How to Stay Up All Night Without Blowing Your Diet

February 9, 2008 at 4:18 am 1 comment

Eating right and exercising regularly are challenging under the best of circumstances. What do you do when you life throws you a curve and, for example, you have stay up all night to get a project done?

The Cranking Widgets Blog lists excellent tips for “How to Work Effectively for 24 Consecutive Hours“, a couple of which are perfect for workaholics who’re dieting, too.

  1. Limit Caffeine
  2. Snack Regularly (and Sensibly)
  3. Avoid Sleep at All Costs
  4. If You Must Sleep…
  5. Music, Music, Music
  6. Map Out Objectives Before Starting Work

My two favorites from a dieting perspective are limiting caffeine and snacking regularly. Cranking Widgets elaborates as follows:

LIMIT CAFFEINE – though this is normally the first place a person will turn when faced with an extended shift at the office, it’s important to regulate how much caffeine you ingest, especially near the end. Take it from me – I’m one of the biggest fans (and abusers, arguably) of caffeine that I know. Overuse of caffeine will result in the in ability to concentrate, as well as a bad case of the jitters.”

“SNACK REGULARLY (AND SENSIBLY) – one of the most common stops among the third-shifters will be the vending machine in the break room. And because said vending machine rarely offers a variety of healthy snacks, the buyer will typically end up with a candy bar or bag of chips or crackers. While I’m certainly not a health nut or anything (and I’m pretty sure the development of Twix took place under divine supervision), you really ought to go out of your way to find things like fruit and nuts to snack on. You won’t experience the sudden surge of energy provided by a sugary snack, it will help you stay alert and generally on a more even-keel than the alternatives. (It’s worth noting that I have no physiological data or research to support the above claim, just personal experience).”

While the others are helpful in terms of getting the job done, I’d add a couple of additional diet-and-exercise friendly tips to the list.

TAKE A WALK – schedule regular breaks into your 24-hour work marathon. Get up, stretch, walk around. You’ll add to your daily exercise total and get the blood flowing again, which will help you do your job better.

STAY HYDRATED – make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the night. Dehydration is often mistaken for hunger, which could make you eat more than you should. Plus, dehydration can give you headaches and other physical discomfort that will minimize your productivity.

It’s certainly not recommended to stay up all night on a regular basis. We humans need our sleep! If you have to do it every now and then, though, make it as healthy a process as possible so you can get the work done without derailing your diet and exercise goals.

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