My wife has nagged continuously at me over the past 40 years as I drove my big Kenworth Truck across the country that I was gaining a Driver’s belly. How could I have avoided having a big belly?
The answer was apparently simple, all I had to do was walk around my Truck, eat with a sensible attitude, avoid all soft drinks, never sacrifice my health and to listen to my doctor in my routine check-ups. Is it too late for a retiring Truck Driver to make amends?
How did I get my belly?
Well, If you were like me spending almost all your life behind the wheel of a large truck. Travelling up and down the highways, working irregular hours, eating and drinking at the wheel, struggling with interrupted sleep, you too would gain that big belly.
Not forgetting having to deal with the stress of the job at hand and all the daredevils and idiots on the road. I bet no one including your doctor mentioned we all might develop a hormonal imbalance named Metabolic Syndrome which apparently affects over 80% of us professionals of the road and around 40% of anyone over the age of 60.
Metabolic Syndrome is a multitude of risk factors that affect our blood pressure. It basically increases it to unacceptable levels if not controlled. In addition, we gain excess body fat due to low physical inactivity. Not forgetting, high blood sugar levels leading to high risks of heart disease including strokes and dreaded diabetes.
All those wasted years ignoring my wife and passing off the risks as nothing to worry about has led to me now taking Enalapril 20 mg twice a day, Amlodipine 5 mg once per day and finally Lovastatina 20 mg once per day. I am sure you can hear me rattling in the mornings as I head out for my morning stroll around the garden.
Now, I let my mind concentrate on making health decisions, increasing my physical activities and boosting my ability to fighting off diseases and chronic conditions. I love keeping my body in a reasonable order.
Once I looked like my gnomes in the garden, short and fat. I am still short, but now I am a lot trimmer.
Now I pay attention to my doctor, and I can confirm you can turn things around. It does take willpower, but it can be done.
Yes, it involves life changes, sounds drastic but it is not. In fact, it can be fun, enjoyable and rewarding. First thing, I had to pay attention to was the weight loss. More on that later.
Then that dreaded word Exercise. I had been a third generation truck driver like my father and grandfather before me. You can read their stories in Mike Bowley’s “Adventurous tales from a Mountain Walk” at the end of this article.
No longer could I eat those mouthwatering roadside cafe breakfasts and takeaways. Nor my beloved gasosa called “Colombiana” a bit like the Scottish “Irnbru.” in fact all drinks that contained large amounts of sugar had to be replaced with 3.5 litres of water per day.
Must admit, drinking water took some time getting used to. I found if beforehand, I chilled the water in the fridge, I enjoyed it more than drinking straight from the tap at room temperature. Same product but somehow palatable when relaxed. Try it the benefits are amazing and fast to present themselves.
Now the words “In moderation” has become the norm from my wife, my children and of course the Doctor. Believe it or not, I have loved the transformation. I have lost a lot of weight, the fat around my waist has reduced drastically, I am in my sixties and threat of diabetes has disappeared.
When I head for my six monthly visits to the doctor. I cannot wait to jump up onto the scales to be told I have lost another four kilos. When my blood pressure is checked, he says I am like an eighteen-year-old. Not bad for a retired 63-year-old truck driver. Believe me, you can definitely do the same as me. It only takes the will to change, and a woman behind you who cares.
Exercises to help prevent truck Drivers belly.
Now those horrible exercises. Do what I always said I should have done, my son swears by his exercise regime on the road. I must admit, no sign of driver’s belly on him.
He is the fourth generation of truck drivers and took over the rig a couple of years back. Now he faces those gruelling 14-hour journeys heading from Cali to Bogota twice a week.
He recommends to all his trucking friends to set individual goals, achievable plan and sticking to it religiously. He reasons that when your mindset accepts that by exercising each day adds years to your life, it becomes easy to take.
In his cabin, he has a chart on display for all the family to see which records his week weight loss targetted and lost.
Another great practice he has allowed into his life is to make the most of his stops. Instead of eating behind the wheel as I did, my son gets out of his cab and uses his time wisely.
He wishes he could run or jog, but in his work uniform that has proved difficult, so he does plenty of stretching exercises mixed with the right blend of strength exercises that targets his lungs, squats, triceps and of course his belly.
You can plenty of stretching charts out there on the net. Here’s one I like to think you will love by Drive with Barber.
When you are driving, why not copy my son. He spends every opportunity at Red traffic lights, and when stuck in long queues of traffic, he focuses on his core by sitting behind the wheel and tightening his stomach muscles to such a degree as if you are reaching your spine through your belly button.
If you are a family man with a bunch of kids growing up in the household, getting the maximum out of your time off. My son never spends his time during the day watching TV. He does that on his downtime in the evenings when the kids are in their beds. Instead, he gets involved in anything where he needs to exert some energy.
I have learnt to do the same, but I do have more time on my hands now I am retired. I reserve time for gardening, walking, trekking, a little bit of jogging in the local park and swimming at the local municipal pool. I do not go to gyms, they cost too much, I like being outdoors, I feel it is so much healthier.
5 Active commandments to Driving and Eating to scare off hunger.
While writing this article, I came across some great advice that I wish to share with you and my son. As truck drivers we all in our driving career we come across millions of table service restaurants, and fast food outlets. We all love them for the food, the ambience and the comfort we feel when we are in a place for the first time. So how do we control our urges when we are driving?
When we feel boredom creeping in, we do not eat.
If you do, portion your snacks so as not feeding for a family of ten.
Always have a bottle of water for rehydration purposes at hand.
Ensure you curb your hunger with well-balanced meals and snacks.
Plan ahead of each journey and bring your own healthy snacks.
I have seen an increase in women drivers. When pregnant, when should they stop driving?
Now, I do not want to be accused of forgetting you lady drivers, even you gals can attract a driver’s belly if you are not careful. All the rules for us guys apply to you too.
But there is another area of concern for you ladies to consider that us guys are able to know and understand. That is the question of when you become pregnant. When is it best for you to consider handing the keys to the truck over to your colleagues and rest up for the health of you and the baby?
It is pleasing to know it is down to how you are feeling throughout your pregnancy. You can continue and not stop as long as you and the baby are comfortable. That you can reach everything you need without stretching and that you can safely manoeuvre your truck in all situations.
Bear in mind though, you will get tired and dare I say it sleepy too. So be careful, do not stretch yourself, being sleepy at the wheel of a truck is the same as being drunk, the risks are exactly the same.
Think carefully about your posture when driving, how uncomfortable is the seatbelt becoming? Remember you owe it to protect yourself and the baby at all times when driving so do continue wearing your seatbelt.
Take all necessary breaks, when stopped stretch or walk to relieve backache.
Attributions for images to:
As I said earlier I can be found in a fantastic new book in both English & Spanish titled
“Adventurous Tales from a Mountain Walk”
By Mike Bowley.
I am just one character amongst 23 chapters of short stories that all culminate together when a mountain ridge rumbles and groans. Who will survive?
Visit mikebowley.com to find out.
Many characters have secretly started to write new blogs and articles.
Get to know Stalin the ex-Policeman with no memory, and Rosa the young nun who loves singing instead of snoring.