Healthy Weight Week - January 15-22, 2017

  1. 6

    We explore what a healthy weight is, why we stray away from being a healthy weight, risks to being at an unhealthy weight, how to overcome the obstacles that keep us unhealthy as nurses, and tips to eating a healthy diet to get to those weight goals.

    Healthy Weight Week - January 15-22, 2017

    Did you know that “Healthy Weight Week” is January 15-22, 2017? Why did they come up with a Healthy Weight Week? Many people diet at the beginning of a new year, setting unattainable, unrealistic goals for weight loss. Usually, they start off well, and quickly (usually by March), fall off and do not achieve the goal. What Healthy Weight Week is all about is to maintain a healthy weight, but incorporating a healthy lifestyle.

    Why is a healthy weight important?

    We are nurses, we know why, to maintain optimal health. According to a recent Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, 60 percent of nurses surveyed reported being overweight or obese. There are risks to being unhealthy, as well as obstacles we have as nurses to maintain a healthy weight. We preach health, but many nurses are overweight and unhealthy. Think for a minute of your hospital unit. Can you say that fifty percent or more of the nurses are overweight? I can.

    Determining your healthy weight.

    The good ole Body Mass Index (BMI) chart is the most accurate overall scale to know what your body type should weigh. A normal range for a BMI is 18.5 - 24.9. These numbers are based on your height and weight, as well as your body type. There is a significant range of weight that is considered a healthy weight, the problem is getting to that range, with a busy nurse lifestyle.

    What can you do?

    Stay active

    We have to practice what we preach. It is not always easy, especially working twelve hours a day. A few nurses I work with do fitness competitions. I have asked their advice and received different answers about establishing workout routine when you work.

    FYI: I am NOT participating in any fitness competition, I just want to maintain a healthy weight.

    Some of those answers were:
    “Workout before you come to work.” This nurse worked day shift, would get up at 4:30am and workout before work.
    “I’m a freak about my diet at work, but I don’t workout on the days I work.”
    “I workout after work.”
    Now, again, these are women who did fitness competitions. The average Joe, like me, likes to sleep before and after work. Therefore, I like the second answer, eat well at work and workout on my days off. Though, a little yoga after work, before bed, really helps you stretch and distress, which we know is good for us. The Harvard Nurse Study also showed that more than half of the nurses who responded to the survey admitted to exercising less than 2 hours a week. Let’s see work three days a week, three days off work, and a day for rest. This means I should be at the gym at least an hour a day to beat those stats.

    Maintaining physical activity, whenever you can fit it in, will help you practice what you preach, as well as decrease your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, mental health issues, and diabetes...but you already knew that you smart nurse, you.

    Get enough sleep

    I get it. Between on call hours, rotating shifts, oh, and our so-called lives, sleep often gets missed. You need to sleep, it's critical to your overall health. Being over a healthy weight can increase your risk for sleep disorders like sleep apnea, which can lead to symptoms of poor concentration and inattentiveness, which is something no nurse or patient needs.

    Find how to make sleep important in your life. It is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, as well as a healthy life.

    Eat Right

    Eating right is not what we do. Why? Well, it is easy to snack in the break room at work, or binge eat at the end of a long day. It is recommended to eat 5-6 small meals a day. Though, many nurses do not drink enough water during their long shifts.

    How can you do better?

    • Invest in a large water bottle so you do not have to refill constantly and aim to drink the appropriate amount, 8-10 glasses of water throughout your shift.
    • Another tip, drink two glasses of water before you leave for work, and do a chaser glass if you have a cup of coffee to stay hydrated.

    For your diet, try to pack foods that I like to call toddler foods. These are small snacks.

    • Cut your sandwich into 4 squares
    • Yogurt
    • Almonds
    • Cheese sticks and other protein snacks to keep you full and your energy sustained.

    Overall, it comes down to a healthy weight helps your body stay healthy.
    Trying these tips can lead you to that goal...maybe for 2017!

    Resources to help nurses get started on a healthy path


    Do you have any tips to maintaining a healthy weight as a busy RN?
    Do you like this Article? Click Like?

  2. Visit JanineKelbach profile page

    About JanineKelbach, RN

    Janine Kelbach, RNC-OB is a freelance writer and owner of www.WriteRN.net. Janine has been an RN since 2006, specializing in labor and delivery. She ventured into writing in 2012. She still works in the hospital. She, her husband, and two boys reside in Cleveland, Ohio.

    32 Years Old; Joined Jan '14; Posts: 57; Likes: 114.

    Read My Articles

    18 Comments

  3. by   Libby1987
    I believe we all know what to do but what really needs to be addressed is why we don't design our lives, both in terms of schedules and priorities, to maintain our mental and physical health.

    Before adulthood we think of the things we want in life and we make room for them.. family, hobbies, career goals etc but have very many of us, before we filled our lives with other obligations and painted ourselves into a financial corner, prioritized health as one of the things we wanted?

    We pretty much over fill our lives with so many other wants and consequences of poor luck and then not until the neglect of our health shows and age is upon us do we want health but then there are so many obstacles to repairing it, a huge one being exhaustion.
  4. by   Amentothat
    Would You Trust A Fat Doctor? - The Healthy Bear

    Just replace "Doctor" with "Nurse."
  5. by   traumaRUs
    Great article. @Libby - I so agree with you. As adults we are so over-scheduled and somehow think we always have to be busy. We end up neglecting ourselves
  6. by   mnurse2016
    I love this! In the last eight years I've made nutrition and fitness a priority in life and in turn lost around 40 lbs all together. I worked as a fitness instructor while I was going through nursing school and am now in the process of figuring out how to incorporate that same healthy lifestyle into my new nursing schedule. It's all about priorities. If eating healthy and working out is a priority, you can and will find time to make it work. There are always varying levels of being healthy and "fit", so you don't have to be a fitness competitor to make those changes. It's never easy and even those people who look really fit still have to force themselves to go to the gym sometimes, but I think a lot of people would find that they will have more energy and feel better after making those changes.
  7. by   sunnyskies9
    This topic is a dead horse continually being beaten, and frankly, I'm so sick of reading articles like this. Why can't we first focus on loving ourselves, on being self-compassionate and forgiving of our short-comings. Continually getting down and out on ourselves for not being who we think is ideal? Mentally beating ourselves up for missing a workout or eating cake at someone's birthday? That's the road to death and chronic disease.
    Secondly, we really need to be focusing on sleep and getting our stress under control. If both of those are out of whack, we are sabotaging any weight loss efforts. No, do not wake up at 4:30am to work out. Get enough quality sleep and focus on your nutrition if you can't get a work out in that day. Quality 7-8 hours of sleep is so so so so important!!!! Also, fitness competitors are the worst people to get wellness advice from, because frequently, those individuals are leading a life of obsession, sleep restrictions, food restrictions and low quality of life. Kudos to the person who can maintain their sanity while working out to the point of posing a risk of injury and restricting their diets so much that they can't enjoy life or their mental health is at risk.
    Thirdly, there is plenty of research out there that states obese and overweight people can live just as long and just as happily as those who are a normal weight. You can argue until you are blue in the face, but someone who is obese and living a healthy lifestyle is WAY less likely to develop disease than the normal weight individual who has uncontrolled stress and who doesn't get enough sleep or isn't exercising regularly. BMI is also a crock of s***. If someone is at a greater risk of disease d/t age or family history, then their greatest predictor is by measuring their waist circumference.
  8. by   MelpyRN2B
    I started my nursing career 40+ pounds over my ideal weight and I felt horrible! My back hurt, my stomach never felt right and I was seeing patients in beds who were clearly in the same rut I was. Thankfully my organization sent me an email inviting me to see if I was eligible for a program called Prevent (now Omada Health). I qualified due to family history of diabetes and I started the program. I was held accountable for every bit of food put in my mouth, each step taken and every minute slept. Sleep is still my biggest struggle since I'm on the night shift. The one thing that has helped me most is making sure I have those easy-to-pop-in-my-mouth veggies at my work station. Maybe a few berries, or a sliced apple. I make my own bread (SELF-CARE!) that is 100% whole wheat and sliced thin. I don't always get my steps in each day, but when I go to work I now park in the deepest part of the garage and take the steps all the way up to my home floor which ends up being 12 floors worth of stairs! It feels so much better and it gives me real-life success to encourage my patients with!
  9. by   Elfriede
    Good article. No doubt.

    But:
    The best weight is the "feel myself comfortable"-weight.
    It depends on you only.
    With a bad mood you can´t bring a good performance to your patient and your mood gets worse.
    You can´t press it into a "BMI-must have".

    My BMI is 17.67 by the age of 58. My workout is my job (home care). My boss and his "to do list" replaces any personal trainer. So I keep fit til the age of 120 and I feel fine in my skin.
    My patients are worried and so they feed me with theire Candys, Chocolates a.s.o.. (Quite good for theire blood sugar
  10. by   JanineKelbach
    Quote from sunnyskies9
    This topic is a dead horse continually being beaten, and frankly, I'm so sick of reading articles like this. Why can't we first focus on loving ourselves, on being self-compassionate and forgiving of our short-comings. Continually getting down and out on ourselves for not being who we think is ideal? Mentally beating ourselves up for missing a workout or eating cake at someone's birthday? That's the road to death and chronic disease.
    Secondly, we really need to be focusing on sleep and getting our stress under control. If both of those are out of whack, we are sabotaging any weight loss efforts. No, do not wake up at 4:30am to work out. Get enough quality sleep and focus on your nutrition if you can't get a work out in that day. Quality 7-8 hours of sleep is so so so so important!!!! Also, fitness competitors are the worst people to get wellness advice from, because frequently, those individuals are leading a life of obsession, sleep restrictions, food restrictions and low quality of life. Kudos to the person who can maintain their sanity while working out to the point of posing a risk of injury and restricting their diets so much that they can't enjoy life or their mental health is at risk.
    Thirdly, there is plenty of research out there that states obese and overweight people can live just as long and just as happily as those who are a normal weight. You can argue until you are blue in the face, but someone who is obese and living a healthy lifestyle is WAY less likely to develop disease than the normal weight individual who has uncontrolled stress and who doesn't get enough sleep or isn't exercising regularly. BMI is also a crock of s***. If someone is at a greater risk of disease d/t age or family history, then their greatest predictor is by measuring their waist circumference.
    I am sorry if you feel offended by this article, it wasn't my intent. Rather, it was to live a healthy life style, like those fitness compititors. As I said, I am far from one, and do not consider them mentally ill, more like dedicated to what they love, fitness...actually I admire it.

    I do agree though that many of us do not get enough sleep. 4:30am is possible if you go to bed at a decent hour. (That's a whole other article)

    I do also agree obese people are happy, but let's look at the health risks of being obese. It is proven that there are more of those.

    I, myself, know I will never look like a model (especially after 2 kids), but my goal is to live healthy, while indulging at time. Everything in moderation, as they say!
  11. by   JanineKelbach
    Quote from MelpyRN2B
    I started my nursing career 40+ pounds over my ideal weight and I felt horrible! My back hurt, my stomach never felt right and I was seeing patients in beds who were clearly in the same rut I was. Thankfully my organization sent me an email inviting me to see if I was eligible for a program called Prevent (now Omada Health). I qualified due to family history of diabetes and I started the program. I was held accountable for every bit of food put in my mouth, each step taken and every minute slept. Sleep is still my biggest struggle since I'm on the night shift. The one thing that has helped me most is making sure I have those easy-to-pop-in-my-mouth veggies at my work station. Maybe a few berries, or a sliced apple. I make my own bread (SELF-CARE!) that is 100% whole wheat and sliced thin. I don't always get my steps in each day, but when I go to work I now park in the deepest part of the garage and take the steps all the way up to my home floor which ends up being 12 floors worth of stairs! It feels so much better and it gives me real-life success to encourage my patients with!

    WOW! Now THAT is dedication!!! Good for you!! Those fit trackers do keep motivation up! Way to go, keep up the good work!!
  12. by   JanineKelbach
    Quote from mnurse2016
    I love this! In the last eight years I've made nutrition and fitness a priority in life and in turn lost around 40 lbs all together. I worked as a fitness instructor while I was going through nursing school and am now in the process of figuring out how to incorporate that same healthy lifestyle into my new nursing schedule. It's all about priorities. If eating healthy and working out is a priority, you can and will find time to make it work. There are always varying levels of being healthy and "fit", so you don't have to be a fitness competitor to make those changes. It's never easy and even those people who look really fit still have to force themselves to go to the gym sometimes, but I think a lot of people would find that they will have more energy and feel better after making those changes.

    That is SO wonderful!! How do you eat at work? And days your off? What do you do at the gym?
  13. by   Buyer beware
    Look. The ravages of time and genetics will take their toll no matter what so try to keep the weight down at least at the Jabba the Hut level, eat right, stay well hydrated, get enough rest, take a walk and put the cigarette out.
    If you do you might live longer than you may have otherwise, at least until the doc tells you your days are numbered.
    Simple as that.
    Now what's this I hear about the bad Pearson Vue pop-up again? Or how about, "I failed the "NCLEX five times, now what!!!
  14. by   Tpa.travlr946531
    I have been fighting my weight for 20 years, my entire adult life. I didn't have any success with it until I was in my mid 30s despite trying many things. I cut down on the carbs except when working out and lost 83 pounds. I was still just a little overweight and despite running 6-10 miles 4x a week, my bmi was still over. I did six 10k and two 15k, from couch potato! But I didn't look overweight at all. I looked thin! I tribute that bmi to genetics and muscle gain from exercise. Despite my weight being high, my size was way smaller than what it should have been at that weight! This is why I don't believe in the bmi science. Then I had a minor injury and couldn't rest enough to heal it. With the type of work we do, it took 1.5 years. I still worked out and did what I could, even though it was a lot less than before. I didn't gain it all back because I watched what I ate every day! But I did gain back a little. I'm glad I kept trying. Today I'm back in the gym, exercising on my days off. But I do it because I truly enjoy it. If I didn't, I don't think I would be so committed. I do cardio and strength training. I'm enjoying seeing the changes from the work. It's very motivating. I can't do low carb anymore because my blood sugar drops and I'm not diabetic. I don't eat carbs at night though. But my fight continues on. I track my calories in and out 6 days a week and it's very close to the food pyramid. Some people would say that's no way to live. It's a great way to live!
    Am I still overweight? Sure, and I'm voluptuous and may always be over that 25 bmi. Being back in the gym, the scale is slowly going down again. When I think about how I used to feel at 275 pounds and how everything hurt everyday, I'm glad I'm fighting this fight! It's my life-long battle!

close