Is Your Shift Working Job Making You Fat?

Lunch. DietIf you have ever worked 24/7 then I’d say there’s a good chance you’ve experienced weight gain and/or erratic weight fluctuations at some point in your career.  It kind of comes with the territory when we work irregular hours.

I for one certainly did.

Within my first 12 months of starting shift work I had gained 10 kilograms which was a lot because I’d always been quite lean and healthy.  In fact growing up my sister used to call me ‘Emu Legs’ because I was fairly skinny – such a beautiful term of affection only a sister could impart on her little sister and be forgiven!

But despite the weight gain and fluctuations, I have to admit I was one of the “lucky” ones.

Why?  Because research has shown shift workers are at higher risk of developing obesity, peptic ulcers, gastrointestinal problems, irregular blood sugar levels, metabolic syndrome – to name a few.

And whilst a lot of these complaints can be linked to the quality of the diet (a higher intake of processed and refined foods) and irregular eating times, according to a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health in 2010 there are other factors which affect our metabolism and include:

  • Psychosocial stress
  • Disrupted circadian rhythms
  • Physical inactivity
  • Sleep debt and
  • Insufficient time for rest and revitalization

You see under “normal” conditions, our eating patterns are linked to our circadian rhythms which are regulated in the hypothalamus – an area of the brain which is responsible for the production of hormones.

However laboratory studies have shown that partial sleep deprivation causes changes in two of the hormones involved in the regulation of food intake which include:

  1. Ghrelin – a hormone which increases our appetite but increases even more when we’re sleep deprived.
  2. Leptin – a hormone which decreases our appetite however decreases even more when we’re sleep deprived.

Essentially the changes to the normal functioning of these hormones can actually cause us to overeat and/or eat when we’re not necessarily hungry.

So it’s not your fault you’re putting on weight – it’s your circadian rhythms!

Well partly anyway.

Just have a think about this – when was the last time you really listened to those hunger pangs and only ate when you were hungry?

Because more often than not we eat regardless and this puts a lot of added strain on our digestive system because it’s essentially “not ready” to receive, digest and break down any food.  Unfortunately when we also eat at erratic times, especially during the night, it can disturb intestinal motility which affects the digestion, absorption, and utilization of nutrients.

All of these factors can add to our feelings of fatigue, lethargy, and increased weight gain.

Of course I totally understand there are times when we have no choice but to eat (whether we’re hungry or not) thanks to time allocated meal breaks.

But we’re not at work all of the time – and we’re not sleep deprived all of the time.

These “hunger hormones” can certainly play havoc on our eating habits – especially if you’re a sleep-deprived shift worker.

However if you stick to as normal of an eating pattern as you possibly can (especially when you’re not at work), and make a conscious effort not to overeat and overeat on all of the bad stuff (highly processed, highly sugared foods) you will be able to beat those hunger hormones at their game and prevent yourself from gaining all those extra kilo’s I promise!  If I can do it – I’m sure you can too :-).

Instant Weight Loss – Is It Reallly Possible When You Work Shift Work?

Many people today are searching for that fast, instant way to lose weight despite having to work shift work. In fact most of us would like to lose 5 kilograms by the end of the week – without having to do all of the hard work in between.

But is it really possible to achieve instant weight loss when you work shift work? Or more importantly, is it really a good idea?

Well even though it may be something that you aspire too – it’s not realistic.

Let’s say you’ve gained 20 kilograms over the past few years. Then you’re certainly not going to lose those 20 kilograms (or even 5 kilograms) in a matter of days – and nor should you want to.

Despite what is promised on the front cover of the latest women’s magazines that flood the shelves of newsagents around the world – the celebrity weight loss stories that you read are just not true. It’s talented and incredibly savvy publishers that are luring you in with their fancy magazine headlines –

– “Lose 8 Kilo’s In Just 4 Days” or

– “How ‘Celebrity X’ Went From A Size 16 to 10 In Just 1 Week!”

Unfortunately the media portrays these people as having achieved instant weight loss results in a very short period of time, when in reality they’ve been busting their butts over a lot longer period and have had a bit of ‘air brushing’ help thanks to the editor.

So the trick to achieving weight loss despite having to work crazy and irregular hours is actually much easier than you think.

Aim to lose just ONE kilogram at a time because one kilogram will turn into two; two kilograms will turn into three; and so on.

It’s all about progress not perfection.

Life is not a race – it’s a marathon, and it’s the baby steps that will help you to lose the shift work weight – and lose it for good.

A Little Secret Weight Loss Tip For Shift Workers

Now if you’ve been working shift work and struggling to lose weight for quite some time – then I’m not surprised. Because weight loss and weight gain can certainly become the bane of our existence.

Shift workers are prone to eating all of the wrong foods at all different times of the day because quite simply, we become too tired to take care of ourselves properly.

So if you’re struggling to lose weight, would you like to learn about a little secret weight loss tip for shift workers?

Well I’m going to tell you anyway and it’s called … Firing Your Diet!

So if you are on some kind of diet – whether it’s the cabbage soup diet, the lemon juice diet, the purple diet, the low-carb diet – whatever it is, just fire it!

Because you are never going to achieve a healthy weight (and be happy) – by constantly dieting.

Whenever you just mention the word diet, it brings up messages of having to “deprive yourself” of something. And to overcome this feeling of deprivation, the only way to fix this is to “cheat”.

And this of course makes it even worse.

Ultimately fad diets don’t work because they focus on a number on a scale. Remember it’s not about the number on the scale – it’s about being healthy. There is no magical number.

And whenever you’re on a fad diet – the weight loss that you do achieve is only temporary. In fact, studies have shown that two-thirds of the weight that was lost through some kind of diet, is actually regained within 1 year.

So just remember, there is no quick fix to losing weight. It’s about changing your eating habits for life – not just for a day, a week or a month – for life.

Adopt the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy foods 80% of the time, and enjoy your life (and food) – by eating the foods that you love, the other 20% of the time.

So despite what you may think – you can work shift work AND lose weight all at the same time. It’s about knowing the little secret weight loss tip which quite simply is called – Firing Your Diet! As soon as you do this you will not only feel an enormous sense of relief – but your journey to becoming a healthy and happier shift worker will begin from that moment onwards.