Restore a sense of pride and purpose
When I was a kid and my dad was trying, impatiently, to get me to listen and understand something, he would often say, “Now get that through your thick head!” I was pretty stubborn then, and I still am.
I get frustrated with a few of the drivers with whom I work. They know me and my story of how I used to weigh 365 pounds. After a long night of loading trucks, I made the comment to one driver that I was hungry and needed to take a break for a bite to eat. He was sympathetic and offered me a six-pack of mini donuts he carried in his truck. I politely declined, saying that I didn’t want to take his food from him, but in reality, I didn’t want donuts. I’m used to better-quality food, and I know how much better it makes me feel if I eat right instead of eating “junk food.”
Just yesterday I was unloading some freight at a receiver’s warehouse. I decided to lump it myself so I could get out of there faster. In the door next to me was a very large driver, also lumping his own freight. It was late, and he couldn’t get a Comcheck from his company at that hour to pay the lumpers. I noticed him struggling and beginning to get very angry because he couldn’t pull the pallets out of his trailer with the pallet jack. The driver was standing inside his trailer, leaning on the wall, panting and swearing out of sheer frustration. I thought for a minute that he was going to collapse. Since I was finished with my freight, I decided to help him with his.
The guy was so out of shape he could barely get around, much less pull heavy pallets with a hand jack. It was painful for me to see someone be that frustrated and defeated by his own condition. There was no sense of pride or purpose in his manner.
I used to be that guy. Driving long hours to make a deadline only to sit waiting in line, left feeling cramped and drained of energy doesn’t make for much of a desire to exercise or eat healthy. It’s a ticking time bomb. Sixteen years – that is the amount of time less a professional truck driver is expected to live than the average American.
This is going to take a change of attitude, as well as some organization and motivation, to overcome. It’s not easy, but it gets easier as time goes on.
I cannot afford to get sick. I only have one option, and that is to take the best care of my health as I know how.
See my story and take advantage of what I have learned. My Web site is safetythruwellness.com. Take care and live well!
Jack Kelsh is an over-the-road professional driver and a certified sports nutritionist.