I unfortunately live in an apartment where grills are not allowed on individual patios and balcony’s. Luckily, this summer, they opened a new pool with built in grills for the residents to use. It has been the best addition for me so far! I have used it at least once a week.
Nothing says summer more than being able to get out and grill some yummy food. I can literally throw everything on the grill from meat to vegetables to potatoes and have minimal clean up in my own kitchen! Not to mention its super quick and makes it just that much more delicious. Before this summer, I never used a grill and at the start of summer I would just prepare everything and have my boyfriend grill it for me. But I am growing in my grilling independence and am learning how to do it. I must say, the chili lime shrimp skewers turned out amazing and they did not last very long in the house!
This paired perfectly with my summer like creamy avocado coleslaw and flavorful mango salsa. Although the shrimp could totally be eatin by itself, Who doesn’t like a good dip right? And avocado dip is a must try!
The most common thing I get from people that are trying the new healthy eating lifestyle is if they have to give up fried foods. Although the answer is yes, there is a way to still enjoy it but in a way that your body will love you much more for!
Working night shift is NOT easy.
Famous quotes from others “Nightshift takes years off of your life” “Working night shift is equivalent to smoking cigarettes” (that one cracks me up) “Ive gained so much weight since I’ve been on night shift” “My depression has been so bad since I’ve been on nights” and on and on..
There could be truth to many of these statements. I’ve personally seen my friends not do well mentally and physically on night shift. Shoot, I was never a night person myself. I truly am a morning person at heart.
I started working night shift at the beginning of nursing school to help me make a little bit more money and to help me schedule my clinical days and class time better. I had to work full time during nursing school, I had no choice there as I was going to nursing school after 25 years of age and didn’t have the option of living at home and having no bills. Once I got my first nursing job, as majority of my other class mates, night shift was where you had to start because day shift positions were never open as the more senior people got the opportunity to choose to work day shift.
Once I moved back to Michigan and was hired into my second nursing job, the only schedule available for new staff was rotating shifts. Fit all the above quotes into the rotating schedule lifestyle because they all stand true! Rotating shift was probably the worst schedule I have had to take on and I did it for 1 year. After a year, i had the opportunity to go to straight nights (again, day shift is not available unless you’ve worked there for at least 5 years) and so I chose to do that. Believe it or not it has been so much better than rotating and I feel much more normal than when I was switching back and forth from day to night.
Working nights is still hard. The hardest part when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is that the shift CAN be quieter (NOT always, especially when you have a very sick or an extremely delirious patient!). The increased down time creates signals in your brain that just say eat, eat all the snacks, eat some more, just taste some things. This is how the pounds can easily add on (along with if you aren’t getting enough sleep).
Being healthy and on nights is 100% possible and 100% in your control!
Here are the things that I do to keep healthy while working nights as a nurse
- Meal planning-write a weekly plan of your meals and snacks and grocery shop to last during your stretch of work shifts
- Meal prepping-cook food ahead of time so in between shifts you just pack it into a container and go
- Pack extra snacks that are healthy in case of emergency hunger moments or when there are a ton of unhealthy options in the break room, you can always grab your healthy snack to eat while everyone else is eating as well. -Rx Bars, fruit, almond butter and nuts are my favorite snacks
- SAY NO. You do not have to give into temptation if you are not wanting to. Eat your yummy food you brought. Its not that big of a deal.
- Drinking plenty of water-Super important and even I need to remind myself regularly to do this!
- Have black out curtains to allow for substantial rest during the day
- Phone on silent during the day-No interruptions. You don’t call your friends and family at 1am, you do not need to be bothered at 1pm.
To my fellow nurses out there stuck on night shift and feeling unhealthy, turn the stigma around. You have full control over how you feel and the health of your body. Don’t make your schedule be the reason, make a plan using some of the tips I shared above and even add some of your own. If there is something you do but I did not mention it above, please share it with me in the comments, I’d love to hear it :-).
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. What does this even mean?
A condition in which women have high levels of male hormones, increasing the risk of irregular or absent menstrual cycles, infertility, obesity, ovarian cysts, heart disease, and diabetes. PCOS is associated with insulin resistance. PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH – National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
PCOS is diagnosed by having 2 or 3 symptoms. The 3 symptoms are
- Absence of ovulation leading to absent or irregular periods.
- Excess body hair
- Cysts on one or both ovaries
This means you could have polycystic ovarian syndrome without having cysts on your ovaries but having irregular periods and excess body hair. PCOS is one of the most common reason many women are suffering from infertility today! Other common symptoms you may notice include:
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair/hair loss
- Sleep problems
- Pelvic pain
If you have noticed any symptoms, the best thing you can do for yourself is get checked out, have your blood drawn to check your hormone levels and find the best treatment for you as every person is different.
I am not a endocrinologists, not someone who feels is an expert in the topic nor am I a world renowned author or writer, BUT I am what I hope to be a more relatable girl that lives with PCOS every single day and a story to tell about it . Born and raised in Michigan, i have two bachelors degrees, not currently married and no children (not a shocker here). My PCOS journey takes me way back to middle school. I first got my period when i was 12 years old. I got it once more maybe 6 months later and then didn’t come back anymore. My mom made me a doctors appointment as this is not normal but my MD made me to believe it was completely fine. I was extremely active and it was not unusual for young girls my age, highly active to not see their period regularly. From there i was put on birth control. With birth control i had regular periods and everything was just fine. Once in college, i began the up and down with my weight but that is when i learned to appreciate the routine of a healthy diet and regular exercise. In 2011 i started my Instagram page which was focused solely on diet and exercise. In 2013 i decided (for whatever reason) doing a bodybuilding competition would be so much fun! I can do details of my competition prep and the competition in a later blog because that is a long story! After the competition is where the struggle began with food and exercise and finding a normal routine with it all. I put on weight that i didn’t ask for (lol) and so with that i tried every diet you can think of. Because of my restriction during competition, my brain really struggled with telling my self, “no you can’t have that”. It didn’t work for me so “dieting” just was not gonna happen. During this time i was still taking birth control and decided in 2016 that i was done taking it. I wanted to let my body be normal and let my body regulate my hormones on its own. Well boy was i wrong. In over a year i had one single period on my own. I went to my doctor where i received an ultra sound that displayed what i hoped was not gonna be the case…the ring of pearls on both ovaries. (Head to the PCOS tab to learn more).
Well there goes all of my problems right there. I was giving a few different medications from my doctor to jump start my period but it was a temporary fix. After that i started researching heavily what is the best way to fix PCOS. Certain supplements came up, i tried it, certain diets came up, tried that as well. In the end of it all, i don’t believe I’ve given anything a fair try. You have to be willing to commit to a new diet and/or supplement for at least a few months before you see result and i was giving up after just a few weeks. So i am here today, and now. Ready to give some things a try long term and to see what it takes for me to get these hormones balanced and this period of mine flowing like a woman’s should. A clear face and some weight loss would be an added bonus!
Here I am sharing a few of my whole 30 survival mode must haves! Me not finishing Whole 30 was not an option, so I had to find some of my favorite products that kept me on track, helped me make delicious food, and delicious snacks for when I was in a pinch during my long 12 hour extremely busy night shifts!
1. RX Bars- These are so perfect and convenient for when you’re in a pinch! RX bars are super clean, and don’t use sugar to sweeten the bars. So double win!
2. Rao’s pasta sauce- Of course pasta isn’t whole 30 compliant, but having pasta sauce to add to dishes packs on so much flavor nd makes your pasta noodle free dishes delicious! My favorite way to use Rao’s pasta sauce was over top baked or grilled chicken.
3. Coconut Aminos- Coconut aminos is used as a replacement of soy sauce. So if you find yourself out at a sushi bar ordering some whole 30 compliant sauce, pack up some coconut aminos. Fun fact: They also have to go packs.
4. Tessemae’s dressings and sauces-Most of the line of sauces are whole 30 compliant. Be sure to check the label before using if you are on a round. This is also perfect for salads. I especially love the BBQ sauce where i’ve made BBQ meatballs or topped the BBQ sauce on a bunless burger!
5. Primal Kitchen Avocado Mayo- This was an absolute must have for my tuna salad or for the base of making sauces for my chicken and fish dishes.
6. Bubly Sparkling Water-Strawberry is my favorite flavor from this brand and it was a life saver since technically most tasty beverages are full of sugar. Natural fruit flavors are allowed with Whole 30 and therefore, was constantly stocked in my fridge!
7. Nutpods- Most people tend to stop drinking coffee once on a round because of their love for the cream and sugar that they add typically. For me, I have learned to either drink it black, add almond milk, or add some flavorful nutpods creamer. I typically add just a dash because the coconut milk is so sweet it doesn’t need much more than that!
I am blown away first off that I was even able to stick to something for 2 weeks let alone 30 days! This month has not been easy by any means and I am super proud of myself.
Why: Doing a whole 30 seems crazy. And it is. Seems restrictive…and it is. Ive told myself since competing several years ago that I would not go back to anything restrictive. But this was a little bit different…hear me out. Here’s a short background….I decided to stop my birth control a few years ago and after that is when i started to notice my PCOS symptoms. After being throughly checked by my physician with lab draws and an ultrasound, it was confirmed that that was the problem. I was prescribed multiple medications and they just made me feel like crap. So I needed to take it a step further. I had started doing extensive research and saw things like keto and paleo diets helping to lessen and even resolve PCOS. I had done whole 30 a couple of times in the past and loved the results and how I felt but this time, round 3, my life depended on it. Whole 30 is extremely similar to paleo except its more strict. Now only strict for 30 days as you start to reintroduce foods after and find your food freedom after the 30 days is complete. So being strict for 30 days, I could mentally get past that. My main motivation was my health and wellness. At the age of 30, not having a regular period, having acne on my face (embarrassing), having eczema on my body, gaining weight and unable to lose weight despite how much i worked out and how much i tried to change my eating habits…..all this was nearly depressing. So knowing what i knew about whole 30 and its benefits, I had to dive in and try it again.
What whole 30 was like: Uh well. It was hard. Every day was tough. There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t think about the desert I was missing. Or for goodness sake, the ease of eating out. Like wow you literally have to cook every day. Each day was a challenge, but that is what makes finishing that much sweeter. Again, my motivation being that I could solve my PCOS symptoms and more, I knew I just had to push through and there was no way around it. And Also, I had started building a following on my instagram which forced me to stay consistent with my meals each day. I found a way to make it fun though. On previous rounds of whole 30, I thought my meals had to be boring with just meat and veggies and a fat, but this time I got creative and made something new each week which kept the interest and fun going.
The benefits: SO MANY!!! By no means is everything just perfect with me and my body yet because in the grand scheme of things, 30 days isn’t really that long when we talk about the issues that I do have. The acne on my face has cleared up! The eczema on my skin is almost gone! I have FINALLY lost weight! Losing weight with PCOS seems nearly impossible until you actually figure out what you are supposed to do. I can sleep longer than four hours at a time! And I work night shift and so this is usually a huge problem! My season allergies have been extremely minimal. Practically absent. And they are usually TERRIBLE!!!! I wake up for 5am workouts! Uh what. Yea. I have done a 5am work out quite a few times in this past month. Im crazy I know. Lastly, I saved a ton of money NOT eating out! I didnt even realize but I have significantly more money with just grocery shopping and eating what I made from home. Its quite amazing actually.
The downfalls: Because its not all good and I definitely like to keep it real! You have to meal prep every day. Although I enjoy cooking and making new recipes, seriously cooking every day can be a drag especially when your tired, in between shifts, or just busy. Its hard! You have cravings and you fight the cravings every single day and nothing really helps except just getting over it. The first week I got sugar withdrawal headaches but that soon resolved. I felt nauseous toward the end and I concluded that I believe it was my hormones trying to regulate themselves just like when you become pregnant and you have a fluctuation of hormones in your body and in turn causes morning sickness, it was the same feeling. So much that I even took a pregnancy test knowing I wasn’t pregnant. Hahaaa but it was bad!
Ultimately, I am super excited with my progress. It makes me want to continue this lifestyle. Life after whole 30 encourages a reintroduction of all food groups and finding food freedom. I do not plan to do a reintroduction as i know how most foods make me feel, but I will be on the quest for food freedom because I know it will be much more possible to stick to this lifestyle if I am kind with myself and allow myself some choices in moderation.
Here is a photo of my progress
I FEEL SO GREAT!
Seriously, physically and mentally i am feeling stronger and better each day. So i did a plan of care about a month ago and there i stated that i was giving myself 3 months to have a normal menstrual period, clearer skin, and weight loss. I am happy to say in 1 month i have noticed improvements in all 3 areas….yes after not having a period since July 2017 i finally started my period!!! My skin although still a work in progress is so much better. As far as my weight goes, i lost my scale due to an upstairs bathroom flood into my apartment so I’m not sure number wise if I’ve lost weight but my clothes fit differently!
So yay i finally got my period! Funny story, i went to vitamin shop to restock my maca powder and the lady working there asks me “have you seen results yet?” Meaning have i gotten a period yet lol. I laughed and said not yet but i am hopeful and then boom. It’s here just 2 days later! I think my supplements combined with my improved diet, sleep, and stress control all had a factor in this. I hope to continue this progress with my hormonal balance!
My skin is visibly clearer. I was getting breakouts with huge areas of acne. It’s not 100% but it’s so much better than what it was! A great part of it i believe is the collagen peptides i have started using but again, the improved lifestyle with every area is what i think they key is. It can’t just be, i take collagen peptides but don’t fix anything else that could contribute to poor skin like a horrible diet and not enough water. It all works together.
The weight loss speaks for itself. Again. I have no clue how much i have lost but if i can visibly see in my clothes AND my very critical mother (who’s Mom isn’t lol) even says i am as well then that is all the confirmation that i need! So although before intentionally making an effort to balance my hormones, i was working out, i still needed to show improvement. Of course without the consistency in my workouts and my diet, i wasn’t going to see any change. And the diet specifically being paleo based or like i like to call it, paleo-ish. I told myself i wouldn’t limit myself on food. If i wanted it then i would have it and not feel guilty about it. But at the same time, that didn’t mean i was going to go ham on pizza every night because that is what i wanted to do. No. I made the focus my health instead of the focus being how i looked and that was a major game changer for me!
If i can have a take away for how my last month has been and why it’s been so good it would be shift your focus! Make your focus about your health and not what you wish to see and everything else will start to fall into place! This is what i plan to continue to do for myself