- Some of the challenges that NP & PAs face are irregular schedules, long shifts, a lack of breaks, being under stress, and being on their feet all day. How do you think these situations contribute to a lack of energy? Or put another way, what are some of the issues that you see healthcare providers experiencing
NPs and other individuals in the healthcare industry without a doubt have demanding schedules. It is their job to take care of others on a daily basis, so they often neglect to take care of themselves. We work with NPs and PAs to get them to prioritize their health so that they can feel great, serve their patients better, and get their energy back!
Many NPs & PAs we see at Cambiati Wellness work the nightshift, which can cause even more stress from the lack of quality sleep. Quality is just as and perhaps even more important than quantity of sleep. We all know how essential sleep is for our overall health and energy, but it can really affect our quality of life long-term. Working nigh t shift affects the body’s natural circadian rhythms which increases fatigue, alters mood, and even affects metabolism. Long term sleep deprivation can also increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and obesity.
We also see many clients who struggle to take time to have a proper meal time. With hectic work schedules and lack of sleep its so easy to fall into the temptation trap.
We get it: You’re midway through the day at work feeling exhausted and depleted and wander into the break room to look for a pick me up. You see the pink box of doughnuts that your coworker brought in for her birthday and the Doritos in the vending machine and you think “I’ll just grab something really quick and head back to work!” It seems so convenient in the moment, but later on the guilt settles in. You can’t stop thinking about the empty calories, sugar, and artificial ingredients you just put into your body and think “Why did I let myself eat that?! I’m so gross, I’m have no energy, I cannot do that again, etc.…” You think about how you completely blew it and you promise yourself to do better the next day. This destructive vicious cycle of giving into cravings and soon after feeling guilty and terrible about yourself is not only unhealthy for your body, but your mind. When we shame ourselves we’re mentally categorizing ourselves as a failure, weak, and pathetic.
While you may beat yourself up thinking that this is because of your lack of willpower, there is so much more to it than that. Lack of sleep causes you to crave sweets and carbs the next day. With lack of sleep day after day, chronic stress, and nutrient deficiencies, it’s a recipe for disaster. It’s essential to learn which nutrients your body needs to correct your imbalanced neurotransmitters to be successful. We work with clients to replenish their bodies, balance hormones, improve sleep, and teach them how to make smarter decisions when it comes to nutrition.
One thing that will make all the difference in the world is to take a little time to prioritize meal prep up front, BUT we know that it’s hard to find time in your busy life. With simple tricks it doesn’t have to be time consuming. Keep broccoli slaw, vegan pesto, and leftover chicken in the freezer at the office. Keep sundried tomatoes in the fridge. When you haven’t packed a meal, simply heat the broccoli slaw in the microwave for 2 minutes then add chicken for another minute. Stir in the pesto and some sundried tomatoes and you have a delicious, warm meal in minutes. Batch cooking is another great option for an effortless meal prep. Roast or steam a big batch of veggies, lean protein like chicken or salmon, and cook a high fiber grain like quinoa or brown rice and you can easily throw together lunches or dinners all week long. We also love slow cooker recipes that take 15 minutes or less. You can check out more recipes here: https://www.cambiati.com/recipes-and-tips/
- You talk about disordered eating. One of the challenges for NPs and PAs is that there is always junk food around, either in vending machines, or in the break room. Why is it important to avoid mindless eating, and what are some easy alternatives to eating whatever is in sight?
It all starts with taking care of yourself. When you prioritize your health, it’ll be easier to resist cravings and temptations at work. For NPs, prioritizing health starts with sleep. Insufficient sleep has been shown to change metabolism and appetite by increasing hunger hormones. By getting quality sleep, you’ll set yourself up for success and reduce the likelihood of eating high glycemic food choices throughout the day. You’ll ultimately feel good about your decisions rather than feeling guilty and mentally shaming yourself, which in the end help reduce cortisol levels.
- Related to question 2, how does eating refined carbs and a lack of lean protein and good fats ultimately contribute to low energy (ie; work against you)?
When you have unbalanced meals with refined carbs, sugar, heavy inflammatory fats, and lack of protein you’ll not only find that your energy levels plummet but also that you’re hungry soon after and those vending machine snacks will look like a pretty good option. However, eating constantly throughout the day means your blood sugar is unbalanced and your pancreas is consistently releasing insulin and sending the signal throughout your body to store fat. This is a downward spiral of never feeling satisfied and constantly cravings snacks.
When we continuously make poor nutrition choices, it leads to nutrient deficiencies. Our produce in this country also unfortunately has become a lot less nutrient dense. Deficiencies can also come from certain medications like birth control, antidepressants, birth control, antacids, statins, etc. It’s so important that each meal is filled with nutrients while also being satisfying and balancing hormones. When you balance hunger hormones you will not only feel full you will also balance hormones responsible for blood sugar, mood, sleep, and more. To balance hormones with food, it is important to get non-starchy veggies, protein, healthy fat, and high fiber carbs in each meal. Without those components you can be left depleted, hungry, or find yourself reaching for the cupcake.
- Are there specific stress-reduction or exercise activities that would work well for someone in a healthcare environment?
I have lots of clients that think weight loss success will come from hitting the gym, but it might surprise you to know that studies have shown that working out isn’t the most effective way to lose weight. In fact, studies show that working out can lead to weight GAIN. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t valuable for your health or that it can’t be effective for helping with weight loss. It’s just that if you want to get the best results you have to focus on food first.
And if you are going to exercise, there are methods that are best fat burning results. It can be hard to make it to the gym, so we recommend exercises you can do at home 20 minutes three times a week for optimal fat burning results. In more good news it doesn’t have to be cardio! In fact, cardio can cause people to gain rather than lose weight. We prefer HIIT workouts that you can do right in your own home. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training.
Do one minute of intense exercise. Think things that make you suck wind in under 1 minute. Everyone’s fitness level is different, so for some people that is jump squats while others might do jump rope or a walking hand plank. The idea is to match your exercise to the level that gets you to oxygen debt (sucking wind). Do that exercise for 45-60 seconds. Remember if you can go longer than 60 seconds then you didn’t go hard enough. Spend the next four minutes in active recovery to get your heart rate back down. Consider walking or yoga poses. Then repeat 4 times and do this type of exercise three times per week. Not sure what exercises are HIIT? Just search for videos on Youtube.
Working out is also a great stress reliever. When you’re stressed for a prolonged period, it turns off your digestion. For NPs and PAs, its important to take the time to eat a balanced meal while they’re working so their energy levels stay consistent. Simply take 1-2 minutes to relax, take 10 deep breaths, and then enjoy your meal. Getting long term weight loss results is truly all about nutrition.
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