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Brothers keep on truckin' along the weight-loss road

The Olson brothers from Oklee, Minn., have much in common. All three are in their 40s. All three are drivers for the same trucking firm, traveling across the United States during the week and at home for the weekend. All three were considerably h...

Ryan Bakken
Ryan Bakken

The Olson brothers from Oklee, Minn., have much in common.

All three are in their 40s. All three are drivers for the same trucking firm, traveling across the United States during the week and at home for the weekend.

All three were considerably heavier than is desirable. But now, all three have lost close to 100 pounds.

Following are the statistics of where they were, where they are and where they're going:

- Dave Olson, 49, has gone from 253 pounds to 169, a loss of 84.

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"I'm 11 pounds less than my high school graduation weight, so I'm pretty much done," he said.

- Larry "Snook" Olson, 48, has gone from 335 pounds to 250, a loss of 85.

"I want to take off another 15 to get to a total loss of 100," he said. "I'm 6-foot-2 and a big-frame guy, so 235 is a good goal for me."

- Dale Olson, 42, has gone from 420 pounds to 303, a loss of 117.

"I'm going to lose at least another 50 pounds and maybe make it up to a total weight loss of 175," he said.

As the Olsons shed pounds, there were ever-increasing whispers that they had lap-band surgery or were sick, perhaps with cancer. But the reason was far simpler than that.

"Keep moving and don't eat so much," Dale said.

They didn't need an elaborate meal plan by a dietician. They didn't need a whip-wielding personal trainer such as Jillian on "The Biggest Loser" television show. They didn't need to surgically shrink their stomachs.

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The solution was difficult, but it wasn't complicated. They merely needed to commit to a healthier lifestyle. The domino theory helped, too.

It all started with Snook. After a bad-news visit with a cardiologist in January 2009, he was the first to attempt weight loss. Changes included substituting fruit for bacon-and-eggs for breakfast.

And he started walking. "Like a turtle at first," he said. But now he's walking four miles in less than an hour.

Dave saw Snook lose 40 pounds in the first three months. "I couldn't believe it," Dave said. "I figured that if he could do that by walking and eating healthier, I knew I could do it."

He was right. He started in June of 2009 on a journey that wasn't without its challenges. One month, he walked eight miles every day. But those 240 miles and a careful diet still resulted in a zero weight loss that month.

"Weight loss goes in spurts," he said. "It didn't discourage me because I knew it would eventually come off."

After seeing his brothers' successes, Dale said he had a "light bulb turning on" moment. Since April 1 of this year, he's walked 750 miles.

As he sheds pounds, it gets easier. "I walked six miles last night and got up at 4:30 this morning and walked another 4.5 miles," he said Thursday.

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Staying fit isn't easy for truckers. It's a sedentary job, with food often used to stave off sleep and boredom.

Also, being on the road, they often have to do their walking at a truck stop, not the most scenic of venues.

So, it isn't easy. But the recipe is.

Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send e-mail to rbakken@gfherald.com .

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