How can I lose weight if I work the night shift?

Working the night shift can make losing weight more of a challenge, but a person can still lose weight while working a nontraditional shift. Like any person seeking to lose weight, you need to find ways to fit regular physical activity into your schedule and make it part of your daily routine and habit. For some people, this means working out first thing in the morning and for others it means working out after work. Studies have shown that people are more likely to stick with an exercise routine if they exercise with a friend and make it a social event. Another effective strategy is to increase your physical activity throughout the day by doing things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from your work, or from shopping and other errands forcing you to walk more, doing more of your own chores around the house, increasing physical activity will help you burn more total calories as well as improve health. When combined with a mild caloric restriction this should help contribute to losing weight. 
Kat Barefield, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
The same way everyone else does - by scheduling your meals so you eat fewer calories than you burn until you reach your goal. It doesn’t matter when you eat or move, the result is the same no matter what schedule you’re on. If you want to lose 10 pounds in 5 weeks, you need to consume an average of 1000 fewer calories than you burn daily. If or when you come to a plateau, you need to eat less, move more or a combination of the 2 until weight loss resumes and repeat the process as necessary. Those are the facts you can take to the bank.
Now, with that said, it can be more difficult to stick to an eating plan based on the fact that humans are not nocturnal, meaning our bodies evolved to rest at night, remain awake and work in daylight, which in turn has established our eating patterns and hunger cues. There is also strong evidence that the less you sleep, the greater chance of becoming overweight. This may be due to our hunger triggers being activated sooner and longer because we are awake longer. Also, you can’t eat while you’re asleep but it sure is easy when you’re awake. All these potential hurdles can be overcome if you are motivated to follow the menu or calorie recommendations in your Sharecare Move It and Lose It program. Basically, nothing would be any different other than eating and sleeping times. So, it boils down to retraining your body ("rewiring or resetting" your clock). In other words, to undo something that's innate you must make a conscious effort to retrain the body, in your case it's mainly sleeping times because the body doesn't care much when it eats or exercises - only you might. So space your meals evenly throughout your waking hours, sleep the best you can and remember, humans are amazing creatures that can adapt to virtually any conditions - AND succeed.

The same rules apply, calories in versus calories out and also how do you know where you are going if you do not know where you are?

In order to lose weight you have to manage your calorie consumption and output but how do you know how to manage your calories if you do not know currently how many calories you are consuming or burning?

Working a night shift can cause some issues but it is something that should not prevent you from trying to reach your goals.  With the night shift it comes down to planning and time management.  If you are keeping track of calories in versus calories out then you simply have to plan ahead, prepare your food and bring it with you to work.  

When you eat does not matter at the end of the day.  If you look at a week you will burn a certain amount of calories and consume a certain amount of calories.  If you consume less than you have burned then you will lose weight.  

Know where you are at, dedicate yourself to logging your food and preparing your food ahead of time and possibly look at a device that monitors your output in calories like the Exerspy.

Also get educated from the fitness professionals on Sharecare, they will help increase your knowledge and wisdom and that will also help.

Losing weight while working the night shift would be the same if you worked any other shift. You have to monitor the amount of calories you take in versus the amount you burn with exercise. You need to make sure you are burning more calories than you are consuming, the key to any weight loss program. You should figure out what time is best for you to work out. Is before you go in for your shift or after you get off, just like people who work the day shift. It all comes down to finding a routine that works best for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.