Wednesday, May 29, 2013


The only way in life to accomplish anything is through consistency. It's the same for work or for your health. You must take the actions on a consistent basis that you know will bring you toward your goals. There are any number of books and websites that can show you what to eat and how to exercise. The hardest part for any of us is putting these plans into action and turning them into results. You must, day in and day out, work to be fit. It can't matter if it's raining. It can't matter if it's snowing and -15 out. It can't matter if you are sick and don't feel like getting up. Only you can take the action necessary to change your life. It takes three to four weeks to establish new habits for most people. These first weeks are the most difficult and are when the most people drop out of whatever change they had planned for themselves. I am asking you to not be one of those people. Put in your mind that you are going to change and nothing will stop you. Write that on a card you carry with you and read it often. It may seem silly but this type of reinforcement really works. Getting over the initial shock of change is hard but the changes you make will be very rewarding for the rest of your (longer) life. Use this site as your jumping off point. The Healthy Trucking Association of America is here to help. Yes, it will be hard and take time. I am not telling you it will be easy, I am telling you it will be worth it.  So, stay consistent, day in and day out and results will be yours.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Weight loss surgery

I want to say I am not a doctor nor am I giving medical advice. This is just my opinion of these weight loss surgery procedures. I don't like them. I say no to them. Why? Surgery does nothing to address the cause of obesity. Once you get whichever surgery you choose you will lose weight because they all seem to restrict the amount of food you can eat, especially initially. The question is this: Why don't you just do that yourself? The problem with the surgery is you are still you. You did not address the cause of your problem. Mowing your lawn does not take care of the dandelion problem. You must do the hard work of yanking each one from the ground and reseed with new grass. Only then do you have a solution. It's the same with weight loss. You must do the hard work to find a lasting solution. There is no easy way to anyplace worth going. People may say they have tried everything but this is not the case. You don't try things because you set yourself up for failure. You do things until they are done. In some cases insurance does not cover this surgery. I will tell you this, you can purchase many hours with a personal trainer for what bypass costs. Now, I realize I won't talk many of you out of it. I will say this that it's a great feeling knowing you accomplished this goal with your own hard work and guts. You can succeed but it will take time and it will be difficult. There will be setbacks. Do not give up. Continue on the path to fitness. You can do it!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Holiday eating

It's a Holiday weekend. Many people may go to gatherings, picnics or just in general are out thus weekend. Unfortunately, much of the food available is unacceptable. You should plan ahead for this. If you know what will be available, make a mental note of what you will eat and stick to it. If you are unsure of the offerings, pack a meal replacement bar or two to take with you. I like the Met-RX Big 100 bar. It's about $2 and comes in a variety of flavors. If you have this with you there will be no excuse to eat the garbage food in the area. Worst case scenario is simply don't eat until later. I would rather you ate nothing than eat the poison so many others are eating. Would you put water in your car if no gas was available? Use this same thinking about your mouth and don't use your stomach as a dumpster. Finally, be sure to drink at least a gallon of water a day and more if you are spending time outdoors. Some days I drink two gallons. Yes, two gallons. It will help you feel full as well as keeping your internals flushed. Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Five exercise excuses and how to avoid them.

1. I don't have time. This is always the most common excuse I hear and the one I used most as well. Simply put, you do have time. You make time to workout. Do you watch tv? Use that time to workout instead of rotting your brain away. There is not much good on anyway. Do you surf the internet? Some studies show people surf as much as two hours per day. Use that time to workout your body instead of your thumbs. The truth of the matter is we make time for the things that are important to us. Be sure to make time every day to take care of yourself.

2. Getting fit costs too much. You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on workout gear. I get my workout clothes from the Goodwill store. For under $10 I am ready. Joining a gym is also optional. You can get plenty fit just by using the items around you. Your own body weight leveraged correctly will be plenty to help you start to change your life.

3. I feel self concious/everyone is watching me. This one is a little tougher. You must get over the fact that some people may actually be watching you. I say so what? Let them watch you. You are trying to make healthy changes to your body that may just prolong your life by years or even decades. It could turn out that you become the inspiration to someone so they can start on their own life changing fitness journey. No matter, either way you must continue even if a crowd gathers to watch you. You are there for you. Let nothing stop you.

4. I have done diets/fitness and it doesn't work for me. If I locked you in a room and didn't feed you, you would lose weight. Therefore, eating less DOES work when you actually do it. When you don't eat the foods you know you should eat and you skip your workouts of course they don't work. You may cheat in private but you wear the results of that in public. Eating less and moving more does work when you do it consistently over time. When you cheat, you are only cheating yourself. Fitness is like a marriage, you can't cheat on it and expect it to work.

5. I am too heavy/too out of shape to workout. Believe it or not, I hear this quite often. I would ask you how you expect to get in shape enough to workout with this kind of reasoning? Everyone starts somewhere. Maybe you can't do much because you are really out of shape but you can do something. If you can pass a DOT physical and drive you can do some exercise. As drivers our job is so sedentary we must be mindful to move our bodies to stay in shape. The job itself contributes to being out of shape so we have to work hard to counteract this. You may not be ready to run a 5K but you can move more than you are. Do what you can, where you are with what you have. You will be surprised how little time it will take to feel better.

Until our next meeting, be safe and healthy out there.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Effort equals results

In anything we do, we must make an effort. The amount of effort you put in will give you results. Just today at the gym a person was bemoaning the fact that they come every day and have only lost a few pounds this year. I watched this person exercise and I will tell you they are not putting in enough effort. They were not even sweating. You must give it all you have. Whatever 100% for you is, you must give it. To achieve anything you must be willing to give everything. Now, I don't know if you really push yourself. I will say this, if you are not seeing any results then you are not pushing yourself hard enough. You may want to hire a trainer just for an hour to get an objective idea of what you are doing. Any good trainer will do this. If the workout does not challenge you it will not change you. Only you know if you are working out to your fullest. If you are not getting results, you probably aren't.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Don't quit

It is important to not quit. There will be times you want to. There will be issues in your life and things happen where you just want to give up. I am telling you to keep going. Stay the course. It is much more difficult to start over than to keep going. Once you make the decision to change your life let nothing stand in your way. Excuses are what make us obese. Putting away those excuses and just getting to the work we know we need to do is what will make us fit. Remember, don't quit!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fit menu may not be so fit. Watch and order carefully.

Any driver who stays away from home more than a night or two is certain to have visited a truck stop restaurant at some point.  Some driver enjoy the camaraderie if sitting at the counter recalling stories of the glory days of trucking.  Apparently, the current glory days do not include a long life span.  The Centers for Disease Control reports the average life expectancy of a truck driver is 61 years.  Worse, an OOIDA study says the average age of death of their members is 55.7!  This may be due to a number of factors but the underlying statistics are alarming.  While you are at the counter reminiscing about that time when nine drivers pulled over to help you change a flat, lets get a little closer look at the menu.
Many truck stops no matter if it is their own restaurant or and outside company have some type of "healthy" or "fit" symbol or icon to indicate that the item is either less fat or less calories or some such thing.  I generally recommend ordering from these items but use caution here.  I found a chicken breast sandwich on one of these menus that was fried and included your choice of coleslaw or french fries.  Just because you are eating chicken does not make a dish a healthy option.  When ordering something like this, stick with grilled and always ask for a whole-grain bun.  Also, just say no (apologies to Mrs. Reagan) to the french fries.  Ask if you can substitute a fruit or vegetable plate.  Remember, it should not be an imposition for the restaurant to do this for you.  They are in business to serve you, the customer.
 With all the menu choices sometimes it may seem easier to just take a trip to the buffet.  Make that the soup and salad bar and we have a deal.  One soup and one salad.  Get the broth based soup, like vegetable or barley (the favorite of my wife).  A salad should be as colorful as possible.  Fill up here, make a huge salad of all the colors available.  Find the low-calorie dressing and get a small amount of this in a cup on the side.  You can dip your salad in your side dressing. 
Many fish items are baked but you should ask the wait staff how the fish is prepared.  It can be baked on a plain sheet or many establishments will bake in oil (ostensibly to maintain moisture).  This simple question can be a 500 calorie difference.  If the person serving you does not know the answer, make them go ask the cook.  Its your health we are talking about here.
As we see, simply choosing the "fit" item may not be enough.  In fact, I consider some of these menus to be outright fraud.  In the final analysis, it is up to us to be sure of what we are putting in our bodies.  Ask questions and continue to ask until you get the answer you are seeking.  Make better choices every day toward your goal of living healthy.  Don't become just another statistic for the CDC to record.  Until next time, Healthy Trucking!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Keeping a positive mindset.

When you start any new task, it's easy to be positive.

People cheer you on and the days go quickly. As time passes, though, our upbeat attitude can wane. It is in those moments that the rubber meets the road. When your job or other obligations seem to keep you from exercising your mind can turn sour. It is so important to remain positive during these downturns. You must continue moving towards your goals no matter what stands in your way.

As you become more fit from what may have been decades of being unhealthy, those same friends and family that supported you could slowly turn against you. Your success points out their failures. No matter the obstacle or no matter if anyone supports you, you continue for yourself. The only way fitness will take hold is doing it for you and no one or nothing else.

If you change to satisfy someone else it will never stick, it has to be for you and for it to work you must remain positive.

As you see, changing our body is dependent on changing our mind. A positive mindset will do wonders for fitness. Your body goes where your mind takes it. It will follow down a dark path or one lit with light and wonder. Take time each day to think of all of the positive benefits being healthy will bring to you and those who care about you. Go online to read motivational people and websites (start with this one).

Head to the library or grab your device and download a positive book to keep you upbeat. Drum the negativity of much of the world from your mind and your life. The more positive you are the more you attract positive energy to you. Like a snowball down a hill, this positive energy as well as your fitness will build over time.

Start today and always be positive!

Five easy changes that can make a difference.

5 small changes that will make abig difference. It's hard to be healthy on the road but here are 5 easy things you can do that will improve your health without hurting your wallet.

1. Get the hose.

Instead of that soda filled with sugar, drink water instead. This is true for diet soda due to the fact that it is filled with artificial sweeteners that aren't good for your body (depending on which study you refer to). Be sure to drink at least a gallon of water per day (yes Gallon). You may notice you will need to use the bathroom more often at first but this will subside over time. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to stretch every few hours. Park in the back and walk in.

2. Get your fiber.

Getting at least 25 grams of fiber per day will keep you feeling full and keep things, um... moving. Some studies suggest a high-fiber diet may help lower cholesterol. Try Ole brand Extreme Wellness tortilla shells available at many stores. They are low in carbohydrates, come in several flavors, under 100 calories each and have 9 grams of fiber per shell. They are under $3 for a pack of eight.

3. Stop clowning around with fast food.

Many drivers tell me all they have to eat fast food because that is all that is available or they need to get in and get out. This is simply not the case. For the same $5 you spend, try 4 peeled hard-boiled eggs ($2), two bananas ($1), one stick of cheddar ($1), a high-fiber shell from number two above and fill your travel mug with ice water. This is under $5 and will take you no longer than standing in line at the quick-serve hamburger restaurant.

4. I need some bread, man.

White bread has little redeeming value. They have to add vitamins to it due to all of the highly-processed ingredients. If you must have bread, look for bread labeled "100% whole grain". This is different than "whole grain". Whole grain bread has whole grains as part of the ingredients but perhaps a very small part and the rest may be processed grains. 100% whole grain is made only with whole grains and leaves the processed grains out and so should you. Use bread sparingly and try to stay under a loaf a week.

5. Sweets for sweet. Most of us like our desserts.

For you it might be chocolate or maybe cake or pie. No matter, I think everyone knows that there are many calories and not much else. Still, we can't just live on tree branches and twigs. So, once a week treat yourself to a regular-sized Snickers bar. They aren't terrible as they have peanuts to give you some protein and good fats. Otherwise try to cut back.

I have had enough of obesity

When I started driving at the age of 21, the difficulties driving puts on your body was not on my mind. Fast-forward 3 million miles and I was a different person. I was at a driving job where I did not even open the doors, just drop and hook. I would eat fast food every day and when I would go home, I just sat around. This type of life led to taking 4 different medications a day for high blood pressure.

Blotchy skin, 44 pants, 2XL shirts and no energy despite sleeping nine hours a night became my life.

Being barely able to walk across the parking lot without having to rest or break out into a sweat was challenging. I went to get new pants and noticed that 44 happened to be the largest size carried at the store.

I knew I had to do something or learn to make my own clothes. I realized how ridiculous my size was.

There was no reason to be that big.

I finally decided: "Enough!"

Between the medications, the headaches and lack of energy, I had made my decision. I would change my life and get healthy and fit. Medications only mask the symptoms. Many people told me I would have a heart attack the first time I got on a treadmill. You know what, I was going to have a heart attack if I DIDN'T get on a treadmill.

Once you realize deep down inside that the way you look and feel is totally in your control you can begin to change your life. A year from now the time will have passed no matter what you do. Will you be proud of your choices? Start today with the first step: DECIDE.