* The outcomes of this diet depend on the person's individual predispositions and cannot be guaranteed in every person. We advise you to consult your doctor before you start a diet programme.
Do you work in shifts and worry about putting on weight? Try our dietician’s tips
Some people have ideal conditions for slimming and staying in shape. They have plenty of time to cook and exercise. But how can you maintain a healthy and balanced diet when working irregular hours or even in shifts? It’s time for you to stop seeing your work as a barrier. Experienced dietician Martina Dvořáková will show you how to plan your diet when having an irregular working pattern, so that you avoid piling on weight or even manage to shed some unwanted kilos.
Did you know that after a good night sleep it is important to start each day with breakfast to kick start your body back into action?
I probably don’t need to remind you that shift work presents a certain challenge for the body. Also, with increasing age the risk of weight gain or health issues stemming from a poorly planned diet goes up too. “If your job involves a two or three-shift pattern or alternating between ‘short’ and ‘long’ weeks, it has an adverse impact on your biorhythm resulting in you constantly feeling tired and listless. It has been proven that the irregular nature of such a work regime, together with the lack of sleep associated with it, makes us more prone to obesity,” warns a leading KetoDiet dietician Martina Dvořáková.
Going hungry during a night shift is a no-no
A night shift usually starts at 10pm. “In that case, make sure you have a substantial meal around 8pm. It should contain good quality foods with plenty of protein that will keep you full for some time,” advises our dietician. “Your break is probably not scheduled until 2.30am, so make sure you always have something like a protein bar at hand. You can have it as a quick snack around 11 pm, preventing you from feeling really hungry when you do finally go for your break. Following this pattern means the gaps between meals will not exceed 3-4 hours, thus ensuring a regular diet regime.”
A lot of people tend to have something to eat at home before the night shift and then go without until their break when they tuck into something big and filling to stave off the nagging hunger. The next big meal doesn’t come until after they wake up at home or just shortly before going to bed. “Neither is good. The body’s metabolism naturally slows down at night, so it is important that you go for a lighter, protein-rich meal that will be easier for you to digest. For your break snack, take time to enjoy wholemeal bread or a roll with some high-quality ham, cheese or cottage cheese, accompanied with some vegetables. A similar meal should also be consumed in the morning before you go to bed,” advises Martina.
Day or night, never miss out on your beauty sleep
“Interrupted or insufficient sleep is one of the risk factors in the development of lifestyle diseases and obesity. That’s why it is important that your body has a chance to recuperate,” explains our dietician. The shift workers’ pattern might consist of a couple of normal days with night-time sleep followed by days when the order of things is exactly the opposite. “When it comes to sleep, it is not important whether you sleep 6 or 8 hours (although 6 hours should be the minimum), it is the quality of sleep that matters. If you tend to wake up with your body aching all over and are struggling to get up even after hitting the snooze button for the third time, it is a sign that the quality of your sleep is poor. Even if you go to bed after a night shift, make sure you eliminate any sources of disturbance, such as sounds and other external factors. It’s also important to have either blackout curtains or blinds to ensure complete darkness for your sleep,” adds Martina.
It’s not a cliché: Breakfast WILL set you up for the day
It doesn’t matter what time you wake up. Make sure you have breakfast every day. Never mind that the smell of lunch being prepared in the kitchen is already wafting through your home. “You can join your family at the table but don’t have the same meal as them. The only exception is soup,” according to our dietician. However, a better option is to have something that will help kick start your digestion. If on a diet, go for protein mash with some added fruit and nuts. If you have already completed your diet plan, you can enjoy Greek yoghurt with fruit, porridge or a slice of wholemeal bread with cheese, cottage cheese or egg spread or high-quality ham. The main meal should follow later, at least 2-3 hours after breakfast.
How to jazz up your protein mash? Try the following tips.
Not doing shifts but still on the go all day?
Whether you are a hairdresser, beautician, massage therapist or sales person, you know very well that if from 8 am to 8 pm your work diary is full of clients and meetings, it is beyond your control to have a good meal during the day. What’s more, days like this are not an exception. They have become a regular part of your work life when you only eat at petrol stations and fast-food restaurants or when you get home in the evening where you then literally stuff yourself.
But what do you do if you want to quickly stave off hunger without compromising your diet? Why not try protein-rich drinks that come in different flavours? They can be prepared in no time – all you need is a shaker and water –and they can be consumed as a substitute for a proper meal. The drinks are packed with high quality protein that is slow to absorb, which means you will feel full for longer. Why not keep an emergency packet of chocolate flavour iced coffee in your desk or drawer?
Please note: Not all protein drinks are the same. “Protein drinks for athletes usually contain only one type of protein and because they have been developed to provide fast nutrition for the muscles, they tend to get absorbed very quickly”, explains our dietician.
Author: Nikola Nevečeřalová
Photo: Depositphotos, KetoDiet