Keeping a healthy diet and exercising regularly can improve a truck driver’s productivity and their ability to perform the job. Here are three truck drivers who changed their diet and exercise habits and have committed to helping their fellow drivers do the same. Their example can serve as a model as you create your own healthier lifestyle.
Benjie Burns – weighing in at 5’11” and 375 lbs. – enjoyed a steady diet of fast food and all-you-can-eat buffets. As a result, he was on one medication for high blood pressure and another three related to diabetes.
These days, Burns is down to about 250 lbs. thanks to healthy eating and portion control. For meals and snacks, Benjie keeps a blender on his truck to make smoothies with fresh fruits, peanut butter and skim milk. He also incorporated exercise into his daily routine by taking long walks in parking lots and terminals to get in a few extra steps.
Burns enjoys the opportunity to help his fellow truck drivers become as healthy and happy as possible by living the best life they can. “I’m no one special, just a regular person that has come a long way with a long way to go,” he says. “Some days are hard and some are easy, but overall it takes the will to want to get healthy.” He created a Facebook page, Trucker Slim Down, to track his progress and encourage other drivers to make their own healthy choices.
Burnie Miller tipped the scales at 354 pounds before he took a leave of absence from his job as a long-haul truck driver and went to Belize on vacation. Days of walking along the beach and a conversation with one of the locals helped him realize that he would often eat for reasons besides hunger, like stress, boredom and loneliness.
Miller decided to make significant changes to his diet. He tried being a vegetarian for a while, but often felt hungry and unfulfilled. He returned slowly to a meat-eating diet, with plenty of lean protein and whole grains as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. His advice: If your original plan isn’t working, make small adjustments until you find one that does. “A healthy diet needs to be easy to do. It’s not a diet where you starve yourself or limit your types of food or pay for expensive meals. I have done it without being hungry or even stressed out.”
From weight loss to increased energy to simply feeling better each day, Miller is thankful that he has been able to make a positive impact on the lives of other drivers. His website, Healthy Hunger Free Trucker Diet, features tips how he lost over 50 pounds in less than six months.
A veteran Marine, Bobby Anderson was no stranger to hard work. But his sedentary lifestyle, with hours spent driving a truck and sitting at loading docks, left him with little to no time to exercise. He filled up on candy bars and potato chips at truck stops and convenience stores.
Anderson lost over 65 pounds by cooking his own meals and cutting out all meat and dairy. Now, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains are the foundation of his well-balanced diet. During his days off, he creates a meal plan and prepares food for the week ahead. While on the road he brings along appliances such as a pressure cooker and hot plate so that he can eat healthy and convenient meals without loading up on calories. “I show how easy a whole-food, plant-based diet is to follow and how it can be done even on the road six days a week in a semi truck.”
Anderson decided to start a blog in hopes of creating a community of support and inspiration for other drivers trying to accomplish their own health goals. He tracks his progress along with a list of veggie-friendly meal ideas on his Plant-Fueled Trucker Facebook page and Instagram account.