Archive for January, 2015

Thinking outside the box when it comes to tracking your weight and body mass (Part 5 of 5)

By Jena Williams

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This is part 5 of a series to dissect the CDC’s recommendations to prevent obesity in truck drivers. (Click here to see part 1). A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)* confirmed that long-haul truck drivers are 2 times more likely than other U.S. adult workers to be obese.

In this series we are tackling one obesity prevention suggestion a week.

Give yourself grace when you step on the scale. Initially as you begin to exercise, you may gain a few pounds as muscle develops. Some muscular body types appear to have high BMI based on numbers, but in reality aren’t carrying extra fat. Therefore, I’d suggest measuring your body (rather than weighing) to track changes as you tone up or just go by how your clothes fit. You’ll know if it’s making a difference or not.

Try journaling your goals, triumphs and setbacks. Think of something you’d like to be able to do – climb the stairs, wear a certain size, participate in an event. Begin writing down what it is currently like to do that thing (e.g. I’m breathing heavily after 2 flights, I can run a quarter mile before needing to stop, I can do 7 sit-ups before stopping, my waist is 41 inches). Each week, re-check your gauge to see how you are doing. Write down what you think contributed to your success (or is keeping you from your goals).

If general aches and pains are an issue for you, write down your level and type of pain to see if it changes as your body gets used to the exercise. Many people observe that if they generally wake up with low back pain, it’ll subside when they start building core muscle strength. This is a good place to mention that your physician will be the best person to suggest the level of exercise that is right for you.

Over the past month, we’ve discussed the 4 recommendations from the CDC to help truck drivers prevent obesity. They are:

  1. Eat healthy and smaller portion sizes.
  2. Drink more water instead of sugary drinks like soda.
  3. Be more physically active.
  4. Track your weight and body mass.

If you haven’t already started to make changes, then now is the time to pick one change to implement for the upcoming month. Work on that until it becomes the new normal for you, then choose another area to work on. Talk to a friend about your plan to get healthy or make yourself accountable by listing your change in the comments. Ask for support and encouragement from friends and family or if you prefer, ask them to challenge you. You know what will motivate you to not give up so ask for the type of support you need.

Vital Smarts has a book called Change Anything that teaches individuals to recognize the personal, social, and environmental forces of influence currently working against them—and then turn them in their favor. It’s worth the read to help you get from where you are to where you want to be.

Start simple suggestion: Make a health-related goal today, and then measure your current ability or size as a baseline.

If you’ve struggled against obesity and made even small wins, will you share your success story in the comments?

*Sieber WK, Robinson CF, Birdsey J, Chen GX, Hitchcock EM, Lincoln JE, Nakata A, Sweeney MH [2014]. Obesity and other risk factors: the National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury. Am J Ind Med (57)615-626. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajim.22293/abstract

 

How to be more physically active (Part 4 of 5)

By Jena Williams

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This is part 4 of a series to dissect the CDC’s recommendations to prevent obesity in truck drivers. (Click here to see part 1). A recent study* by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that long-haul truck drivers are 2 times more likely than other U.S. adult workers to be obese.

In this series we are tackling one obesity prevention suggestion a week.

If you are not used to physical activity, then this may be the most intimidating part for you. My advice, start small and do something you enjoy. Don’t try to do someone else’s exercise routine if it’s not fun to you. Yes, I’m using the word “fun” liberally, but if you try different activities, you’ll find that there are ones you enjoy more than others. If you’d rather walk outside than walk a treadmill, then walk outside. Give yourself small challenges to beat. Recognize that the first week is the hardest and after that it’ll be much easier.

Speaking of walking – if you find yourself at truck stops with time on your hands for a walk, but no safe place to have a walk, talk to the manager on duty. You are the customer, so they likely will cater to your needs, but they need to know what they are first. The more customers that ask for healthy options and safer places to walk, the more likely they are to accommodate the needs of drivers seeking healthier lifestyles.

You’ll be more likely to stick to an exercise routine if you find an accountability partner. The best one would be someone to exercise with, but if that’s not possible, then at least agree to check in with each other daily.

Exercise on the road may seem to be a challenge, but other truck drivers have done it. Check out the drivers in the links below to see if you are inspired. (I know they inspire me!)

Todd McCann, Healthy Trucker: https://www.thehealthytrucker.net/truck-driver-exercise-routine/

Jerry, Healthy Trucker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJAgKWRiFpg

Bryan Calestine, TMC driver: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-y6JPVy9BE

Resources:

Weight Training Truck Driver Workout Plan: http://www.weighttraining.com/workout-plans/truck-driver-workout-plan

Healthy Trucker, In Cab Workout: https://www.thehealthytrucker.net/in-cab-truck-driver-workout/

Florilli Transportation LLC, In Cab, Cold Weather Exercises: http://www.florilli.com/blog/bid/337784/Too-Cold-to-Exercise-10-In-Cab-Exercises-for-Truck-Drivers

Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips: http://www.truck-drivers-money-saving-tips.com/physical-exercises.html

The 7 Most Common Workout Mistakes Beginners Make: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/23/beginner-exercise-mistake_n_6334618.html?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

Start simple suggestion: Put on your high-visibility vest for safety and walk around your truck at a pace or quantity of times to make you breathe heavy. If that’s too easy, then see how long you can hold the plank position and add 5 seconds a day until you get to 1 minute. Here’s a link to how to do a plank: http://30dayfitnesschallenges.com/how-to-do-a-plank/

* Sieber WK, Robinson CF, Birdsey J, Chen GX, Hitchcock EM, Lincoln JE, Nakata A, Sweeney MH [2014]. Obesity and other risk factors: the National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury. Am J Ind Med (57)615-626. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajim.22293/abstract

Are you drinking your calories? (Part 3 of 5)

By Jena Williams

Fresh fruits milk shake on wood

This is part 3 of a series to dissect the CDC’s recommendations to prevent obesity in truck drivers. (Click here to see part 1). A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that long-haul truck drivers are 2 times more likely than other U.S. adult workers to be obese.*

In this series we are tackling one obesity prevention suggestion a week.

Americans drink a ton of calories. Here’s a list of calories in common beverages from WebMD

My favorite coffee treat this time of year is a Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks. Can you imagine my horror to discover that a 16 oz. made with 2% milk has 450 calories! That is not a typo, 450 calories. In an 1800 calorie diet… well, you can do the math. It might be worth your time to check into the calories you are drinking and how many you should be consuming in a day. Here is a recommended daily calorie guide by age and gender.

Is Monster Energy what you go to for that mid-afternoon energy burst? Each 16 oz. can contains 220 calories. Dehydration can cause you to feel sleepy, so next time you need an energy boost try a bottle of water.

Start simple suggestion: Check the calories on your favorite beverage and consider replacing with brewed tea (zero calories!) or coffee at just 5 calories. In cold weather, hot water with a squeezed lemon wedge is also very refreshing and allows you to save those calories for foods that will benefit you, not weigh you down.

 

* Sieber WK, Robinson CF, Birdsey J, Chen GX, Hitchcock EM, Lincoln JE, Nakata A, Sweeney MH [2014]. Obesity and other risk factors: the National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury. Am J Ind Med (57)615-626. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajim.22293/abstract

Let’s talk about how to eat healthy and smaller portion sizes (Part 2 of 5)

by Jena Williams

iStock_000028413270Small (1)

This is part 2 of a series to dissect the CDC’s recommendations to prevent obesity in truck drivers. (Click here to see part 1). A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that long-haul truck drivers are 2 times more likely than other U.S. adult workers to be obese.  In our own work, we’ve found that on average, injured truck drivers in Washington State have an average Body Mass Index (BMI) that is obese (30.4 average, >30 is obese).2

In this series we are tackling one obesity prevention suggestion a week.

I’m of the opinion that many of us have forgotten what a healthy and/or smaller portion size is. Well I’m here to tell you, there’s an app for that! In fact, there are many. Here’s an article on the 7 best diet apps for IPhone and Android. They handle a variety of tasks like helping you look up and track calories, give nutrition advice, send text reminders, allow you to develop accountability with others, track water consumption and exercise levels.  Even if you don’t want to use them all the time, it can be helpful to track a few days’ worth of meals to get an idea where your high calorie, low nutrition foods are coming from.

There are also websites to help with choosing healthy portions and serving sizes:

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/eat-right/distortion.htm

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/weight-loss/multimedia/portion-control/sls-20076148

I think one of the best things you can do is to cook and bring your meals instead of eating out. It’s good to keep in mind that it’s not all about the calories either. More and more physicians and nutritionists are saying that it’s more important to eat real food (rather than processed food) than it is to worry so much about calories.

When you choose natural foods like beans and nuts (get unsalted), you’ll feel satisfied sooner and over a short period of time, you will be less likely to overeat. Additionally, by bringing your own healthy meals, you avoid impulsively ordering fried or fatty foods when you finally stop and are too hungry to make a healthy decision.

Extreme calorie restriction is not a healthy goal. Make eating whole, real foods your goal.

Start simple suggestion: Add more whole beans (not refried) to your normal diet.  Increase your water intake as well. Fiber works best when it absorbs water http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983?pg=2.

 

  1. Sieber WK, Robinson CF, Birdsey J, Chen GX, Hitchcock EM, Lincoln JE, Nakata A, Sweeney MH [2014]. Obesity and other risk factors: the National Survey of U.S. Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury. Am J Ind Med (57)615-626. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajim.22293/abstract
  2. Bonauto DK, Lu D, Fan ZJ. Obesity Prevalence by Occupation in Washington State, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Prev Chronic Dis 2014;11:130219. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.130219