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I'm four days away from my gastric bypass surgery! Since I'm a nurse (with experience as a pre and post op bariatric patients) my anxiety about the procedure itself is fairly low. Honestly, I was more terrified when I had oral surgery to remove my wisdom teeth lol The nutritional component and meal progression is second nature as I have preached it so many times to our patients. I work for the federal government and have been blessed with great health insurance so getting approval was a breeze (my provider submitted my info on a Monday morning and received the approval by early afternoon the same day). I am taking 5 weeks off to recover, time to go through the progression and some "me time". (which includes welcoming my 2nd granddaughter at the end of February).

My concern lies with the fact that as a nurse, I work the craziest bizarre hours and how I can consistently coordinate the correct "good habits" while at work. My hours typically are 3:30pm to 8am (yes 16 hours evening into the next morning) and 11:30 to midnight (12 hours). I would love some feedback from other healthcare peeps who deal with the 24/7 demand in our field while maintaining adequate nutrition, exercise and keeping a schedule while at work, even when distractions or "train wreck" situations comes up on the job. My boss has been great and when I return I believe I'll mostly work 12 hours shifts (which will be a godsend so I can have enough sleep) but any advice on how to avoid falling back into the normal "pitfalls" that nursing can foster? Nurses literally are the worst snackers, vending machine finding, "let's order out" people ever!!!

Thanks in advance!

Jacki

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3 hours ago, ynotiniowa said:

I'm four days away from my gastric bypass surgery! Since I'm a nurse (with experience as a pre and post op bariatric patients) my anxiety about the procedure itself is fairly low. Honestly, I was more terrified when I had oral surgery to remove my wisdom teeth lol The nutritional component and meal progression is second nature as I have preached it so many times to our patients. I work for the federal government and have been blessed with great health insurance so getting approval was a breeze (my provider submitted my info on a Monday morning and received the approval by early afternoon the same day). I am taking 5 weeks off to recover, time to go through the progression and some "me time". (which includes welcoming my 2nd granddaughter at the end of February).

My concern lies with the fact that as a nurse, I work the craziest bizarre hours and how I can consistently coordinate the correct "good habits" while at work. My hours typically are 3:30pm to 8am (yes 16 hours evening into the next morning) and 11:30 to midnight (12 hours). I would love some feedback from other healthcare peeps who deal with the 24/7 demand in our field while maintaining adequate nutrition, exercise and keeping a schedule while at work, even when distractions or "train wreck" situations comes up on the job. My boss has been great and when I return I believe I'll mostly work 12 hours shifts (which will be a godsend so I can have enough sleep) but any advice on how to avoid falling back into the normal "pitfalls" that nursing can foster? Nurses literally are the worst snackers, vending machine finding, "let's order out" people ever!!!

Thanks in advance!

Jacki

Hello Welcome to the forum. You seem to have everything sewn up and are ready to go. I would suggest you have a look in the heading ' food before and After' especially posts by @Starwarsandcupcakes This lady does meal prep on steroids. She has given me loads of meal ideas and new foods that I have never heard of. I think she may be a nurse too. Good luck and hope to see more of your posts in the future

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4 hours ago, ynotiniowa said:

Nurses literally are the worst snackers, vending machine finding, "let's order out" people ever!!!

I don't have any advice for you since I worked a very regular schedule at the time (I'm not in health care - I'm a retired librarian), but the comment about vending machines in hospitals made me laugh. I had two of my plastic surgeries in Chicago. After the second one, I slept most of the day but was wide awake - and starving - around 8:00 pm. It was too late to order food from the cafeteria, so I sent my husband out to the nurses' station to see if they had some kind of snacky thing I could eat. They didn't - so they told him to go down to the basement vending machines. He came back and asked me what I wanted out of the vending machine, since that was our only option. Stumped, I said something at least semi-healthy (since I was very aware of the kind of crap vending machines are normally stocked with), I finally suggested something like a pack of Peanut Butter crackers or one of those little bags of peanuts. He came back up a few minutes later and said they didn't have either of those things - just chips and candy bars. WTF? In a HOSPITAL? Luckily, I remembered there was a Walgreens down the street, so I sent him over there to pick up a couple of Protein Bars. So anyway, yea - sometimes there isn't much available during odd times - even at a hospital!

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I'm in IT which has crazy hours far too often. There have been multiple occasions when I went to work Monday morning and didn't leave the office until Saturday evening.

I honestly didn't worry about exercise, though when I lost enough weight I did run quite a but. I found it mentally refreshing and it was a great start to the day.

Everything about food in our situations is all about planning ahead:

1) I prepared a week of work meals and have them packaged ready to grab and go. Make things you will really enjoy so that between your meal will win over anything at work. One of my favorite foods is Mongolian BBQ which I get from the local restaurant, which I can split easily into 4 meals. It was a great lunch on 'those' days;

2) If Snacks are on your plan, handle them the same was as meals. My plan didn't include snacks so this was not an issue for me;

3) Eating out wasn't a problem food-wise as there's always something on the menu that would fit into my plan and I'd still exercise Portion Control. Leaving food on the plate is not the end of the world. If it's really good I'd get the left-overs to-go and eat it again for the next meal (or three);

4) Ordering out can be a bit tougher if your not ordering for yourself. If the food ordered can fit into your plan then portion control is the order of the day again. If the food doesn't fit into your plan then you don't have to eat the communal meal, just eat the meal your brought and socialize.

5) Keep 'emergency' food in your private area. I keep a couple Hormel Beef Stews in my desk, no refrigeration required and they keep for months, and they don't taste bad. I just looked and the Beef Stews expire in Feb of next year. I don't keep snacks but if they're on your plan keep some snacks available that fit into your plan. I don't do Protein Drinks but here at work milk is available so I also have a couple zip locks with Protein Powder, again, just in case;

Work very, very hard the first 3 months [6 is better] to stay on plan. You will get the positive reinforcement of losing weight. This is how your plan becomes normal and how you will eventually just naturally avoid things off plan.

Good luck,

Tek

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Hey! I’m not a nurse but a monitor tech and work 12’s. Your best bet is loads of little things starting out- Greek yogurts, eggs and cheese, string cheese, taco meat, chili, etc. condiment or mini lunch containers are great.

Take the time and walk away from the floor! You and your health are just as important as your patient. After all you’ve taken the steps to get to where you are now, don’t let others derail you by being unprepared for success when you come back.

Also, water bottle at the hydration station and a phone timer to schedule breaks.

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Thank you all for the great tips and strategies! I do have my favorite water bottle with me nonstop. Will look for snack containers ASAP. And I love those beef stew to go containers. Will stock my locker with some of those. Any other ideas for shelf stable snacks/food?

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3 hours ago, ynotiniowa said:

. Any other ideas for shelf stable snacks/food?

Moon Cheese, trail mix or nuts, Protein Bars and shakes, beef Jerky, tuna packets, and nut butters for crackers.

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Shelf-stable snacks: Keto Cereal (no added sugar, low fat, like Catalina Crunch).

Also sipping soup-to-go (check nutrition label, Butternut Squash Soup is good) if you can microwave for 1 minute.

Mini-containers are great (4 oz. glass baby food containers, available online) for meal prepping. You can prep for the entire week and it makes it easy.

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@ynotiniowa I'm a nurse working crazy hours in hospital too. Donuts, Cookies, cupcakes and candy on every counter, that's a nurse's life at work, that's why I needed bariatric surgery...lol. I went to work after 6 weeks, so I was eating regular food and it was not so obvious to others. You will survive 12-16 hr shift by eating Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, boiled eggs, Protein Cereal with Fairlife Protein Shake, tuna pouches and prepackaged small containers with protein rich/nutrition foods (chicken, turkey, chili, veges etc). Wish you good luck and success!



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One of the most difficult challenges is probably going to be decreased levels of energy, especially with the long shifts. I’m a nurse and struggled to get through my 8 hour days on my return - although I only took 2 weeks off. Now I’m 2 months post op and can do my 8 hour days but on my 12 hour days I’m exhausted. Protein Shakes will be your best friend! It sounds like you know a lot about the recovery period but you may find it difficult to manage eating every 3 hours while also getting adequate hydration. Sometimes it takes me an hour or more to eat a yogurt due to patient care and then that’s more time taken away that I can drink fluids. One of the hardest things has been no caffeine and sugar for the energy boosts.

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