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Help! I've gained 40 pounds since starting the overnight shift! What do I do?

answered 10:48 PM EST, Tue February 19, 2013
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anonymous anonymous
I started working the overnight shift 3 years ago. I am on my own all night long and I get a lot more money than working in the day but ever since I started doing overnights I started gaining a lot of weight. I am not eating more than I used but I have gained 40 pounds in the last 3 years and whenever I try to diet it does not work at all. I have tried every diet. I am convinced it is because I am eating when I should be sleeping. I am also depressed now. Do I have to quit my job to lose weight and stop feeling so depressed? I have high blood pressure so I am worried about my weight gain.

William Anderson Says...

While 40 pounds seems like a lot of weight to gain, that amounts to an energy imbalance of only 130 calories per day, which could be the result of hormonal changes coincidental with the change in your sleep pattern. 130 calories a day is not much, the energy equivalent of a potato or a beer or a chicken breast. Or there could be other reasons, such as eating only a tiny bit more than you used to before the shift change, or other processes of metabolic change unrelated to the shift change. It doesn't matter though, because you can lose that excess weight with the right approach, and changing back to the old shift will not automatically make the weight go away if that's all you do. 

No matter what you do related to the shift change, to get rid of the weight you've gained, you'll need to engage in a behavioral program to achieve the proper energy deficits. I have never had a client not lose weight in a satisfactory way with my method, and almost all of them were referred to me after describing the sort of difficulty you have described in your letter. If you are near one of my therapists, you could engage in the program with them, or if not, you can learn about it in my book. 

Don't fret or be discouraged. Your problem is solvable, the kind of case I deal with successfully every day. I have never had a client follow my method and not lose weight. However, don't think it's going to be solved by itself or without effort. When excess weight is gained, regardless of the cause, it can only be reduced with hard work to learn a valid weight control method and use it. The rewards though, are terrific!

In the meantime, get a checkup with your doctor to check all possibilities and make sure you tell him about your depression too. 

My website lists the therapists who have been trained in my method. The Anderson Method Website

Here is Amazon's page for my book: The Anderson Method Paperback. The Anderson Method at Amazon

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