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SBAC Member Mike Levin Shares Wellness Story

Throughout childhood and most of his adult life, SBAC member Mike Levin of Total Insurance Services struggled with his weight while trying a variety of diets and exercise programs without success.

After ending an unsupportive relationship that encouraged unhealthy eating habits, Mike sought help in 2010 from a diet and exercise expert and finally lost the weight, to the tune of 100 pounds.

Mike’s secret? Light exercise and avoidance of sugar, starches and carbohydrates. Generally Mike walks for an hour at least 4 days a week, and avoids carbohydrates, starchy vegetables and fruit with high sugar content. His diet consists mostly of fish and lean cuts of meat (including red meat twice a month), green leafy vegetables and natural fats like avocado.

While some may suspect this diet change would be too strict to maintain, Mike points out that cutting out sugars and starches has actually curbed his cravings instead of exacerbating them. He has also lowered his blood pressure and cholesterol significantly. And maybe most importantly, Mike enjoys increased energy, greater confidence, and an improved overall outlook on life.

“For me, sugar was a powerful and destructive drug,” said Mike. “It was incredibly hard to give up, but once I did, it made a big difference in my life.”

Mike’s advice for the rest of us?

·         Avoid sugars and select fruits with lower sugar content like strawberries, apples and blueberries.

·         Avoid starches, including breads, potatoes and other high-carb foods.

·         Read food labels. Sugar can hide in surprising places, such as table salt that contains dextrose (a form of glucose).

·         Plan ahead. In addition to having bowls, plasticware and a cooler on-hand, stock up on foods like nuts, tuna pouches and mayonnaise packet, veggies, and dried lean meats at work and in the car to avoid fast food and vending machines.

·         Eat small meals. Snack throughout the day on healthy foods to avoid late afternoon binges

·         Identify healthy fast food like Jimmy John’s Unwich lettuce wrap without bread

·         Don’t overdo the exercise. Focus on burning calories efficiently with lighter exercise like walking, which burns body fat instead of sugar

·         Start a food journal. Documenting food intake provides motivation to eat healthier

Mike’s story shows you can attain a healthy lifestyle and diet while still enjoying life. Whether you start with one or two of the suggestions above or commit to your own full-fledged nutrition and exercise program, your improved habits will pay off both physically and emotionally.

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