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Old 04-05-2008, 09:45 PM   #1
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Question Calling all shift workers

I am a nurse who works 12 hour shifts. I find it very hard to eat right at the end of the day and after my shift ends at 7pm. I tendd to plan to eat well and end up binging = fat gain. Does anyone else deal with this problem and what do you do to help? I am not really able to get out between 5 -7pm as this is a very busy time. Thoughts, ideas please.

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Old 04-05-2008, 09:55 PM   #2
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I'm an office worker, but I have had days in the past (especially during holidays) where we were required to work a ton of overtime. Because I knew about it ahead of time I was able to prepare a HUGE vat of soup ahead of time. I dished it into bowls, and for a few nights ate soup and microwaved up some frozen vegetables. Usually a piece of bread on the side. I was set. You might not be able to have soup every single night, but there's always chili!
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Old 04-05-2008, 10:42 PM   #3
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i'm a nurse too and it sucks - the break room always have junk food, families bring in plates of candy, drug reps bring food....

i dunno what specialty you are - but i work ICU - so i'm always generally in the same spot and can easily leave my bag at my bedside.

so i have a big bag - water bottle, snacks, etc... and i make a point to munch when i remember to throughout the day. i keep the water bottle full and behind the computer so everytime i chart something i remember to take a swig.

every night before working the next day - i pack my lunch box with fruit, yogurt and a sandwich, lean cuisine, - whatever.

i tell myself to eat breakfast before i go to work, and i try not to eat after i get home. i just take my work day like i would at home and eat accordingly. if i dont get my lunch break until late - well, good. i have my snacks in my bag right with me!
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Old 04-05-2008, 11:55 PM   #4
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I work 24 hr shifts and it is hard (and I remember 12 hr shifts). I know what you mean about bingy behavior after a stressful long shift. I just had to finally wrest control and PLAN what I would have and refuse to deviate from that plan. It is sometimes easy and sometimes really hard, but the more I control my behavior, the easier it gets.

You can do it. You have it in you to say no to bingy stuff and yes to health.
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:29 AM   #5
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I'm usually kept too busy to sit down and eat except during my one break. A book that has helped me stop snacking on goodies that people offer me while on the run is the Beck Diet Solution. It isn't a diet - rather, it helps you strategize on how best to succeed at whatever "diet" you are on.
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:14 PM   #6
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I'm a RN and taking some time off before I graduate with my BSN and moving and I have new job lined up working critical care nights 12 hour shifts 7p-7a. I have a running schedule I'd love to follow and an eating plan and I worry when I start this new job it's all going to go to ****!

Not to mention, I live about 45 min commute to and from work, so that's less time to sleep AND workout inbetween shifts.

Glad to know there are so many nurses here!
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:39 PM   #7
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RN here too. I think planning is essential. When I don't plan, I don't eat properly. Sometimes I prepare ahead and cook things and other times I will use pre-packaged foods. I do cook enough to be able to take leftovers for my lunch on most days so pre-packaged foods are kept to a minimum.
I also know where I can stop on the way home and grab a healthy, on plan meal to take home. Eggs for dinner have become a staple on those tired nights as well. They are quick and tasty. Another quickie is a tuna melt. Made at home, the tuna can be kept healthy and I use whole grain bread.
If I am feeling quite hungry at the end of the shift then I have a snack before I leave work. Sometimes a South Beach Diet cereal bar or a piece of fruit or a yogurt. This helps calm the hunger before getting home.
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:40 AM   #8
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I'm an RN too. I work a blend of 11-7 and 7p-7a shifts in a NICU.

I know what you mean about the end of the shift being a nightmare time to find a minute to grab a snack; around 5-5:30 am we begin doing lab draws, ABGs (with the resulting ventilator changes, etc.), final feedings, weights (of babies on IV fluids) and linen changes, and also get all this stuff charted before 6:30 am. I'm telling you it's crazy at that time of the shift! The past few nights I have run into the breakroom and either grabbed a yogurt (I like a small amount of Greek yogurt mixed with chopped up peaches or nectarines) or a cereal bar (like Fiber One) and a cup of 1% milk right at 5:00 am before the craziness begins. I can scarf that size of a snack down in about 3 to 5 minutes if I have too. I have been able to succeed with this plan and if I get off work in time I find I'm not hungry before crawling into bed. If I eat earlier than 5:00 am I do get hungry by the time I get home around 8:00 am.

My saving grace is planning my meals ahead of time and packing them to take with me. I love to hear everyone's tips and suggestions. Shift work can be a real challenge to eating properly!
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:55 PM   #9
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My work schedule is 11 hours, 14 hours and 15 hours. I also usually pick up an extra 10 hour shift as well. I pretty much eat when I am hungry, but if it's at the end of my shift (like last night I got off at midnight) I eat a small snack. I had some string cheese at 1 AM and ended up going to bed at 4 AM.

I have a kitchen available to me so while at work I make real meals.
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:42 AM   #10
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I work 10 hour shifts from 4p-2a and found planning is a must. I try and keep snack size bags filled with nuts in my desk for snacks and pack dinner and fruit as a snack. The days I didn't plan ahead were disasters.

Last edited by danemom; 04-08-2008 at 01:43 AM.
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Old 04-08-2008, 12:23 PM   #11
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I'm a charge RN, and I work 7p-7a. Basically I must plan and be very aware of when I last ate because my eating schedule easily gets screwed up. I work nights because I'm not a morning person at all. I hit the gym to do my walks before I go to work and I must say it energizes me the whole shift (I always thought it would make me tired....who knew?). I suggest packing a good variety of healthy snacks and a high protein lunch. This gets me through my shifts with no problem (and I used to be an after work binger big time). Also get plenty of water....I know that's a challenge for most of us

Edit to add I second the fiber one bars! They are unbelievably delicious and knock out hunger for only 140 calories.

Last edited by Gela; 04-08-2008 at 12:25 PM.
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