Before the 10-week contest, Bailey, a driver for Minnesota-based Hirschbach Motor Lines, says he felt pretty fit because he could run about 6 miles, but his body mass index was 32, signaling obesity. "I was concerned about my knees running with that weight," says Bailey, who has enjoyed running ever since his days in the military.
The Lindora Clinic, a personal weight-loss company that managed the competition, helped Bailey realize what he was missing: a healthy diet. "Anytime you're gonna lose weight, you've got to do a combination of exercise and eating right," he says.
Keeping a food diary showed Bailey he was consuming about 4,000 calories a day. "That's just way too much for someone who sits most of the day. That's the reason I was getting bigger and bigger."
The foods adding to his high-calorie intake surprised him. "It's stuff you don't really think about, like a can of honey-roasted peanuts," he says. "I used to chew on them while driving, but I discovered when I weighed out how many peanuts I was consuming, that would be 1,000 to 1,500 calories. You think peanuts are good for you, but there are a lot of calories in those things."
Before the contest, Bailey also frequented buffets and was fond of the two-for-one hot dog deals at truckstops.
During the contest, he used a book provided by Lindora listing acceptable foods. He traded his usual breakfast of Cheerios for hardboiled eggs. For a snack he chomped on celery instead of those peanuts. He added lots of leafy greens and got protein from canned chicken and crab.
Jogging isn't always easy to do on the road, but Bailey says it's always an adventure.
"When you're driving a truck, you're always running somewhere different," he says. "Some places are better than others. Some of these roads are real curvy and have absolutely no shoulder zone. Those are the ones I don't like. It's really nice when you find a trail and you can see the wildlife."
Bailey also keeps a bike in his truck and sometimes uses it to scout out his runs. If he has to leave early when it's still dark or if the weather is bad, he'll jog in place. He recently picked up a pair of inline skates. "I'm not too graceful when I get on them, but it's a lot of fun," he says.
In the end, Bailey went from 227 pounds to 169 pounds, which earned him a $2,500 prize and helped him set a new goal: to run a marathon. "My distance has improved so much," Bailey says. "Now if I don't run at least 8 miles, I don't feel like I've done anything."
"I hope the fact that I did it will inspire other drivers to do the same," he says. "Maybe next year, somebody will beat my record, which would be fine with me."
High-tech health: Three apps to promote health on the road
Fooducate: Grocery shopping on the road just got a lot easier. This free app allows you to scan the barcode of any food product and gives it a grade based on its nutritional value.
Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson: Make sure you're well rested with this $2.99 app, which helps you fall into a deep sleep with guided meditation and breathing instructions.
Nexercise: Hate exercise because it isn't fun enough? This free app turns exercising into a game, complete with rewards such as discounts and free merchandise.
From the August 2012 issue of HDT.