It is important to be happy and self-aware no matter what you’re doing, even as part of your CDL driver job. Writer Thai Nguyen of the Huffington Post writes that self-awareness is one of the key skills for success for truck drivers and other professionals. The way we respond in situations is based on our mental processes, Nguyen writes.

By being aware of our mental processes we are able to uncover any destructive thought pattern or poor habits. Nguyen gives us 12 exercises that help fuel our bodies for greater self awareness. Here are the top 5 highlights of the article:

Become a happy and self-aware CDL truck driver

1. The three Why’s

Before acting on a decision, ask yourself “Why?” Follow up your response with another “Why?” And then a third. If you can find three good reasons to pursue something, you’ll have clarity and be more confident in your actions. Being self-aware means knowing your motives and determining whether they’re reasonable.

2. Practice saying “No” to yourself

The ability to say “No” to yourself — to put off short-term gratification for the long-term gain — is an important life skill. And like a muscle, it is strengthened with exercise. The more you practice saying “No” to small daily challenges, the better you can withstand major temptations.

3. Monitor your self-talk

There is non-stop commentary in our heads, and it’s not always helpful. A little bit of negative self-talk can spiral into stress and depression.

4. Improve your body language awareness

Watching yourself on video can be a cringeworthy experience, but awareness of your body language, posture and mannerisms improves your confidence.

Slouching, or taking a “low-power-pose” increases cortisol and feeds low self-esteem, while standing tall or taking a “high-power-pose” stimulates testosterone and improves your performance. Using hand gestures helps with articulating your thoughts and affects how people respond to you.

5. Practice self-evaluation and reflection

Keep a journal and track your progress. How would you rate your current level of self-awareness out of ten? Think about how often you say regretful things; repeat bad habits; make absent-minded decisions; and have erratic thoughts.

Set regular goals, break big goals down into smaller milestones. Ask yourself at the end of each day, “What did I do well today?” And, “How can I improve on this tomorrow?”

Those with CDL driver jobs might have time to reflect on themselves during the day. Next time, try one or more of these techniques to see how self-aware you can become.

Find the best CDL trucking job for you. Register today. It’s free!

Featured image courtesy jill111 / Pixabay; lower image courtesy of Huffington Post

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TruckerGood Fats, Good Life

If you’ve ever tried to diet, you know how overwhelming it can be. I felt challenged by all the choices, too. That’s why I chose to become educated in nutrition. The more I learned, the more I saw the benefits of a ketogenic lifestyle—one low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats.

Today I specialize in a ketogenic lifestyle, because, simply put, it allowed me to lose more than 80 pounds. So yeah, I’m a believer. Even with Type 2 diabetes, a ketogenic lifestyle enables me to keep my blood sugar at normal levels without medication. A ketogenic menu allows you to eat properly without calorie counting, without measuring and without starving yourself (seriously).

You naturally change the way your body processes food, and that makes the ketogenic lifestyle a winner. It’s a lot healthier to rely on stored fats for energy than it is to rely on sugars and carbohydrates for energy. Today, I’m here to help you ease into a ketogenic lifestyle. It’s a big word with big benefits. Let’s get started.

1. Make a list of foods that are purely ketogenic, eliminating all sugars and grains.

There areThe Trucker a lot you can choose from, depending on your own personal tastes. Any of the following foods will do, and it’s just a sampling: Eggs, raw nuts, bacon, olive oil, coconut oil, heavy whipping cream, real butter, meat, fish and steamed vegetables (except root vegetables). The fattier the better.

2. Be very strict for the first 3 weeks to eliminate sugar from your system.

This will get you “fat adapted.” After a few weeks, you can start adding some carbohydrates back into your daily menu.

3. Keep your diet consisting of 75 percent fats, 20 percent protein and 5 percent carbohydrates.

understanding that if you are more athletic you will need to have a bit more protein. Use a free app like My Fitness Pal to track your progress for the first few weeks until you know what you should eat.

4. Eat only when hungry.

Don’t fall into the trap of eating when you think you should. Stop and evaluate your hunger. Eat small portions, then wait 10 minutes for your stomach to signal your mind that you are full. Then, if you’re still hungry, eat another small portion.

5. Do not eat within 3 hours of bedtime.

You do not want your body to be digesting food when you need to relax for bed.

6. Turn off all electronic devices a half hour before bedtime.

Allow your body to start melatonin production for a restful night’s sleep. Try meditation or just sit and relax. Now you are on the road to better health.

After a few weeks, start adding foods that are low in carbohydrates back into your daily meal plan. Avoid sweeteners, and the energy you have will amaze you. You can have fruit twice a week, but avoid tropical fruits. I recommend a side dish of sweet potatoes, boiled and mashed with real butter to slow the glycemic stress on the body. Enjoy the journey!

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The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

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ReedWe all know the main addictions: Nicotine, alcohol and narcotics. But what about that other addiction we don’t hear as much about? If you can’t go down the candy or snack cake aisle without grabbing a treat for yourself, if you eat so much you have to unbuckle your pants just to breathe, let’s face it. You have a food addiction.

Addictions, even food addictions, start slowly over time. Maybe as a child your parents made you eat everything on your plate before dessert. Maybe you have one of those ethnic mothers who always made sure you had just one more plate of her cooking. Whatever the cause of your bad habits now, you are an adult and you need to look in the mirror and have a serious discussion with the only person who can change your unhealthy lifestyle, you.

Do you think that at some point it will not catch up with you? Think again. I know it will catch up with you, because it caught up to me. Diabetic and weighing more than 250 pounds, I had to change my ways. And I did change my ways. It was easier than I thought it would be. It will be for you, too.

Here are 3 simple steps you can take right now toward a healthier you. By advancing one step at a time, you will find it’s not as hard as you think.trucker

Step 1: Substitute healthy snacks for unhealthy snacks. Forgo the chips and cookies for raw nuts or nuts that have sea salt. Even a small bag of pork rinds are better than all the sugar goodies.

Step 2: Stop adding sugar and flavored creamers to your coffee. Try half and half instead. Better yet, if you have a cooler, use heavy whipping cream, which does not have lactose.

Step 3: Stay away from soft drinks and energy drinks. The average soda has no nutritional value and as much as 13 teaspoons of sugar. Energy drinks, meanwhile, can have just as much sugar as soda and more caffeine than you’ll find in four Cokes. Instead, drink Perrier Lime or plain ‘ol water.

Get matched with the very best trucking companies hiring. Register today. It’s free!

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The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

imagejpeg_1Drive My Way has a new health columnist. He’s a longtime driver who’s had a CDL trucking job in one capacity or another for 35 years. These days, he’s an owner operator leased to Mercer Transportation.

His name is John Reed.

“Whatever I do, I strive to become the best,” he says. For years, Reed strove to be the best owner operator he could be. He supported his wife and two kids. And in the little spare time he had, he educated himself on business management, accounting and tax preparation.

But he was skimping on one important thing: his health.

“Unfortunately, I never thought about my health,” he says. “I have been struggling with my weight since I was in school 50 years ago. Except for 4 years in the military, I have always been overweight because of my bad eating habits.”

In 2010, already suffering from sleep apnea, high blood pressure and back pain, Reed was diagnosed with diabetes.

His two-year medical card was reduced to a one-year medical card. But his weight continued to climb until 2014. That’s when Reed, 240 pounds and racked with depression, chose to make a change. “I decided to make my health a priority,” he says.

Reed began researching diets online, but none of them would have been easy to implement in a CDL trucking job. Besides, there were so many diets promising weight loss, he didn’t know which to believe.

“I decided the only correct way to find the truth was to become a nutritionist myself,” he says.

Two years later, Reed is 75 pounds lighter and a certified specialist in nutrition. Having made so many strides in his own health, he now spends his spare time helping other truck drivers get healthy.

You can find him consulting on health matters at the Expedite Expo in July and the Great American Trucking Show this August. Today, we’re happy to introduce him as Drive My Way’s new health columnist.

Look for Reed’s column, “Reed’s Way: The Trucker’s Fast Lane to Better Health,” every month right here on DriveMyWay.com. He’ll cover a different topic every month, so you’ll be able to keep up with several of Reed’s great tips on how to stay fit on the road. Stay tuned for his first column right here on April 19.

Find the best CDL trucking job for you. Register today. It’s free!

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

Whether you spend your down time doing crunches or you’re sick to death of all this health talk, one thing is for sure: Health and fitness is gaining serious traction in the trucking industry. In response to the burgeoning fitness craze, several Facebook groups devoted to truck driver health have popped up. Here are our top 5 picks for you (yes, you, drivers!), whatever your fitness level may be.

5 Fab Facebook Fitness Groups for Truckers

Truckin’ Runners

The group’s tagline, “Truckers who run. Runners who truck,” says it all. The group is for people who work in the trucking industry and want to share training tips, playlists, race information and nutrition facts.

What started out small in 2010 has grown to 768 members today.  Truckin’ Runners caters to runners of all levels. That’s exactly why it’s built a strong following, says the group’s cofounder, owner operator Jeff Clark. “We have to take as much joy in the driver who just walked a mile for the first time without having to take a break as we do in the elite runners,” he says.

Health tip: “Recognize that it’s hard to get exercise when you’re a truck driver over the road, but know that it’s worth it.”

5 Fab Facebook Fitness Groups for Truckers

Big Truck Health and Fitness

This is the latest effort from the people behind the Facebook group Big Truck Cooking. “The goal is to get truck drivers to exercise and eat better,” says Darlene Williams Ventura, the group’s cofounder. “As a driver, the hardest thing is getting exercise on the road. We’re starting them off slow, and we’ll help them build from there.”

The group offers exercises that are easy for people with CDL trucking jobs to do on the road (think: push-ups and planking), as well as nutritional tips, recipes and encouragement.

“My greatest hope is that drivers will realize their potential,” says Kari Fisher, who leads the group’s healthy eating side. “You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to be healthy.”

Health tip: “Download the food app Fooducate. It breaks down nutrition information for all foods. And stay away from sugar and white flour.”

5 Fab Facebook Fitness Groups for Truckers

Truck Drivers Guide to Nutrition

If it takes a leader who puts his money where his mouth is to whip you into shape, this is the Facebook fitness group for you. The group’s founder, John Reed, is a 35-year truck driver, an owner operator leased to Mercer. Once weighing more than 250 pounds, Reed got serious about his health a couple of years ago. He dropped 75 pounds and returned to school to earn his degree in nutrition.

“People talk about truck driving as being one of the most unhealthy occupations. I’d like to change that,” he says. The Truck Drivers Guide to Nutrition is one way Reed helps other drivers get healthy. The group features health articles, healthy recipes, inspiration and more. Reed uses the group mostly to augment his own nutrition website, nutrition-forlife.com.

Health tip: “Stop thinking about food as something to be worshipped. Food is just sustenance.”

5 Fab Facebook Fitness Groups for TruckersDriven to Be Healthy

This Facebook group started as a six-month contest at GATS 2015, putting people with CDL trucking jobs to the test from August 27-February 29. During that time, drivers strove to eat healthier, lose weight and exercise more for a shot at cool prizes.

While the contest is over, the Facebook page lives on, keeping truck drivers motivated through recipe sharing, inspirational words and exercise tips.

“If we made the difference in the life of one driver and he’s healthier and gets to live longer because of it, then it was worth it,” says the challenge’s organizer, Julie Dillon. “Because that’s our goal. We want to see them be healthier and live longer and enjoy their families.”

Health tip: “Commitment is continuing to push yourself when no one else is around. The days that are the hardest are the days that produce the most results.”

https://www.facebook.com/groups/driventobehealthy/

Big Trucks Fitness

With the tagline “Strive for progress, not perfection,” Big Trucks Fitness is ideal for truckers who want to get fit through exercise or diet. Members share truckside workouts, healthy recipes (Cobb salad on a stick, anyone?), workout articles and friendly encouragement.

“My goal for Big Trucks Fitness is to help everyone stay in shape through tips and motivations,” said the group’s co-administrator, Joshua Briggs, a company driver for MIDI Transport. “The group was created because there were drivers I’ve came across who said they are just barely hanging on to the physical card due to their health, and a majority of gyms are not accessible to big trucks.”

Health tip: “A little stretch can go a long ways when you’re sitting behind a wheel up to 14 hours a day. Try to go no more than 4 hours without stretching every part of your body.”

Find the best CDL trucking job for you. Register today. It’s free!

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

DOT seeks feedback from CDL truck drivers on sleep apnea regulationsPeople with CDL trucking jobs already lament the federal regulations they must abide by in today’s world. Now, yet another regulation looms in the balance for truck drivers. If you are a CDL permit holder, now’s your time to speak up on the issue of sleep apnea.

On March 8, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration jointly announced that they are seeking public comment during the next 90 days on the impacts of screening, evaluating, and treating CMV drivers and rail workers for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Writer David Cullen wrote about the issue in Heavy Duty Trucking.

Ramifications from public comments remain undetermined

But, the two federal agencies host three public listening sessions to gather input on obstructive sleep apnea. They collect from CDL permit holders and others in the transportation industry. The sessions occur in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles.

“The agencies said their Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, a.k.a. a “pre-rule,” serves as “the first step” in considering whether to propose specific requirements around OSA,” Cullen’s article states.

The pre-rule, titled “Evaluation of Safety Sensitive Personnel for OSA,” specifically seeks “data and information concerning the prevalence of moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea among individuals occupying safety sensitive positions in rail and highway transportation.”

The agencies request information about the possible financial impact and safety benefits associated with “regulatory actions”

Transportation workers showing more than one risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea face evaluation by a sleep disorder specialist. They then receive treatment.

The current pre-rule activity aligns with legislation passed by Congress in 2013 that instructs FMCSA on the regulatory approach it must take regarding OSA.

That law does not require the agency to issue any sleep-apnea policy or regulation. Rather, the bill states that no policy can be issued without the agency first conducting a thorough analysis of the prevalence of OSA among commercial drivers; the range of possible actions to address the problem; and the costs and benefits that may result.

Sleep apnea is a common condition causing a person’s breathing to pause during sleep.

As Cullen states in his article, the pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and occur more than 30 times an hour. Ultimately, sleep apnea results in poor sleep quality and fatigue.

Are you an owner operator looking for steady, reliable work? Here’s how Drive My Way can help.

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

The No. 1 pain for people with CDL driver jobsIf your CDL driver job gives you aches and pains, you aren’t alone. Sitting in a cab for about 10 hours a day will definitely impact your body. And it turns out the vibration that truck drivers experience at the wheel does more than hurt. As a recent article in Go By Truck explores, if you have a CDL driver job, the vibration might affect your job performance.

“Whole body vibration” (WBV) results from a truck traveling over a rough surface, the article says.

It can cause sore lower backs, as well as pain in the neck, arms and legs. If the pain is bad enough, it can limit or cut short a driver’s career,” the article states.

A study presented at the 2014 American Conference on Human Vibration examined how whole body vibration affected drivers’ performance. The study featured the Bose Ride active suspension seating system, which uses sensors and electromagnetic motors to greatly reduce vibration.

The limited study concluded, “it appears whole body vibration exposures and the magnitude of them may adversely affect the vigilance of truck drivers and potentially contribute to cognitive fatigue. A 2015 RAND Corp. review of 24 studies found that 18 of them reported “a significant association” between WBV and driver fatigue and sleepiness.

The article also states that CDL truck drivers who used Bose Ride experienced less WBV than those with air-ride seats. After three months, the Bose Ride group reported a 30 percent reduction in lower back pain. A number of carriers are retrofitting their fleets with Bose Ride systems, including R+L Carriers of Wilmington, Ohio.

“The feedback has been great,” said R+L CEO Roby Roberts.

Read the rest of the Go By Truck story here.

CDL driver jobs are just a click away!

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now

 

The next time you’re inclined to dump an artificial sweetner into your cup of joe, you might want to wait before you rip. That’s because natural sugars still tend to be the healthier choice, stresses one dietician.

Artificial sweeteners have been on the market for a long time, but there are still not enough long-term studies to determine safety and side effects of continued use.

So writes Emily DeLacey, M.S., R.D. for Fitday.com. The “top 4 most dangerous,” DeLacey writes, include some of the most common sweeteners on the market.

Flaws in the initial testing of acesuflame potassium (sold under the brand names Sweet One and Sunett) have been challenged by scientists in the Journal of the Environmental Health Perspectives, and they call for additional studies to be done to properly evaluate the safety of this sweetener.

DeLacey also discouraged excessive intake of aspartame, which the article stated is 200 times sweeter than table sugar, as well as saccharin (up to 700 times sweeter than table sugar) and  neotame (up to 13,000 times sweeter than table sugar).

 Choosing artificial sweeteners over plant-sourced sweeteners, like honey, has not actually been linked to long-term weight-loss and even in some cases there is more evidence that they are associated with increased weight gain. Sweeteners of any type should be always used in moderation. Eating whole foods with lots of fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients will help you better manage blood glucose levels and weight management goals. 

ultimate-guide-truck-drivers-maintain-3-healthy-habits-over-the-road

The Ultimate Guide for Truck Drivers to Maintain 3 Healthy Habits Over the Road

Download the complete guide for tips to easily maintain healthy habits over the road.

Download the Guide Now