Trainer, new foods help doctor get in shape

SHARE Trainer, new foods help doctor get in shape
SHARE Trainer, new foods help doctor get in shape

One dietary change Dr. Steven LeVine made: swapping lettuce for spinach in salads. | SUN-TIMES MEDIA

A couple things made Dr. Steven LeVine think it was time to do something about his weight.

Patients were telling him they were concerned about him. Increased fatigue made him worry that at 240 pounds he might be inviting type 2 diabetes into his life.

He readily admits he grew up on your typical high-carb American diet when “people didn’t know better,” and had tried before — without success — to lose weight and exercise more by joining various gyms. But a year ago the Glenview-based internist decided “enough is enough.”

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Before: Dr. Steven LeVine

He found a trainer and started seeing him three times a week; he did that for six months. (He continues to work out with him twice a week.) The trainer didn’t just set LeVine up with workout goals. “He’s changed my life,” LeVine says.

LeVine’s trainer created a diet and exercise plan for him, even accompanying LeVine to the grocery store to show him better food choices and going through LeVine’s cupboards at home to make sure junk food and other highly processed items were gone (actually, LeVine had tossed them earlier).

After learning about better food choices, LeVine cut out bread, rice, white potatoes and carbs in general. In their place are lean protein, veggies, quinoa and fruit. He juices often now and instead of lettuce (not a lot of nutrition there) he fills salads with kale or spinach.

Today he is 87 pounds thinner and is happy to say he “ looks fantastic and feels fantastic.”

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And LeVine after his transformation

The fatigue is gone, and he sees other health benefits. “I have more energy, I handle stress better, I have a sense of calm.”

His transformation is just what his patients struggling with weight problems needed. “I’m a living testament it can be done.” He plans to develop a program for the prevention of obesity-related diseases.

He admits that often over the last year, especially after a busy day, the last thing he wanted to do was meet up with his trainer. But he went anyway, and every time afterwards “I felt like a million bucks,” he says.

LeVine strongly recommends others find a trainer they like. That seemed to make all the difference. “It’s a good investment,” he says.

He also advises people learn to cook their own food. “Make your own egg-white omelet,” he recommends, instead of stopping for the fast food version of one.

How to get started? “Develop a vision for yourself and get motivated by that vision.”

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