Eating healthy and being active on the road isn’t an impossible feat. It very well may be a difficult task, but most of that stems from our ability – or lack thereof – to be self-disciplined.

While being over the road does pose some problems, and will likely throw out some curve balls; developing healthy eating and exercising habits is an achievable goal. The main thing to keep in mind is to be realistic about what you can do to change your poor health habits.

It is best to make one change at a time, get into the habit of doing something and then add a new change to the mix. This will help you develop healthy habits that become second nature to you. Changing your lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight – trying to do so, is the reason most of us fail when trying to alter our habits.

Let’s look at some realistic things you can do to develop healthy and achievable habits while over the road.

Cut the Excuses

The number one reason people give in response to not exercising is “I don’t have time”, followed by “I’m too tired”. So if the masses are using these reasons, is it really because there are not enough hours in a day to fit in physical activity, or is it just simply easier to say this line instead of exercising?

Making time, even 15 minutes a day, for physical activity can greatly increase your health. Don’t forget physical activity doesn’t have to be the conventional ‘go to the gym and run the treadmill’; it can be running or walking laps around the truck stop, jumping rope; using resistance bands or circuit training for your fitness level.

Life over the road is demanding and tiring, so try to fit your physical activity into your morning schedule. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel and how much extra energy you have after just a few short weeks.

Make an Effort to Eat Better

Two very basic, yet extremely important tools for a life over the road are a crockpot and a microwave. Last minute meal choices are disastrous for your commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Often by this point, you are ready to gnaw off your own arm so naturally, a fast food joint is a better option.

With a little effort you could be eating like a king while over the road; saving both your wallet and your health. With a crockpot and some planning, you can start your day by making dinner, simply toss it in the crockpot and let it cook while you drive. Make enough to have leftovers for the next day’s lunch, which you can heat up in your microwave. If you don’t like the idea of using a crockpot, when you’re home, cook more servings of what you are already making so that you can freeze the leftovers and heat them up in the truck. You may not always be able to eat healthy, home-cooked meals on the road, but doing what you can to keep the cheeseburgers and fries to a minimum is a step in the right direction.

Know Yourself and be Disciplined

While most of us think that exercise and diet are the hard parts of choosing to live a healthier lifestyle, it is actually the discipline part that gets us. We all start off well enough, enjoying the benefits of our new lifestyles for the first couple of weeks and then we cheat. After all, what’s a chocolate bar, or a bag of chips when we’ve been eating healthier and exercising? That’s when we start to spiral out of control and slowly, sometimes even quickly, revert to our old ways. The only way to stop it is to get back on the horse and start all over again.

Knowing yourself, and self-discipline are the keys to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you are a notorious snacker, stock the truck with healthy alternatives. Pay at the pump as often as possible so that you don’t have to come face to face with your favourite junk food at the counter. Resist that impulse buy or that craving that has your reaching for the junk food – if you still want it at your next stop give in, but chances are you will have forgotten all about it 10 miles down the road. Reward yourself (not with bad food options) with a smaller pair of pants, or that new phone you’ve been eying up.

Making your health a priority and taking small steps towards changing your lifestyle will have great benefits. You’ll have more energy, less stress, be eating more delicious meals, feel better and, in the long term, live longer.