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  • Intermittent Fasting help

    Howdy all. I've been reading about Intermittent Fasting lately from various sources (here included) and one thing that I wonder about is: what to do if you don't have a normal person schedule?

    All the articles I read are for normal daytime jobs. I'm a nurse and work nights. So typically I will work anywhere from 3-5 12hour shifts in a row depending on how I feel.

    The reason I ask is that some reading indicated to fast during the day while some said it was better in the afternoon/evening. My issue is that my mornings are for dinner and my nights are for breakfast.

    Could anyone shed some light on how I should approach the IF journey?


    Thanks!
    CWP

  • #2
    I am in the same boat. I work swing/night 16 hour shifts twice a week, then an 8 hour shift once. It throws me off because I'm asleep when most people are eating breakfast and lunch. When I fast, I do it from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. For example, I'll have my 'breakfast' at 1 pm after I wake up around 12:30. I'll take lunch around 7pm, and dinner usually around 5 am the next morning. I sleep from 8am to 12:30 pm on those days. Then I won't eat until 5 am (or upon waking) the next day. Just make it work for you. It really doesn't matter as long as you try not to eat right before laying down.


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    • #3
      The idea is that overnight i.e. when we're asleep, most of us start burning fat so when you wake up you're in a fasted state. If instead of breaking your fast you then carry on, your body should continue to burn its own fat as it's been doing when you were asleep. It also means you're going to sleep on a full stomach, which is something I find much easier than trying to sleep empty. So, yes, come home, eat, sleep, go to work. If you read pklopp's IF primer threads he suggests stretching the time to breakfast and then merging it with lunch and going gradually from 3 to 2 and then 1 meal if that's your object. I went straight to 1 meal from 3, but I've been low carbing for several months now and I think my fat-burning metabolism is fairly switched on, so I haven't noticed hungry pangs, just emptiness.
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      • #4
        Night work is really rough unfortunately, the circadian stress is going to take its toll.

        IF doesn't need to be too precise, or the same every day. In your shoes I'd probably go to work fasted, bring a light meal for a halftime break (salad, boiled eggs, etc.) then main meal after work. That would be a basic 6- or 8-hour window to start with.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by picklepete View Post
          Night work is really rough unfortunately, the circadian stress is going to take its toll.

          IF doesn't need to be too precise, or the same every day. In your shoes I'd probably go to work fasted, bring a light meal for a halftime break (salad, boiled eggs, etc.) then main meal after work. That would be a basic 6- or 8-hour window to start with.
          +1
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          • #6
            I'll definitely give this a shot! I've tried not eating before bed which never seems to work, especially on days I workout after work. I'll wake up wide awake about 4 hours later ravenous enough to eat my pillow.

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            • #7
              I've tried this before but my issue is that if I don't eat enough, I get foggy headed and can't seem to think clearly, which is a problem given that I work in a cardiovascular ICU. :/ Womp Womp

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CaptainWafflePants View Post
                I've tried this before but my issue is that if I don't eat enough, I get foggy headed and can't seem to think clearly, which is a problem given that I work in a cardiovascular ICU. :/ Womp Womp
                Ya, IF will definitely raise the bar on food quality. Our tissues can hold a few days worth of nutrients before the stress hits (usually electrolyte minerals or protein). The more nutritional targets you hit at mealtime the longer you can fast.
                37//6'3"/185

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                • #9
                  If you have a busy schedule and irregular eating times, going to just 1 meal a day (not as a first step in IF, but working your way there) or two within a short period of time can both cut down on meal prep time and eliminate confusion about when to eat. There's no breakfast anymore, just meal 1 & 2, or just one meal.

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                  • #10
                    Also perhaps try to break out of the traditional thoughts on what is 'breakfast' and what is 'dinner'. They're both just meal times. eat whatever you want at each of your mealtimes.

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                    • #11
                      I work shift work, 4 on 4 off, two days (7am-7pm), two nights (7pm-7am). I do IF daily. I generally fast between the hours of 10pm - 11pm to 2-5pm the following day. No issues. Get out of the mindset of breakfasts, lunches and dinners and just call them meals. Start small and test it at different times to see what works best for you.

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