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 -NBC's 2009 "Where Are They
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Q&A's

 

Dr. Jeff’s Questions and Answers

 After His Elimination From The Biggest Loser 2

 

NBC’s Editor's Note: Well, a show favorite, Dr. Jeff Levine, was eliminated in week 10. We talked to the guy no one could dislike about his time on the ranch and staying the course while back at home.

 

- What an emotional scene at the elimination. What thoughts and feelings were you having as you realized you would have to say goodbye to your teammates and leave the ranch?

Answer: Ever since Pete and I were up for elimination, I was prepared to go home. I had injured my back and leg and I caught a bad cold earlier that week, so I knew I wasn't going to lose a lot of weight. When I wound up below the yellow line with Andrea at the weigh-in, I knew I would be voted off, since I was the bigger threat. I also knew that I was going to miss Jillian and my teammates, but that I was going to finally get to see my family again and start applying what I had learned on the ranch to the real world.

- What was the biggest lesson you learned while living at the ranch?

Answer: I learned that you need to make time for yourself to focus on your mental and physical health. No healthy changes in your life will be effective or sustained unless you make yourself a priority and dedicate time to fulfill your needs. In the long run, you will be far more helpful to those you love by demonstrating self-love.

- What kind of things did you learn about yourself?

Answer: I learned that I have a lot more inner strength and control than I gave myself credit for, and that I never quit.

- How did you think about diets, exercise and weight loss before The Biggest Loser and after?

Answer: I did not and still don't think that "diets" are the solution to long-term/sustained weight-loss. I think it comes down to making healthier food choices and portion control without denying yourself, while taking the emotion out of eating. There are no bad foods or mistakes or failures. Only experiences to learn from. Before the show, I did not truly appreciate the importance of aerobic exercise and strength training for safe and effective weight loss. I now realize that a balance between healthy eating, physical activity, and emotional well-being are equal keys to personal fitness.

- Did your thinking along those lines change? What have you had to change in your thinking in order to live a healthy lifestyle for life?

Answer: That you can best help others make healthy lifestyle changes if you "lead by example," and "practice what you preach," rather than by subscribing to a "do as I say, not as I do" mentality.

- How do you deal with your patients now in terms of counseling them on living a healthy lifestyle?

Answer: First I assess their readiness to make specific healthy lifestyle changes. Then I help them set realistic goals, and focus on making small changes while addressing potential barriers to success.

- Do you feel you practice medicine differently in that respect?

Answer: I am certainly more effective now. Patients now look at me and say, "If he could do it, so can I."

- You kept saying at the end of the show and once you got home, "I have my life back." Can you tell us a bit more what you mean by that?

Answer: I have regained my physical health, along with my self-esteem and self-respect. I walk without pain. I don't require a breathing machine to sleep. I don't worry about getting blood clots in my leg when I fly. And my blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol are all in the normal range. I am once again an active part of my wife and kids' lives.

- How would you encourage our club members as they struggle to stick to the weight loss journey and how would you motivate them, or counsel them to motivate themselves?

Answer: Don't focus on numbers. Set a personal quality of life goal that will motivate you and sustain you during those times when you plateau or come up against other barriers. Remember you are making changes that will improve the rest of your life. Unlike the show, this is not a game - there is no winning and losing, no good and bad, and no mistakes; only experiences to learn and grow from.

Thank you all for your wonderful words of praise and encouragement. It is you who inspire me! I wish all of you continued success with your efforts to live healthier lives.

                                  
               Love,

                                           Dr. Jeff

 

NBC’s Link to Dr. Jeff’s Q&A:  http://www.nbc.com/The_Biggest_Loser/contestants/playerqanda/qanda_jeff_p1.shtml