For busy nurses, as with most people, gaining weight is much easier than taking it off. As you work long hours, you may be tempted to skip meals and grab an unhealthy, high-calorie snack and a soda to wash it down. You might also get off work exhausted and hungry and decide to eat out before snacking your way through some TV shows.
The following nine tips can help busy nurses lose weight:
1. Get moving at work.
Nursebuff.com recommends sneaking in some exercise while you're at work. Try doing chair crunches during your lunch break by positioning yourself on the edge of your chair and grabbing the seat. Bring your knees to your chest, lower them and repeat. You can also bring a pair of light dumbbells to do a few arm curls or lunges while you have a quick break.
2. Get your employer on board.
Talk to your employer about workplace opportunities that can encourage weight loss. Scrubsmag.com cites one hospital that offered discounted Weight Watchers memberships with weekly on-site meetings, overhauled the cafeteria to offer healthier options, provided opportunities each week to buy farm-fresh produce and introduced free on-campus exercise classes.
3. Plan ahead.
Losing weight requires planning ahead to avoid common pitfalls, according to scrubsmag.com. Meal plans and exercise goals will make you more likely to prepare healthy, low-fat meals and snacks and to get moving. It’s also important to account for unexpected changes in your schedule, such as when your colleagues invite you out for dinner.
4. Avoid processed foods.
When you make a trip to the grocery store, nurse.com recommends looking for healthy, whole, unprocessed foods. Avoid foods with trans fats and other unhealthy ingredients. Instead, replace them with fresh, lean meats, whole grains and whole fruits and vegetables. Foods with a long list of ingredients should generally be avoided since these are usually not the healthier choices.
5. Utilize apps.
Health and fitness apps can make it easier to take care of yourself and lose weight. Marian University recommends several apps that can help you conveniently track your calorie intake, access workout videos, scan a bar code to get a nutritional letter grade for the product and more.
6. Share healthy, low-fat recipes.
Scrubsmag.com suggests connecting with your co-workers to organize a recipe exchange featuring only healthy, low-fat meals or treats. You can also organize a potluck lunch to let everyone bring in samples of their favorite healthy recipes.
7. Stay well hydrated.
Drinking a glass of water before and during a meal can help fill you up without adding any calories, advises nursebuff.com. Try to keep a bottle of water with you at work to sip in the break room or at other opportunities.
8. Eat before your shift.
If you eat before going into work, you're more likely to avoid temptation when you get there, according to nurse.org. Leftovers from the previous shift are often unhealthy choices such as cookies or doughnuts, and if you're hungry, you'll be far more likely to eat the calorie- and fat-laden foods.
9. Eat your calories instead of drinking them.
Beverages can have more calories than you realize. Sugary ones like sodas, sports drinks and even juice have about 150 calories a can, so if you drink two a day instead of water or a zero- or low-calorie drink, it's the equivalent of eating an extra sandwich a day, according to entrepreneur.com.