The Night Shift Plan

There was a question on the BE board today about working the night shift.  Ah! The night shift. I know it well! Pre-WLS and many, many years ago, I used to do international support so I traveled a lot, but when I was home, I had to work 11pm-7am. I did well for a while, but didn’t make enough effort to have a social life, so eventually had to quit (but not before I gained 40 pounds).

Since she wants to keep losing and get ready for surgery, then she has to not only figure out how to do that now before surgery, but also how to make it successful after surgery. These are the questions that need to be answered:

Move: when will you exercise?
Eat: what time will your meals and snacks need to be scheduled?
Live: how do you have a life, stay in touch when everyone else is asleep when you are working?
Think: what mental changes do you have to make to avoid “medicating” yourself with food?

I don’t know if this lady has young kids, but looks like older kids and a husband. I can only assume their schedules are more mainstream, so that I can suggest where she can overlap them the most. Working out can be when they are in school or at work, and the same for sleeping.
Vitamins just follows meal and sleeping schedule, so once you figure that out, then you know when to take them.

If I was going to go back to the night shift, and since I have a husband and 8-year-old, here’s what my schedule would look like:

4-5:00 pm – wake up and have a big glass of water and then spend time with your family. Their dinner becomes your breakfast time – with the right attitude, this will make it mentally easier to eat what you should eat, rather than what they are eating. Take your first vitamins of the day and get ready for the day: do chores, laundry, cooking ahead, menu planning, packing up  vitamins and protein powder to get ready for the day.

8pm – kids go to bed, you go to the gym4-6 days a week (take your work clothes and lunch bag with vitamins packed and go straight to work after). At least once a week, schedule some time with a girl friend or group and do something social.

10pm – arrive at work, with my “lunch” bag packed.  I would bring in a magic bullet to work along with greek yogurt and frozen fruit and stash in the freezer for snacks and meals.   Get your “morning” coffee and add a shot of chocolate or caramel or vanilla protein powder and sip it while checking email and get going for the day. (will depend on what your job is of course) Take your next batch of vitamins. Start sipping water.

12 midnight – eat “lunch” – sandwiches are not good for us, but some dense protein either by itself or in a soup or stew is satisfying and helps to avoid snacking. Get away from your desk and eat with whoever else is in the building. If there isn’t anyone, then at least turn away from the computer (Thanks Dee!) while you MINDFULLY eat your meal. Take a walk around the building (inside if possible – remember to be safe). Dig out your resistance bands or some hand weights and stretch and play some music or use headphones. Take your next batch of vitamins.
30 minutes later, start sipping water again. Try to have only non-calorie drinks while on the computer or working. Don’t eat and work. This way lies morbid obesity.

2-3am – I eat every 2-3 hours, so at this point, would dig out the magic bullet and create a beautiful smoothie with the greek yogurt, small amount of frozen fruit and protein powder. Add a little peanut, almond or sunflower butter for some healthy fat. Or have some cottage cheese and veggies if you prefer savory. But DO NOT let yourself be seduced by the vending machines. Visualize that they are filled with poison (just got that suggestion from someone on the BE board yesterday!)  because they will sabotage you. And with no one to see you, you have to be your own food police.
IF the munchies strike at this point, get the music out again and boogie woogie all night long. Sip green tea, lots of water. If you must snack, try on salted edamame if you need salt and crunch (you can keep them in the freezer and microwave them) or make another smoothie for sweet and creamy.

5-6am – IF you haven’t been snacking already, have a protein bar or other low carb, high protein, low-fat snack before you head home. Top off your water bottle to sip in the car or make a nectar protein drink and sip it on the way home to avoid fast food breakfast temptations. (These were always the worst temptation).

7am – arrive home for “dinner” and spend the morning with your kids and husband and have breakfast together. Make sure this is a WLS friendly meal for you. Take your last batch of vitamins. Help them get ready for work and school.

9am – go to bed with eyepatch and earplugs (may need some white noise, guided imagery ( or sleep aids to get onto this schedule at first) Take your iron pill and brush your teeth. Sleep!

4-5pm – wake up and start the day again!

Start now to keep a journal. Be aware of how you feel, what you do and what you eat.  Watch for trends like: felt lonely, ate twinkies. Mad at the world, drank a coke and ate potato chips. Worried about the kids, ate a candy bar.  Skipped my workout, gained 5 pounds.

If you work the night shift and have obstacles to this plan, post them – I’d love to help more!

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