A shift worker’s diet is never going to rate high on the nutrition scale because we tend to eat all of the wrong foods at all the wrong times of the day.
So what is the key to losing weight when you work shift work?
It’s called eating slowly.
Often we’re so busy that we just don’t take time to eat slowly. And putting food in our mouth forms only a very small part of the actual eating process.
Eating slowly is essential to good health. Why? Because if you eat in a hurry or grab a quick snack on the run you are compromising both your choice of food (it’s nutritional value) and your ability to digest it.
If your shift work job is quite demanding and stressful, you can sometimes feel compelled to eat in a hurry which actually sends a message to your brain to slow down the digestion process. As a result, that hurriedly chewed food sits in your stomach and intestines weighing you down, making you feel sluggish and reducing your energy levels.
A lot of shift workers today are also prone to experiencing digestive problems because of the erratic times that they eat, so when you combine this with eating in a hurry – then you are more likely to fall victim to this rather unpleasant ailment.
You see digestive problems are aggravated when you eat in a rush and fail to chew food properly. The stomach has to attempt to digest large chunks of food, which requires much more effort by your body. Your saliva contains digestive enzymes which are mixed with the food in your mouth, but only if you chew the food properly. If the food has not been broken down by chewing (from eating in a hurry), then it will just sit in your stomach until it can be broken down further.
This process uses a lot of extra digestive enzymes and energy which makes you feel sluggish – not good for shift workers who are already feeling severely tired and exhausted.
So the key to losing weight for shift workers is to eat good food AND eat it slowly. Try and take the time to relax a little before you eat. Even take a few deep breaths beforehand and in between each mouthful. This is what eating is all about – savouring the tastes and enjoying your food.