His story

The first thing Russell Levy did after attending his first Weight Watchers meeting was to drag a garbage can into his kitchen and clear out his pantry and refrigerator. He then filled them with vegetables, fruit and lean proteins such as chicken, ground turkey and seafood. “I got rid of everything not good for me and started fresh,” Levy says.

He was always athletic and weighed about 160 pounds in high school. “And then life happened. I got married, divorced and started eating whatever I wanted, not thinking of consequences,” Levy says. Tired of getting winded on stairways and having trouble tying his shoes, he had a realization: He had to lose weight to be around for his kids. After the first month on Weight Watchers he was down 25 pounds.

Levy likes to cook so he modified some Weight Watchers recipes to his liking. He cooks every Sunday and portions out lunch meals for the week. He does the same thing with fruit and vegetables. Every three weeks he buys 30 pounds of apples and makes apple sauce and eats as much as he likes. Organized and regimented, Levy goes out for a diner breakfast every Saturday morning after his 6:30 a.m. Weight Watchers meeting. He doesn’t restrict his eating on Saturdays and Sundays but gets back on the program Monday through Friday. “Key for me was going to the meetings. Go even if you think you gained weight. The support is great.” He reached his goal weight May 7.

His diet

Breakfast is a nonfat Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, and a banana. Lunch can be grilled chicken breast with roasted string beans or butternut squash. Dinner can be grilled fish, chicken or a lean pork chop, roasted vegetables and quinoa. He snacks on fresh fruit, almonds and fat-free popcorn.

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His exercise

Levy walks a lot. He gets in 10,000 to 30,000 steps a day, never below. He walks indoors at work, around his neighborhood and on the Long Beach boardwalk.

His advice

“Set a plan for yourself and stick to it. The key to me was keeping the fridge and pantry free of foods not good for me. If you can do that and prepare and portion your meals, you’ve got it. This is not a diet for me. I‘ve changed my way of life.”