TeamPete is a healthy driver movement designed by drivers for drivers.
We recognize that drivers have unique needs and challenges when it comes to health and wellness. And who knows drivers better than other drivers?
Pilot Flying J has partnered with Pete Thomas, NBC’s Most Successful Biggest Loser to Coach Professional Drivers in their journey to living a healthier lifestyle.
How does TeamPETE work?
Pete Thomas will interview successful drivers via phone, email, video chat, surveys and social media. Pete will then compile share the best tips combined with the strategies that have allowed him to lose 185lbs and keep it off for over 9 years. Pete will share this content via his blog at PeteThomas.com, a podcast and various social media to deliver th information that drivers need in the best way for them to receive them.
Also throughout the year there will be special opportunities for Professional Drivers to join with other Drivers in contests, giveaways and challenges and win prizes.
And all along the way successful Drivers and their families throughout the country will be featured on various Social Media. Your story will help encourage someone else.
Pete Thomas, motivational speaker, author and Season 2 At-Home Winner of NBC's "The Biggest Loser", was recently named the 2014 Pilot Flying J Health Champion. In this role, Thomas is dedicated to helping Pilot Flying J's team members and the company's customers improve their health and wellness. In the following Q&A, Thomas discusses how he became affiliated with Pilot Flying J in 2010 and how he coaches professional drivers and Pilot Flying J team members on health and wellness.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. You were a participant on "The Biggest Loser," correct?
Yes. I went on the show in 2005 weighing over 400 pounds. I was voted off the ranch after only 62 days, but before I left, I had lost 83 pounds! When I got home, I continued to learn about weight loss and wellness and lost another 102 pounds on my own. More importantly, I have been able to maintain my weight loss for over eight years and have been able to teach my principles to others.
The show was an incredible experience, minus the cameras filming your every move 24-7 and the four-hour per day high intensity workouts. Our workouts were so tough I actually thought I was going to die on several occasions. I remember praying, “Lord, just let me make it out of here alive!” But the lessons I learned were invaluable. They started me on a path to learning as much as possible about health and wellness for myself and it has helped me help others.
When I left the show, I set a goal to keep the weight off when the cameras were off. That's when it really matters. You can't change your life in front of a camera. Cameras will give you motivation to help you start, but changing your life happens one day at a time, by changing what I call 'one forever habit’ at a time. This had to be done at home. If I had not educated myself at home then I would not be a success today and more importantly, I would not be able to teach others what it takes to be successful.
When you returned for the season finale, you won the $100,000, at-home prize. How did that feel?
Winning was an amazing feeling, but what felt even better was being able to shop at a normal men’s clothing store. What felt even better, was not having to request a seat belt extender when I flew on a plane. What felt even better, was knowing the sacrifices I had made over the past nine months would pay off in a new healthy life. A life where I could pursue my purpose and destiny and not be hindered by the horrible habits I had developed the prior 36 years of my life. I knew that night on stage that not only was I ready to start maintaining, but that I wanted to be able to help others with their wellness journey also.
What was your profession prior to going on “The Biggest Loser”?
Prior to “The Biggest Loser,” I was a Real Estate Investor. Before that, I owned my own computer-consulting firm servicing real estate and property management companies. I have always been an entrepreneur at heart and helping people is my first love.
Why did you decide to partner with Pilot Flying J? How did that come about?
Pilot Flying J first approached me after a seminar I spoke at in 2010 that their health consultant, Willis of Tennessee, Inc., hosted in Knoxville, Tenn. After that, Pilot Flying J asked me to come speak at their annual leadership conference. Over the past four years, I have participated in these conferences by leading speaking engagements, early morning boot camp sessions, health fairs and wellness coaching for Pilot Flying J team members.
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.
Do you have any personal connection to the trucking industry?
In my job I travel constantly, so I spend long periods of time seated and sedentary. On a more personal level, one of my best friends is a professional tandem driver. This and other relationships, along with my own travel experiences, have allowed me to better understand the unique challenges faced by the professional driver.
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 3M’s: 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.
You have a book out, correct? Tell us a little about your book.
Yes. It’s called, “Lose It Fast, Lose It Forever.” This book is a combination of what I learned on the show mixed with my own research and experimentation since “The Biggest Loser.”
It’s divided into four steps: Your Power, Your Plan, Your Pursuit and Your Purpose. In the book, I talk about my troubled childhood and the events that lead to my adult obesity. I ask the reader to consider why he or she gained weight. They might have to dig all the way back to their childhood to identify it, but once they find the root cause, they can begin to shift the way they think and create a healthier lifestyle. Sometimes weight loss is not so much about what you’re eating as what’s eating you. For me personally, this was definitely the case.
From there I take the reader through all the steps I have used to be successful at maintaining a healthy weight. My goal with the book was to help the reader to develop a personalized plan to be successful.
How did you come up with Pete's Picks?
Everywhere I go I have to have a simple way to make healthier choices. I looked at the things that I eat when I stop at a Pilot Flying J location while traveling and there it was – Pete’s Picks. This list contains the basics of what I eat on an everyday basis. It’s how I personally eat and what I teach and share with others. It’s a simple way of eating using what I call Fluid, Filler and Feast. Pilot Flying J provides the options that I need to eat healthy without being bored or going hungry.
What's the hardest part of maintaining your weight loss?
I believe that focusing on weight loss is the incorrect choice. We have all lost pounds before, and then we gain it back. So we need to set a different goal. Rather than just trying to lose a certain number on the scale (usually by methods we can’t sustain) I encourage folks to achieve a healthy weight and maintain it for the rest of your life. The focus should always be on developing habits that will last a lifetime. A habit is something that you do without really thinking about what you’re doing. This means making small daily changes that end up becoming long term or Forever Habits. These Forever Habits are what allow me to make healthy choices and as a result maintaining my weight comes easy.
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.
Mid-America Trucking Show – March 27-29 in Louisville, Kentucky
Rev 3 Triathlon— May 18 in Knoxville, Tennessee
Great American Trucking Show—August 21-22 in Dallas, Texas
Know My #1 Secret to Dine-Out Success! The 3 F's for Permanent Weight-Loss!
Don't drink your Calories! Drink lots of calorie-free water or diet soda with your meal.
Eat plenty of low calorie vegetables or salad with low calorie dressing.
This is the food item you most want to eat. (That mouth-watering steak, filet, dessert item, etc.)
Remember, drinking a calorie-free beverage and eating vegetables will help you feel fuel while also saving "Calories" for the "feast".
Not Driving Right Now?
MOVE YOUR BODY! Walk, jog, push, pull — it doesn't matter just MOVE!
STRETCH YOUR BODY! Stretch to restore your muscles to keep them efficient. Simple stretches throughout the day can keep you moving without aches and stiffness.
Stuck in Your Truck?
BRING YOUR OWN FOOD! A healthy food option in your truck allows eating when you feel the need. It prevents low blood sugar, feeling starved, and keeps your body fueled!
Good food in = good energy out - All food is not created equally!
Protein - chicken/turkey slices, cheese, eggs, nuts, beef jerky, shakes, and bars. Vegetables - eat a variety! Remember corn and white potatoes don't count as vegetables. Fruit - eat a variety!
Whole Grain/Wheat - made with 100% whole grain/wheat flour
White flour products: white flour or corn products
High sugar/carbohydrate foods and drinks.
CARBOHYDRATES = SUGAR; your body does not know the difference!
TASTES LIKE A TREAT, BUT IS HEALTHY! Low Sugar/Carb Protein Bars, Cocoa Covered Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Fla- vored Protein Shake, Greek Yogurt, flavor your drinks/coffee with Splenda or Stevia instead of sugar, and choose Diet or Zero products.
EATING ON THE GO? Need food at PFJ? Read "Pete's Picks" - Pete Thomas, Biggest Loser Contestant from Season 2.
Driving in a Daze?
EAT EVERY 3! Eat healthy food every 3 hours to keep your body and brain in high gear. Try running a truck on empty! Your body uses food (the body's fuel) in about 3 hours. If you don't refuel your body it increases your fat storage to help you last longer. Eating a fist size of healthy food, every 3 hours steadily fuels your body, keeps you focused, sheds your fat storage and gives you high energy.
DRINK WATER! When you get the craving for unhealthy foods, hydrate your body first.