Type 2 Trucker
August 2015 I failed my DOT medical physical required to keep your CDL & keep driving. Never had any health issues before. The urine test came back with sugar in it. They pricked my finger and found my sugar to be 306. I asked if that was bad and they said “yes, we can’t even give you a temporary medical card with that high level.” Had to go see my doctor & get levels down before I could go back to work. Was diagnosed August 19th the day after my birthday. Initial A1C was 8.6 and BP at 150/80.
I immediately started researching type 2 diabetes as I didn’t really know anything about it other than my mom had it after she hit her 50’s. I cut meal sizes down, walked after every meal, ate salads & vegetables, and cut out all sugary drinks and drank only water and the occasional diet soda. Initially they put me on 500mg Metformin & 5mg of Lisinopril.
After 1 month my levels were down enough to get my medical card and get back to work. Then came the daunting task of trying to lose weight, eat right, exercise, sleep, and stress management on the road trucking as you are on the road weeks at a time with 10hrs or so off a day.
Used my diagnosis to my company to make them give me extra time on my breaks if needed for sleep and exercise. The less sleep u have the more stress hormones are released and makes your sugar levels go up.
I bought dumbbells, Fitness bands, a fitness watch so I could workout on the road. Right inside my truck I would do every muscle group I could with light weights and gradually progressed with increased reps & increased weights. Would walk for cardio or use an elliptical at TA/Petro truckstops cause this was great cardio without the impact of running. I often did walking or workout in the truck as I was getting loaded/unloaded.
Made better food choices on the road by keeping low to no carbs snacks to get me thru to next meal like hard boiled eggs, vegetables, pickles, and sometimes Fiber One bars. Ate salad before most meals because doesn’t have carbs (except cheese & dressing if added) and this lines the stomach then would eat rest of the meal so that abortion of the carbs from that meal would be a slow gradual release instead of all at once. If I had to eat a burger because if no available healthy food at truckstop I was at I would limit the bread by getting the thickest burger patties or a double or triple instead of getting 2 or 3 burgers or fries and drink only water or diet soda. If it was a hotdog I’d split the bun and use one half so it cuts down on the bread.
The weight kept falling off and hit an 88 pound weight loss before I started more hardcore strength training. Been lifting heavy over a year now and have packed on muscle weight and bone density. I have been able to heavy weight lifting by joining a national chain gym so I can stop and workout + shower just about every region I go to. I still include my cardio though.
My A1C got better & better and was taken off both diabetes and BP meds. My A1C stayed a flat 5.6 for almost a year before I started my heavy weight lifting. After that my A1C fell to 5.5 and seen my best cholesterol numbers yet. HDL is 57, LDL is 44. My risk level for heart disease, heart attack, etc. is 0.8%.
I have gotten back into mountain biking as was my passion in my teens and I’m now 38. Last summer I rode down the famous Barr Trail from Pikes Peak, Colorado and mountain biked in Grand Junction. Plan on another mountain bike vacation in Moan, Utah this summer. A couple weeks ago I completed the full Santo’s epic 50 mile mountain bike ride in Ocala, Florida.
By taking these steps I’ve been able to defeat my diabetes and live my life doing what I enjoy and will be around for kids AND grandkids. Truck driving doesn’t have to be unhealthy if you don’t want to. Good luck everyone.