We're always told that one of the easiest ways to lose weight is to get on a schedule. Eat at the same time every day, work out at the same time every day, and go to sleep at the same time every day. This way, your body gets into a groove and these things become habits rather than just temporary adjustments. However, this kind of schedule can be difficult for people who don't work traditional nine-to -five jobs. Its difficult to make sure you eat dinner at 6:30 every night when you have to be at the restaurant where you serve by 5:00 pm. It can seem downright impossible to get up at 7:00 am to go for a run when you closed down the bar at 3:00 am. So how can you maintain your weight, shed pounds, or prevent yourself from gaining weight when your life just doesn't allow a traditional schedule?
Meal prep is your friend
Too often people who work wacky schedules find themselves pulling up to a 7-Eleven for a quick snack or a drive-thru for a mindless meal on their way to or from work. Much of the time, this isn't even what they want to eat, but it's so readily available. Preparing snacks, like bags of nuts or fresh fruit, and having them stocked at work will come in handy when you're feeling hungry. Plus, you'll save money! This goes for your lunches, too. It's cheaper and healthier to bring a light sandwich or salad to work than it is to hit up a drive-thru, and since these things are more nutritious, you'll stay fuller longer.
"Small sessions of exercise are better than none at all."
Don't drink your calories
If you're working the third shift, you're probably tired and frequently reaching for a boost. While energy drinks and frozen coffee drinks certainly get the job done, they're full of empty calories. You don't have to give them up completely, but try substituting some brewed coffee or caffeinated tea. It's better to consume those calories in filling, substantial food you enjoy.
Find time for exercise
Sorry, there's no way to lose or maintain your weight without a little bit of activity. If you're pressed for time, however, there are quicker ways to get your daily workout in. If you can't bring yourself to exercise for a full hour, try some strength-training exercises for a half hour. Routines like squats, deadlifts and pull ups burn calories while you do them, but also afterward, while your body is rebuilding your muscles. Even if you can't block out a solid time for exercise, take breaks every few hours at work to get in a 10 minute walk or make an effort to park further away from the building in order to get in some extra steps. Multiple small sessions of exercise are better than none at all and really do add up in the long run.
Get quality sleep while you can
It's tough to get quality sleep when your schedule is out of whack. But a lack of sleep is a huge culprit when it comes to binge eating and gaining weight. When your brain is tired, it has unhealthy cravings, and you're less likely to be able to fight them off. Not only will getting decent sleep make it easier to dismiss these cravings, but it can help you eliminate them altogether. If you work the night shift, get some sleep during the day by investing in darkening curtains or a quality sleep mask and asking other people in the house to keep quiet so they don't disturb your rest.