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May 27, 2006 4:10 AM   Subscribe

I work odd hours. I wake up at 4am, work in a warehouse doing physical work for 5 hours, go home rest for a few hours, then suit up for a 7 hour shift (15:00 - 22:00) as a security guard doing primarily stationary work. Because of the long hours my meal schedule is quite irregular and I usually over eat or binge eat. Any ideas on how I can start regulating my meals?

A few years ago I lost 150lbs and since I started working two jobs I have gained back about 10-15lbs. I am horribly scared that I will gain all of the weight back and return to my old self. Any help would be appreciated.
posted by klwatts to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
 
I can't make any statements regarding weight and what's healthy for you, but I can offer some advice on the first part of the question (I am a qualified Internet Doctor):

Your eating schedule is going to depend on what you're eating. I find that there are just certain types and sizes of meals I can't eat while sitting on my ass or I'll get drowsy. Plan out what kinds of things you're going to be eating during the different kinds of work (active vs inactive), and then adjust the schedule from there.

Then, buy a watch with multiple alarms. (Your cell phone probably already does this.)
posted by Mikey-San at 4:15 AM on May 27, 2006


[IANAD, nutritionist, or anyone else that has any kind of expertise]

With regards to the long hours - let's say we shift your schedule so that it fits a more "normal" eating pattern:

Wake up at 7am, have breakfast
Physical work for 5 hours
Lunch at 1 (ish, you don't say the amount of time between waking and starting work)
Rest at home for ~5 hours? (estimated from what you said)
Work 7 hour shift
Eat dinner at 1am

Now, that obviously doesn't work - you can't go 12 hours between lunch and dinner, and if you tried to that would be the point at which you'd start snacking.

So, if i were you, I'd try to have breakfast, one large meal, and two light meals throughout the day - one before you go to work in the early hours, one when you get home in your "rest" period, one just before you leave for your security job, and one when you get home at 10pm. Which way round you do this is up to you. Although eating breakfast at 4am will seem very strange at first, if you get yourself into a routine you'll get used to it.

Another point - don't spend all of your rest time between jobs sleeping. 11pm - 4am is 5 hours, which isn't enough, but only just. Maybe have 1-2 hours nap after "lunch" #1, and then spend an hour or so being active, go for a walk, something to keep your brain awake. Then have your second "lunch", and head out to work.

If all of your 4 meals are healthy and balanced that schedule should work fairly well. To ensure that your main meal of the day isn't just a pizza or whatever, sometime when you have the opportunity (day off etc) try cooking huge batches of stuff like chilli, chunky soups etc, and freeze them in portions. That way you always have healthy home-made meals to eat, even if you don't have time to cook.
posted by Lotto at 4:52 AM on May 27, 2006


If you can, pack snacks to eat at work, so you don't get so ravenous at work, and then binge when you get home. Sometimes just knowing you have something to eat if you want, even if you don't can alleviate some food anxiety. IANAD, of course.
posted by gilsonal at 5:37 AM on May 27, 2006


Yeah. Snack a little throughout the day to keep your energy up. Don't grab bags of M&Ms, instead opting for something that isn't going to screw with your sugar levels. Bananas are tasty. :D
posted by Mikey-San at 6:43 AM on May 27, 2006


Snack a little throughout the day to keep your energy up

Power Bars or Clif Bars make a good snack, and they're not bad - low fat, high-ish (18% RDA, on the power bar wrapper I'm looking at) protein, and they last forever so you can buy a ton of them and not worry about them going stale.

Some of them are tastier than others - none of them will match a banana or a piece of fruit, but if you're looking for durable snacks they're a good option.
posted by pdb at 11:37 AM on May 27, 2006


Make a rule to never eat over, say, 300 calories at one meal, and space every meal out at least an hour. Try it for at least a couple of weeks and monitor how you feel/energy levels/etc. God bless.
posted by rinkjustice at 5:48 PM on May 27, 2006


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