April 12th, 2012
06:52 AM ET
Glenn Keller is one of seven CNN viewers participating in the 2012 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. At the beginning of the challenge, Keller weighed more than 300 pounds and suffered from sleep apnea due to his obesity.
Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Roanoke, Carlisle, Allentown, Hartford, Boston, New Haven, New York, Dover, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Charlotte, Spartansburg, Atlanta, Birmingham, Jackson, and Dallas.
In case you're wondering (and you probably are), those are the places I get to see in any given week.
You could probably say I get around - but that would be an understatement. It is the life of an "over-the-road trucker." Earning a living means being away from home and those you care about most. In most instances it means being away for over 250 days a year - and as many as 290 if you want to increase your profit margin.
Things like weather, road conditions, and traffic can make it dangerous to drive at times, yet we do what we have to do.
Have you ever heard that "if you got it, it came on a truck"? The men and women that do what I do ensure that grocery shelves are filled, those new cars are on the lot and everything else you want or need is there when you want and need it.
I've been driving since the late 1980s and I'm sure I've driven over 2 million miles. Our work weeks are 70 hours and that's because they're regulated by federal guidelines. Couple that with conducting a live prayer line three times a day, seven days a week using my cell phones and one could reasonably conclude that I am a busy person.
When I got the call from the CNN producers one of the very first things we discussed was if I could do the Fit Nation Triathlon Challange and drive my truck. For me it wasn't a matter of if I could or not because I needed to! I knew it would indeed be a challenge but I was already over 300 pounds and counting.
I started off wondering (just like you are maybe doing) where would I find the time? It took determining what was important and not trying to find the time but rather doing everything I could do to make the time.
There were other things in my life I made time for and none of them came close to being as important as my health. It was amazing that I knew obesity could lead to hypertension and diabetes. It appeared I wasn't going to be satisfied until I had to give myself insulin shots and take blood pressure medication. Even then I probably would have done it so I could regulate my medical problems and keep eating everything I wanted to.
Making time meant just that. Making it whenever and wherever I could. Fueling the truck can sometimes be a 30-minute process which is a great time to stretch and do some squats instead of just standing there. At the end of my driving day instead of pulling out the laptop and watching television, that became a great time to do a 30 -to 45-minute workout or walk/jog. One of the truckstop chains thought enough of drivers' health to put fitness rooms in their truckstops. That alone has made an incredible difference for me.
I can't tell you what percentage of 24 hours is 30 or 45 mintutes but I found out it was a very small sacrifice for good health. Making time has at times meant jogging around truckstop parking lots at night with a saftey vest on and there were times it was cold and even raining.
I've made a lot of sacrifices in my life for others. The sacrifice I'm now making is for me. "I'm worth it"– that's something else I've come to realize.
The question is no longer: "will the other things I have to do allow me to get fit and healthy?"
The question now is: "can they stop me?"
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.