This is a guest post written by Beverley Gibbs. Beverley is a UK based nutritional therapist. She’ll be discussing the journey of one of her clients — an OTR truck driver — in this series.
We all know it’s hard for truck drivers to stay healthy. By the time Bob asked for my help, he had spent 23 years on the road and gained 5½ stone (77 pounds). At a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 37.5, Bob was extremely obese and at increased risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. With his trucking company becoming stricter about medical check-ups, it was time for some positive action — his health and livelihood depended on it!
Doug’s goal was to lose weight, but I wanted to make sure that he made lifestyle changes that he could sustain. He would need support over a long period, but he had made the first difficult step by asking for help.
With a typical fast food diet and a love of sugary snacks, Bob wasn’t about to become a health freak overnight. He pleaded with me to be gentle on him, so we struck a deal – I would point out something unhealthy in his diet and then we would negotiate to replace it, one step at a time.
Bob had a long way to go but we agreed to focus on lots of short-term goals which would eventually make a big difference. I also asked him to think about how he was feeling, not just on how much he weighed. This is because weight naturally fluctuates and focusing on other health improvements would keep his motivation going.
So, what did we agree on?
We cut out sugar in tea/coffee and also stopped sprinkling sugar on breakfast cereal. Sugar sends blood glucose levels soaring and causes the body to release insulin. High levels of insulin trigger the storage of body fat and may lead to Type 2 Diabetes over time.
Instead, Bob could have as much fruit as he liked, such as chopped banana on Weetabix (whole grain cereal) or porridge (oatmeal) for breakfast.
We cut out biscuits (cookies) and cakes — both are sources of added sugar.
Instead of the cookies and cakes, we added in full-fat natural yoghurt (Greek style) – I asked Bob to avoid low fat and flavoured yoghurts as these often contain high levels of sugar.
Bob also agreed to add in a 10 minute walk per day.
We agreed to cut out chocolates and sweeties (candies). Instead, Bob would sip from a bottle of water to increase hydration and his concentration levels.
Bob and I also added in more fiber in the form of non-starchy veggies, such as a bag of salad leaves with his lunchtime sandwich or a punnet of cherry tomatoes to snack on, as well as an extra portion of veggies with dinner.
The third week, Bob increased his walking to 15 minutes per day.
We began to cut down on carbohydrates, beginning with bread and potatoes. We limited his intake to no more than 4 slices of bread a day and 2-3 small potatoes. Carbohydrates are quickly turned to glucose by the body, which encourages fat storage.
Bob and I added more protein into his diet — primarily eggs, fish, and meat. He could have as many omelets as he liked, which he was very glad to hear! Protein satisfies the appetite and releases its energy slowly, so you can avoid hunger pangs later.
Bob also increased his walking to 20 minutes per day. He could split it into two 10 minute walks if he preferred.
The End Results
Bob has lost 9 pounds so far and is feeling good. He hasn’t missed the sugar at all and is enjoying the new food ideas. His BMI is already down to 36.5 and he’s looking forward to further improvements.
Check back to hear more about Bob’s journey!
What changes have you made to your diet since you’ve been on the road?