The holidays are a time for friends, family, and, of course, food. But after a whole season of salty snacks, creamy dips, and decadent desserts, your waistline may not be quite where you’d like it to be. And while vanity may play a factor in wanting to shed those holiday pounds, the more important reason to lose unnecessary weight is for your health. Even losing just 10 pounds can lower LDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and—most importantly—reduce your chances of a heart attack. As a truck driver, losing that weight is even more important because the added risk of being stationary for hours on end ups your chances of having these negative health impacts even more. So if you’re ready to start your weight loss journey, here are a few tips from Healthy Trucking of America to get you started!
1. Drink enough water
You may not realize that you’re chronically dehydrated, but your body sure does. When you don’t get enough water, your brain releases chemicals to signal to your body that you’re thirsty. However, many people mistake these signals to drink some water as a signal to eat more food, and that can lead to some real problems when you’re trying to lose weight. One tip to staying hydrated is to carry around a water bottle that has the ounces marked clearly on the side. That way, you know exactly how much you are drinking each day. Try to chug at least 109 oz of liquids a day if you’re a man and about 72 oz if you’re a woman.
2. Get in some movement
When you’re on the road, it can be difficult to squeeze in some exercise, but a bit of thoughtful planning can help you meet your movement goals. Aim for 30 minutes of movement a day, 5 days a week. If that seems daunting, you can break up that time into smaller increments throughout the day. Take a brisk walk every time you stop for gas or do some bodyweight exercises right outside of your cab before you turn in for the night. Planning your activity before you call it a night will help you stick to it.
3. Avoid fast food
On the road, it can be easy to fall for those golden arches when you’re hungry and tired after a long day of driving. However, you can avoid the pitfalls of a fast food stop by simply planning out your meals ahead of time. Prep some easy-to-cook, wholesome foods and you won’t cave when you’re feeling hungry. One great way to make a substantial and healthy batch of food is by using a crock pot. Throw some tasty meat, carrots, and veggies together with a little of your favorite seasonings and you’ve got a healthy dinner that’s ready for you at the end of your trip. Other “on-the-go” meals can include sandwiches on whole grain bread featuring lean meats and veggies like arugula or spinach or wraps featuring nutritious spreads like hummus or avocado.
4. Pack healthy snacks
It may seem so tempting to reach for that family-sized bags of salty potato chips while you’re driving, but that can really pack on the pounds. After all, one classic bag of 8 oz Lays potato chips totals out to 1,280 calories. Instead of snacking on chip after chip, pack some healthy options that will help you feel full and satisfied! Some great snacking options include 100 calorie nut packs, fresh fruit, and sliced vegetables. And if you want that salty taste, opt instead for boiled peanuts in the can. They are still healthy but will satisfy your salt craving.
5. Count your calories
It may seem tedious at first, but counting your calories can be helpful in maintaining a healthy weight. Most women need 1,600 to 2,400 daily calories to maintain their weight, while most men need 2,000 to 3,000 calories. Eating fewer calories can lead to weight loss, so it’s important to log calories to see how much you are currently eating and then make small adjustments to your caloric intake to start losing weight. You can log your calories by using an app like Fitbit or MyFitnessPal, which are both free tools available on your phone. If you’d prefer, you can even go old-school and keep a fitness journal where you jot down what you eat and what types of movement you do each day.
Now that you have some tips to get you on the right track, you’ll be losing that holiday weight in no time! Remember to keep a positive attitude on this weight loss journey and take it one day at a time. Losing weight is like hauling a load across the country—it takes some time, but with persistence you always make it there in the end, so keep on trucking.