Losing to Win: Transport America Driving Team Lost 59 pounds; Won a New Way Of Living
As many truck drivers know, the temptations of the road are all around.
Such as delectable homemade, fresh-from-the-bakery caramel rolls, SuperMa’s mega-burritos, monster jug soft drinks, and doublewide candy bars. After all, after putting on all those miles, you deserve a little treat, don’t you?
That’s what Veronica Porter learned the hard “weigh.” The Bodfish, Calif., resident starting driving professionally 11 years ago. She joined Transport America in 2010.
“Within my first year of driving, I gained about 100 pounds,” says Veronica. “I did everything that everyone says you’re not supposed to do. Whenever I came to a truck stop, I would eat. And I always ate the worst stuff for you. And I would never exercise either.”
Then, over the summer, Veronica and her driving partner, Carole Kelley, learned about a weight loss challenge issued by Transport America to all of its drivers. The winner of the “Biggest Winner Weight Loss Challenge” would win $750 and the runner-up would win $250. Prize money was available for both men and women drivers.
“We had already been thinking about doing something to change the way we took care of ourselves,” says Carole, “That’s when we said to each other, let’s just do it!”
For the two women, who had only driven a few months together, the friendly competition not only helped them bond, but it helped them become more aware of how they could change their lifestyle to lead more healthy, productive lives.
With 20 years of driving experience, Carole, a resident of Wofford Heights, Calif., joined Transport America after she was introduced to Veronica by a mutual friend.
“I was inspired by my Dad,” says Carole, “I will always remember the day when I was about 10 years old. I remember my Dad coming home in a purple Peterbilt. I think that’s why I’m a driver today.”
For Veronica, the route into the world of professional truck driving was inspired by a customer. By day, I was a nail stylist and by night a karaoke DJ. One day, a customer comes into our karaoke bar flashing all kinds of cash and saying he was making a lot of money as a truck driver. That got my attention. So I checked it out and here I am, 11 years later.”
When Veronica and Carole decided to embrace the weight loss challenge issued by Transport America, they knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Veronica had already been dieting for about a year and it was going just so-so. For Carole, who grew up identifying with the “fat girl” label, there was a lot of skepticism.
They also knew this: They were not going to do a half-ass job at it. “We decided, if we’re going to do this, we’re in it to win it,” says Veronica.
“The first week of our new diet was hell,” Veronica added. “That’s the only way I can describe it.”
To obtain big results, Veronica and Carole went bold.
They eliminated all processed food – especially carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes (French fries!), sugar and alcohol.
They even eliminated vegetables that have high levels of sugar, such as carrots. Yes, carrots!
Instead, they focused on eating more protein (such as chicken and eggs) and raw vegetables.
And, they added a lot of water to their diet – they drink at least six 16 oz. glasses of water a day (1.5 gallons) — minimum.
“It’s called a ketogenic diet,” says Veronica. “The diet forces the body to start burning fat for fuel and the water detoxes our bodies.”
Probably the biggest change they made was how the two would shop for food. No more truck stop food. Each week, they stopped at Walmart to buy food for the entire week. They store their produce in extra coolers, and the meat in their truck fridge. And before each day, they planned out their meals.
So how did they do?
Within just 10 weeks, Veronica lost 29 pounds (14.72% of her body weight) and Carole lost 30 pounds (11.16% of her body weight).
“I’m so glad I lost this weight,” says Carole, “I can really feel the difference. It’s easier to get around and mentally, I just feel more alert. I also feel better about myself. I can see the difference.”
Veronica seconded Carole’s comments, and added this story:
“So after we won the challenge, we decided that we were going to go to an IHOP and just go all out,” says Veronica. “Pancakes, sausage, bacon, maple syrup, whipped cream – everything.”
“Well, before we even left the restaurant, we both looked at each other and just knew that we weren’t feeling good. We realized that our bodies were rejecting all of this food that wasn’t healthy for you. It was an eye opener!”
You Can Do It!
Both Veronica and Carole say that if they can do it, you can do it!
They also say, that it’s been important to have the support of a company like Transport America.
“It’s not about losing weight. This whole challenge is about caring for us, the drivers,” Veronica says. “This company puts its drivers first. They put safety first. Encouraging us to lose weight not only makes us healthier, but it helps make us safer drivers!”
After coming this far, Veronica and Carole aren’t stopping. They’re starting to work out and they’re planning to keep up their diet.
“Check in with us this time next year,” says Carole. “Our goal is to each be 30 pounds lighter than we are today.”
Go for it Veronica and Carole – and all Transport America drivers. Let’s not only be the safest trucking company on the road, let’s be the healthiest!