Nurses have to be as careful as any other group about high sugar consumption. (Maybe even more so.) Recent research suggests that nurses as a group are more likely to be overweight than the general population. Sugar is certainly one culprit. Additionally, the occupational stress and crazy hours that nurses often endure make it especially hard for them to be sugar-savvy.
What are the factors that almost guarantee that a nurse will have to fight a raging sweet tooth? Most are emotional responses to stress and overwhelm. Try these reasons on for size:
“My stress level is through the roof some days – only chocolate will do.”
“Sugar helps me fight off fatigue from lack of sleep after 12-hour or night shifts.”
“I can’t resist the candy, cookies and cakes brought in by staff and families.”
“I feel I need – that I deserve! – sugary goodies when I work nonstop during a shift.”
“Sweets help me push down my not-so-sweet feelings of anger at work.”
Do are of those statements sound familiar? If so, first try to understand the emotional basis for your sugar cravings. You’ll be in a better position to make behavioral revisions that yield big results. It’s fairly easy to figure out simple ways to cut one cup of sugar a day from your diet, for example. (Just that habit fix alone will go a long way to making you healthier.)
You may think you don't consume much sugar now, but you’d be surprised at how it hides in unexpected foods. (Don’t forget drinks, too – they’re a major source of sugar in the diet.) Check back tomorrow for strategies on how to reduce sugar (and calories!) form your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
The American poet Odgen Nash once wrote this ditty:
Candy/ Is dandy/ But liqueur/ Is quicker.
He later amended that sentiment to read:
Nothing makes me sicker/ Than liquer/ And candy/ Is too expandy.
Jebra Turner is a freelance health writer living in Portland, Oregon. You can visit her at www.jebra.com.