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Night shift/graveyard shift/3rd shift...woe is me!

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Old 11-05-2010, 04:20 AM   #1
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Default Night shift/graveyard shift/3rd shift...woe is me!

Hi all!
Just joined this website, and loving the support so far.
I work three 12- hour night shifts (7p-7a) per week and I'm currently trying to drop 15 lbs.....oof!

I'm just wondering if anyone else out there is doing nights, and what tricks you have for maintaining energy levels on off days, low calorie eating plans, and any general pointers you'd like to share.

I've been doing nights for 3 years... but never on a diet!

I count my calories from midnight to midnight, and I do cardio 3-4x/week. I do need to increase my strength training, though. Otherwise, I'm not sure what else to do to help speed things along.

I feel as though night shift causes all sorts of bloating, lethargy, and is not helpful when one is trying to lose weight.

Thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 11-06-2010, 10:57 AM   #2
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I worked 7am-7pm (2 days) and 7pm-7am (2 days) [4 day work week total] for about 5 years (when I maintained!)

The #1 goal is to avoid typical night shift food - snacks, candy machines, ordering out. That stuff is deadly.

Personal tips - a lot of people find that protein/fat at around 2-4am really assists with energy levels. I drank a double-espresso coffee at 7pm (start of shift) and either a black coffee or diet pepsi around midnight for the caffeine.

As long as you are counting your calories, you will be okay. The only difference is that the carbs late at night (I mean past 3-4am) seem to be less energy-producing than fat + protein. Nuts are a GREAT thing at that time. Guacamole, etc.

I always did my workout right before work at 5:30pm (luckily my gym was at my work). I only did strength training personally.

Good luck!

Yes, it's not as easy when you are fighting your natural body clock, but it can be done!!
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Old 11-07-2010, 12:21 AM   #3
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Thanks Sacha!

Great to hear a success story.... all I ever hear is "Ohmygod I'd be so fat if I worked nights" and it makes me feel bad.

I'll show them!
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:54 AM   #4
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Good Luck to you! I've worked the night shift off & on in various combination of hours over the last 15 years, and it's hard enough to get all the other stuff in you life re-arranged, let alone try to lose weight! Planning my meals (or NOT planning them) ahead always seemed to make or break my attempts to be healthy. I also had to learn to not overdo the caffeine or drink diet soda. Those two thing tend to make me hungrier, but you could be different.

The older I'm getting, the more the late hours get to me. I don't think I will work the graveyard shift again unless it's absolutely necessary!

Good luck to you!
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Old 11-15-2010, 04:52 AM   #5
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Thanks Tinky!

So far, so good. For the past few months I've really been out of control with portion sizes and snacking on huge amounts of food when I get home from work. Writing down what I'm eating and counting calories has really made me exercise some self control... because who wants to write down "an entire bag of pretzels"? hahahaha

I really think that just stopping those two behaviors alone will help, and the calorie counting/monitoring is just a little extra push to get the scale back under control.

I do consume plenty of coffee, but I'm writing it down... not a soda drinker, though.

Unfortunately my after-work days are really high calorie wise, purely because I'm essentially awake for 2 days.... but, I suppose it's like calorie cycling. As long as the scale moves, I'm ok with it.

I'll let ya know how it goes, and good luck to you too!
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Old 11-15-2010, 06:13 AM   #6
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I'm still trying to figure it out! I work 4 nights a week 10pm to 6 am, plus take care of my 5yo during the day cook clean, its hard! Fitting in exercise, and trying to figure out my eating since I'm awake most of the day and night!
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatPantsSkinnyJeans View Post
Thanks Sacha!

Great to hear a success story.... all I ever hear is "Ohmygod I'd be so fat if I worked nights" and it makes me feel bad.

I'll show them!
The majority of people I saw yes, did get fat!!! But also I worked in a police department so people would come in after physical training for 6 months and then suddenly get 50% off IHOP daily. You can only imagine what happened, LOL.

The key is planning and learning to say no. I actually found food and shift work to be easier than regular shifts because I had all my meals pre-planned and it was harder to go out on a typical Fri/Sat night with friends. Lack of social life does that, haha. Then when I stopped, I found myself going out again. Luckily now I am a mom and I am in bed at 7pm on a Friday night, LOL
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:50 AM   #8
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mateosmama2005-- How are you doing this with no rest?! Take care of yourself!

sacha-- My job involves moving around for most of the night, so that helps. I agree, it's not so hard if you plan in advance. I do every other weekend, so I know what you mean about unintentionally missing social events/eating/drinking.


Ohhh my. We'll see how it goes!
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:59 AM   #9
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What a perfectly timely post. DH is starting graveyard shift for the first time in his life... tonight. He's been trying to lose weight and it hadn't even occurred to me that this would be an issue. D'oh! Thanks for some greta ideas!
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Old 11-15-2010, 11:24 AM   #10
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I work second shift (1:30-10:00) and it's never been as problem for me!

Eat as you would any other time, just shift the hours. For example most people eat their breakfast around 7 or 8 perhaps. My breakfast comes around 11. My lunch hits around 4 in the afternoon instead of 12 and my dinner is around 9 (I have snacks in their too). Your body will get used to absolutely whatever schedule you put it on, so put it on a schedule and stick to it! Have a "cutoff" time when you stop eating. For someone on a typical day schedule that cutoff time might be 8 or 9. For me it's midnight; unless I miss a meal and I'm really hungry I don't eat after that time. It was really hard at first but I was able to recognize that my late-night eating wasn't hunger, it was just munchies! Once I exercised that rule my body got used to it and I don't get those real late night munchies very much anymore.

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Old 11-15-2010, 02:56 PM   #11
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Bombe-- That's exactly what I'm doing during my 3 shifts. The problem seems to lie the day after they are over! But, I've just been having healthy, low calorie snacks/small meals every 3-4 hours, and have really upped my water intake. I've also put a stop to the out-of-control "munchies."

True overnights are different than evening shift (second shift)... but, the concept is the same. Create a schedule/plan, and stick to it!
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:57 PM   #12
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I guess if I were in your shoes I'd probably go to sleep as soon as I got home cuz you are probably snacking from fatigue- might as well just get in your sleep. Then whenever I decided to get up (6-8 hours later) I'd spend that time doing whatever needed to be done, chores, cooking, eating "breakfast", exercising, until it was time to leave for work. That might help with oversnacking- getting enough sleep is very important IMO for weight loss.

Days off I'd catch up on sleep!
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:04 PM   #13
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beerab-- I agree, the sleep is so important. I don't know about other people, but I've got almost NO tolerance for trying to sleep while hungry... and for those that have done night shifts, most people are pretty ravenous when the night is over. I like to think that your body has to work harder to fuel you, and that your "tank" is on empty sooner.

I do try and get to bed ASAP, so I'm not munching too much... I'm just struggling to find the balance between "This one snack is enough to stop my stomach from grumbling" and "I think I need a little more." SOooo tough to make this choice when you can't even properly sense what you're feeling!
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:28 PM   #14
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ok, this is a regular rant for me. When my Dad did shifts, he (and all the fellas at his factory) lived the shift. WHen he was on nights, he stayed on nights. No going back and forth and going to days on the weekend off etc. (he did a month at a time on each of the 3 shifts, days, afternoons and nights)
Even the household routine went around the shifts.

When most women do shifts, we are not sleeping during the day, (we shop on the way home, wake up to have lunch with the kids,) and we go back to day time hours on days off. Then we get into funky stuff like 2days, 2nights, 4 off.
No wonder we get screwy. We can't do this to ourselves. It no wonder we have problems, with our weight, our menses, and our mental health.
I am no saint, I work on call and get called out at all times of day and night to work, and catch my sleep when I can when this happens.
It definitely affects me.
That said, I have been successful in losing weight by eating carefully. I have been following atkins, and have to pack food carefully for on -call work.
I used to eat a high carb meal before going to sleep in the morning so I would sleep better, but can't do that now, but a higher fat snack works nicely for me.
But I still recommend, if you are working nights regularly, to schedule your life closer to your work schedule. A friend of mine totally does this and goes to the gym after work, (8 am) , and goes to bed at 2 pm every day, wakes at 10, has breakfast and off to work at 11. She has done this for years, and it works great for her. SHe has maintained her weight loss ever since she started this routine.
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:42 AM   #15
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I have to agree that sticking to a schedule is key also.

I always had the hardest time with this while working graveyard. It's so easy to get distracted from that schedule when you're not living the the rest of the "regular" people.

It used to annoy me too when friends & family couldn't grasp the concept of me working nights either. When they call you at noon, it's like calling them at 2 AM!
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