HSW 93 – Weight Loss Study for Shift Workers with Professor Maxine Bonham

Are you struggling to lose weight whilst working 24/7?  If so, this episode is for you!

Today I’m talking with Associate Professor Maxine Bonham who is a registered nutritionist and research academic at Monash University in the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food here in Australia.  Maxine is currently involved in research examining some of the adverse health effects associated with sleep debt, poor dietary habits and misalignment of circadian rhythms in shift workers.  All super relevant for anyone working 24/7.

Maxine and I discuss how alternating our mealtime or food intake can conflict with our natural body clock or circadian rhythms, and how this can negatively impact on our health including our weight, along with her latest research – a world-first study trialling weight-loss interventions for those working night shift.

Links mentioned on the podcast:

The Swift Study open to night shift workers based in Melbourne or Adelaide – https://www.monash.edu/medicine/swiftstudy

Shifting the Risk – A study investigating meal timing and heart health in shift workers –

HSW 65 – Healthy Shift Worker Wellness Events with Candice Bauer

As someone who works irregular hours, have you ever had any “healthy shift worker training” throughout your shift working career?  Quite simply, has anyone ever entered your workplace (that actually worked shift work themselves and knows exactly what you’re going through) and provided you with some practical strategies to help you to manage your health whilst working 24/7?

I’m going to assume your answer is a “no”, which is why you’re definitely going to want to listen to this episode!

Having spent close to two decades working shift work myself, and not once receiving any help or support on how to stay healthy whilst working 24/7, I’m now taking my healthy-shift-worker message around Australia, in the form of Healthy Shift Worker Wellness Events.

In today’s episode, we’re talking with Emergency Care Nurse Candice Bauer, who is also the founder of BareByBauer, an Australian based body and skin care company.  Candice is so passionate about her health and that of others, that she’s invited me up to her hometown of Bundaberg to talk all things to do with health and wellness.

The good news is that not only is this wellness event going to be a wealth of information for those working shift work, but it’s also designed to be an invaluable resource for anyone struggling with their health – whether that’s in the form of poor sleep, stress, weight fluctuations and much, much more!

So if you live in Bundaberg, then I look forward to seeing you there on Friday, the 28th of September 2018 :-).

Links mentioned on the podcast:

To purchase your tickets or to learn more about the Healthy “Shift” Worker event which is being held at the Bundaberg School of Arts Building, visit Eventbrite or the BareByBauer Facebook Page

To learn more about the BareByBauer range of products including the Saving Grace Repair Balm and Green Gypsy Facial Mask that Candice mentioned – visit https://www.barebybauer.com.au/

If you’re wanting me to come into your workplace (or visit your place of residence) and deliver Healthy Shift Worker Wellness Events too, then get in touch with me at audra@healthyshiftworker.com

Healthy Shift Worker Workplace Trainings –

Having worked for 3 different shift working organisations spanning two decades (I’m really beginning to show my age here) – one of the things that surprised me most was that despite this huge time-frame, not once did I receive any education or training on how to stay healthy despite working 24/7.

I did however receive plenty of training on systems and product knowledge, combined with customer service training which was kind of important given customer service was a huge part of what I did.

But it still left me perplexed as to why we never got any help or support on how to take care of our health given it forms a huge part of what we do each and every day – and night!

I mean let’s face it, shift work is hands down one of the most challenging occupations on the planet and certainly not for the faint hearted.

It also explains why shift working organisations would have one of the highest incidences when it comes to employee sick leave and reduced productivity, so it makes sense to invest in their staff, and do whatever is humanly possible to keep their staff well.

This is because when we work irregular hours, our bodies are under an enormous amount of stress – and that’s even before we set foot into a stressful workplace.


HSW 35 – Type 2 Diabetes and Weight Loss with Wendy Steward.

Healthy Shift Worker Podcast Episode:

As I’ve submerged myself in journal articles on all things to do with shift work health over the years, one of the things which keeps coming up in the research, is that shift workers are quite prone to developing insulin resistance, a condition where the body in unable to move glucose from the blood, and into the cells efficiently. This causes blood sugar levels to rise to unhealthy levels, which can lead to prediabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes.

Sleep deprivation alone has shown to impair the way our body responds to insulin, however when you combine it with a diet high in unhealthy fats, fructose and carbohydrates from processed and take-away foods, it can enhance our likelihood of developing diabetes even more, along with leading to a steady gain in weight.

In this episode, I invited Wendy Steward from Melbourne who after incorporating more whole foods and movement into her lifestyle, along with removing a lot of processed foods from her diet, managed to reverse her dependency on insulin, along with losing a staggering 40 kilograms!

Wendy is a real character and is authentic as they come, so was happy to share her diabetes and weight gain story which incorporated a roller coaster of emotional eating, a diagnosis of PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and an ongoing struggle to have children. If any of these things resonate, then you’re going to love this episode because Wendy is one incredibly inspiring lady :-).

Wendy’s website

Wendy’s Facebook page – Wendy’s Way

Wendy’s Podcast – Wendy’s Way

Changing Habits, Changing Lives book by Cyndi O’Meara

Shift Work Training – A Missing Link In Many Organisations.


I stumbled across this quote today and it absolutely resonated with me.  As a former employee and trainer for Qantas, training people in a way so that they feel confident in their role was an area which I was always very passionate about.  In fact I’ll be perfectly honest with you, my position as a trainer for Qantas was probably one of the most rewarding jobs that I’ve ever held throughout my entire career within the aviation industry.

Since you cannot expect to have a highly successful (and equally profitable) business without a high calibre of employees, it goes without saying that organisations must never overlook this area of their business.

Training people at a high level not only empowers them, but it provides them with the confidence to do their job well instead of one which radiates mediocrity.

Quite simply staff training (or should I say lack of staff training) can make or break a business because poor customer service and/or poor product knowledge radiates unprofessionalism.

Think Apple or Google.  Both of these organisations train their staff exceptionally well because they understand the consequences if they don’t.  It’s much easier (and cheaper) to retain a customer than it is to acquire a new one and they really understand the importance of word of mouth.

But I have to say whilst the majority of training packages which I delivered during my employment with Qantas were focussed around systems and procedures, in the back of my mind I was always craving to do something more.  Something a little different that seems to be missing from many shift working organisations around the world, and that of course is to deliver a training program which is more personal, relatable and beneficial to the employees themselves as opposed to just being focused around the organisations’s strategic objectives.

Because let’s face it.  It’s not all about systems and procedures (which can actually be somewhat boring not only to teach, but to sit in on as a trainee as well).

It’s way more beneficial (and fun) to learn things which not only are going to help you to become better at your job, but also to be become much healthier too!

And this is the biggie for organisations – it creates loyalty, and with loyalty comes a sense of pride for who they are working for which has a positive flow on effect throughout the entire organisation.  In fact both internal and external customers benefit from well trained staff.

Of course the area of training which I’m referring to is on shift work health – something which I’ve become incredibly passionate about over the years (thanks to my own personal struggles) and which I hope to deliver as a training package in the future as a way to “give back”, or help others from going through some of the struggles that I went through when working 24/7.

How awesome would that be?!

So stay tuned everyone – I’ve got so many things in the pipeline at the moment.  One of which includes writing a book as well as preparing to launch a digital medium which will be incredibly relevant and beneficial to shift workers all around the world – not to mention being heaps of fun and engaging as well!

Big shift working hugs,


Audra x