Weight Loss
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Working Midnights and losing weight

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Hello everyone, just a quick question. I began here in 09 and lost a bit of weight, then started working midnights and gained some back because I got off track. Well now I am ready to commit again and was looking for some weight loss success stories from people who work the graveyard shift. I know it is easy to gain weight on the shift, but can I really lose it with my body being so messed up?. It seems like everyone on my shift is overweight, not a real motivator. My job ranges from sitting to walking 16 floors, which I ran yesterday while at work. Any input?

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I have both lost and gained weight when working night shifts. And it boils down to the choices I made.

There are theories (can't find study right now) that show lack of sleep can make your body produce more cortisol = weight gain and anyone who has worked night shifts knows it is impossible to sleep as well in the day, as you would at night.

Night shifters also tend to comfort eat and drink a lot of high cal/ high sugar drinks to stay awake (coz it's crappy being awake when your body is telling you it's sleepy time). Feels weird to eat dinner when you get home in the morning (right?) when the time of day (morning) is telling you to eat cereal or other breakfast foods. But if you switch your day around, you will find it easier to stay on track (I did) So eat breakfast when you get up in the afternoon and dinner when you get home in the morning. BTW: Time of day that you consume your calories makes absolutely no difference to your weight loss or gain I just found it easier this way.

Bottom line though, calories in Vs. calories out. running (or walking) those 16 flights of stairs can only help you towards your goals. Eating healthy food in sensible portions is the other half of the equation.

Actually, weight loss results really boil down to 70% diet 30% exercise. So get your intake right and you are more than half way there.

Little story about me: I worked in an ice-cream factory for three years, 12 hour night shifts. For the first few months I ate too much of the product we were making (when on my breaks) sat down whenever I could and used the closest break room. I gained weight. After I gained nearly 20 pounds in three months, I stopped the ice-cream consumption, started bringing in healthy food to eat (or making better choices at the cafeteria) and I began to use the break room furthest from the line I was working on (up three flights of stairs). I lost weight.

Cichlidgold, I worked overnights for 6 years - Monday through Friday 9pm-6am. I ate my big meal of the day mid-day when I woke up (around 6pm), ate a light breakfast before I went to sleep (around 9am) and then had a medium sized meal during the night time. Unfortunately, a lot of the time that medium sized meal was fast food. I actually gained weight during the shift, but gained more when I came off it because on that shift I actually did physical labor 3-4 nights a week. Once I got off the shift, I went back to a full desk job and got to my heaviest. Now that I've been off that shift, I've lost over 40 lbs (I exercise 5-6 days a week doing a minimum of 60 minutes of cardio each time) and have been watching my diet.  It's good that you can stay active during your shift.

I would probably not eat a big meal right before you go to sleep though. I know the reason I gained weight when I worked the shift was all the crap I ate. I was a Pepsi-a-holic. 3-4 cans a night at the minimum to stay awake (I hate coffee) I'm not sure if you drink soda or not, but I quit drinking Pepsi (down to maybe 1 or 2 a week at the most) and I've dropped a lot of weight.

Good luck to you. Private mail me if you have any further questions, I'd be more than happy to help.

Take care,


Thanks for the help I appreciate it. I don't see why it wouldn't be possible to lose weight , I am a night owl anyways and didn't go to bed until around 4am even when I wasn't working graveyard, and my shifts are 10-6 am now. I really have no problem sleeping during the day, and I usually sleep around 7-8 hours and never wake up in-between.  I will be back down to 3 days a week come January so that should help too.


mterraccino to answer your question I do not drink soda or coffee. If I drink anything at work it is lots of water and occasionally tea or diet soda. We also have free food there so I do not even need to bring anything they have lots of fresh fruit, oatmeal , salad and veggies, hardboiled eggs etc. All I am going to bring with me is a protein shake from now on.

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