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Eating for Energy: Wellness Tips for NPs and PAs With Crazy Schedules

Posted on July 20, 2018   |   by   |   Advanced Practice Provider, Job Seekers, Motivation, Well Being, Work Environment

Today, we’ve asked Rebecca Walker, Managing Partner of Cambiati Wellness Programs to explain how Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants can increase their energy levels through diet. Cambiati is a California-based Health Wellness company that specializes in helping people transform their lives with nutrition.

What Energy Pitfalls Do NPs and PAs Need to Watch Out For?

Rebecca: Without a doubt, NPs and other individuals in the healthcare industry have demanding schedules. You care for others on a daily basis, so you might not realize how much you neglect to take care of yourself.

I’m here to tell you that it is possible to prioritize your health so that you can feel great, serve your patients better, and get your energy back!

Many NPs & PAs we see at Cambiati Wellness work the night shift, which can cause a lack of quality sleep. Working night 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.

Rebecca Walker

We also see many clients who have such hectic schedules they can’t always make time for regular meals. Combine a hectic work schedule with a lack of sleep, and it’s 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. Thoughts run through your mind like, “Why did I let myself eat that?! I’m so gross. I have no energy. I cannot do that again!” You think about how you completely blew it and you promise yourself to do better the next day.

Why is Resisting the Junk Food So Hard? Is It a Matter of Willpower?

Rebecca:This destructive vicious cycle of giving into cravings followed by feeling guilty and terrible about yourself is not only unhealthy for your body, but your mind as well. When we shame ourselves, we’re mentally categorizing ourselves as a weak, pathetic, and failing.

While you may beat yourself up thinking that you just need more willpower, there is so much more to it than that. Lack of sleep causes you to crave sweets and carbs the next day.

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. Those vending machine snacks will look like a pretty good option. However, eating junk food throughout the day causes your blood sugar to be unbalanced. Your pancreas will release insulin and send the signal throughout your body to store fat. This is a downward spiral of never feeling satisfied and constantly craving snacks.

Unfortunately, poor nutrition choices also lead to nutrient deficiencies. It’s so important that each meal is filled with nutrients while also being satisfying and balancing hormones. When you balance hunger hormones you 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, and find yourself reaching for the cupcake.

A consistent lack of sleep day after day, chronic stress, and nutrient deficiencies is 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!

What One Thing Can I Do This Week to Cut the Cravings?

Rebecca: One thing that will make all the difference in the world is prioritizing meal prep up front. Believe me, I know it’s hard to find time in your busy life! But let me give you a few simple tricks so it doesn’t have to be time consuming.

Here’s an idea: keep broccoli slaw, vegan pesto, and leftover chicken in the freezer and sundried tomatoes in the fridge at work. 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 top with some sundried tomatoes. 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. With these building blocks, 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/

Great Advice! So Sleep and Nutrition Can Really Make All the Difference?

Rebecca: It all starts with taking care of yourself. When you prioritize your health, it’ll be easier to resist cravings and temptations at work. You’ll ultimately feel good about your decisions rather than feeling guilty and mentally shaming yourself. And we believe that every healthcare provider deserves to feel great about themselves!

Thank you, Rebecca, for your helpful tips and advice. For more on this topic, check out her article: How to Get Rid of the “Why Do I Have No Energy Problem”. Then join us next week on the blog when we ask Rebecca for tips on diet and exercise!

Is it Time for a Change in Your Career?

If you’re under too much stress, working in an unhealthy environment, or have an overwhelming schedule, it might be time for a change. Review our current job opportunities and sign up for job alerts. We can help you!

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