Does Nursing Cause Weight Gain?

Updated | Posted

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.


I've been really busy since I quit nursing in July. I also have lost 7 lbs and didn't even realize it until yesterday when I weighed myself for the first time in a while. I've been doing lots of physical stuff, but I always am pretty active.

Does the stress of Nursing cause weight gain? I never ate any of the break room goodies.

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 15years medical. Has 42 years experience.

Nursing does cause weight gain.

Being weaned from nursing allows us to better maintain our weight.

Good for you, Emergent!

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

2 hours ago, Davey Do said:

Nursing does cause weight gain.

Being weaned from nursing allows us to better maintain our weight.

Good for you, Emergent!

I actually wasn't a bit overweight, so I was a little concerned. I don't want to keep losing because then I would get to be underweight.


Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 9 years experience.

I think that nursing can inherently cause a higher level of stress in your life. That will increase your body's cortisol levels. When our cortisol levels are higher it can increase insulin levels and people are more likely to eat foods higher in sugar and fats. Even if you weren't indulging in break room treats it's possible that you were making some food choices that were different from your current habits. If you're concerned about becoming underweight just keep track of your food choices and make sure you're getting the appropriate balance. Or any unexplained weight loss should be followed up by a PCP. Good luck!

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

I think I was skipping a lot of meals because I was going Full Steam on some projects. I went from 130 lb to 123. I was shocked. I was doing a lot of processing and dealing with some PTSD type symptoms. So maybe that is it. I feel like I worked through a lot of stuff.

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Scrubs cause weight gain LOL

NotMyProblem MSN, ASN, BSN, MSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

As a float/travel nurse who got the worse of the worst assignments, I didn’t see any weight gain. But the foolery has been known to cause an elevated BP or two in some folks.😂

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 6 years experience.

Oh yeah. Night shift can cause people to snack out of boredom. Stress levels are high (which ultimately leads to weight gain). I left bedside for a M-F gig and I can now exercise regularly and eat properly. 

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 29 years experience.

Yes and no.  Stress does indeed as mentioned above cause weight gain.  However, I did a lot of "stress eating"...grabbing snacks like chips on the run, eating all the crap that management and family members give us, etc. So it was in my case stress and over eatings.

Starting early 2020, I lost 20 pounds, just cutting out the crap and this past year has been very rough with stress and short staffing and working overtime, so I can't say that for myself "stress causes weight gain" because I haven't gained the weight back.  

You also mentioned that you've been skipping meals going full speed ahead, so you didn't necessarily keep all things equal, you're eating patterns changed. 


Edited by Tweety

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

While I feel nursing has drastically affected my mental health, it never caused me to gain weight. I ate lot of candy, chips, and other processed junk due to being busy and stressed. I have cut those out since processed foods, especially those with dyes, chemicals, plus tons of sugar are not good for the brain. I feel a bit better mentally but no change in weight.

I think it depends on genetics, metabolism, diet, sleep, other health conditions, etc in terms of the effects of nursing on weight. I've seen night shift coworkers gain or lose lots of weight, could be from nursing stress and/or disruption of circadian rhythms or sleep deprivation, which also leads to eating high sugar/fat foods for energy. I've been blessed with a good metabolism but honestly I'd trade it for better mental health. I'd rather be chubby and less anxious/manic/depressed if I could choose! But, I know some people struggle with their weight and cannot lose weight even though they exercise and eat healthy, and this causes them to feel depressed = (