Friday, July 6, 2012

Food Frenzy

Since I started working 12 hr day shifts at my new job, I've noticed an unwelcome trend.  Basically, I don't eat enough all day, either due to lack of time, not packing enough food, or both.  Then, I get home, ravenous and dehydrated, and eat literally 3,000 calories and then go straight to bed.  No bueno.  Plus, it was becoming a HABIT.  Like, when I get home from work, I *have* to stuff my face, regardless of whether I'm actually starving or not. 

When I worked nights at my old job, I basically ate out for every meal of every day.  I'd wake up at 5pm, run, then go get dinner somewhere with Jeff or my group run peeps.  Then I'd go to work, and head down to the cafeteria at 2 or 3am for "lunch".  Then I'd have a small dinner/breakfast on the way home from work (a bagel or egg mcmuffin or something).  Sometimes I wouldn't need to eat at all after work, or would just have a spoonful of peanut butter if I was too hungry to sleep.  This worked really well for me, because my first meal of the day was my biggest one, and I wasn't eating a ton of food and then going straight to bed.  Plus, I was eating only when I was hungry, since there were no social/societal/psychological pressures/habits to eat at "lunch time" or anything like that, because I was on such an unusual schedule.  I also miss waking up and getting my run/workout out of the way first thing, and being able to go to all of my group runs.  Now, I can only run with my groups on my days off, and I end up sitting around all day until 6pm when they occur.  (And honestly, I think I got more done in the 5 hrs between 5pm and 10pm on my work nights then than I do in the whole days I have off now.  I'd rather work four-five 8 hr shifts per week than these three 12s).

Anyway, as someone who is not used to cooking or packing food, eating has been a real issue at my new job.  I'm basically going from packing ZERO meals per day, to packing THREE meals per day.  You could argue that I don't have to pack breakfast, that I could eat at home before I leave for work, but I wake up at 5am, leave at 5:30am, get to work at 6am, and start officially working at 6:30am.  I prefer bringing my breakfast with me because I usually am not that hungry immediately after waking up, and also because I want to eat as late as possible because I have no idea when the next chance I have to eat will be.  It could be noon, 3pm, or on a really bad day, after 7pm.  So I usually eat between 6 and 6:30am. Fear of hunger is another big problem.  I am terrified to eat a low calorie breakfast, even if I'm not that hungry, because I don't want to be starving later.
Grocery Store Impulse Buy #1: Good, but not great.  I think Nutella is better.  The peanut butter taste is definitely the main flavor, and while I LOVE peanut butter, I was expecting something a little more unique.  Not really worth the 250 calories per container.
I decided that I had to do something before these 12 hr shifts cause me to gain 30 lbs.  (I did gain about 5, but lost that over the past two weeks).  I'm going to try to stick out this job for two years, and I can't go through 2 years of ridiculously bad eating habits.  So the answer, unfortunately, is planning.  On my days off I'm packing about 2000 calories worth of easy, healthy snack foods that I can take with me to work and munch on throughout the day.  I also bring a big water bottle and drink that as much as I can.  (Really though, it never seems to be enough.  No matter how much I drink, I always seem to have what feels like a dehydration headache at the end of the day.)  Planning out 2000 calories worth of packable food is a huge pain in the ass.  Especially vegetables.  A) I hate vegetables.  (Yes, I'm 99% vegetarian, and I have vegetables.  Get over it.) B) I hate CUTTING vegetables.  Such a waste of time.  Falls under the "hate cooking"/"I don't cook" category.  C) They always go bad before I get around to eating them.

But, cut vegetables I do.  I pack fresh veggies, hummus, fruit, cottage cheese, yogurt, string cheese, nuts, etc and add up all the calories in advance on  And then carry my giant heavy lunchbox to work and try to take a minute to grab something whenever I get hungry.  It seems to be working.  While I'm still probably eating "too much" on the days I work, at least it is not so much that it will inevitably lead to packing on tons of weight.  I actually am *kind of* trying to lose weight, so I'm counting calories on my days off too.  I'll elaborate more on the "kind of" in another post.  Basically I'm trying to eat healthier, and hoping to lose weight, but not going to force the issue if I'm not able to lose weight "easily" (by easily, I mean I'm not going to lose anything that I won't be able to maintain without too much effort). 
Grocery Store Impulse Buy #2: One of the few meat things that I crave (despite being vegetarian), are the "Honey BBQ Boneless Wings" from Applebees.  I saw these in the vegetarian section and decided to give them a try.  DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE!!  They smell like canned dog food, I'm not joking.  They taste like it too (at least what I would imagine canned dog food tastes like).  I tried to mask the flavor by wrapping them in a pita, but still couldn't stomach it and ended up giving it to the dogs.  I'm not even a picky eater.  Gag. 
Since taking up this lunch packing thing, I started actively using Pinterest to help find/save recipes.  If you have any to suggest I'd love to hear them too!  (Only if they're ridiculously easy though.  I'm especially fond of make ahead/freezer type meals). You can see/follow my pins here:

If you're very bored interested, you can also find me on here: My FatSecret Profile.  This is where I put in my food and exercise, as well as (recent) weight history.  I put the calories from my packed day's worth of food up on FatSecret the night before when I'm packing it, and then change it as needed the next day depending on what I actually eat.  (Like on the 4th, I packed a bunch of stuff, but we ended up ordering from Pizza House, so I deleted most of my "plan".  But I got a lunch-size chipati (basically a salad stuffed in a pita), so it was still mostly healthy!)


  1. Mama buys cut up fruits and veggies at the grocery store cause she's lazy!

    1. I'm too cheap for that. Also, Lucy is banned from commenting on my blog from now on. Irina can and should return to readership!


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