Another year has trucked on by and here we are again, with many of us making the same New Year’s resolutions that we make every year. I think the top of that hit parade is losing weight and getting healthier. It’s been one of my standards for more years than I would like to admit, and I’m very confident that many other drivers are joining me on that fight come January 1st.
It’s not easy to lose weight on the road but it can be done! Trust me when I say, I know about the struggles you face being a driver – odd schedules and the tempting smell of Cinnabons baking when you walk into the truck stop – so I can truly relate to your struggle. Getting into bad habits is too easy and it takes serious determination to make good habits the norm – but it can be done, with some help and support.
I met Kate Whiting at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree (2015) when Heather Hogeland and I were standing in line for our morning coffee. Kate started a conversation with us, telling us that she knew who we were, and how it was that she knew us. She had been working with our friend Jerry Linander (who I featured back in December of 2014) and he had gotten her into going to truck shows. A friendship began when we sat down at a table to hear about the program she had created to help drivers get healthy and lose weight.
This feisty little red head was very passionate about what she was telling us, and after hearing what she had to say, I was ready to sign up. After working with her since July 2015, I have not lost all of the weight I want yet, but when I went for my latest DOT physical I passed all of the tests with flying colors. I don’t take any medications, and when I had my blood-work done, my cholesterol numbers had dropped considerably, which was great news.
Kate truly cares about her drivers. Her program is not focused on making drivers look good in swim-wear, it’s about their livelihood – keeping them healthy so they can continue to provide for their family and still love their life on the road. “I’ve seen the fear and pain in the eyes of a 30-year veteran driver being told that he might not be able to continue driving due to weight/health challenges, and nothing compares to seeing the hope in their eyes when I can give them some solutions,” said Kate.
What really drew her in for me was the connection she made between the driver and their truck. Coming from the ranching world, she is very familiar with the connection between a cowboy and his horse, but this “connection” also exists with a driver and his rig.
As she walks the grounds at the shows, Kate is memorized at the bond between the drivers and their trucks. “There’s a story to be told at every truck and, if you look deep enough, you can see the heart and soul of each driver reflecting back at you.” She went on to say, “I learn so much about a driver just by the way they show their rig. I love that depth – it blew me away at my first show, and I have been hooked ever since!” Her favorites are always the W-900’s, of course, and that makes perfect sense to me, considering her name is Kate Whiting (KW).
Kate Whiting not only cares about the drivers she helps, but she loves trucks too, loving them enough to get her CDL and become one of us. She now can say, with total confidence, that she knows and understands, firsthand, about how tough it is to do this job and the real challenges we face every day in working to attain better health on the road.
Her approach to helping drivers get healthy includes developing a plan tailored specifically to the driver (or drivers) she is working with. This is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. She has worked with the TLS line of products and educational materials for 15 years.
Five years ago, she was asked to come to Knudsen Trucking in Hager City, Wisconsin to help their drivers. While there, she realized that there was a real need in the trucking industry for the coaching she provides – people need help on a regular basis. It was there that she also fell in love with the drivers and what they represent.
Many of the new DOT regulations are causing some drivers to become more concerned about their health and their weight. Medical issues like sleep apnea, high blood pressure and diabetes can now quickly turn into career-ending conditions if gone unchecked. Please don’t let that happen. Take action before it is too late – if not for your health, for your trucking career.
The success Kate has had helping people improve their health is what keeps her passion burning strong. After talking with the driver, she customizes a plan of diet and supplements that will be most beneficial to that person and what they are trying to accomplish. She also becomes their cheerleader, and offers sensible suggestions and choices to help keep the driver on track.
This plan is not a “you are never going to be able to eat a certain food you love ever again” type of plan. I know myself that if you happen to go off the road a little, she will gently bring you back between the lines. Talking with a few of the people she has helped, I kept hearing the same thing over and over, about how happy they were with the results and the relatively short periods of time they were achieving these results.
Tami Koepl of Chetek, Wisconsin told me that she has Type 2 diabetes. She needed to lower her numbers to get her DOT Physical card. A little over a year ago, she saw a poster that Kate had hung in a truck stop. After calling Kate, she was on her way to success. They only had two months, so Kate set her up on a meal plan and supplements, and in that short amount of time, she was able to get her blood glucose number down to a healthy level (under 7). After getting on the plan, her husband Jeff joined her, and it has been even easier for Tami to stick to it and stay on track working together, with both Kate and her husband.
Cory Svoma of Bruce, Wisconsin works for an excavation company and has hereditary digestive tract issues. An uncle had to have surgery to have part of his large intestine removed. Almost a year ago, Kate helped him change his diet, as well as adding supplements and enzymes. With these changes, he went from possibly needing surgery to being a legitimate contender for getting normal test results. Cory and his fiancée Lauren are also working together to be healthy.
Dan Engler is a diesel mechanic who met Kate while helping Jerry Linander at the truck shows. At 30, Dan is younger than many of us, but he still wanted to be proactive about his health. He’s lost almost 40 pounds by using the supplements, vitamins and shakes. “Kate wants to see you succeed as much as you want to, and that really helps,” he said. She also shares ideas and tips for eating real food, which is good for when you are out on the road.
Will Holzer of Winona, Minnesota has diabetes and has to take insulin. From the time he started working with Kate, his doctors just can’t believe the difference in his health. He has been strict with his diet and takes the vitamins and supplements she recommends, and the proof that it is working shows in so many ways. He has lost 23 pounds, his blood pressure has come down, and his blood glucose numbers have gone from being “out of this world” at 13.1 down to 6.7, amazing his doctors. His long-term goal is to drastically reduce the amount of medicine he has to take, as well, and I’m sure that with his dedication and tenacity, he will eventually get there.
Your health is so important to the quality of life you have, but the trucking lifestyle is not always conducive to good health. Getting (and staying) healthy takes a conscience decision to do so and an ongoing dedication to stick with it. Fad diets don’t work – you must decide to live (and eat) differently. Roadside restaurants are now offering healthier options on their menus, and some truck stops have introduced exercise rooms and walking paths. Take advantage of these things and start getting healthier, now. You will look better, feel better, live longer and keep your job!
To get in touch with Kate and start down your own road to better health, please visit her website at www.ontheroadwellness.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and make 2016 the year you keep that resolution to lose weight and get healthy. With her help, you (we) can do it.
Kate is a professional and she takes her coaching very seriously. She is proud of the results her drivers are achieving and the difference it is making in their lives, the lives of their families, and their ability to continue making a living. Join her, like I did, and let’s take this journey to wellness together.