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5 Ways Nurses Can Stick With Eating Healthy During The Holidays

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By Rozzette Cabrera, R.N.

When you’re a nurse, keeping track of what you eat on a regular day is already tough. With so many things to do and tasks to accomplish in a short period of time, it can be hard to stick with mindful eating. This difficulty greatly increases when you’re on duty during the holidays. Before you realize it, you’re already binge eating your way to your nth serving of the day.

As a quick guide, here are five easy ways you can stick with eating healthy this holiday.

1. Don’t go to work on an empty stomach

Working with an empty stomach will make you less resistant against temptation. With so many good treats around, you’ll find it hard to stick with healthy eating while at work. You may even find it difficult to resist getting a second serving of your meal.

Soups don’t take a lot of effort to prepare but they can keep you full for a long time.

Before going to work, make sure to eat something. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a full meal. A piece of fruit or a cup of hot soup will trick your mind that your stomach’s actually full. This way, you won’t only have the energy to work, you’ll also crave less unhealthy foods.

2. Bring your own healthy dish

If your floor is planning on celebrating the holidays, try to bring something healthy to add to the table. This will ensure you have something nutritious to put on your plate. You can try mixing up some Christmas salad recipes or grilling some fish.

“Last Christmas, I decided to bring my own grilled chicken salad to the hospital for the party. I just wanted to eat something light since I know there’ll be tons of great dishes there already. Little did I know that my co-workers were also looking for the exact same thing. I went out of salad even before the clock struck midnight,” a nurse supervisor shared.

3. Be more active

You’ll probably think that working on your shift is enough to burn you some serious calories. However, with so many parties and hard-to-resist foods this season, you’ll need to do more.

You can enroll yourself in a gym class or buy a workout DVD you can play after your shift. If you are already working out, try to lengthen your routines or increase their difficulties. It’s also a good idea to invest in a pedometer to keep track of how many steps you make per day. Ideally, you need to make 10,000 steps. For this season, the more, the better.

Walking is one of the most inexpensive ways to burn calories. Do it before or after your shift.

Exercise won’t only prevent you from gaining the extra pounds but it’s also a good way to de-stress. With so many things to accomplish this season, like buying and wrapping gifts, preparing your home and working in the hospital, it’s easy to feel burnt out and fatigued.

4. Establish accountability

Setting a goal is good but if you’re alone in the process, it can be hard to strictly stick to it. To make sure you don’t find yourself cheating, find someone who’ll be willing to look after your progress. It can be a friend, a family member, a co-worker or another person you know who also wants to stay healthy during the season.

You can create written goals as reminders and post them on your locker or even the station. As much as possible, keep track of your progress by writing everything down. List down your activities as well as your food intake during your shift and take your notebook with you everywhere you go. This way, you won’t miss anything in your log.

“Last year, my boyfriend and I decided to be each other’s weight watcher. We were kind of successful that time as we were able to lose a couple of pounds despite the several staff parties we attended. We’re planning on doing it again this year and we’re tagging along a couple of co-workers,” a hemodialysis nurse said.

5. Give yourself a reward

Sticking to a healthy diet during the holidays is not an easy thing to do. For motivation, give yourself something to look forward to at the end of the season. It can be a massage, a trip to your favorite store or a new dress. It doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive but it has to be something you really want to make sure it motivates you. Of course, edible rewards don’t count.

How do you plan on staying healthy this season? What do you do to stay in shape?

Rozzette Cabrera is a registered nurse pursuing her childhood dream of becoming a professional writer. She spent a few years putting her profession into practice until she decided to take her chances with freelance writing over a year ago. Her life has never been the same since then.

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