New Year, new goal

By Robert Lake
[email protected]

I’ve kicked off the New Year with diet and exercise programs before, but this year I’m determined to really get serious about sticking with it. It’s hard not to after reading the cover story (“Battling Obesity,” page 20) about the serious epidemic of obesity in America and particularly in trucking.

Not only can major health problems from being overweight cost you your livelihood, but obesity-related diseases can cost you your life. That’s truly scary, and it’s the reason we’ve launched Fit for the Road, a year-long focus on ways you can improve your quality of life by healthier eating and regular physical activity. The program is designed to follow drivers for a year as they change their eating and fitness habits.

We were overwhelmed by the response to our request for participants. Instead of the dozen or so we expected, more than 350 applications flooded our e-mail system. The stories told through the required essay were both heartbreaking and inspiring. The common thread was that drivers were determined to do something about their excess weight but desperate for information about how to go about it. It was very difficult to choose from among all the touching stories.

This month, the truckers in the program began their diet and fitness routines. Over the year, editors will follow their ups and downs as they attempt to lose weight under the guidance of a nutrition specialist, fitness expert and physician. You’ll have the opportunity to meet the participants online at this site, learn from the food plans they follow and offer your support.

The goal is a modest one. This program encourages better food choices, smaller portions and healthy snacking. The most effective diet programs don’t rely on gimmicks or quick fixes. You are more likely to keep the weight off if it’s lost in a slow, steady, consistent way. The same principle applies to the fitness program, which will begin with baby steps like walking for five minutes a day.

The statistics are alarming, and yet the positive health results from diet and fitness improvements are enough to inspire anyone. In fact, don’t be surprised if your blood pressure drops, you start to feel more energy and get a better night’s sleep once you start to lose weight in a healthy way.

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Whatever your resolutions are this year, consider making your health a top priority on the list.