Eating for Shift Work @FitApproach #SweatPink


I no longer follow the strict structure that I used to enforce with myself about eating. I ate at certain times of the day only, and I ate certain foods during those certain times. When you give up that structure at first you are left in a bit of a limbo, which is scary, but passes.

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?

Making Happiness a Priority

I am a huge Happiness Advocate. Working in the field that I do, I have seen the first hand effects of what happens to people when they don’t make their happiness a priority.

With that being said, my happiness started to slip a bit in the Career-Field. Remember when I took a new job this summer? It ended up not being right for me at this point in my life. Loved the staff, loved the clients, loved the IDEA of it all. But at the end of the day, I just wasn’t getting the gratification out of it that I needed to feel like I was making a difference.

As a nurse, especially at this point in the job market, I count my lucky stars that I was able to FIND a job so quick. There is lots restructuring going on in the public sector under the Redford Government in AB, which means permanent (as opposed to temporary) registered nursing jobs are hard to come by these days.

I got the itch to look, so when I saw a .63 Days/Nights line posted for the Postpartum Unit at my local hospital, I jumped at the opportunity. I always loved working there, and was sad when I was unable to stay on after graduation. It really is the best of all worlds, and although I will be sad to leave my current job, I know my job satisfaction will rise and I will be able to better balance what I am doing!

  • The drive!! Curse the AB roads, but winter has been a BITCH this year. I take the back roads and it means that instead of 40 min total travel I am sometimes taking 1 hour EACH way to get to and from work. Not to mention I feel like I am going to die every time I merge on to highway 2 thanks to the Semi Trucks.
  • The line!! I am looking forward to Nights because they will work good with the dogs! Dogs can sleep in the bedroom at night when I work, and then I can spend all day with them :)
  • The amount of hours!! A .63 means that I will be just over 1/2 time, with every second week being totally free, I can pick up at the Remand Center and at the Psych Units at the same hospital.
  • The population!! Love Moms & Babies. Also love the diversity between working at a Jail, working on a Psych Unit, and working with Healthy Families. It will be the perfect mix of skill I am looking for!

I don’t start until January, but I am really looking forward to the change of pace!

Things I am Looking Forward To

  1. Meal Planning more regularly – I am making it a goal to try at least 1 new recipe a week.
  2. Starting my New Job on MONDAY – I did my tour yesterday. It is a wee bit overwhelming but I am hoping it will be a good change :)
  3. Edmonton 1/2 Marathon in August – Training is going good! I am definitely not as fast as I once was but thasokay.
  4. My honeymoon in 51 Days!! We booked everything! The Flights, Rental Car, Hotels. Now we just need to pay off our credit cards haha. Europe is EXPENSIVE. We are landing in London and doing a Contiki tour for 4 days. Going to Rome after that for a week, we are renting a car so we can travel all over Italy. Then we are doing a roadtrip from Italy to Germany and spending 9 days in Germany! We will be partaking in Oktoberfest, seeing castles, and eating delicious German Food. I CANT EVEN.
  5. Crossfit – My shoulder isn’t totally healed (something with my rotator cuff), but I went back to Crossfit TWICE last week. HUZZAH! LOVED IT JUST AS MUCH AS BEFORE. It feels SO SO SO SO SO good to go back. I did Karen on Tuesday (150 wall balls), I used the 12lb ball and finished in 10:32. I brought Matthias for his first ever crossfit workout on Wednesday and it was a doozy!
  • 10 Over Head Squats
  • 10 Over the Box, Box Jumps (Jump on one side, off the other)
  • 10 Thrusters
  • 10 Power Cleans
  • 10 Toes to Bar
  • 10 Burpee Pull Ups
  • Go through sequence once then repeat starting from the bottom to the top.

I was actually really glad he came to this WOD. Chippers are always challenging but he got a taste for a lot of the different movements! He said he had a really good time and is planning on buying a punch card so we can go together on his days off! :)

What are you looking forward to?