Today I am sharing my typical schedule (plus meals) when I’m working at the hospital. This is just a snapshot to give you an idea of my typical day and how I make Intermittent Fasting work for 12-hour shifts, plus a peek at what I eat.
I usually wake up around 4:30 AM. After a glass of water and a quick change into workout clothes, I do some light cardio and stretching or foam rolling. At 5:30 AM, I hop in the shower and start getting ready for the day.
By 6:15 AM, I am in the kitchen getting my lunch and snacks together. I also brew an herbal tea for my morning commute.
Depending on the OR schedule, I typically get a mid-morning break between 8-9 am. I don’t ‘break my fast’ or open the eating window during this time because I am rarely hungry so early in the morning. I drink more water or have some coffee and just enjoy my break.
If you’re curious about the whole clean vs dirty fasting, I cover that in my 90 day intermittent fasting jumpstart, and I give you guidance on what you should try plus the research behind why what I recommend works.
I also cover the thoughts and science backed research on keto-style coffee and why I don’t recommend putting oil or fat in your morning beverages.
What I Eat for Meal One: Breaking my fast
I try to take a ‘late lunch’ around 1 pm if possible. My work schedule can be unpredictable and usually you are forced to eat lunch whenever it’s offered, so anything after noon is late enough for me to start eating.
If lunchtime comes earlier than noon and I’m not hungry, I will drink more water or drink water mixed with apple cider vinegar (about 1 tablespoon) and try my best to wait until I actually feel hungry before I eat. This can often mean trying to grab a bite between patients or cases, but I make it work.
The key here is to listen to how your body feels and whether you are truly hungry. It’s important to make sure that you are not just eating because you have a break or are bored.
Pro Tip: Don’t try to make someone else’s ‘food timeline’ fit your body or your needs. Trust your body and it’s signals. Like you learned in my previous posts, learning to tune into your body is key for IF success.
Thoughts on ‘snacking’.
I don’t know about you, but we always seem to have snacks in the break room. They just sort of show up, from a mysterious carb-and-sugar-loving pastry fairy. Being mindful and tuned in to your hunger levels can help determine if you truly need a snack or are just tempted because ‘it’s there’.
Check in with how you’re feeling and if you are truly hungry before diving in. I usually tell myself, at lunchtime after I open my eating window, if I’m still hungry after that first meal, I can have a bite.
Snacks on our unit don’t usually last that long. Plus my first meal is usually so satiating that I don’t need any additional snacks.
If you are bringing healthy food to work, but going to the cafeteria and ordering something less healthy, you really aren’t serving yourself or your goals. Try to avoid taking food on ‘field trips’ as I call it. You bring the healthy food to work, and then cart it home at the end of the day, untouched.
I eat what I bring to work, and try not to come home with a full lunch box.
What to eat for your first meal?
I am a breakfast lover at any time of day. So for my first meal, I tend to have breakfast items.
A couple of meal staples I rotate between are:
- Sprouted grain toast with nut butter and eggs
- A cold oatmeal mixed with protein powder, nuts and fresh fruit
- cottage cheese with fruit and 1/2 an avocado
If you’re not a breakfast person, some other ideas for a more lunch type meal are:
- A lettuce and veggie wrap with chicken or tofu
- A giant salad with protein such as hard boiled eggs, fish, or nuts
- A deli meat roll up with turkey, cheese, mustard, and lettuce
What I Eat for Meal Two: Dinner
Typically my second (and last) meal is timed for right when I get home.
A huge part of my success and staying on track with healthy eating is meal prepping. I carve out time on the weekend to prepare meals for the week ahead or order from a meal delivery service like Sakara.
This helps tremendously by ensuring I have healthy meals on hand and can reach for something nutritious when I come home exhausted and crash on the couch, too tired to cook.
Meal prepping doesn’t have to be exhaustive or take up your entire weekend. It takes me about 2 hours total.
For me, this time helps eliminate the ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I don’t have the energy’ excuses that tend to pop up during a busy week.
Instead, I just heat up a prepared dinner. It takes less than 10 minutes and I know I am choosing something that will serve my goals. Same goes for when I have Sakara meal delivery. Delicious, nutritious and I don’t have to do a thing to prepare it.
I typically eat dinner around 7:30 or 8 pm and my eating window closes around 8:30 or 9 pm.
What to eat for your Dinner meal?
Some typical meals I rotate between are:
- Quinoa with steamed veggies and chicken, roasted veggies with salmon
- Chickpea pasta with a vegetable medley and some sesame sauce with spices
- A giant salad with veggies, tofu, nuts, and half an avocado
I don’t eat dessert every night, but if I am treating myself to dessert, I usually have some dark chocolate squares or pretzels with a touch of chocolate drizzle. I also like to use my Sakara breakfasts as a dessert. It’s a little sweet treat, and I can fit it easily into my eating window!
What about meal 3?
You may notice I don’t eat a ‘3rd meal’. That’s totally a personal preference. I find that if I am doing a 16/8 type of fast, and eating a first meal with a good amount of protein and a bit of fat (from an avocado or nuts etc), I am not hungry enough to ‘fit in’ another meal. By the time I am ready for my next meal it’s usually right after work, at the closing end of the window so I make it my dinner.
If you are hungry enough and you can fit in 3 meals in an 8 hour window, then you do you! Or you may find that a hearty snack is all you need.
If you find it hard to eat a larger portion of food, or you aren’t hungry enough for three meals, consider trying two nutritious meals plus a couple of snacks in an 8 hour span and see how that works for you.
I cover all sorts of meal tips, suggestions, and hacks for your eating window in my 90 day Intermittent Fasting JumpStart. You can find out more about that and my other intermittent fasting plans here.
Honestly, if the OR schedule weren’t so hectic and unpredictable, I may be able to fit in a 3rd meal, but I usually just don’t feel hungry enough or frankly have time for a third meal on the days I work at the hospital.
Listen to your body and see what works best for you! There are even people that swear by OMAD (one meal a day) type of fasting but I don’t recommend this when you’re just starting out.
A note about meal delivery:
If you’re looking for help on what to eat…I am a no muss, no fuss kinda of gal. Anything that helps save time with meal prepping or meal planning is worth its weight in gold! Time is money right?
You may have heard me mention this before, but I’ve been eating mostly plant based and focusing on healthy, nutritious choices which is why I’ve been enjoying Sakara.
The Sakara meal plan and delivery options save me time and energy. No more trying to plan a healthy meal every night or trying to cook when I get home late. No more scrambling to get to the store for ingredients I forgot.
I highly recommend Sakara for a nutritious, delicious, healthy option! Click the picture below, and be sure to use code xoDEE for 20% off your order!! Your body, mind, and extra free-time will thank me!
TL , DR:
If you’ve still got questions about intermittent fasting, check out my Intermittent Fasting plans and packages. There’s something for everyone.
Whether you’re a seasoned fasting pro and just looking to take your results to the next level, or wether you’re brand new to IF and want a proven, simple step-by-step plan to get you started and successful with Intermittent Fasting.