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Topics About 'Healthy Eating'.

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  1. As nurses, we often champion good nutrition for our patients. Unfortunately, we are known to fall short when it comes to our own eating habits. Research shows your risk of being overweight or obese increases by 40% or more if you work night shift. Studies also suggest working the graveyard shift may play a role in the development of certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses. Night Shift Problems Nurses working night shift face several challenges when it comes to personal well-being. We experience a significant disruption in our natural sleep cycle, which can lead to a sluggish metabolism and weight gain. It is definitely a challenge (if not impossible) to find healthy food choices in a fast food drive thru or vending machine during your 2 AM lunch break. And what about exercise? Good luck finding a safe place to exercise after dark and in the wee hours of the morning. Once you clock out, it usually takes your last bit of energy to drive home, take care of any urgent matters and make it to bed. Meal Planning is Key Eating healthy and even losing weight while working night shift is possible, but it does take effort. Planning is key since your best route to good nutrition on nights is to brown bag meals and snacks from home. Read on for a few good tips to help get you started. Eat Before Your Shift On night shift, your first meal of the day should be your biggest and eaten before you report to work. To keep your energy levels up, start your day with plenty of protein from lean meats, fish or other sources. Eating before your shift will also help you stay in line with your natural circadian rhythm. Be Snack Ready Having snacks readily available is your best defense against the lure of your vending machine’s high calorie and high fat goodies. Examples of good snacks include- fruit with low fat cheese or nuts with low fat yogurt. The Dieticians of Canada Healthy Snacks for Adults factsheet is a great resource for planning your workday snacks. Eat Less More Frequently After eating your first meal, eat small frequent snacks throughout the night. You should alternate a protein with a carbohydrate to keep you alert and satisfied. Sample Eating Plan First Meal 3 to 4 oz of chicken or any lean protein 2-4 cups of frozen or fresh cooked vegetables Snack 1 Apple or other fruit Snack 2 Greek yogurt with handful of nuts Snack 3 1 cup raw veggies with lite dressing as dip Snack 4 3 pieces of string cheese Final Meal 1 oz cereal with skim milk and fruit Eating a large meal during the graveyard shift can cause gas, bloating, heartburn or constipation. Once your shift is over, eating a light meal that includes carbohydrates will help you fall and stay asleep. Pause for Meals Many of us are guilty of mindless snacking as we chart or go about our busy shift. It is important to pause, sit down and take time to eat at a relaxed pace. As nurses, this is not always an easy thing to do, but hopefully, you will be able to carve out a few minutes to recharge. Avoid the “Entertainment” Snack When nurses begin to yawn and eyes grow heavy, It is common practice to visit the vending machine. However, snacking to boost energy levels does not work well and actually contributes to weight gain. Instead, try a ten minute power nap, a short walk or stretching to keep drowsiness at bay. Beware of Caffeine Yes, coffee and other caffeinated drinks can help you stay alert in the wee hours of the morning. But, many of us exceed the recommended daily limit of 400mg of caffeine. Caffeine also hangs out in your system for up to eight hours and can affect your ability to sleep. A good rule of thumb is to switch to decaffeinated drinks (water, juice, herbal tea) at least four hours before going to bed. Outside of Work How you treat your body outside of work will greatly impact your ability to stay healthy on night shift. Practice a healthy lifestyle by exercising, setting regular meal times and adopt good sleep hygiene. Also, don’t forget to step out into the sun to keep your vitamin D levels up. Want to Learn More and Earn CEUs? The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has a free on-line 2-part CEU module available on their website: NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours. The training provides education about the health and safety risks associated with long hours and shift work and how to reduce these risks. Have any night shift meal tips and tricks worked for you? We would love to read about them!
  2. JanineKelbach

    Healthy Weight Week

    New year, new you! You see the slogan throughout the media, brochures, and hear it in conversation. It's a new year and time to make a change. A healthy weight is important for your to boost overall health, lower disease risk, and keep you energized. Assess your Why, then your Weight Assessing your why means to look at the "whys" in your life that make you want to lose the weight. Some may include: To Live Longer for my Children To move Faster at Work To Feel Healthy To Look Better To Lower my Disease Risk You can add to the list, but this is a start. Understanding your why will help motivate you into losing the extra pounds. Assessing your weight number is upsetting to everyone who knows they have to lose weight. Remember having those amazing barbeques over the summer, large holiday meals, and ice cream treats? Your weight didn't increase overnight. After you stand on the scale, jot down the number, but don't focus solely on it. A scale is a tool to give you a starting point. You have to look beyond the number and look at the other tools like your Body Mass Index (BMI), wrist, and waist circumference. Why the BMI? A Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated by a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square height of the person in meters. The calculated results give a number. If the number is in the low range, it can be an indicator of low body fat. Whereas, if the number is in the higher range it can indicate higher body fat. It is only a screening tool, and therefore, does not diagnose the health of an individual. According to CDC.gov: If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the underweight range. If your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, it falls within the normal or Healthy Weight range. If your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9, it falls within the overweight range. If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range. BMI Calculator Waist Circumference The National Institute of Health provides a simple to use BMI calculator on their website. This can help you start to set a goal for your weight. Obese on the BMI Calculator Many people use the BMI calculator and end with the negative feeling of being labeled, "obese". The one consideration the BMI calculator does not include is the different body types. The three body types include the ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph (left to right in the picture.) If you are an ectomorph, you may not have to lose weight, but you have to gain muscle. Whereas the endomorph (most women), have higher BMIs, but may not necessarily need to shoot for the stars when it comes to a lower BMI. The endomorphic body should never be a 19 BMI, or they will be considered underweight. When you look at your body what shape do you see? Wrist Circumference Some calculators can determine a small, medium, and large body frame by measuring your wrist. To do this, measure the wrist with a tape measure and use the following chart to decide whether you are small, medium, or large boned. Women: Height under 5'2" Small = wrist size less than 5.5" Medium = wrist size 5.5" to 5.75" Large = wrist size over 5.75" Height 5'2" to 5' 5" Small = wrist size less than 6" Medium = wrist size 6" to 6.25" Large = wrist size over 6.25" Height over 5' 5" Small = wrist size less than 6.25" Medium = wrist size 6.25" to 6.5" Large = wrist size over 6.5" Men: Height over 5' 5" Small = wrist size 5.5" to 6.5" Medium = wrist size 6.5" to 7.5" Large = wrist size over 7.5" If you happen to be the small bone type, and an ectomorph, your goal should be on the lower end of normal for a BMI. If you are a large frame and an endomorph, you can be on the higher side of normal BMI and be considered healthy. Waist Circumference Measuring your waist is another way you can assess if you are at a health risk. The CDC mentions that higher abdominal fat and waist circumference can correlate with an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. How to Measure your Waist Circumference According to the CDC, measuring your waist circumference should start with a tape measure. Then: Stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbones Keep the tape horizontal around the waist Make the tape snug around the waist, but not compressing the skin Breathe out and measure your waist. If your measurement for a man is over 40in and 35in for a woman, you are at a high risk for obesity-related conditions. Embrace YOU and You Will Succeed You may have read this article to get ideas on how to lose weight, instead of gaining clarity on why it's important. Every diet that is out there, that actually works, is based on two principles: Diet and Exercise. Those who lose weight, and kept it off, use those two principles. Fad diets don't work. As soon as you stop the fad diet, weight piles on. Diet Tips Smaller plate, instead of measuring smaller portions Add more vegetables and fruit, and make your meat a rewarding meal at the end of the week Pack on the go snacks like pretzels, apples, and carrots Exercise Tips Find an exercise accountability partner Take a challenge, or challenge yourself Set goals that have intention (add "when" when you say "Go to the gym") The process of losing weight is a marathon, not a race. Most people spend years putting the weight on, so it will take some time to take it off. Love who you are and you will succeed, according to research. Stanford University School of Medicine did a study and found that 63 percent of participants who had a positive body image were more successful at losing and maintaining weight for a year compared to a 26 percent success rate for those who were discontent with their bodies. When you set weight loss goals, start small. In January, people set huge fitness goals, and by March, the gym is empty. Set small, attainable goals, then increase over time. You can do this, when you think you can't, go back to your why.