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  1. #1
    GeekGrokker's Avatar
    GeekGrokker is offline Junior Member
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    Swing shift woes

    I've been Primal for awhile now. Getting really close to a year of effort. I've been more or less going it alone the entire time. Lone wolf style. That has been a mistake.

    I work swing shift. One week of ten hour graveyard shifts. One week off. The week off, I flip my sleep schedule back to the norm and everything is just prime. My graveyard week is miserable. Low willpower + carb cravings - motivation = fail. Usually resulting in unhealthy Carb binges. Cookies, pasta, pizza, etc.

    I have made progress. I'm fully Primal on my weeks off. The weeks on I'm hovering at the 50/50 range. Less when binging factors into the equation. I've tried IF. Sometimes it works. Sometimes, not so much.

    Is there anyone out there who has successfully blended Primal and swing shift? Or perhaps someone else trying to find a way to meld the two together?

  2. #2
    Phresh's Avatar
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    I've done good by it. It does depend on your work environment though, and who you may be with. I work 9 hr night shifts (occasionally they are 12s) and get time to workout during my shift time (military, PT being important).

    Some weekends or days I'm forced to switch to a day schedule so I can get your troubles with that, I think it's bound to screw up a diet a bit. I've always done IF and since getting switched to nights I don't keep up with it as much due to the frequently changing hours I'm awake and asleep.

    My main problem is that as soon as I get off (7 AM) I go straight to sleep. Not much time for cooking anything, and usually I like to cook before bed rather than in the "morning" when I try to fast for as long as I can. We've got a fridge, microwave, toaster oven, and grill at work so I guess it may come easier for me than you. I bring my food in and oftentimes find myself getting distracted at work and not even getting hunger pangs to binge on anything (like the other guys eating pizza/fast food). I've gotten good at cooking before work and sucking it up to not eat it right away. Sometimes I will though. No biggie really. Nothing to stress about.

    What are your actual hours? What helps me is when I wake up, I drink green tea/have some ginseng and get outside. I try to run over to the beach and soak in as much sun as I can to have an actual "morning". Or walk over to the store. Anything really outside. When I get off it's light out, so I just keep a hat on low, drive home as quick as I can, and seal all possible sunlight/artificial light out of my room so I wouldn't know the difference.

    I also notice I'm like 3x more likely to binge/cheat if I didn't get enough sleep. So that's important as well, and ties into what I said up there about running with the light.

  3. #3
    o6450rider's Avatar
    o6450rider is offline Junior Member
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    I have only been on the Primal gig for about 3 months but I also work weird hours. I work rotating 12 hour shifts. four nights shifts three days off, three day shifts one day off, three night shifts three days off, four day shifts 6 days off. Sometimes there is overtime thrown in there so i'll come off a nights shift on, say Tuesday morning and be back for a day shift on wednesday morning. It was very hard at first working my schedule, changing to primal and also having a pregnant girl wife at the house with all her crazy cravings.

    What I found my main barriers to be was my mental perception of "morning" and "evening" as well as length of sleep. This may sound a little weird but I tried changing the way I percieved what daytime was and night time was. Instead of thinking of day time when the sun is up and night when the moon was up, I made my mornings and breakfast when I was up and started my day from there. I have found after a few days maybe a week, my body got out of the routine of a so called meal time confusion. After this went on for a week and longer it became very easy to stay primal. As I changed my dietary interests from the old way of eating to the Primal way of eating I changed my meal time perception.

    One other thing I had noticed was if I slept longer then 7.5 hours I was staying in a state of tiredness and carb cravings. I changed my length of sleep from as much as I could get to 6.5 hours maybe 7 hours of sleep. For the first week this was a little hard to adapt to but now my body has made it like clockwork. I no longer need an alarm clock nor do I watch the clock for "dinner time". My days and times I have to do things change all the time but I made my body know that when I went to sleep it was for a 7 hour night time no matter if it was 8 A.M. or 5 P.M. For an example I may get off work at 6 A.M. and go to the gym then head home and after a meal go to bed, wake up 7 hours after going to bed and start a new day. But the next day I may have went to the gym that afternoon after waking up and went straight to sleep after I got off work again. Technically this is still in the same date and normal person's day but for me it was two seperate days.

    One more thing I found very important in the beginning was when I went to bed, I set my alarm clock for exactly 7 hours after I laid in bed. It was rough at first because my body didn't want to sleep and I lost a little sleep the first couple days. Then my body adapted and I would set an alarm for exactly 7 hours after going to bed and would wake up a few minutes before my alarm. It grew into where it is today, I lay down and my body knows it is time to sleep no matter what the sun/moon is doing or what time the clock says. I will fall asleep within 10 minutes of laying down in bed and wake up within minutes of an alarm which is set as a just in case.

    I hope this all made sense and can help you out the way it helped me out. It was a trick I learned from my father that used to work rotating day/night shifts as well.

  4. #4
    EyeOfRound's Avatar
    EyeOfRound is offline Senior Member
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    I occasionally work 26 hours, which means I'm awake for about 28 straight, and it can be extremely stressful when I'm on shift (hospital). I prepare ahead of time by making an inane amount of food, usually more than I end up needing just so I'm never in a situation where I'm starving and there are no healthy options available, because that's when you end up making bad decisions. In addition to having stuff in the fridge, I'll also always have a small tupperware container with nuts that I can keep in my pocket and reach for if I don't even have a minute to microwave my meal, but need to stave off hunger. I also make sure to stay hydrated - it helps me feel less tired and reduces cravings and hunger.

  5. #5
    Lynna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by o6450rider View Post

    What I found my main barriers to be was my mental perception of "morning" and "evening" as well as length of sleep. This may sound a little weird but I tried changing the way I percieved what daytime was and night time was. Instead of thinking of day time when the sun is up and night when the moon was up, I made my mornings and breakfast when I was up and started my day from there. I have found after a few days maybe a week, my body got out of the routine of a so called meal time confusion. After this went on for a week and longer it became very easy to stay primal. As I changed my dietary interests from the old way of eating to the Primal way of eating I changed my meal time perception.
    I have read several times that this is the way to go with meals when working shift work.

  6. #6
    GeekGrokker's Avatar
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    Actual working hours are 2100 - 0700. In a hospital setting. Though, I'm in the pharmacy, so I'm pretty far removed from all of the action. We have access to a microwave for meal prep and that's it.

    Like you said, there are some nights where I'll bring in food and won't eat it at all due to getting distracted as you mentioned Phresh. By same token, there are nights where all of my food will be eaten in the first five hours and I'm left with ravenous hunger the rest of the night. That's typically when the sugar cravings hit and generally when I cave and eat whatever crappy foods the day shift has left to share with the rest of us.

    I'm pretty certain sure my number one weakness is straight up willpower. Two non-Primals live with me and temptation is always lurking around the corner.

    For the most part, my breakfasty meals occur after waking up. Some "mornings" I'm just not hungry and fast rather than forcing myself to eat. I'll generally go for a walk/hike for about an hour after work to get a dose of Vitamin D and tire myself out. The weakest point in the day for me is right after getting home. That's the time I'm most likely to binge. I'm not entirely certain if that is a fat craving after the effort of the walks/hikes or if that's just my willpower being at an all time low.

    It is silly really. I was once a heavy beer drinker; I was able to give that up without any issues or problems whatsoever. Sugar, why can I not stop craving you? *grumble*

  7. #7
    Phresh's Avatar
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    Hm, you say you go hike or walk in the sun for an hour after work, and then go to sleep? That's a problem right there. I notice if I'm out in the sun too long before bed I don't sleep as long, and wake up wanting to binge on shit.

    I get sugar cravings too. I just always pack around raw honey/fruits. And surprisingly, raw broccoli. I munch on that stuff and it seems to kill my appetite hahaha.

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