Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Lighter Ed




It’s very easy to pack on the pounds while at the wheel of a semi-truck.  Amazingly though, there's a way to lose the weight almost as fast as you put it on.  It depends on your bodily make-up, but for me it works.  In the past I’d lose weight with exercise.  I’d put on a few pounds and then start my running routine.  In a couple of weeks, the weight would fall off.  
 
As I grow older, it seems this approach doesn’t work for a couple of reasons:  First, the more you exercise, the hungrier you are and the more you eat.  Second, the added food doesn’t burn off as it did when you were in your teens, 20’s and early 30’s.  

Salena has been barking in my ear for a few years now that exercise isn’t necessary to lose weight.  She has said repeatedly that simply counting calories will do the trick.  She is right about that, but I’ve found that if I count calories, I’m hungry!  Her approach is tried and true.  No matter what you eat, it’s ok, so long as you keep the calories down.  



Recently there was a campaign started to pinpoint the foods we eat that cause obesity.  For me, this was an epiphany.  I can eat all that I want and lose weight without counting calories.  I have combined my past experience, the new science that exists, and Salena’s recommendations to pattern a new lifestyle that so far has involved zero exercise.  Since May 15th,2014 I’ve lost 17 pounds.  My heart rate and pulse is normal, and my energy levels are through the roof.  

The recent campaign called “FedUp” gave me the idea to stop eating bread and sugar.  So I cut them out completely.  Mainly my source of bread and sugar has been fast food.  It seems as if they are putting sugar in everything!  If you go to McDonalds and order a BigMac with cheese and fries with a Diet Coke, you are eating a LOT of bread, sugar, and crap!  Sure it’s delicious, but you WILL pay the price for that meal.


I cut out red meat, pasta, and all fried foods.  If I eat at McDonalds, I have the salad, or if they are out of salad, I get the grilled chicken wrap and if they are out of the wraps, I get the grilled chicken sandwich and throw the bun away.  I might even eat 2 grilled chicken sandwiches without the bun.  I don’t eat fries, but the apple pieces are good as a side.  I’ve found that if I’m not hungry, I don’t crave anything so my goal is to not be hungry.  

If you are carrying a 40 quart cooler around with you in your truck, you can go to the grocery store and load up on green leaf lettuce, radishes, pickles, jalapenos, olives, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, cherries, bananas, oranges, peaches, apples, carrots, celery, instant oatmeal (only original, no flavors) blueberries, strawberries, chick peas, hardboiled eggs, deli turkey, snap peas, green beans, bell peppers, and whatever else you can fit into your cooler and truck’s cabinet. 



You can chop the vegetables up and store them in a ziplock in the cooler so that you can mix up a fresh salad for lunch.  Eat all that you want of the vegetables!  There is a low calorie organic salad dressing that you can get and all you need is a couple of table spoons of that to lightly coat your salad.  The salads at Wendy’s are great also.  If I am extra hungry and eat a salad at Wendy’s, I get the plain baked potato.  I go ahead and put butter, sour cream, and chives on it.  I’ve become very aware of all the garbage that is for sale on the shelves at truck stops and in convenience stores.  If I need a snack, I eat some carrots and some pistachios, but I don’t have more than about a ¼ cup of pistachios.  I don't count calories except when I am eating pecans, walnuts, pistachios, and peanuts.

For breakfast, I’ll have an egg omelet with ham and cheese or oatmeal with strawberries and blueberries with chopped pecans and for a drink a cup of coffee.



For lunch a huge salad with everything I can pile on with a glass of iced tea or water.  (no sugary drinks or sugar substitutes such as Splenda) 



For dinner, I’ll have either baked fish, scallops, or grilled chicken with a small salad and fresh steamed vegetables with a glass of iced tea or water (no sugary drinks of any kind and this includes Splenda)



For dessert, it’s a chopped fruit salad such as bananas, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, and apples all mixed together and for a drink, a cup of coffee.



Basically I eat whole fresh foods as much as possible.  No artificial ingredients, no fried foods, no bread, no red meat, and no sugar.  

I don’t skimp on the amount of food, though.  I eat until I’m full so I eat a HUGE bowl of salad or for dinner, I eat a couple of chicken breasts and a bowl of vegetables with a large salad.  

I will eat a cheeseburger or some steak tips or even pizza and a piece of cheesecake, but only once a week and only small portions.  As soon as my weight is exactly where I want it, I can tailor what and how much I eat to how much I want to weigh.  

Not exercising is helping to stave off food cravings.  The more I exercise, the hungrier I am.  Keeping food cravings down has been great way to eat less and stay full after a meal.  The main thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to be hungry and when you are, you should know what not to eat to keep the weight off. 

When I started driving a truck at the ripe old age of 21, I could not put weight on regardless of what I ate, but at the age of 39, I’ve found that it’s getting harder to keep the pounds off.  As of June, 2014, I’ve driven a truck approximately 2.6 million miles and I’ve lived through stressful situations and all of the lifestyle choices that cause weight gain.  Since getting behind the wheel, I’ve put on about 60 pounds of unwanted weight.  

I know how hard it is to lose weight and I know how easy it is to put on the pounds.  I’ve lived it.  The fact is that being heavy will shorten your life and cause problems.  Incorporating diet and exercise doesn’t have to be a miserable campaign.  You can lose weight, strengthen muscles and have fun without being hungry.  You just have to keep trying until you find what your body responds to.  We are all different and what works for me, may not work for you, and vice versa.  

If you love trucking, then you need to care for your body.  When the day comes that you park the truck and go on a vacation, or quit trucking altogether, your body shouldn’t have suffered the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

You want to park the truck and enjoy your time seeing the sights and walking anywhere you want to go.  Take care of yourself and have a great life!


4 comments:

Scott said...

Takes a little bit of work, but worth it. Good for you.

Ed said...

Thanks Scott.

Marlaina said...

Congratulations, Eddie. It's always inspiring, and a reminder, to read epiphanies.

My plan exactly. In six years, I have maintained my starting trucking weight. However, bad news. When you get into your later 40s, you need to shake your ass a bit to keep muscle tone. It starts to drift away as we age and as hormones dimish. 10 to 15 minutes of cheesy, lame exercise, like walking, every day, does the trick.

It's always some crap, right?

Ed said...

Marlaina, I have always enjoyed exercise, but I was always thin. It wasn't until about 15 into the trucking biz that I started to gain weight that wasn't coming off easily.

I look forward to getting into some type of exercise routine once my weight has fallen down a bit. I would say that 30 minutes of exercise is the optimal time. I'd probably do some speed walking twice a day for 15 minutes a session or once for 30 minutes.

I've found that speed walking is as effective as running in regards to your heart's activity. I've been able to attain the same target heart rate doing speed walking that I did while running, and with a more consistent target heart rate. Walking is also safer and less harmful on your knees.