There are ways to work around shift working on the program.
Whilst the diet can consume time to follow it all, follow the plan, do the prep and cooking, tracking and so on. However it can be adjusted, it is not impossible to do however it would require some forward thinking and preparation at how you can manage this.
The program is based on food groups, and looks at ensuring you get a wide range of serves from each food group each day for:
- A balanced diet and general health
- Nutritional adequacy
- A sustainable weight loss
All of the meals on the menu plan each day provide enough food to ensure that you get these standard serving amounts in each day. These consist of per day;
- 2 serves fruit
- 2.5 serves vegetables
- 3 serves dairy
- 2.5 serves meat/protein
- 3 serves healthy fats/oils
- 3 serves breads/cereals
As long as you do get the serving amounts per food group each day, you can eat what you like, structure your eating as needed, and don't necessarily need to follow the menu plan which may not be viable if you are quite time poor.
So, if you can ensure that you are at least eating from these food groups per day when you are eating, and doing your best to meet those amounts per day, that will work the same as following the menu plan in terms of ensuring you get adequate food and nutrition. For those that do this and do not follow the menu plan we call this 'freestlying' which you can read about here.
So by doing this you can eat meals at different times e.g. on night shifts, break down meals to just eat foods from the food groups, and so on.
Some further tips are below:
- Have quick healthy foods readily available. You might want to have quick cook foods like fish and chicken fillets ready in the fridge or freezer plus ready prepared veggies so your meal, a delicious stir fry, for example, can be on the table in minutes. Or, you could try cooking some meals in bulk when you have the time, freezing some and moving a serving to the fridge so that it is ready for you after your shift – whatever works for you.
- Adjust your Food Units to your work schedule. Even though you might feel ravenous, shift work does not affect your body’s energy needs as far as calorie requirements are concerned. But, to get through those late nights or irregular work patterns, you might find that you want to eat more on work days to give you a boost. So, on rest days, make up for the extra food units you ate by eating less. For example, you could opt to eat an extra 1-2 snacks or meal on work days or if you are working a long shift. Then, on rest days, cut down by eating one less snack or smaller portions.
- Use your Food & Exercise Diary. Your guidelines are available to you anytime. But, if your job means that you can’t be near a computer for much of the day, try printing the menu plan and ticking it off throughout the day. Alternatively, you can print the following template as a guide throughout your day: https://my.totalwellbeingdiet.com/program/week-1-planning-meals.html
- Try to have your breakfast within an hour of waking - this will help you feel awake and give you energy for the rest of your day.
- Try to fit in three meals each day plus snacks to prevent you reaching for unhealthy options like vending machines.
- Remember to have a good balance of all major food groups eg. a tuna, egg or chicken and salad sandwich with fruit or yoghurt is a good, light meal choice.
- Take some healthy options with you for munching during your shift. And, when you leave work, have some tasty, healthy snacks ready for when you arrive home.
- Be careful with having too much caffeine or sugar and drink plenty of water.
- Try not to have a large meal before bed.
- Exercise when you can. A home workout DVD may be a good option if you find it difficult to get to a gym.