think for us to give you any more advice you'd have to let us know what your planbs are for your diet and what your current habits are.

06-16-2014, 11:05 PM
I wouldn't worry about working out on your shift days - it's hard enough just to find time to eat and get enough sleep with a schedule like that! Your schedule sounds like you might be a nurse? Is it possible for you to plan and prepare your meals for the week on one of your days, then bring in your breakfast/lunch/dinners and store them in a fridge? That way, you'll be able to eat on plan AND save money! Another idea is to stock up on microwaveable meals - Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones, there's a zillion options anymore. They often are packed with sodium, but I, personally, opt for the extra sodium at a few meals when the alternatives are even worse.

If you're on your feet all day, maybe invest in a cheap pedometer and keep it on your person at work so you can track your steps. Take a week to see how many steps you average in a day, then start setting goals to take more steps. On your days off, instead of going to the gym, try a home workout - you can find many popular DVDs on YouTube for free, even. Even if you only manage to squeeze in 15 minutes of exercise a day on your days off, it's a great place to start and you can always work your way up!

06-17-2014, 02:21 AM
@Pattience – you have some really great advice there. I really should just go cold turkey when it comes to sweets. Also you’re right at one point I was doing a lot of exercising but my diet was complete **** so even tho I was shrinking, the scale wasn’t moving and well my pants size were still the same. I probably should just focus on diet right now (at least for the days I’m working.)

@Kaybee1 – No it’s not my first time committing to weight loss and I’ve been successful before; BUT it’s the first time I’ve done 12 hour shifts, and switched from day shift to night shift. Even when I was working 3 jobs it seemed easier to lose weight. When it comes to these 12 hour shifts they kill me. I think you’re right I do over sleep and that’s probably the problem as well. I work in corrections type base job so it’s also a very negative environment.

@Futureformerfisher – I do workout DVD’s and run, I go strong sometimes than lose motivation and just stop. Then when I start again i always start back at the beginning.

06-18-2014, 12:19 PM
I find that bringing my own healthy snacks to work with me helps me to not eat the unhealthy stuff there (I'm working at a Dunkin Donuts for the summer...so many bad things!!) If I bring something that is easy for to to take a bite of here and there, I find it easier to resist the donut holes :) I really like fruits and vegetables, so I bring some a couple of different ones with a sandwich. Granola bars really help, too, and they seem less like they are a diet food to me, but they are still better than all the donuts at work.

06-18-2014, 02:16 PM
I used to work all kinds of shifts at cafe - it took a lot time for me to stop nibbling on the treats!

I would worry lessa bout working out until you've settled in.

I recommend packing meals for yourself that are really, really tasty! It will be easier to resist any temptations at work. Bring treats for yourself too - you may not have the same need to binge if you're not so controlled and stressed. Make tasty but acceptable desserts.

06-19-2014, 02:42 PM
Maybe you're going a little too strong? I find I burn myself out FAST when I try to do too much all at once, and I'm not working 12-hour days on top of it!

Why not start with one DVD/routine, something short but effective? Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred is ~25 minutes, Ripped in 30 is about 30 minutes and there's a ton of others out there. Or try something that feels less like workout out - Zumba has a ton of DVDs, the beginner routines start at 20 minutes and it's a lot of fun! Keep it small for now, then add to it as you progress.

06-22-2014, 02:04 PM
@futureformerfisher - I wouldn't say I'm going on too strong because I only really do 30 minutes of exercise. I think I'm just lazy after working 12 hours (and switching from days to night) I can't get into healthy habit. But I will slow it down, maybe try working out ONE of my day shifts out of two, workout ONE of my night shifts out of two and then ONE day work out on my days off to have three workouts a week. If I start with that than maybe continue with three them moving up to four.

@souvenirdaring - I do pack meals, but want to hear something funny. I hate my own food. LOL so when someone else had something good or grabs something from the store I want it. I guess I need to learn to enjoy my own cooking, baking and sandwiches. lol it's so hard tho! haha