One thing that really sucks about being a night shifter is that I eat breakfast at 5pm, lunch at 2am and dinner usually right before bed at 8am (that just sounds messed up typing it). Well, I started noticing I was gaining weight and was always looking really bloated. I was still working out and not eating horrible so I was getting really frustrated.
There are actually studies that people who work night shift are actually at a higher risk for health problems. We have this thing called our Circadian rhythm which is a 24-hour internal clock controlled by our brain. It helps us regulate our sleep time, our awake time, our digestion, our growth and a ton of other important jobs. But if you’re a night shifter, your little circadian clock is all messed up. Even though you’re awake, your digestive track,specifically, is snoozing! So while we sit there over indulging on bad food all night, our poor digestive track wakes up to a bunch of shit (literally, lol).
So after doing some research, I started working on what I eat and when I eat it and I’ve noticed a HUGE difference not only for me but for Leonard, too!
When we wake up at 5pm, we usually eat “lunch.” This usually consists of about 4oz of protein and a carb of some sort. This week I had grilled shrimp and a 1/2 cup of jasmine rice.
At work, I use to eat my “dinner” around 3 or 4am but now I try to move it up to 1 or 2am so that way I still have 6 more hours of work to walk and burn it off. My lunch usually consists of 4-5 oz of protein, veggies, and a cup of carbs. This week I made Burrito Bowls which consists of 4oz of lean ground beef or turkey, 1/2 cup of rice, a serving of black beans, corn, and shredded cheese, and top it off with some avocado and hot sauce.
I try to bring healthy snacks that I enjoy eating so when I see people ordering take out at work or getting delicious bad food in the cafeteria, I don’t feel so intrigued to do it too because I like what I brought. Also, bringing your lunch saves you SOOOOO much money! For the price of all my Caesar salad ingredients for the next 5 days, that’s how much one Caesar salad costs at work! Or you can make 8 burrito bowls for the price of one at chipotle.
I try to bring things that are quick to eat because most of the time I’m scarfing down a banana in the nurse’s station whenever I have an extra minute. Fresh fruit, veggies, Greek yogurt, hummus and naan bread or carrots, peanut butter crackers are all great options.
My best tip of them all is sugar free jell-o pudding! It has 11g carbs, 1.5g of fat and it honestly tastes amazing!! Perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth!
So now instead of coming home and eating a carb filled “breakfast” before I go to sleep, I fill up on a bunch of protein and good fats. Does it kill me inside not to sink my teeth into some delicious chocolate chip pancakes or brown sugar oatmeal? Yes. But carbs are an energy source and if you don’t use it then it stores as fat. So while I’m sleeping and not burning as many calories, my body is just storing fat. So I made a list of some ideas that are protein and fat filled for my fellow night-shifters…
Protein/fat breakfast ideas:
-Omelets- bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, provolone cheese, egg whites, avocado
-Eggs, Canadian bacon, avocado, minced garlic, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese
-Steak and eggs
-Egg whites, avocado, and everything but the bagel seasoning
-Eggs whites, kale, minced garlic and shredded parmesan cheese
-The basics- Bacon and eggs
And this doesn’t just apply to those on nightshift. For those of you who are on a normal person schedule, making sure you’re not over indulging before bed can help decrease weight gain and bloating. Leonard and I use to do this thing where we would eat cookies and milk or make s’mores every night before bed. We literally use to roast a marshmallow with a lighter in our bed and make s’mores! I kid you not, I was gaining some serious weight! We had to knock that shit off real quick!
Here’s a list for you..
Late Night Snacks:
-Hummus and carrots
-Greek Yogurt (If you have a sweet tooth, add a few chocolate chips to it)
-Tortilla chips (in moderation) and salsa or guacamole
-Whey protein shake
-Jell-O sugar free pudding
Sometimes it’s not that you have to be on a kale and water diet, it’s just rearranging what you eat and when you eat it!
Hope this helps!