Pilot Flying J's Biggest Loser

Celebrity helping truck drivers, other customers with health and wellness

Pete Thomas Biggest Loser Pilot Flying J

I love working with Pilot Flying J because of their commitment to their team members and their customers. Pilot Flying J allows me to help a broad group of people with this message of winning at health and wellness. Plus, Pilot Flying J is fun. The people are good-natured, hardworking and focused on the customer.

I also enjoy working with professional drivers. I have a lot of respect for them and the sacrifices they make every day. The role they play in transporting goods is vital to our country's economy. I know they face a big challenge by the sedentary nature of their job and I have lived a similar sedentary lifestyle. But I appreciate that Pilot Flying J is doing their part to combat the effects of that lifestyle by providing fresh, quick and affordable food options for drivers as well as offering professional drivers added benefits such as an onsite Urgent Care facility.

I have learned how to eat healthy on the road and pick products that are wholesome and nourishing. It's all about healthy habits based on making healthy choices. Pilot Flying J gives professional drivers a variety of options to choose from. Choice is how they show respect to drivers. My role is to help Pilot Flying J identify those healthier choices, listen to drivers, continue to learn what they want and encourage drivers to make weekly, daily, stop-by-stop better choices.

How do you coach professional drivers on health and wellness?

I attend industry events such as the Mid-America Trucking Show and the Great American Trucking Show with Pilot Flying J. I also participate in the Rev3 Truckers to Triathletes races. I reach out to drivers at these events and have real one-on-one conversations with them. I am always very open with my struggles and in-turn drivers are very open with me and interested in how I have lost and maintained my weight. We usually end each conversation with a list of small manageable changes that the driver can make in his or her daily life that will lead to a healthier lifestyle. This is what I was born to do, help others overcome their own struggles by first overcoming my own.

How can professional drivers maintain their weight loss when they stop at travel centers and travel plazas every day?

The key lies in what I call the 3Ms: "Master your Mind, Manage your Mouth and Multiply your Muscles." The first step is learning how to make the decision to make a healthy choice (Mind). Then, you have to have a plan and pay attention to what you eat (Mouth). Next is to understand that moving is also critical (Muscle).

Professional drivers don't have to take time away from the road to exercise. I have partnered with Pilot Flying J to develop what we call the 10-Minute Trucker Tune-Up, which can be done right from the step of their cab and includes upper body, lower body, cardio and stretching exercises.

The key is to start small and do something every day--the goal is to start a habit that becomes a "forever habit." Having healthy forever habits have allowed me and many others to maintain our weight loss.

Do you work with trucking companies to help them put together health and wellness plans for their professional drivers? If so, tell us about that.

I have a lot of interactions with trucking companies when they send drivers to events that Pilot Flying J sponsors such as the Revolution 3 Triathlons and the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. These drivers, who are exceptional in their dedication to better health, have expanded my awareness of the many obstacles drivers face and provided me with real life examples of people who have overcome those obstacles.

In 2014, you will be at a variety of industry events to meet professional drivers and help them with their health. Where will you be and when?

At Pilot Flying J's annual leadership conference, I spend a lot of time with the managers to hear what the drivers need. They are on the front lines and hear what the drivers need multiple times a day, so I take the opportunity to listen and use that information to help the driver. In addition, I will be at the following events throughout this year. Please come out and see me.

Click here to read the full Q&A and "Pete's Picks."