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Healthy You

Doctor Weighs in on Keeping off the Pounds

Thursday, May 05, 2016 3:22 PM

A new study showing that many contestants on a reality weight loss TV show regained much of the weight they had lost has sparked discussion about how hard it can be to accomplish sustained weight loss. The study followed 14 former contestants – who had lost an average of over 100 pounds – and found that just one kept those pounds off. Many regained significant amounts of weight.

Steven Le Vine, MD, Internal Medicine at NorthShore, not only has expertise in obesity and metabolic disease but also has fought the weight loss battle himself. Dr. Le Vine – who has lost more than 140 pounds and kept it off – talks about his experience and what has worked for him.


In 2014 I decided I had to lose weight. I was brought up in Chicago and did my share of eating without caring and also didn’t exercise enough. I grew up in a hot dog, cheeseburger and pizza generation that over the years led to a weight problem that I had to fix.

A couple of years ago I committed to exercising regularly and eating right. Dietary management is key to losing weight. I began cooking meals for myself that are high in protein and continue to do so today. I began exercising vigorously with circuit training and after about six months started to lose significant amounts of weight. I found that I began to enjoy exercising – it is an excellent way to feel good and manage stress. The gym infuses me with a wave of energy and goodness that is almost unexplainable.

I think the biggest reason people regain the weight after they lose it is because they can’t keep to a regular diet and exercise program. The physiologic response to exercise needs to be maintained to develop a continued weight loss.

I recommend that people get a personal trainer, if at all possible, for one-on-one sessions, two to three times a week. It can achieve miracles. If that is cost prohibitive, I recommend patients at least join a gym and start exercising regularly. I had been afraid in the past of going to a gym but now it’s a part of my regular routine and I love it. Another thing to keep in mind is that while we all want instant results, weight loss takes time and a program of exercise and eating right must be sustained in order to get there.