SHARONVILLE - Starting his engine up, John Drury is on the move. In fact, the 41-year-old is always one journey or another these days. But in the past year, he was traveling a personal one.
The 6'7 and 292-pound truck driver became a loser behind the wheel—dropping 100 of his nearly 400 pounds in a year.
"The lifestyle of a truck driver... it's brutal," Drury said laughing, while driving the 18-wheeler on Interstate 275. "We cover about six states and we work a lot of hours. I'm on the road a lot."
A lot is right—working anywhere from 60 to 70 hours a week. It's time spent doing something he enjoys.
"I love truck driving," said Drury. "I just love the open road."
It's also a lot of sitting, very little sleeping and eating loads of truck stop, greasy food—not the most ideal way to lose weight.
"There's not a quick fix. I mean, people always ask me, 'How did you do it?' 'What's the secret?' There's just really no secret. It's blood, sweat and tears. It's dedication. It's commitment. It's really wanting to lose weight."
The husband and father of two sons said one of his biggest inspirations was his friend and fellow truck driver, Dave Johnson, better known to those at Taylor Distribution as 'Big Dave'.
"I think about him every day on this weight-loss journey," he said about Johnson, who died severely overweight.
"I just think of him... I have to make a change. I want to be here. I don't want to leave my family and this earth prematurely. I want to be around as long as I can," said Drury.
"Knowing that he passed away from something that I was struggling with myself... that really hit home. I have to make a change. This is serious."
He reflected, however, on how he may have been able to help his late friend, who had talked to him about losing weight with him.
"... Maybe I could've helped him out. You know if I could've done this earlier, maybe I could've been a bigger motivation to him. To help him lose it while he was still here," said Drury, sobbing, trying to hold back his tears, as he remembered his friend.
"I know he's looking down on me saying, way to go Big John. Way to go."
For where he is today, John attributes eating better, drinking more water, walking when he has time during his travels and Zumba when he is home... and ultimately getting to his goal: 250 pounds.
"I still have a goal, I'm not there yet. The old me is dead and gone away..." he quoted the tattoo he had inked on the side of his bald head.
Along with his weight-loss goals, his mission now, is to help others achieve theirs. Something he's no longer able to do for Johnson.
"I'm there to tell people, 'I've been there and done that. I've been in your shoes."
And to do that, he has new brightly colored cross-trainers—and a Zumba class of his own starting up on Saturday, called "Big John's Zumba" class.
His class will be held at 11 a.m., at the Holiday Inn North, on Hauck Road in Sharonville. And will be held every Saturday and Sunday. Click here for a map.