working night shift, gaining weitght .....HELP!!!!!!

  1. I used to work day shift, now with kids in college, the extra money really helps, so once again mom is making the sacrafice. But, and boy do I mean Butt, I've gained 20 lbs in a year. I know what the problem is. I work in the ER we're very busy, I eat from stress and fatique. Has anybody found a solution to this. I have a membership to a gym but after 12 hours of kik butt walking and work , I'm too tiered to go. If I drink coffee or tea I'm too buzzed to sleep. umpiron: :typing
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    About lauralassie

    Joined: Oct '06; Posts: 230; Likes: 14

    10 Comments

  3. by   Antikigirl
    I am working swings, and gaining weight too! I found that with the late dinners for me, then sleep isn't doing my weight any good, so I need to change my habits to eating earlier in my shift so I run those calories off during work.

    I am also quite tired, still getting use to the switch from part time days, to full time swings...so I think I am sleeping more too, again which doesn't help. I need to start getting into the grind body wise and waking up eariler and get moving (that is going to be tough...I like my sleep, and in the day it is sooooooo nice and quiet in my home! LOL!).

    I do the opposite with stress, in fact...that is yet another reason for me! I don't eat enough, so when I do I am storing it because I basically put myself in a sleep/store mode by eating one meal a day (because I get stomach aches if I eat and work), eating it late (like midnight) and falling asleep (not to mention some killer Reflux! LOL!).

    Both of us should try to time and eat small meals thoughout the day to keep up with the activity level for work and still feel full enough that when it is time to go home, we aren't eating a full meal and going straight to bed (if this is what you do too).
  4. by   stillpinay
    I share the same sentiments. I've gained alot weight also from working nights (munching on unhealthy snacks at work then too tired to work out (even too tired to do anything at home). I work 3 12's in a row so that my actual first day off I spend sleeping and /or staying by the TV lounging ang stuffing my face. Most of the time I feel as if I have to savor each minute that I am alone (I have 3 kids and am a single mom) to reward myself and gear myself for the next 3 horrendous nights at work.

    This past summer, though, I got into jogging (at least for 30 min./day), drank lots of water, joined my kids with outdoor sports, and ate mostly raw vegetables (definitely keeps you regular, at least 3 x a day!). I did lose ~10lbs (mostly water). Then, I got more motivated to going to the gym, even right before going to work.

    I wish I could say I'm still on that track. But, the weather is getting colder (I'm in NY) and those salads are getting old. I figure, though, this slump-period is definitely seasonal (like seasonal depression).

    Anyhow, short term goals (such as: make it to the gym, spend at least 20 min on the tread mill at least 3 x week) may help you get started.

    Anyone else with input?

    Let's keep in touch. I'm rooting for your success!!!!
  5. by   Retired R.N.
    Quote from lauralassie
    I used to work day shift, now with kids in college, the extra money really helps, so once again mom is making the sacrafice. But, and boy do I mean Butt, I've gained 20 lbs in a year. I know what the problem is. I work in the ER we're very busy, I eat from stress and fatique. Has anybody found a solution to this. I have a membership to a gym but after 12 hours of kik butt walking and work , I'm too tiered to go. If I drink coffee or tea I'm too buzzed to sleep. umpiron: :typing
    It's a vicious circle: fatigue + stress = anger + depression + cortisol overload = increased appetite + unwise eating = weight gain = more fatigue, etc. etc. etc.

    I feel the first step in breaking this destructive cycle is to eliminate the sleep deficit. You owe yourself whatever it takes to keep your body healthy, because without a healthy body, you are going to have extreme difficulties in performing your daily job activities efficiently in a professional manner. If you let yourself get too tired to think straight, it becomes almost impossible for you to function at the high level of speed and accuracy that is demanded in today's nursing field. Don't let anybody try to make you feel guilty about your demands for getting the sleep you need.

    Try increasing your intake of plain water instead of reaching for caffeinated or sugar-laden beverages.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I relate and as a long term "night person" I can only urge you to find time in your schedule to really exercise/lift weights and take part in activities that reduce stress for you. Your membership to the gym is needed now more than ever. If you can, break up workouts so they are not so long or time-consuming. Do weights one day, cardio another. But PLEASE do it!

    Nightshifts make me crave carbs, also. So I make sure I load up with fruits, salads and carbs that are better for me than chocolate, chips and other junk that won't help.

    Caffeine is also my bane. I have had a real problem, drinking multiple caffeinated beverages while on NOCs to keep awake. I am now loading up a pitcher of 1L of water and drinking it throughout my shift to reduce my caffeine intake. Increased caffeine not only ruins my sleep, but makes me crave ---CARBS! (vicious cycle)

    Sleep is so critical. I personally use SL melatonin (not making a recommendation here) and darken the room----as well as turn on a box fan for white noise and keep the room very cool. The better I sleep, the less I want to eat....

    I feel for you----totally empathize. After all these years, I am about to leave NOCs for greener pastures. I can't wait. It's tough.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Oct 11, '06
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    PS---- on days when you are off, try to get out and get natural sunlight. It's so helpful. Or get a lightbox for your use to get through winter. Decreased exposure to beneficial sunlight is also a problem for NOC workers---and can lead to depression, overeating, and weight gain.
  8. by   stillpinay
    Thank you, SmilingbluEyes, for your suggestion on the lightbox. I'll look into it (not into the box!
  9. by   Antikigirl
    I do not snack at work...not even if it is something brought in by others to share! Man..if I did I would be in trouble...it is always high calorie sweets! LOL!

    I also don't drink anything but coffee, tea, or water. Just never got into soda or other drinks. I didn't know about the relation with caffeine and carbs! WOW...that could be my probelm too and I will work on that!

    I just have to get myself out of this starve, eat, sleep mode...it is very unhealthy as well as a weight gainer!

    Oh salads...uhgggggg. I tired of those as a teen trying to keep thin, by the time I get done making one the way I like...might as well have a hamburger and be done with it..LOL (I use way to much dressing..even low cal low fat...and add meats and cheese too..LOL! Salads are not working for me...LOL!). I have switched to eating more fish and chicken (I love protein..and most of my snacks and meals are mainly protein) and that has helped...especially my cholesterol! Lately I have been eating lots of steamed soy beans from the pod..yummmmm but talk about being 'regular'...LOL!!!!!!! But that is a good snack for me...and I haven't gotten sick of it yet (2 years and counting and I love it!).
  10. by   Mulan
    Quote from Retired R.N.
    It's a vicious circle: fatigue + stress = anger + depression + cortisol overload = increased appetite + unwise eating = weight gain = more fatigue, etc. etc. etc.
    I work evenings. I think it is the stress and the cortisol. When I didn't work at all I had no problem.
  11. by   enoRN
    all you really need do is cut down on everything you take into your mouth, and try more minutes doing some exercise with adequate sleep
  12. by   bellcollector
    Also keep in mind the hormonal changes that your body goes through working nights also slows the metabolism. Anything you can do to improve metabolism will help. Such as frequent low cal healthy grazing and increased movement of any kind. Also certain spices help rev up the metabolism ie. cinnamin, chili powder etc... Good Luck I know it is extremely difficult.

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