Dieting. That dreaded word. Admit it, we’ve all tried dieting in one form or another, I confess I am guilty of it as well. In a previous blog I mentioned that I had lost 50 pounds within six months, unfortunately that was from going on the Atkins diet. Yes, I lost 50 pounds, but I did it in an unhealthy way. Of course I did have positive results from losing the weight — my joints felt better, the weight loss improved my heart function and it motivated me to keep going and educate myself further — but at what cost?
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Atkins diet, it’s basically a high protein, limited carbohydrate diet. You can eat all the meat, eggs, cheese and most vegetables that you want, which translated means, bring on the bacon and burgers! The cons with this diet are that eating all that red meat and cheese, which are high in saturated fat, has a negative effect on your heart function, arteries, kidneys and cholesterol. I believe that going on this type of diet contributed to my future gallbladder issues. Granted, I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist, this is just my opinion stemming from my own experiences.
To diet, or not to diet?
I personally believe dieting, jumping on the latest band wagon or fad diet, is not the way to go. It is unrealistic because you have to ask yourself, “is this a way that I can continue eating for the rest of my life?” Most likely the answer is no, so while you may lose the weight, chances are when you stop following a particular diet, you will gain it back, possibly even more than you lost, hence the term yo-yo dieting.
I firmly believe the key is to NOT to adopt a special, trendy truck driver diet plan, but to change the way you eat. It’s a lifestyle change that you can live with forever and you aren’t denying yourself good tasting, filling, healthy food. Our bodies need a variety of nutrients including carbs in the form of whole grains and fruit for example. So, at this point in time, what I find works the best for me is eating a “clean” truck driver diet. Eating clean basically means cutting out processed foods, eating foods in their most natural state or as close to it as possible. Of course I modify this plan to fit my personal health needs, so if you have particular health issues like me you need to eat accordingly.
Cheats and Treats
What about rewarding yourself with a “cheat meal” or “treat”? I feel that having a special meal or sweet treat is completely fine within reason of course, but don’t use it as an excuse to binge. What doesn’t work for me is using it as a reward for a particular victory, for example — I worked out an extra day this week so now I’m going to eat a piece of cake. If you look at it that way you are conditioning yourself to reward hard work with negative reinforcement. So go ahead and have that occasional burger or cupcake, just don’t overdo it or beat yourself up about it the next day!
A Typical Meal Plan
Below I have outlined my basic daily truck driver diet plan. Some of it may seem a little boring, but I made these choices based on ease, convenience and nutritional value.
Breakfast: Plant based protein shake with unsweetened almond milk, pinch of cinnamon and a teaspoon of raw, unfiltered honey in a shaker bottle. This gives me some morning energy and keeps me full for a few hours.
Snacks: A small handful of unsalted almonds, carrots or celery sticks with a wedge of Light Laughing Cow cheese, any type of fruit or a quarter cup natural granola. Another filling snack is some PB2 (a powdered natural peanut butter mixture with 85% less fat calories than traditional peanut butter) on a whole grain sandwich round topped with sliced banana, sprinkled with cinnamon & a drizzle of honey. These snacks keep my energy up and keep me satisfied until the next meal.
Lunch and Dinner: A turkey or chicken sandwich on a whole grain sandwich round, with tomatoes, lettuce and pickles (mix it up by getting flavored pickles like Tabasco) and instead of mayo I use a hummus or pesto spread, which are more natural and have less fat. I always have a fruit or vegetable with these meals also.
Other dinner options are a salad with chicken and vegetables and a vinaigrette dressing, a light soup or brown rice with chicken. For those of you truckers who are fortunate to have home time you have the benefit of preparing healthy meals in advance which gives you a little more variety. Keep in mind, everything I eat is available at a Super Walmart store, which for us truckers, is ideal.
Try to follow a truck driver diet plan that is safe, healthy for your body and that works for your nutritional needs. Steer clear of fad diets that can deprive your body of the nutrients it needs and those that place unrealistic expectations on continuing it long term.
Until next time, keep the rubber side down, shiny side up and make healthy choices.