Anecdotally, the nurses are busy and running around long hallways all day, but their weight does not drop, but increases. Truthfully, this is not an individual phenomenon. According to the “Obesity prevalence among healthcare professions in England” in BMJ Open, researchers have found that one in four nurses in Britain is obese. What’s more, the study showed that the BMI index of 25.1% of nurses exceeded the standard 30, 23.5% higher than that of the ordinary people. The obesity rate of nursing workers without registered nursing qualification is even higher at 31.9%, such as home care and nurse assistants. In addition, an early study conducted in Edinburgh Napier in 2015 also found that similar problems existed in the areas north of the border, and nearly seven out of ten Scottish nurses were overweight or obese.
Although it seems impossible to talk about a person’s job when it comes to weight loss except some professions that should pay attention to image, such as actors, models, flight attendants and so on, the nurses, as the medical staffs, actually care more about their health problem caused by obesity due to the unique profession. However, people always ignore the relationship of this special job and weight loss and there are few articles on how nurses lose weight for those who don’t know how to start and how difficult it is as the common weight loss methods don’t work for nurses.
To lay it out even further, as a nurse, you may have heard of intermittent fasting, but you don’t know whether it is suitable for you, or you have doubts. You want to know more about whether it is a legend or a superstition through professional ways. Now the following information provided can give you the answer.
Why Nurses Tend to Gain More Weight than Other Jobs?
Obesity is considered as a common and widespread problem in the United States. It is also one of the biggest factors that cause many Americans to face serious health problems. More and more Americans are becoming overweight. This also affects healthcare professionals because they weigh more than their peers in history.
Like most Americans, nurses also have high pressure jobs and shoulder heavy responsibilities, which leads them to develop bad eating habits and lack of sleep.
Here are some reasons why nurses tend to gain more weight than other jobs:
No Proper Diet Plan
Due to the particularity of work, nurses work in shifts, generally from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 15 minutes in advance. Then, dinner will be finished around 4:30. At that time, it is very likely that lunch has not been fully digested. However, considering a series of situations such as new patients, rescue patients and changes in patients’ condition in the ward, it is very likely that there is no time to eat. So, nurses generally choose preventive feeding, which will influence the normal diet plan. Besides, quick eating sessions including getting processed food from the hospital vending machines and quick fixes like pop-tarts or bagels are common meals for nurses, which will certainly add the calorie.
No Proper Diet Habits
No matter whether the night shift ward is quiet or not, nurses have to patrol the ward and always be ready to deal with emergencies. Moreover, the rest time of nurses is often short, which leads them to eat in a hurry, and thus develop bad diet habits. In fact, this is very bad for weight loss. As early as 2006, it was found that eating fast would lead to obesity among the middle-aged men and women. And in 2015, one review of 23 studies also showed that fast eaters are about twice as likely to be obese as slow eaters.
Not Enough Physical Exercise
In a sense, running around long hallways isn’t a workout and also not enough for nurses. For most adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Moreover, it is normal for nurses to be busy every day and collapsing in the sofa is a portrayal of many nurses coming home. Therefore, it is tough to find time to exercise or in other words they prefer to spend their time sleeping and resting because they are tired of running all day.
The long-time 12-hour shift work of nurses makes it hard for nurses to sleep the recommended 8 hours, especially the night shift. As a result, long term lack of sleep can affect the eating cycle of the human body’s biological clock and reduce the content of a protein called leptin in the blood. This protein not only inhibits appetite, but also affects the brain’s judgment of whether the body has enough food. In addition, people who lack sleep have higher levels of appetite promoting factors in their bodies. When you stay up late, your stomach is more likely to feel hungry and eat excess calories unconsciously.
Nurses are under great pressure and have to cope with various examinations. In addition, nurses have to communicate with patients and care about everything. In these conditions with high pressure, people will have an acute stress response. The endocrine system will produce a large number of glucocorticoids through a series of stimulating reactions, and too high glucocorticoids can promote appetite and cause obesity.
Lack of Nutrients
In people’s traditional consciousness, it seems that physical obesity is caused by over nutrition, but in fact, it is not so. Relevant nutrition experts have found that lack of nutrients can also lead to obesity. If the daily diet lacks nutrients that can transform the body’s adipose tissue into energy substances, such as vitamin B2, vitamin B6 and niacin, the body’s adipose tissue accumulates and form obesity. How lack of nutrients occurs on nurses? The nurses are too busy to eat, especially in the emergency department, ICU operating room and other departments. They encounter rescue and surgery when they should eat. In this case, can they have sufficient nutrients intake?
Why These Weight Loss Methods Don’t Work on Nurses?
When you dive into the world of weight loss, you’ll find endless streams of information on ways about how to lose weight. But they have something in common in two aspects: diet and exercise.
Put it simply, eating less and doing suitable exercises are the two main traditional focuses when it comes to the weight loss. Unfortunately, these two aspects are difficult for nurses to realize. Why?
Because on the one hand, nurses often have not enough time to eat or eat in a hurry, which tends to be a bad eating habits for losing weight. On the other hand, they are busy and tired every day because of the 12-hour shift work, so it seems more plausible for nurses to rest at home rather than go out for workout. Based on these two points, the general weight loss methods are not suitable and not effective as well for nurses.
Does Intermittent Fasting Work on Nurses?
Since the normal weight loss approaches don’t work on nurses, it is necessary to find out one special way for nurses to lose weight and keep healthy. And intermittent fasting as a popular concept in recent years may do help.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting, also known as IF, entails eating during a specific time only and fasting during the rest of the time. The core of intermittent fasting lies in the control that strictly regulates eating and fasting time to provide the consumed food enough time to be metabolized and then finally stop fat from being accumulated in the body.
How does Intermittent Fasting Work for Weight Loss and Body Health?
Based on the discussion on the working scheme of intermittent fasting, intermittent fasting aims to expand the time between meals so that more fat can be effectively burnt. As a result, intermittent fasting is beneficial to weight loss. In addition, intermittent fasting is beneficial to your body health, such as reducing the risk of cancer, preventing diabetes, boosting heart health and so on.
Why Intermittent Fasting is Fit for Nurses?
The nurse’s work is naturally suitable for intermittent fasting as IF can adapt to nurses’ working hours and eating habits. For example, you can choose an intermittent fasting plan like 16:8 regime with eating window from 12 am to 8 am and fasting during the other time if you have a night shift. How to do intermittent fasting based on a shift work schedule is what nurses should learn about.
Easy-to-Use Intermittent Fasting Guidelines for Nurses Calling for Weight Loss
Making a plan suitable for yourself is the premise of successful weight loss. Whether you choose the 8 or 12 eating window, stick to it and try to challenge yourself in the case of ensuring health.But once you have figured out a better rhythm and pattern, you can start to adjust your plan and remember to give yourself room to experiment, take notes and see what works for you and your body. Besides, meals and exercise goals should also be planned ahead. People will have motivation only when they have goals.
Drink Enough Water
Drinking water seems to be a very easy thing, but many people actually don’t drink enough water a day. Water is the best beverage while intermittent fasting as it contains 0 calories and keeps you hydrated. Try to carry a bottle of water with you at work so that you can sip in the lounge or other occasions.
Avoid Processed Foods
If it’s hard to know what to eat during intermittent fasting, knowing what not to eat may make things easier. Over-processed foods and foods containing high sugar or sweeteners should be avoided during intermittent fasting. A popular saying is “eat close to the ground “. What does it mean? Basically, a great way to think of it is to choose foods that still look the way Mother Nature created them.
Once you’ve made up your mind to start using intermittent fasting to lose weight, it’s helpful to keep track of how much water you drink and what food you eat every day at the beginning of the trial. Therefore, a health and fitness app like Fastylecan make it easier to take care yourself and lose weight.
Other Weight Loss Tips for Nurses
Sneak in 30 minutes of chair crunches during lunch break
Try to put yourself on the edge of the chair during the lunch break, grab the seat and do sit ups. Put your knees in front of your chest, lower your knees and repeat the above action. You can also bring a pair of light dumbbells and do several arm curls or lunges during your quick rest.
Harness the power of accountability
“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.” – Bob Proctor
Do you remember the time when you and your friends started a diet or exercise program together? It adds a certain degree of accountability to all this. They count on you, and you depend on them. What if you have such a sense of responsibility every day? It will change your life, won’t it?
Therefore, if you want to accelerate your motivation to lose weight, there is no better solution than to increase the power of accountability in life. Maybe the easiest way is to find someone else or just your colleagues in need of losing weight and then share your plan and implementation process.