Truckers News Staff | June 01, 2010

Small Steps for Living Healthy

Thank you for your helpful hints about our eating habits. I have been trucking for over 35 years, and the choices I made about foods and walking for exercise have paid off.

I can chase down a thief, but more importantly walk up the sled hill (and ride down) with my grandkids and much more.

I know it’s hard as I read the fellow truckers’ stories, but unless we get a hold on our eating habits we could be unemployed as a result of sleep apnea, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and many more ailments.

It was easier for me to make gradual, realistic changes than go cold turkey all at once. I get the small burger and small fries or no fries instead of the “value” meal. I use bananas or some other fruit or veggies as a filler between meals. I usually eat every five or six hours and try not to stuff myself. I walk for 10-20 minutes on a short break where my truck is in view for fresh air and exercise. Start slow, gradually add on.

I still enjoy my sweets with my coffee, but because I try moderation all the time I can cheat a little on weekends and holidays. Good luck with that diet, guys and gals, and don’t kill the messenger, please!

Stephen Bauer, Akron, Ohio

Healthier equals happier

I’ve been a driver for 11 years, and I, too, was once a fat slob. I joined the Marine Corps out of high school. I was 5’10″, 280 lbs., and they got me down to 187 in boot camp. After I got out, I started to drive trucks, and I got fat again — ballooned all the way up to 320 lbs., wearing a 50-inch jean and 3XL-size shirts. I’m now down to 215 lbs. I run 3-4 times a week, and I lift weights. I stay out of the truckstop restaurants and eat out of the truck. I cook at home and bring it with me. But when I started in Nov. 2008 I started with Subway Fresh Fit and baked chips and lost weight. I’m healthier now, and I’m happier to boot.

Mike Keller, Kansas City, Kan.

Weighing in on sleep

Regarding the proposed FMCSA regulations as they relate to sleep apnea: Is it me, or do the so-called medical experts not realize that sleep-related issues are and will always continue to be one of the many risks associated with long-haul trucking?

With more than three decades of experience as a long hauler I feel that I am as qualified as any expert to lend my opinion to this debate. I’d like to begin by saying that in all those years I have probably managed to average about three nights a week of what most people consider to be a sound sleep. On the surface, one would surely believe me to be suffering from a medical condition. The reality is that most people outside of the driver’s realm cannot begin to fathom the daily course of events that prevent us from getting the sleep we need and deserve. There are a host of reasons why a vast majority of truck drivers suffer from fatigue brought on by the effects of sleep depravation. Sleep apnea is less a cause of fatigue than a result of the lifestyle we are forced to endure.

A few examples:

a.) Unrealistic sleeping patterns caused by irregular pick-up and delivery appointments: 3 a.m. on Monday; 7 p.m. on Tuesday, midnight on Wednesday, and so on.

b.) Unrealistic scheduling. Who’s fooling who? More often than not, we live and die by the whims of shippers and brokers. Sleep becomes something that happens after the customer is taken care of.

c.) Being awakened by the noisy motors and noxious fumes of APU units.

d.) Being awakened by reefer units with frozen loads that require the units to run full blast for extended periods.

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