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Did the COVID-19 pandemic have an effect on your weight?

Did the COVID-19 pandemic have an effect on your weight?

I’m taking an unofficial poll: Have the shutdowns and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic affected your weight?

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In my coaching calls each week, I discuss weight gains (and reasons for those gains) with drivers. Stress is a consistent contributing factor that comes up — and the added precautions that truck drivers have had to endure over the past year have definitely added to their stress levels. Combine this with added difficulty finding healthy food options. Actually, finding any food options at all was difficult, with many restaurants closing their doors or being inaccessible to drivers.

Were you one of the many who experienced weight gain during the pandemic? I’ve read a number of reports indicating that weight gain has been a health concern across all professions during the pandemic, not just truck drivers.

Many companies resorted to having employees work from home in order to stay compliant with safety protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This shift to working from home offered easy access to workers’ home pantries — which equaled greater temptation to snack all day.

In recent columns, I’ve been writing a lot about general health for drivers, primarily because the DOT Medical Exam re-certification wavier has been lifted. Of course, a healthy weight is always important.

My number of calls is increasing weekly because drivers are faced with upcoming deadline to get their re-certification, and solid results happen over time, not overnight.

Wanting to lose weight brings with it the temptation to look for fast results, and that almost always means cutting calories. Of course, cutting junk calories is a good idea, but drastically cutting all calories is not a good long-term solution: Crash dieting generally leads to “yo-yo” dieting syndrome.

One of the dangers of crash (ultra-low-calorie) dieting is the unavoidable metabolic slowdown. This slowdown can start within just a few days of cutting calories. You’ll think, “This diet isn’t working!” so you’ll look for a new, more effective diet — and yo-yo syndrome begins.

As I mentioned earlier, cutting junk calories is a good idea, and that’s where I suggest drivers start when changing their diet. Make a list for just one week of everything you eat and drink; then look at the caloric intake and decide what “junk” calories you can eliminate.

Create your diet plan and stick with it, but give yourself and your body time to adjust to the new caloric intake. Remember, healthy weight loss is done over time, not overnight.

Bob Perry has spent nearly the past four decades on a mission to educate professional drivers and share life-changing products and services to help them live healthier lives while on the road. Recognized throughout the transportation industry, from bus drivers to over-the-road professional drivers, Bob Perry has played an important role in creating a paradigm shift helping regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers understand the current health challenges of the professional driver. He has participated as a wellness advocate in several roundtable discussions, large audience groups and small forums as well as going "curbside" through a national truck stop tour. Bob’s articles have been featured in The Trucker and a number of other national transportation industry publications and is the host of a weekly wellness call produced by Rolling Strong. Bob has been a regular guest on RedEye Radio and Land-Line Radio, and is often an invited guest on Sirius radio shows. He has been featured in the New York Times, Men's Health Magazine, Drug Store News, American Road Magazine, WSJ, NPR, ABC National Radio, as well as hundreds of daily newspapers. He has appeared on television news shows across the nation, including a featured TV segment on ABC NightLine News.
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