Losing weight, gaining life
Truckers News’ Fit for the Road participants finish pounds lighter after logging heavy miles on the way to improved health.
Nearly a year after starting Truckers News’ Fit for the Road program, Nancy Younger needed some new clothes. So the owner-operator from Kathleen, Fla., did what she always did before, she headed to the plus-size department and gathered up an armful of pants and shirts to try on.
Nothing fit. Instead of tugging on too-tight clothes, she found they were falling off her body. “I sat down in the dressing room and cried because I was so overwhelmed with joy. It had been a long time since I’d looked into a mirror and smiled at my reflection,” Younger says. She walked over to the next department and bought size 16s. “It had been 22 years since I could wear a real ladies size!”
Nancy’s remarkable journey from obesity to fitness began when she wrote the award-winning essay on her application for the Fit for the Road program. “Choose me and you’ll never regret it,” she declared. And she was right.
She had to change not only her eating and exercise habits but also how she thought about food. “I no longer use food to reward or comfort myself,” she says. “Now, I look at it as a source of energy and nutrition and from the perspective of caloric content versus nutritional content. Unhealthy foods don’t taste good to me anymore.”
She describes her journey as a serious responsibility where failure was not an option. “It was a matter of life or death, and I had to decide which path I would travel.” She chose the path toward a healthier life.
John Shook, a company driver from Mount Vernon, Ill., didn’t realize how much he’d changed until he unloaded a truck full of cabinets. “Before I lost weight and started working out, I would have been worn out by the physical labor needed to complete the job. But now, I feel strong and energetic, and it was easy work.”
Like Younger, Shook didn’t like to look in mirrors. Now, as he gains strength and health and continues to lose weight, he’ll pass a mirror and think, “Wow, you did it!” His family and friends can’t stop exclaiming about how different he looks. “It’s not just on the outside – everything about me feels better now,” Shook says.
Feeling and looking better were the unexpected rewards 45-pounds-lighter company driver Albert Morales experienced, too. His goal was to improve his health so he could be there for his family.
“I keep my ‘fat pants’ to remind me of how I looked before I lost weight,” Morales says. He shares his story with truckers he meets on the road and offers encouragement to anyone ready to take the first steps. “I literally had to take baby steps to get started. A lap around my truck was all I could manage. Now, I feel like a new man,” he says.
Last year, five overweight drivers were chosen to participate in the Fit for the Road program. Each trucker received a customized, healthy weight-loss program designed by a dietician; a thorough medical checkup performed by a physician; and a workout program from a fitness trainer. Their progress was followed by Truckers News readers through regularly updated articles, personal blogs (www.fit4theroad.com) and radio interviews with editors and participants.
The goal of the program was to shed light on the serious health issues facing overweight truckers and to offer practical options for those in search of healthy diet and fitness choices. Selected from more than 350 applicants, the five participating truckers were chosen based on their health issues and the essay they wrote to accompany the application, which described the motivation behind their desire to lose weight.