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I eat more to my hunger now, and of course, to my work schedule.
Shift work is a challenging thing. It impacts all parts of your personal life, including your recreation, your intimate relationships, and your friendships. The hardest part about adjusting to shift work full-time was with eating. Eating for balance, health, and energy.
Working psych is not a physically demanding job. A lot of my 8 hours was often spent sitting, either charting, doing 1:1’s or sitting at the nursing desk during groups. For me, an idle mind leads to a hungry mind, so I struggled with mindless eating.
Now that I have switched back over to Maternity, I am so thrilled to be on my feet more! Walking to and from rooms, standing to help with breastfeeding and assessments, standing while I bath a baby, helping moms walk to the bathroom after a c-section, all things I get to do on my feet! Not to mention that the pace is way higher and I am MUCH busier. This leaves me less time to snack, but also means I need to plan my meals smarter so that I don’t get hungry in between my breaks.
Here is a typical Day or Evening shift:
Day shift breakfasts are a bit weird. I hate eating at 6am because I feel like I am starving the rest of the day, but I have also come to embrace that eating at 6am means I won’t get hypoglycemic when working on Maternity, so I do it I will eat a smoothie, yogurt and fruit, or oatmeal before a day shift on Maternity. Sometimes I don’t get away until 10:30am for a break, so my body thanks me for the early fuel. If I am working Psych, I will wait until my first break to eat, because I don’t get as hungry as quickly and breaks are generally at 9am-9:30am.
If I am working an evening shift I will eat when I get up for the day, which is anywhere between 9-10am.
Planning really is key when working shift work. If you don’t plan, you will most definitely be eating at the cafeteria, or pizza at the coffee shop daily. I see it regularly and I feel sad for their wallets!
I try to pack lots of vegetables, a fruit or 2, and a protein of some kind. A balance between carbohydrates, fat, and protein keeps me the fullest, but I don’t count calories or macros so I don’t know the ratios I am eating.
For tonight’s evening shift, I am going to eat roasted asparagus and steamed broccoli, 1 fillet of a fish we had in the freezer, steamed/sautéed in a pan with Salt, Pepper, Ghee, and random fish seasoning (I am not a great fish cooker it is unfortunate). I also ALWAYS bring a bag of organic baby carrots to munch on if I am bored. My current favorite hummus is Fontaine Sante Garlic – OMG so good. I eat copious amounts. I think I go through 2 tubs a month (and that is just me, Matthias doesn’t really eat hummus). Fruit today is Grapes, it is usually what I have on hand – Apples, Bananas, Oranges, Grapes or Berries, STONE FRUIT IN THE SUMMER <3 I like to drink tea when I work, so I have a bag of Vanilla Earl Grey, but I also have a Dark Hot Chocolate K-Cup, if the mood strikes 😉 For a sweet treat I have a Chocolate Truffle.
I wont always pack chocolate when I work Maternity because the new family’s seem to always drop off goodies and I have a hard time saying no, so if I just don’t pack one, I will take a few bites of whatever is on the lunch room table.
This is just what I PACK, often what I eat will differ slightly; A pack of PB with my Apple, an extra chocolate, sometimes I will forgo my chocolate and buy a cookie, other times I am just not feeling what I brought and will go out to buy something on my break (Most often happens at the Remand Center, and we will get Vietnamese takeout – YUM).
Just as I get Days/Eves figured out I am going to be jumping head first into a Days/Nights line, with slightly more Nights than Days.
Night shifts call for a whole other post of their own. Plus, I gotta figure out what works best for me at this point in my life and at this body size (Last time I worked nights I tended to not eat too much food because I didn’t want to go over my Calorie goal. No wonder I lost weight working them).
What type of work do you do? How do you eat during your work period? Has it changed over the job or over the years?