Changes in attitude

| October 19, 2008

October Health Hero Scott Marinello

When Scott Marinello of Garland, Texas, decides to make life changes, he’s not kidding around. At age 48, he set out to lose the excess pounds dragging him down, making him tired and pushing his health to the limit.

Weighing in at 210 pounds, the former restaurant manager conducted his own research to find a diet that fit his lifestyle and decided to try a low-carbohydrate, restricted sugar diet. As soon as he cut out the starchy foods, sugary drinks and carb-heavy fried foods, the pounds began to come off. To the amazement of his friends and family, Marinello lost 60 pounds after the first year and ended up keeping most of that off four years later, leveling off at a trim 165 pounds.

His doctor was one of those most impressed, especially since his blood pressure and cholesterol moved to normal levels and his borderline diabetes resolved itself. After the successful health re-do, Marinello decided to change careers. He’d always wanted to drive a big rig and enrolled in an area truck-driving school.

Two years ago, Averitt Express hired him right out of school, and the 52-year-old says he loves the trucking life. He’s also determined to buck the trend that follows new drivers into the business.

“I’m very aware that the trucking lifestyle isn’t the most healthy one out there. But I’m not going to gain back the weight I tried so hard to lose,” he says. It’s a challenge to keep up his health-conscious routine, but he feels certain that he’s not just changed his eating and fitness routine, he’s changed the entire way he thinks about food and fitness. “I park as far away from the truckstop as I can so I can add another walk into the day. I buy healthy snacks, and I make sure I weigh myself every week. It’s funny, but I don’t crave the fatty fried foods I used to, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to those bad habits.”

Though he’d still like to lose another 10 pounds, Marinello says his self-esteem skyrocketed with all the compliments he received during his weight loss program. “People kept coming up to me and saying, ‘Wow, you look great!’”

Personal: Single, age 52

Professional: Hauls general freight through the Southwest and South

Fitness history:
2004: Weighed 210, pant size 42 W and XL shirt
2008: Weighs 165, pant size 37 W and medium shirt

Blood pressure and blood sugar: Now normal

Biggest weight-loss challenge: The hardest part was giving up whole milk, loaded potatoes and heavy, starchy pasta meals. I also was not used to eating three meals per day and would snack all day long until it was time to eat a huge evening meal. I really had to work hard to get all the most up-to-date nutritional information to help me make the right choices.

Fitness and diet tips: Pack healthy snacks like nuts and fruits so you don’t end up with a bag of candy bars. Listen to what Pam Whitfield says and eat three meals a day. It really works! Try to fit in a brisk walk whenever you stop the truck. Weigh yourself weekly so the pounds don’t creep up and surprise you.

Motto: The only way to achieve a goal is to set one. You can’t shoot at a target when there’s no target. I believe that my success came from making the decision to lose 50 pounds and then measuring the weekly progress. You have to make a commitment that can be measured in inches or pounds.

Next goal: I’ve been putting it off, but now is the time to quit smoking. I have the confidence that comes from successfully losing weight and getting healthy. I know I can do this, too, and not gain weight when I quit. I don’t want to be a Health Hero that smokes, so that’s my plan. I’m quitting!

Nominate Health Heroes
Do you know any truckers who have worked hard to become more healthy? Maybe they’ve quit smoking, started an exercise program, controlled their sleep apnea or changed their eating habits. E-mail or send to Truckers News Fit for the Road, 3200 Rice Mine Rd. NE, Tuscaloosa, AL 35406.

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