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Five years ago, Cynthia Ward weighed 338 pounds. Her ankles, knees and hips were always hurting. She failed her DOT physical and had 30 days to control her sugar levels. She had to make a change, fast.

“I’ve lost a whole person since then,” Ward says. 160 pounds, to be exact. Ward’s story is an inspirational tale that other drivers can learn from.

“If you would have told me that I would have to lose 160 pounds, I would have quit,” she says. “I set out to lose 25 pounds, and I lost 25 pounds. And that’s the way I’ve done it, 25 pounds at a time. Because 25 pounds in attainable.”

Every couple of weeks, Ward allowed herself a cookie or a sliver of chocolate cake as a reward to make the journey more enjoyable.

Start small

Ward took several small steps toward success. She began by buying smaller dinner plates at Walmart. She started parking in the back of parking lots so she would have to walk farther. She also researched diets on the Internet and met with a dietitian, who helped her plan her portions.

“If I ate one thing less, if I took one step farther, that day was a win,” Ward says. “And the rest of it would fall in line.”

Keep it healthy

Now Ward rarely eats at truck stops. Instead, she keeps healthy eats in her truck at all times. She begins her day with a cup of coffee and a serving of Dannon Light & Fit yogurt, with only 9 grams of carbs. Even a small serving of yogurt, with flavors such as banana cream pie, strawberry cheesecake and toasted coconut, is enough to satisfy Ward’s sweets cravings.

At noon, she indulges in raw nuts and indulges in lunch, her biggest meal of the day. Lunch is a serving of meat (the size of a deck of cards) and two cups of low-carb vegetables. Ward tops her day off with a light meal, such as chicken salad with dried fruit and walnuts.

Ward designed her regimen on her own.

The dietician she worked with initially wasn’t helping, Ward says. So Ward did her own research and came up with her own plan of consuming 1,200 calories and no more than 50 grams of carbs daily to keep her diabetes under control.

“By following the diet I’ve followed, I’ve been able to get off medication that was costing me $600 a month,” Ward says. “I ran my diet by my doctor to get the OK, but I’m the one who decided what I was going to do.”

To lose weight, Ward focused on diet, not on exercise. But she walks her dog every few hours, does squats during her pre-trip and often walks with an exaggerated march to burn more calories.

Where she goes from here

Today, Ward weighs 180 pounds. Her goal is to lose 30 more pounds eventually, but she’ll continue to take it slowly.

For others who want to lose weight, Ward has this advice: “Start small. Start with something obtainable. Take one step more than you normally would. Take a complete walk around the store before you start shopping. Leave one thing off your plate that you would normally eat. If you have to give up everything all at once, you’re not going to succeed.”

Ward focused on losing 25 pounds at a time. Do you have a great weight loss tip others can learn from, too? Connect with us here and tell us about it!

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

truck driver cyclingTaavi Rutishauser has been a cyclist all his life. A driver and trainer for Quebec’s Canadian American Transportation (C.A.T.), Rutishauser takes his bike everywhere he goes. He rides with a folding bike that fits neatly between his seat and his dashboard.

In the winter, when his runs take him down to Laredo, Texas, he brings his mountain bike with him to ride with locals down there.

Rutishauser rides his bike in his downtime, whether he’s waiting on a restart or unwinding from the workday.

“I ride as often as I can,” he says.

A long history with cycling

As a teen, Rutishauser raced mountain bikes. From age 20 to 25, he worked as a bike messenger in Montreal, leaving the job to pursue a career in trucking.

“Trucking was a dream for me,” he says. “I like the traveling. I needed a job. And, I needed a change, so I jumped into trucking.”

Rutishauser has had a CDL trucking job for 16 years and has a million safe miles in the last 10 years. However, It didn’t take long for Rutishauser to gain weight after starting his CDL trucking job. After five years on the road, he was too soft around the middle for his own liking.

In 2007, Rutishauser started cycling again. Over time, Rutishauser has shed 80 pounds from cycling. Today, he’s more reinvigorated by the sport than ever, often riding between 50 and 100 miles a week.

Building a cycling community at his company

In 2015, Rutishauser approached C.A.T. about launching a cycling program for the 100 truck drivers who work out of the company’s main terminal. Managers loved the idea and set about implementing it.

Now the C.A.T. Health and Wellness Program, as it is called, allows C.A.T. truck drivers at the company’s main terminal to purchase folding bikes at Dumoulin Bicyclettes in Montreal at a discount. If a driver wants to finance the bike, C.A.T. finances up to $1,000 without interest. In addition, the company even pays for bike helmets for all drivers in the program.

And the initiative has been a huge success. Of the 100 drivers in the main terminal, 10 percent have bought bikes through the program.

Benefits of cycling

Since he got back into cycling in 2007, Rutishauser has dropped from 260 pounds to 190 pounds. But there are other upsides to the pastime than weight loss.

“Besides the fitness, cycling takes a lot of the stress out of my job,” Rutishauser says. “I can let all the steam out. I’m a lot calmer and more relaxed at the end of the day. It’s also a great way to see the country.”

In addition, Rutishauser has seen a lot of the country through cycling. From country roads and farmers markets to rocky trails and residential streets, Rutishauser has enjoyed every turn. For exampke, some of his favorite spots include trails near Nashville, Tenn., and Danville, Va.

“You can do a little bit of everything with a bike on your truck,” he says. “I buy groceries or go sightseeing, even if it’s an hour or two in the evening. It never gets old.”

Overall, sometimes you have to express yourself and see where it takes you. What other programs have you had a hand in creating at your employer, drivers? Join our community here and tell us about it.

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

truck driver fitness contest

Tom Kyrk with Miss Marisol from Tough Tested

There’s a movement among truckers to lose a ton of weight, literally. It’s called the MATS 2 GATS Fitness Challenge. The Facebook fitness contest aims to inspire at least 500 truck drivers to lose a collective 2,000 pounds as a means of getting healthier. The contest launched at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March and will end at the Great American Trucking Show in August.

Truck driver Tom Kyrk spearheaded the MATS 2 GATS Fitness Challenge, and he couldn’t be more excited about it.

“We’re really trying to make this contest big,” Kyrk says. “If we can get 500 people to sign up, we’ll have enough active participants to meet our goal.”

The contest page already has more than 300 follows in its first week, and Kyrk is striving for at least 200 more by the time the participation deadline arrives on May 1.

Tech company Tough Tested is sponsoring the contest, wherein participants commit to a healthier lifestyle through exercise and diet. Each participant receives a rubber bracelet and a T-shirt. Tough Tested also will have giveaways if contestants lose a collective 2,000 pounds or more. The biggest reward, however, is losing weight in a supportive environment.

“It’s for support and giving ideas,” Kyrk says. “We’re here to motivate and inspire.”

How It Works

People with CDL trucking jobs get healthy

Tom Kyrk whips up something healthy

When drivers join the challenge, they provide their current weight and continuously update organizers on it once or twice a month until the end of the challenge. For his part, Kyrk will work with a personal trainer throughout the contest and hold himself accountable by posting his workouts and weighing himself in videos he will share on the MATS 2 GATS Facebook page.

“I’ve agreed to do it publicly because I’m a firm believer in practicing what you preach,” he says.

By posting video of his workouts, other drivers can do them, too.

The MATS 2 GATS Fitness Challenge page features healthy recipes, workouts, inspiring words and more to keep participants on track. Life coach Carolyn O’Byrne offers tips, as does nutritionist John Reed.

All In It Together

Ideally, the sense of community on the page will keep participants motivated and encouraged from the contest’s beginning to end.

“I personally like the community attitude of the MATS 2 GATS challenge,” says Idella Hansen of Real Women in Trucking, who has made her own great strides toward a healthier life. “Many need the encouragement and tips this type of challenge provides. I personally do the three steps forward, one step back, and hopefully this is the ticket for many of us backsliders.”

Tom Kyrk with Drive My Way contributor Sierra Sugar and Tough Tested’s Tom Buske

While there have been other fitness challenges in the trucking industry, this one is different, Kyrk asserts. For one thing, the effort is a year in the making. Driver-turned-videographer Tex Crowley launched the contest last year, but it fizzled out because organizers had too many other commitments. Crowley handpicked Kyrk, his friend, to launch the contest again this year. This time it’s taking off.

At its core, the MATS 2 GATS Fitness Challenge is for truck drivers, but others in the trucking industry are welcome to participate. “It’s about trying to build a sense of community among everybody in the trucking industry,” Kyrk says, “whether it’s dispatchers or recruiters, drivers or family.”

What great strides are you making in your quest for better health? Join our community here and share your story.

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

eating right or exercising

What’s more important—eating right or exercising? If you need to lose weight, you might think you need to exercise more often. However, as Mercola.com points out, this idea may actually be the obstacle that keeps you from succeeding in your Battle of the Bulge.

The website asserts that when it comes to weight loss, and keeping weight off, “you cannot out-exercise your mouth.”

Your diet surpasses the importance of exercise. Although, physical movement allows you to truly optimize your health and fitness.

Exercise proves to be as effective (or more) than many drug treatments for common health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and depression. So, exercise definitely plays a role in optimal health — it’s just not the central key for weight loss.

eating right or exercising

You cannot keep eating a junk food diet and simply exercise your way into smaller pants.

In addition, the article states that when and how much you eat influences your weight. Eating less and paying attention to the timing of your meals can move your metabolism in the right direction.

According to Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., a nutritional biochemist and former director of the University of Utah Nutrition Clinic, more than 700 weight loss studies confirm that eating healthier produces greater weight loss results than exercise.

“On average, people who dieted without exercising for 15 weeks lost 23 pounds; the exercisers lost only six over about 21 weeks. Therefore, it’s much easier to cut calories than to burn them off.”

Indeed, one of the simplest ways to improve your ability to burn fat as your primary fuel and lose weight is to replace all sodas and sweet beverages with pure water. Condiments and snacks are other categories that can be eliminated without risking nutritional deficits, thereby lowering your overall calorie consumption.

A recent international study confirmed that exercise was for the most part unrelated to weight loss.

The study also found that even sedentary behavior was not strongly linked to weight gain.

Also, Similar findings were made in 2012. A systematic review of studies found that, over time, people who exercised regularly wound up burning less energy than predicted based on their activity levels. This phenomenon is known as metabolic compensation. Also, they increased their overall calorie intake.

In addition, exercise only accounts for 10 to 30 percent of your overall energy expenditure each day. How many calories you burn in total each day primarily depends on your resting metabolic rate. On the flip side, you have full control over 100 percent of the energy (calories) you put into your body.

Even so, the article states, research does confirm that when you supplement a healthy diet with exercise, you’re typically rewarded with more sustained weight loss over the long term. Therefore, when it comes to answering the question between eating right or exercising, we have our answer.

Want to stay up to date on more great health and wellness tips? Follow Drive My Way on Facebook here.

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

 

For 20-year truck driver Bobby Andersen, it was either pay out the wazoo for a sleep apnea test issued by the Department of Transportation, or start eating healthier. He chose the latter route.

One year later, he’s inspiring other truck drivers by his healthy example.

It would have cost me a fortune being off work with no pay and having to pay for that test. I had to do something,” he says.

For  years, Andersen, 45, turned to fast food when he was hungry on the road.  The Booneville, Miss., native ingested everything from biscuits to burgers. After a while, it took a toll on his health.

“Any truck stop you walk into has just fast food places. It’s quick and easy: You can get in there, you can get your food and you can get out and eat while you’re driving down the highway,” says Andersen.

Then he saw the documentary “Forks Over Knives” and decided to immerse himself right away in a plant-based diet. It didn’t last long. Andersen consumed salad upon salad, but, oblivious to all his options, he found he could not sate his hunger.

A few months later, he tried again with more success. This summer, Andersen is celebrating one year on a plant-based diet. He’s lost 65 pounds and counting.

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