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How to Lose Weight While Working Nights

Understand The Biology

Our bodies are wired to function based on the light dark cycle. As a consequence, our bodies release hormones at night when we are usually sleeping. There are ways in which night shift workers can modulate the biology to ensure wellness and physical health. In previous blogs, I go into detail about the hormones that are released at night, how to avoid unhealthy eating at night, and countering fatigue.

Watch What You Eat

Calorie intake reduction will play a role in losing weight as a night shift worker. Start by figuring out your macros. Use a portion control system to ensure that you are not overeating.

Reduce your caloric intake by 250 to 500 calories for a healthy weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week. 

It can be hard to turn down sugary snacks and fatty foods when you are tired, so planning and prepping healthy food is essential if you work the night shift. Eating snacks and meals that consist of complex carbohydrates, protein, healthy fat, fruits and vegetables helps you maintain your sugar levels and energy throughout the night. Skip the candy and soda, and opt for nutritious snacks. Peanuts, fruits, hummus and vegetables, whole-grain crackers, low-fat yogurt and fruit smoothies are all examples of easy and nutritious food.

Practice Good Sleep Habits

Practice good sleep hygiene by optimizing when and where you sleep after a night shift. 

A lack of sleep slows down your metabolism, makes it harder to turn down foods that pack on the pounds and zaps energy to exercise.

Exercise is Crucial

Creating an exercise plan specific to working the night shift will help you lose weight. Too much stimulus before bed may interfere with your sleep, and exercise may keep you up. Going to the gym on your way to your shift is a way to schedule exercise into your daily routine. 

In a previous blog, I share tips to get in your movement as a night shifter. I personally am always following an at home workout program in order to stay focused and to take the guess work out of what to do each day.

If you don’t want to go to the gym, slot time at home to run, do a workout DVD (or streamed workout) or lift weights. Doing 150 to 300 minutes of cardio and two or three resistance-training sessions each week will help you drop pounds. For those of us that work at night, small efforts do contribute to weight loss and a compound effect occurs. Jump rope, take a quick walk or do jumping jacks during a break.

Be strong. Be brave. Unleash your greatness!

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Charmaine Gregory

I am a nocturnist Emergency Physician, wife, mom to three vivacious cherubs as well as a greatness and virtual fitness coach. I help busy women like myself reclaim their fitness and wellness mojo and unleash their greatness! Watch my story and get a complimentary health assessment here: My Story If you are like me and have picky eaters in your fold, join my Facebook group, Picky Eaters Strong Mom here: Picky Eater Strong Mom Facebook Group

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