9-hour work shifts - one half hour break. How the hell does anyone gain/maintain weight?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 17, 2012 3:09 PM GMT
    I have a bit of a dilemma. I've had this dilemma for years - but I could never figure out how people can gain/maintain weight while working - especially at jobs where it isn't a calm sitting down environment but a busy bustling environment that simply cannot stop.

    See, I have always worked these long 9-10 hour shifts. Unfortunately, I only get a single half hour break (which, I confess, I cannot always take) even if I do take it, there is only so much I can find and shove in my face. At most, I can probably get 1000 cals from that one meal if I'm lucky and eat complete garbage - which a good portion gets burned off by the job itself. I have to eat close up to 4000 cals a day to make any gains which probably means eating every 3 hours.

    Suggestions are welcome.
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    Dec 17, 2012 6:33 PM GMT
    Eat as much as you can before and after work, and have a protein shake for lunch.

    As for gaining muscle mass, lift heavy on your days off and do NO cardio, since your job is burning too many calories as it is.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 17, 2012 9:31 PM GMT
    What kind of job is this?
    Can you bring pre-mixed supplement shakes with you to supplement your caloric intake at regular intervals?
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    Dec 18, 2012 4:51 AM GMT
    IceBuckets saidI have a bit of a dilemma. I've had this dilemma for years - but I could never figure out how people can gain/maintain weight while working - especially at jobs where it isn't a calm sitting down environment but a busy bustling environment that simply cannot stop.

    See, I have always worked these long 9-10 hour shifts. Unfortunately, I only get a single half hour break (which, I confess, I cannot always take) even if I do take it, there is only so much I can find and shove in my face. At most, I can probably get 1000 cals from that one meal if I'm lucky and eat complete garbage - which a good portion gets burned off by the job itself. I have to eat close up to 4000 cals a day to make any gains which probably means eating every 3 hours.

    Suggestions are welcome.


    Tell me about it. I go to school (almost full-time, 11 credits this semester) and usually when I'm not in school, I'm working. Worked a 10 and 1/2 hour shift today with my usual 1/2 hour break (10 AM - 8:30 PM). Work 10 hours on Fridays and Saturdays too, with a short shift on Wednesdays. I can barely stay on top of my school work, let alone having the time to work out. And I'm still broke. icon_sad.gif
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    Dec 18, 2012 4:57 AM GMT
    I don't know what kind of job you're doing but I just finished an acute care rotation for my nursing program and didn't miss lunch once over the past 4 months while many of the other students in my group did.

    If you don't schedule your time properly and make your health and diet a priority no one else will. You also don't have to eat garbage if you pack food you made yourself.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 18, 2012 4:59 AM GMT
    I eat during work..If my boss doesn't like it, I will take more breaks, which I legally can, but if I do that, we get behind...icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 18, 2012 5:08 AM GMT
    1) Buy a six pack bag:

    16jhfts.jpg

    2) Bulk cook like me using containers that fit into the six pack bag:

    Example - my chicken stew, bulk cooked and frozen into about 50 individual meals I later eat "as is" or doctor into various meals like burritos, soups, sloppy joes, Indian or asian fusion:

    345kkfo.jpg

    vdo479.jpg

    2n8r5h2.jpg

    Bulk cooked it comes out to $1.25 per meal (I get chicken breast on sale for $1.99/lb) for a container of chicken breast, brown rice (or quinoa), black beans, lentils, various root vegetables and spinach leaves. Base ingredients:

    $25 boneless skinless chicken breast @ 1.99/lb (wait for a sale if need be to bulk cook and fill your freezer)
    $25 various diced root vegetables, whatever's available: yucca, yam, parsnip, onion, carrots, butternut squash, rutabaga, leeks
    $10 various: black beans, brown rice, quinoa, chicken broth, spinach leaves

    Soak and crockpot cook black beans and lentils from scratch and put aside. Then dice (also if you're inclined, brine and pound beforehand) chicken breast. Slow cook the chicken with a little low sodium broth, water and the root vegetables and you'll find that the veggies will develop the taste and texture of potatoes, so if you like chicken and potatoes you'll love this. Make brown rice and quinoa. Assemble your cooked stew, black beans and lentils, cooked brown rice and quinoa and spinach leaves and portion into individual food containers and freeze. Relatively unspiced, use it as a base as chicken stew, add cumin and chile pepper and put in an Ezekiel wrap and top with plain yogurt and salsa for burritos, add broth to make hearty chicken soup, add with Thai sauce and and unsweetened canned chunk pineapple to asian noodles, spread hot on a spelt roll as a sloppy joe or cold as a chicken salad, or add a Tasty Bite brand flavoring packet with a sliced banana and raisins for Indian.
  • camfer

    Posts: 891

    Dec 18, 2012 5:32 AM GMT
    10 hour shift, 8 hours sleep, leaves you with 6 hours to accomplish some of what you want. Let's say you work 8am - 6pm. You can eat at 7am a big breakfast 800 calories and pack a big lunch another 800 calories. You can carry some nuts and dried fruit at work. On your bathroom breaks (take two) you can eat 2 oz nuts and 2.5 oz dried fruit with some water and that's 500 calories, 2x = 1000. Then at 7pm you eat a big dinner 1200 calories and then eat a snack at 10pm bed at 11 and you just ate plenty. 800+800+500+500+1200+500 = 4300 total calories for the day.

    It sounds like you're prone to skip meals for whatever reason. That's your biggest problem in getting enough food into you in a day. You have to be able to take your lunch breaks and two "bathroom" breaks in a 10 hour shift. You just have to discipline yourself to take them.


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    Dec 18, 2012 5:40 AM GMT
    OMG I want that lunch bag!!!! icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif
  • squally

    Posts: 180

    Dec 18, 2012 6:15 AM GMT
    I work in the hospitality industry doing events and I totally get what you are going through. My hours are all over the place and for the past month I worked an office job as well as doing this mostly evening job.

    I work about 50-55 hours a week and I managed to maintain/gain weight because of the gym and drinking protein shakes (or my favourite orange mango smoothies at Starbucks). I am surprised I am 140lbs (I used to be 135) because I eat very little. That said the food I eat are very rich like tuna, salmon and goat cheese. It depends on what your goals are and how much time you have to think about food. For me we get staff meal cooked by awesome chefs, but somethings the food can be pretty gross too~

    Oh don't worry about eating late. It's okay to eat pass 9PM~
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 18, 2012 7:35 AM GMT
    Without naming specifically, since I am ashamed at the job I had to take, it's a job that I do have time limits to get my shit done for each order. And theres A LOT of them. I had 71 today. 30 is a lot normally. So it's almost impossible since I don't want to lose my orders since they get cancelled if I don't do them fast enough. icon_sad.gif

    But eagermuscle: that is one kick ass box and ideas. Now I know what I want for Christmas....well...something that Santa can actually bring in his sleigh without breaking any kidnapping laws...

    And thanks for breaking it down camfer. icon_smile.gif I do unfortunately tend to miss my meals. I just get so stuck on what I'm doing that I really can't stop.

    And of course thanks to everyone else for their input. I might print out this page. icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 18, 2012 7:38 AM GMT
    eagermuscle said1) Buy a six pack bag:

    16jhfts.jpg




    So many pills in the pill compartments...
  • He_Man

    Posts: 906

    Dec 18, 2012 8:31 AM GMT
    eagermuscle said1) Buy a six pack bag:

    16jhfts.jpg




    O.M.G! I think I just had an orgasm... Where did you find this? Is this the technical name, "six pack bag"?
  • Coug24_wyo

    Posts: 147

    Dec 18, 2012 8:33 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidEat as much as you can before and after work, and have a protein shake for lunch.

    As for gaining muscle mass, lift heavy on your days off and do NO cardio, since your job is burning too many calories as it is.


    ugh no cardio is so hard.......

    Maybe it is just me having lost weight and cardio being an important player in that, but I feel so guilty skipping/not doing cardio.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 18, 2012 9:02 AM GMT
    Keep something simple like nuts and dried fruit in your pocket, they are energy dense and full of high calories. Perhaps that would help. Do you get toilet breaks? I'm sure you could sneak in a few nuts post toilet?
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    Dec 18, 2012 9:04 AM GMT
    I know you don't care to say what your specific job is, but if you're in NYS(according to your profile) you are entitled to two 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch break per shift- it's the law.

    Having said that, if gaining weight while training is your focus try and stick to calorie dense foods. Nuts and dried fruit in particular. Nuts-peanuts(a legume, I know), almonds, cashews, etc. average ~240 kcals/40 gms. Just beware of your sodium intake- I eat unsalted nuts myself. Raisin, prunes, figs, dried apricots, etc. also contain a lot of kcals per serving. Watch out for ones with added sugar.

    As others have said, protein shakes can be premixed. They'll keep good for a few hours- longer than 2 or 3 they should be refrigerated. You can add a tbsp of mild olive oil to them for additional kcals- 1 tbsp olive oil=120 kcals. I find the olive oil actually improves the flavor of the shake and gives it a creamy consistency. Just be sure to wash your mixer bottle out thoroughly as soon as you can.

    I frequently eat while I'm working i.e. grab a handful of nuts to munch, or chug a shake.

    Good luck.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 18, 2012 3:45 PM GMT
    I'm in the same boat; usually 14 hours, without a real break and yes I've complained to the workforce commission, but like most hospitals it's the way it is and as long as persons with no bed-side experience continue to make the rules it's never going to change.
    When I get a day off I do as eagermuscle and cook ahead (must have that cooler). I take more food than I could possible have time for, running the risk of food poising by leaving it out on the break room table, popping in for a quick shrimp or two; been written up twice for eating while charting, keep beef sticks in my shirt pocket and a bag of sliced apples in my left cargo pocket and three strategically places half gallons of water. Also, my coworkers are now trained: that if they leave junk out, I'll toss it in the trash.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Dec 18, 2012 4:16 PM GMT
    just eat sticks of butter
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 18, 2012 4:32 PM GMT
    Jus googled 6 pack bags, damn! Theres a ton of these, why dint we know bout this? icon_wink.gif Im buyin one tonight! icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 21, 2012 9:11 PM GMT
    eagermuscle said
    Example - my chicken stew, bulk cooked and frozen into about 50 individual meals I later eat "as is" or doctor into various meals like burritos, soups, sloppy joes, Indian or asian fusion:

    345kkfo.jpg

    vdo479.jpg

    2n8r5h2.jpg

    Bulk cooked it comes out to $1.25 per meal (I get chicken breast on sale for $1.99/lb) for a container of chicken breast, brown rice (or quinoa), black beans, lentils, various root vegetables and spinach leaves. Base ingredients:

    $25 boneless skinless chicken breast @ 1.99/lb (wait for a sale if need be to bulk cook and fill your freezer)
    $25 various diced root vegetables, whatever's available: yucca, yam, parsnip, onion, carrots, butternut squash, rutabaga, leeks
    $10 various: black beans, brown rice, quinoa, chicken broth, spinach leaves

    Soak and crockpot cook black beans and lentils from scratch and put aside. Then dice (also if you're inclined, brine and pound beforehand) chicken breast. Slow cook the chicken with a little low sodium broth, water and the root vegetables and you'll find that the veggies will develop the taste and texture of potatoes, so if you like chicken and potatoes you'll love this. Make brown rice and quinoa. Assemble your cooked stew, black beans and lentils, cooked brown rice and quinoa and spinach leaves and portion into individual food containers and freeze. Relatively unspiced, use it as a base as chicken stew, add cumin and chile pepper and put in an Ezekiel wrap and top with plain yogurt and salsa for burritos, add broth to make hearty chicken soup, add with Thai sauce and and unsweetened canned chunk pineapple to asian noodles, spread hot on a spelt roll as a sloppy joe or cold as a chicken salad, or add a Tasty Bite brand flavoring packet with a sliced banana and raisins for Indian.


    You seem like a nice guy and I'm sure that this routine works for you but if I have to see the pictures of your bulk food one more time I'm gonna be ill. At least the links were broken for me this time.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 23, 2012 12:04 AM GMT
    PROTEIN BARS, full fat, real sugar protein bars.

    Do NOT eat the low carb bars with sugar alcohols.

    MetRx makes a few choices but read the labels as many contain the sugar alcohols which deprive you of the carbs you want for gaining.

    A protein bar is probably easier to manage than a shake but if you can, do both.

    THE ABOVE SUGGESTIONS ARE EVEN BETTER. Load up on nuts and dried fruits and think about calorie density in all your choices.
  • MidwesternKid

    Posts: 1167

    Dec 23, 2012 12:06 AM GMT
    smart snacking. I snack on a lot of yogurt and apples / apple sauce to ward off my hunger / craving pains and it has help me tremendously.
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    Dec 25, 2012 3:12 AM GMT
    RadRTT saidOMG I want that lunch bag!!!! icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif


    I know, right?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 25, 2012 3:17 AM GMT
    shockandAWD said
    RadRTT saidOMG I want that lunch bag!!!! icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif


    I know, right?


    Ill buy you one after Xmas when they go on sale...
  • mybud

    Posts: 11819

    Dec 26, 2012 6:40 PM GMT
    Keep...protein bars....almonds....at work...grab and eat....Take protein powder...mix in water...chug...takes about a minute to do.....Beef jerky....A awesome carry around snack...eating this as we speak...Easy access to food stuffs equals problem solved....All the best.