Timing of meals and exercise...night float


mdjess86

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Hey guys, I’m a surgery resident and this is my 3rd whole 30. I’ve successfully done whole 30 while being a surgery resident now a few times as have a couple of my friends, so it can be done, but I’m having kind of a new dilemma. I’m currently on night float, which means I work 5pm-6am every day except I only work 2 hrs on friday for conference and I don’t work at all saturdays. So Sunday-Thursday night I’m at work for 13 hrs. This isn’t really that different from day shift, but on days I can usually delay meal 1 until 7am (I try to eat a hard boiled egg when I wake up) but on nights I have to eat right when I get to work at 5, otherwise I’m busy and I end up not getting to eat until very late. I then try to wait until 11 or 12 to eat, but as that’s 6-7 hours in between I’m starving by then. I’d like to eat dinner after I get home so I have one nicely cooked meal eaten at a table once a day, but that means I have to wait until at least 6:30 if not 7:30 in the morning if I work out. This leaves another 7-9 hours between meals. 

So here is my question. When I look at it, that’s actually not a ridiculous meal schedule even for the day time, and I’m wondering, should my meals be able to keep me full that long? I’m already eating 2 of my meals at work, I would really prefer not to eat all 3, but if that’s what everyone thinks is best I’ll do it. When I get home I usually work out, eat dinner then wash my face and stuff and try to go to sleep around 8:30, then I wake up around 4 at the latest to get ready for work. 

When do most people eat? I feel like I’m awake a normal amount of hours compared to everyone else, I just spend more of them at work, so are you guys just spending your “non eating” hours after dinner? Or is it because my breakfast is so much earlier than average? I just feel like my meals are SO spread out, but then again I’m not awake for any more hours than normal, so I’m confused about how to time 3 meals. 

Meal one is usually something I just grab out of the fridge because while I can stay up late to do things, waking up earlier than 3:30 (equivalent 3:30 am) is just too hard and I know from experience I won’t wake up and do it. Meal 2 is always chicken or tuna salad with veggies and meal 3 is when I like to make something a little nicer and change it up some. I like to know how long it will take me to get ready before work because otherwise I’m stressed about wether I’ll be late, but after work I have way more relaxing time. 

This is only for a month, so if I have to just tough out long hours between meals it’s not really a big deal. Or add more fat. Or protein. Or something. I’m having a hard enough time eating all my meal as it is tho lol. In May I go back to a normal schedule, at work at 5am leave around 5am, call days, so still 75 hrs a week but much more doable as I can eat meal 1 at 7am. 

Sorry if this is rambling, I’m trying to work it out for myself, and thought typing it out might help, I’m just not sure how to go about it. 

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We usually say people should be able to go 4-5 hours between meals, but some people do find that they can go longer once they're used to eating this way.  It's also okay to have a mini-meal or even a fourth full meal if you feel like that would help. We would generally tell people to eat their first meal within an hour of waking up, and then planning their other meal times from there. 

This post has some tips on working the night shift in the healthiest way possible:  https://nomnompaleo.com/post/55156756199/surviving-the-night-shift -- I don't know that she addresses exactly what you're talking about, but there might be something useful there.

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Thanks! That was a very cool post, and very interesting! Her shift is 10 hrs instead of 13, but there are definitely some helpful hints in there, thank you! 

It’s nice to know I may be able to go longer if I just give it some more time!! That would be my ideal situation. If I could wait about 7 hrs I think that would work perfectly

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Also keep in mind that while we don't recommend snacking in general, we also don't want you to be really hungry -- if you need to eat between meals, do, just opt for a combo of protein, fat, and vegetables, or at least two of the three, and avoid mindless grazing, like when you wander through the kitchen and grab a handful of almonds here, and some grapes there, and over the course of the day you've eaten a whole bunch of stuff you really don't remember eating. If you have a fridge you can leave foods in, you could just take extra leftovers or some hard boiled eggs. If you need something that doesn't need refrigeration, maybe packs of olives or jerky. Either way, carrot or celery sticks, tomatoes, sliced bell peppers should last pretty well in normal room temperatures. It may be that you get to the point where you can go longer between meals, and it's really convenient if you can, but don't torture yourself trying to go that long if you really can't. To get there, you'll probably want your meals to be on the larger side of the meal template. 

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