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How to Lose Weight as a Truck Driver: Transform and Roll Out!

The lifestyle of an over-the-road truck driver can be demanding. That is why time management and adaptability are so important. Learn more about staying in shape, regardl

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Joey Rizzolo
December 22, 2022
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When figuring out how to lose weight as a truck driver, there are important considerations that you must take into account. There are variables like scheduling, location, preparation, and more. With so many factors to consider, you’d think losing weight must be challenging, but we’ll show you some ways to make it easy.

Losing weight as a truck driver requires careful planning, meticulous execution, and a strong desire to commit to a change in life. The ADA recognizes that over 3 million truck drivers deal with obesity. To that end, changing your diet and getting a healthy amount of exercise is the formula for losing weight.

Losing weight as a truck driver is a monumental task that can feel out of reach for many truck drivers. However, you are not like most truck drivers, you took the first step in making a change, and that step starts here.

Are Most Truckers Overweight?

People commonly believe that most truckers are overweight due to their profession. Think about it, you sit in a small, confined space for long hours, rarely engaging in physical activity while on the road.

While it is true that sometimes you are required to unload or load freight, most carriers out there have a policy preventing drivers from handling cargo. As a driver, you are typically not covered under warehouse insurance under the delivery recipient.

Essential facts from expert sources:

  1. The American Diabetic Association (ADA): Estimates indicate that over 86% of truck drivers in America are obese. This estimate accounts for over 3 million truckers across the country.
  2. Healthy Trucking Association of America (HTAA): This association is also responsible for providing truck drivers with tips to help fitness and health.

Obesity is inexplicably linked with diabetes, and that is where the ADA comes into play for truck drivers that are overweight and diabetic. Helpful resources are available to educate yourself on what steps to take to get healthy.

There are resources like the HTAA for drivers to find valuable information regarding steps that you can take to control your weight while on the road. They have informative posts surrounding weight, diabetes, nutrition, mental health, and much more.

truck on the highway

Why Do Truck Drivers Gain Weight?

Generally speaking, as a truck driver, you are under enormous stress and pressure every day. From driving in and out of congested areas, watching other drivers on the road making poor choices, or even something like dealing with your load or the truck itself.

There is also the delivery time to consider when driving a truck, as you know. The stress that originates from meeting deadlines can be overwhelming. The abovementioned issues could also derail your ability to be on time and safely deliver the load. 

The circumstances behind gaining weight will differ depending on whether or not you are a short-haul driver or a long-haul driver. The risks associated with gaining weight as a truck driver will have a greater potential threat as a long haul driver, but why is that?

Short-Haul Driving

  • Shorter driving durations: Less stress and fatigue due to a driving schedule consisting of short bursts
  • Greater daily mobility: Driving short distances means sitting for shorter periods of time and getting up regularly.
  • Regular nutritional routine: Driver short distances mean more time at home with access to a sustained diet on average.
  • Gym or Fitness center access: More time in the area of your home means more time for going to the gym.
  • Normal social life: Being close to home means regular interactions with friends and family.

Long-Haul Driving

  • Lengthy driving durations: Stress and mental fatigue is increased due to excessive periods of driving without other human interactions.
  • Poor daily mobility: Driving long distances means sitting for long periods of time with no way to stand up. The lack of mobility takes its toll over time.
  • Poor eating habits: Sleeper trucks have a small pantry for dry storage and a mini fridge to keep various cool and fresh items. This limited space makes it challenging to keep healthy foods in stock.
  • Limited gym access: Due to longer durations on the road, access to a gym is severely limited. However, you could join a gym with locations all over the country to maintain a workout schedule.
  • More personal time: Time spent on the road can be weeks at a time, which means more time away from friends and family. However, in turn, it means more time alone on the road.

As you can see, there is a difference between these two forms of over-the-road trucking. Depending on the person, there can be some real value found in either form of driving. Unfortunately, the drawbacks to long-haul trucking are directly attributed to weight gain.

When the body has minimal to zero mobility for long periods without exercise, weight gain comes naturally. Also, when you mix in consuming unhealthy snacks, drinking sugary drinks or energy drinks, and eating fast food all the time, you run the risk of weight gain.

how to lose weight as a truck driver

Can You Lose Weight as a Truck Driver?

As an individual, you may ask, can you lose weight as a truck driver? The answer is a resounding yes. As a trucker, you must make a huge lifestyle change and stick to the plan to lose weight.

Even though the basic principle of trucking falls in line with driving, eating, and sleeping in that order, and is replicated each day after. Developing a plan of attack is essential to combating the risks of health-related dangers.

Some examples of what can happen if you don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  • Joint problems: Joint problems are the result of both obesity and the overuse of certain joints in the human body. For example, truck drivers often have arthritis or lupus due to years of neglecting their health.

The first step in solving any real problem is the acknowledgment that there is a problem. Commonly, morbid obesity is sometimes hard to recognize. Sometimes it is tough to come to grips with the reality that is your weight.

Daily life progressively gets more complicated, mobility and range of motion begin to reduce, and the little things in life become harder or even impossible. This situation is the point at which most people feel it’s the point of no return, which is not valid.

Determination and best effort are the only tools you need to make the necessary lifestyle change to take your life back while on the road. The time has come to develop a new diet plan and exercise regimen to defeat obesity as a truck driver.

fruits and vegetables  healthy diet

Diet Plans for Truck Drivers

When mapping out a diet plan as a truck driver, you must first account for the balance needed to accomplish your goals. Balancing your nutritional diet and the amount of time exercising is mission-critical.

The following diet plans are among the most popular among Americans currently. While some diet plans are more accessible than others, some may be more challenging to stick with than anticipated because of the drastic diet changes required.

Five popular diets that you can try when driving a truck.

  1. Atkins Diet: This diet is centered around eating little to no carbohydrates (carbs). The drastic reduction of carbs goes in hand with eating more proteins and fatty foods.
  2. Keto Diet: This diet is committed to zeroing out carbs while focusing on foods high in fat. Keto is known for having positive results on people who have diabetes.
  3. Paleo Diet: A Paleo diet consists of eating foods and living a lifestyle reminiscent of a hunter-gatherer 1,000s of years ago. Eating fish, meats, veggies, eggs, and spicy fats are favored in this diet, while sugary and processed foods are avoided.
  4. The 5:2 Diet: This diet is quite unique because it involves fasting. Within five days, you eat normally, and the final two days involve intermittent fasting while limiting the number of calories you ingest.
  5. Flexitarian Diet: Nature is the basis for this diet which focuses on natural foods like veggies, fruits, plant-based proteins, and whole grain foods. Edibles like Beyond Meat, plant-based, or mixed peanut and dried fruit snacks, are staples of this diet.

These five diets represent nothing more than alternatives to how you currently eat. The main reason diets fail is due to a lack of commitment and the temptation to eat the foods that we find comfort in or that are easy to prepare.

Remember, don’t think of a diet as a temporary change but a permanent one. When making this kind of change, you think big picture and long term. That is what the term lifestyle change is all about

At the same time, it is a good idea to set aside time for some physical activity. Eating healthy by itself is not enough. It would be best if you paired healthy eating with healthy exercise, as the two go hand in hand.

locking down a trucking trailer

How to Lose Weight as a Truck Driver: Simple Steps to Stay in Shape

Staying in shape as a truck driver is relatively easy. All you need to do is outline the steps in your process and plug in what works for you as a truck driver. However, some barriers are standing in your way. Here are some examples:

  • Limited storage capacity: The amount of storage for healthy food is drastically reduced compared to a modern dwelling. 
  • Pickup and delivery deadlines:  With a shifting schedule and changing deadlines, finding a gym or area to exercise takes time and effort.

Regardless of the negatives, there are simple steps you can take that will negate issues like the ones mentioned above. Also, following these simple steps will open up new doors of opportunity, making creating and sticking to a diet plan lifestyle change that much easier.

Four easy steps to stay in shape as a trucker driver:

  1. Hydration: Staying hydrated at all times is excellent for the body. Reducing or even eliminating sugary carbonated drinks is best. Water and sugar-free tea is a perfect way of staying hydrated throughout the day while removing sugars from your diet.
  2. Eating Healthy: Selecting one of the diet plans listed above while avoiding fast food or any junk food is the best way to start eating healthy. Over time, cooking for yourself will become routine, and your brain will be trained with your new palette in mind.
  3. Portion control: Meal preparation is the best way to tackle portion control while on the road. Purchase meal prep containers and a scale, this way, you can weigh out your protein and veggies while keeping them organized in a mini fridge.
  4. Exercise: The most crucial step in staying in shape as a truck driver is exercise. Planning out time each day to step out of the cab, whether at a truck stop, gym with locations all over the country, or in a parking lot, is critical to personal health.

Between these four steps, you can break them down into two key components, consumption, and physical activity. Consuming the proper liquids and solids make up a strong and healthy diet.

You must keep this concept in mind when you are on the road. You must focus on more than just one aspect over the other. To lose weight and keep it off is the whole idea. Remember, you are looking for a long-term solution, not a quick one with a high chance of rebounding.

The chances of rebounding from a diet and slumping back into bad habits are incredibly high if you don’t commit and stick with it. 

Losing weight as a truck driver will take considerable time and effort; don’t let that deter you from taking steps in the right direction. There is no challenge to maintaining the status quo and living life as you have. Making this kind of change will bring challenges, but the benefits are too many to count.

Stay Physically and Financially Fit With an Exciting Career Today

Personal health affects both your career and your family. At ABCO, we want what's best for our drivers and their families. We are committed to focusing on our employees and, at the same time, offering them the latest and most significant resources found anywhere.

Our drivers enjoy a deeply committed management team, support staff, and compensation package leagues above the competition. Nobody wants just a job; they want a career with a clear path to something greater in life.

An exciting career is just a call or click away, so why not make a lifestyle change and a career change with a new company? ABCO offers an excellent starting salary for our drivers of $67,000 annually and a host of other benefits to explore. Call us today at (866) 980-2710, and let's take charge of your health and your future. ABCO is ready to change your life forever.

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