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Need Help/ Advice or stratigies with controlling eating

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey i am 18yrs old apprentice, and loved working out (physically) being part of a state basketball team.  before i decided to take the road as a chef. at the start i had my diet sorted, would train morning and night, work throughout the day. but as time grew on i found it so difficult maintaining a diet which included full meals due to the 12 hour shift cycle, and being so drained for the next day. i was just picking and prodding at chips, pizza anything that was a mistake, and found it even harder when working on pans because of taste testing, all the cream , wine, brandy,oil, garlic. everything that makes food taste amazing. then because of service periods. the only proper meal i would have is breakfast, because service went from 11am - 9:30, you miss lunch and dinner. anyway i ended up giving up on the whole lot of training. and my game went skyrocketing down. hence making me pretty much drop the whole thing. because of commitments, bills. i had to work to keep the things i have as most people do. but i recently have had the urge to attempt to get into training again. slowly .

i need help in


how do you manage eating while at work?

what do you eat?

is it just the place im working, i heard breakfast chefs finish earlier?

has anyone got any experiences at all with struggling to eat and would want to share them with me?

any ideas on how to combat this? like shakes. at one point i swear i was living off "up and go" that would fill me up but my body was slow


post #2 of 11

have porridge with berries and banana for breakfast, should suffice until around 1. Then have plenty of carbs, rice potatoes beans etc. Buy a weights bench.

post #3 of 11

Hello @Revenous and welcome to Chef Talk!!


Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle is just that....a choice. It is also a full time 24/7 commitment to oneself. That means there is work involved that you must do to be successful in achieving a healthy, fit lifestyle all the while working in this industry. 


I will fully admit to you now that it took me far too many years of suffering, pain and a diagnoses of a couple of diseases before I truly understood the message my body was trying to tell me. This industry is rife with people that almost "wear like a badge of honour" their "pains and sufferings" and load it off onto the industry by saying that "that's just the way the industry is". This is NOT TRUE. This industry is like all industries, its what you make of it. I had to make a decision that my LIFE and HEALTH were far more important than the next amazing dish I could produce for some stranger to either fawn over or rip apart according to their whim of the day. So, I made a conscious effort to find a job that fit my new lifestyle in my industry and then got to work creating wonderful meals each week that were full of nutrition. I set my alarm on my clock every 2.5-3 hours for my meal time and every 1 hour for my water break. I don't care how busy it was, that was my time for me. When I started at my job I told them this was a non-negotiable and that instead of a single 30 min break plus the 15 min that you are supposed to get for a regular 8 hour shift, that I would be splitting it up into my meal times that I needed to take. I gave them a no argument stance by stating that this was for my health, also by me staying healthy this means I have more energy and less downtime or missed days/sick days needed. They liked that idea and agreed to my terms. 


I made two shakes per work day to have at work plus another when I got home. I made one large salad with protein meal, one quinoa or brown rice with veg meal, and one sweet potato with protein and veg meal. Prep time on my day off for the week with shopping, cook and packaging was less than 3 hours. I had it down to a science and I still do this even as I am semi-retired. This helps me not have to worry about what to eat and create anxiety around food. 


You have to create the life you want to live and not rely on others to care about that for you. When we are in the food industry and things are really moving it can get really crazy so that it is hard to eat proper. This is why I decided on two shakes and two meals at work, that way when it got super busy, I would miss an alarm to eat and then when it was less busy (meaning not gobsmacked but still busy) I would take my 15 mins out and throw down the shake and eat my meal. I also got used to throwing down a shake right on the line when super busy as it takes 1 minute to drink a shake, then wash hands and go.


Hope some of this makes sense and helps :D

post #4 of 11
I have always been a grazer and until ten years ago never had a weight problem ( placed on disability with a degenerative spine and chronic pain so have been frustratingly sedentary after busy shifts as a nurse, baker and occasional bartending catering jobs).
Nutritionally balanced good tasting high protein bars...home prepared toasted almonds...pieces of fruit...slice of pizza ... Krispie Kream glazed donuts....microwave soups....crackers with almond butter or cheddar cheese.....ice cream...the occasional carrot stick lol.
Didn't matter what is was, I ate something every couple of hours.
Was never hungry .... serum lipids always spot on and like I mentioned my weight was stable.

So by now you may have guessed IMO it is not so much what you eat ( strict diets with no variety or treats seem boring).
It is more how much total daily calorie intake balanced out with some sort of exercise.
Good luck let us know how things turn out for you.

Edited by flipflopgirl - 7/12/16 at 3:29pm
post #5 of 11
Well @Fablesable seems that we have the same basic approach but you are much more sensible with what you put in your tummy lol.

Altho about 4 months ago I dropped most of my eating vices ( kept the protein bars, nuts and carrot stix) and have added in 3-4 8 oz nutritional shakes to my routine.
Quit the way too expensive physical therapy sessions and joined a gym.
Feeling much less pain now that my core is stabilizing and the extra lbs seem to be just dropping off.
Slow but sure is winning the race.

post #6 of 11

@flipflopgirl Good on ya lady!! That is so awesome to hear! I know it takes a lot of strategy and commitment but it is definitely worth the less pain when we do these things for ourselves. I was in so much pain that the high amounts of opiates they were giving me was not cutting it so I knew I had to seek a better way. Like all us tough birds, I geared in for the ride and got me arse back in the gym no matter the pain (grin and bear it mentality to the core) as well as the food thing. I knew that sugar and certain grains were a killer as well as milk (not all dairy). I kept a diary of everything I ate for a month and how I felt after and then adjusted from there. It was hard work but the pay off is WAAAAAYYY better than any opiate they could give me. I am not perfect by far and am still working hard on everything however, I am human after all so I am gonna go sugar surfing at times lol 


I feel super happy you are winning the race!! :D

post #7 of 11
One last thing directed at ANYONE who might read this.
I have nothing against formal physical therapy.
In fact it is the best way to get back to your life after certain ortho surgeries.
But plz do not fall into the trap advised by most medical professionals.

I have an erector set (spinal fusion) from the bottom of my sacrum to L-1 (the part of the spine that allows you to bend over and touch the floor without cheating).
This was way before the new bandaid surgeries ( looking at you @Chefross lol) which would not have helped me anyway.

My pain doc had me going to PT 3 times a week for 4-6 weeks each year.
Copay was $40 per session....so $120 per week X 6 week a year.
The light bulb finally went off and I joined the new gym in town.
$15 per month no contract.
I already knew what was good for me and what to avoid (until my core is way stronger anyways).

Moral of the story..... Doctors do not always know what is best for you.
Medical pros are not Gods ( Altho nurses are certainly Goddesses ;-)

post #8 of 11

With the heat index rising, the water thing is the most important! I start my day at 3-4am and start mainline-ing caffeine (I know, not good) mid morning (to the rest of the world) I try to make a conscience effort to start drinking water. (I like the alarm reminder!! GREAT idea!)


Maybe talk to fellow cooks and see if a shift meal family style can be arranged. The grazing thing is good as long as you keep it healthy. Veggies, fruit,cheese, etc. Complimented by protein. I personally like omelettes for supper. Fast, easy and I can stuff it with anything. Or fish.. again, fast and easy with a bit of S&P and lemon


I personally can't do the shakes because of the lactose, but (and I'm not proud to admit) I HAVE bought the Ensure, Boost, etc, type shakes as they do have nutritional value AND the sugar if I get a bit shaky

post #9 of 11

I agree there doctors do not always know you are right there.  I fully agree with you.

post #10 of 11
This industry would be so much easier if one did not have to eat in order to stay healthy/energized.....

My brain starts to shut down when I'm hungry (and I get cranky) but it still doesn't make it any easier to stop and break for a quick meal..... I would rather work nonstop, but I digress..
post #11 of 11

I am sorry to hear that.  Maybe some health bars may help or some shapers bars from Boots we eat those if out and about.  Oatcakes do help.  Water is good.  Those are quick things so that you can keep going and do not have to stop.  Also we find winegums are useful.  Sorry if this does not help. 

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