I’ve always had jobs where I sat around all day at a desk and I can’t tell you how bad it’s been for my health. Driving is no different, and today, RSG contributor Scott Van Maldegiam gives us some insight into how he stays healthy despite logging a ton of hours on the road.
This post isn’t technically rideshare related but it obviously has a lot to do with helping drivers. If you’d like to see more of these types of posts in the future, let us know in the comments below or send me an e-mail.
Let’s face it, being a rideshare driver is not the healthiest of professions. And I don’t know about you, but I also get hungry when I drive. That is a great combination for gaining weight.
Do you have some weight you would like to lose? Do you just want to stop gaining weight? If so, keep reading. I will talk about my own experience and share with you what has worked for me to get healthy.
Last September, after driving for close to 10 months, I decided enough was enough. I had gained over 10 lbs and was already overweight before gaining that weight. I decided to lose 50 lbs.
Right now, I am about halfway to my goal. This article isn’t about giving myself a pat on the back though. As with other things I have talked about, this is about breaking down the process that leads to success. I hope that some of the ideas here will encourage you to make changes in your life to get healthier.
Prior to Weight Loss
I didn’t wake up one day and decide I was going to start losing weight. I knew I needed to lose weight for a while before I actually went out and did it.
My constant low energy levels were a huge factor in motivating me to get started. Change is hard and with any type of positive change, you need to find what motivates you to make that change. This motivation needs to be present and meaningful.
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Turning the Corner
I finally got to a point that I was seriously considering losing weight because I was tired of being tired. For some, realizing that might be enough to start losing weight. It wasn’t enough for me, but it was enough for me to start thinking of things I could do to motivate myself to lose weight.
I started thinking about what life was like when I was thinner and the way I felt. This helped but still wasn’t enough. What finally put me over the edge was competition with a financial incentive.
I discovered DietBet.com. This is a website where a bunch of people make a financial pledge to lose weight. Some people meet their goals for weight loss and some people don’t. The people that meet their goals share the pot of money. The money is distributed equally to those that meet the designated goal for weight loss.
While this reason for losing weight isn’t the motivation that gets everyone going, it was enough for me along with all my other reasons for losing weight.
Deciding to Start
It was convenient for me to choose a start date since I picked one that coincided with my first Dietbet. Make sure you choose a start date that you know you will stick to.
It is common for people to start and then have a set back during the first week and then just say “Oh well, I will just start next week.” I have done this before.
When this happens, you end up gaining more weight before you actually started losing weight. Not good. But I digress… Choose a start date and stick to it. Of course, there is no time like the present, so if you are ready, just decide to start NOW.
Once you decide to start and have set a start date, tell people about it and record it somewhere. This could be as simple as putting a sticky note on your computer monitor to remind you. Make it hard to back out of your commitment.
What Worked for Me
This is the most important tool I use. If you want to lose weight, you have to know how many calories you are taking in.
Keeping a food diary keeps me honest. No one wants to enter the 800 calorie chocolate shake into their food diary. Knowing that you have to enter it reminds you that you shouldn’t eat it. I always know when I follow my plan and, when I slip up, it lets me know when I have a little extra work to do.
Keeping the food diary is something that is a new habit. Approach it like a new habit and focus on doing it as a priority and you will see results.
Once you start tracking what you eat, you will be surprised where your calories are coming from. My father has been gaining weight and I mentioned to him that if he cut out lemonade and orange juice from his diet, he would save about 1200 calories a day. He didn’t believe me until I showed him the calorie counts. For those keeping track at home, that accounts for 2 lbs per week.
Find Your Motivation
As I mentioned during the decision phase, finding your motivation is important. This can change as your weight loss journey progresses but focusing on your motivation is critical. For me, the motivation that put me over the edge to start my weight loss is the financial gain and competition with Dietbet.com.
I have other motivations,though. I am focused on being able to ride my bike with my friends on Saturday morning. I can’t do this unless I lose the weight. I haven’t been able to keep up with the group for a few years.
After I had lost quite a bit of weight, I have found being able to fit into clothes I haven’t fit into for years to be very motivating. I have a whole new wardrobe.
And the best part is the remarks you get from people when they realize that you look different. The remarks only get more plentiful the more weight you lose.
While you can lose weight without exercising, this is about more than just losing weight. This is about getting healthy.
Find an activity that you like to do. Well… ok… if you don’t have an activity you like to do, find an activity that you can grow to like or have friends that like. If that doesn’t work, find one that you can tolerate enough that you can keep doing.
Something as simple as walking 10,000 steps everyday is a great start (Fitbit is a great tool for this). Working in push-ups, sit-ups, lunges and planks into your busy schedule isn’t hard to do. These things don’t require a lot of time, but they do require focus and commitment to doing them.
None of the things I mentioned here happens by accident. Creating a plan, even if it is just day-by-day, will increase your chances of success. From personal experience, if I don’t plan when I am going to exercise during the day, it doesn’t happen. It is just too easy to make other things a priority. This includes planning your food and when you will exercise.
Also, planning how you will approach difficult situations will increase your success rate. Family get-togethers and holiday parties are common situations where we are tempted with food. A night on the town with friends is another temptation.
Work these situations into your plan. Do you eat a little less the rest of the week so you can eat a bit more on that special day or do you plan some extra workout time? Either of those ideas would work. Plenty of solutions as long as you think it out and decide ahead of time.
Dietbet was one of my main motivations. It helped me to set specific goals with deadlines that has a small financial reward if I succeed. If I meet all my goals, I will earn about 600 to 700 dollars over a period of 8 months. Better than a sharp stick in the eye. If I don’t meet these goals, I feel like I have to pay them and I don’t like the idea of paying someone for my lack of success. This system helps me to make weight loss a priority in my life.
There are many tools available for keeping a food diary. There is the old fashioned pencil and paper, but I found using MyFitnessPal to be the best. Its database of food is very extensive. You should be able to search for pretty much everything you eat, but you also have the option to scan the bar code of the items you eat. This application will also help you to set your calorie goals depending on how much weight you want to lose per week.
Healthy Food Options on the Go
Here are some places I eat, what I eat there and what I stay away from:
– Chipotle: Burrito bowl. No sour cream or guacamole. I also ask for half brown rice and half black beans to keep the carbs down a bit. Add fajita veggies and mild salsa to get your veggies.
– Wendy’s: Grilled Chicken Sandwich with a cup of chili instead of fries.
– McDonalds: Wrap with grilled chicken. Also, Chicken McNuggets aren’t the best option but also not the worst if it keeps you away from the fries. For a treat, a McDonalds vanilla cone only has 170 calories.
– Potbelly: Wreck on flat bread, no salami, with lettuce, tomato and pickle. Getting it on flat makes it much more flavorful so you don’t need mayo.
Those are my choices when I don’t bring along food.
Indoor Exercise Equipment
I did not join a gym. I don’t like the idea of having to get in my car and travel in order to get my exercise. I love to ride my bike so I have a bike on a stationary bike trainer. That is what I enjoy doing so I don’t dread having to go workout. I also have setup a workout schedule to keep me honest.
For others, joining a gym works well. This is especially true if you find a workout buddy. With someone depending on you to show up, it prevents you from the “I am too tired today” excuse.
Keeping It Simple
If all this sounds a bit too complicated, then keep it simple. Once you have decided to start, here are the basics I follow:
– Concentrate on eating as much protein as I can. Protein will make you feel full more than fat or carbs.
– You can never have too many vegetables.
– Restrict yourself to one small sugary snack a day. Less than 300 calories.
– Keep a food diary and track calories
– Track your weight at least a few times a week
– Exercise at least 20 minutes a day. If you can, setting a goal of 10,000 steps a day is a great place to start.
I hope this will motivate a few of you to make positive health changes in your lives. If you have questions or are looking for ideas, please comment. This is my second time taking this weight loss journey, so I have experience with what works and what doesn’t.
Drive for Sidecar And Get $100
-Scott @ The Rideshare Guy
Scott Van Maldegiam
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