Alright, enough about burning out and everything that’s wrong with the world. At the beginning of May, I decided it was time to stop procrastinating and get rid of those extra winter pounds.
That’s no easy task for all of us that spend so much time in the wheelhouse. I think the biggest challenge is overcoming your own mental inertia.
Finding the motivation can be difficult when you are experiencing mental fatigue at the end of a long day or facing the demands of your delivery schedule if you are just starting your day.
With so many pressures on our available time, it’s easy to make excuses not to take the time to look after ourselves.
‘I don’t have time,’ is a common excuse we give ourselves for not caring for our own health and wellbeing.
Of course, we know in the long run that everything we do, everything we set our sights on, is dependent on our good health in order to reach our goals and objectives – personal and professional.
I always feel like a bit of a hypocrite when I start writing about this topic. Yes, I have had some great success at losing weight and improving my overall health over the past decade and I have been able to meet my professional obligations at the same time, but there is always a tension between the two.
That often becomes an area of added stress in my day. Consequently I often fall off the healthy living bandwagon and that’s where the feelings of hypocrisy come in.
I’m a big believer in walking the walk if you’re going to talk the talk.
Eating properly, getting the right amount of exercise and maintaining appropriate sleep habits can seem to be an impossible challenge in this line of work and I struggle with it every day. I try to take a three-pronged approach to living healthy on the road:
First, I believe you have to commit some time to exercise, getting your heart rate up, at least three or four times per week and making it a priority in your life no matter what else is going on. Three to four hours a week is all that you need.
That’s only a half-hour per day or one hour three to four times per week.
This is not about intense exercise workouts. This is as simple as going for a brisk walk on a regular basis. It’s not about gain from pain. It’s more of a tortoise versus hare approach and it works.
Second, I believe you have to educate yourself in regards to what you are putting into your body on a daily basis.
This includes quality and quantity. You don’t have to become a foodie or find a new religion in the guise of healthy eating. But you do have to understand clearly how what you eat affects you.
You can only do this by counting calories – at least for a period of a few months – and reading food labels.
The bottom line is if you need to lose weight you will never do it until you burn off more energy than what you take in. Forget fad diets and supplements that promise results without having to change what you eat and in what quantity. You know the old saying: ‘If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.’
Third, I believe you have to make this lifestyle change a priority in your life that takes precedent over everything else.
That includes taking precedence over other things that are important to you personally. This is a difficult thing to do. I think it’s important to recall at this point that truck drivers suffer a much shorter average lifespan than the general population. Accepted estimates are 10 to 15 years shorter.
Along with that shorter lifespan comes the onset of disease and suffering at a much earlier age than what would be considered normal.
I have no fear of death or dying but I certainly want to reap the benefits of a life of hard work in my golden years. That, to me, is what a good dose of healthy lifestyle habits is all about.
So I thought for my next few columns I would share some of the things that have worked for me and some of the things that have not.
I don’t believe there is a cookie cutter method of living a healthy lifestyle out here on the road.
But I do believe that exercise, a healthy diet, rest, and a personal commitment to ensure that you receive the right dosage of each will put you on the path to a happier, longer, and more productive life.