Physician heal thyself: Jennine Speier, MD

A winter of record-breaking snow made Jennine Speier, MD, a physiatrist with Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Associates, realize how far she had come. The 63-year-old discovered she could shovel thigh-high snow off her deck and toss it over ever-higher banks without any back pain.

"That was great evidence of what core muscle strength can do for you," she said.

After years of trying to stick with a regular exercise program and lose weight, Speier found the resources she needed to be successful at Abbott Northwestern Hospital's LiveWell Fitness Center.

LiveWell Fitness Center has a full complement of services that help people make lifestyle changes leading to better health: nutrition counseling, weight-loss programs, metabolism testing, body composition analysis, personal training, and also specialized services for people recovering from an injury or living with a chronic condition.

Speier has lost both inches and pounds, feels stronger and has more energy. "I'm probably in better shape now than I was 15 years ago," she said.

What was different this time around? "One difference is that LiveWell has exercise physiologists who could adapt exercises to my situation," said Speier, who has a history of shoulder and ankle problems.

She started with a Pilates Reformer workout and soon noticed a difference in how she felt. "That was magical to me," she said.

That encouraged her to move on to aerobic workouts and other exercises. Speier also joined LiveWell's Take Action Program for Weight Management and learned about mindful eating, savoring food, paying attention to hunger signals and the importance of portion control.

"Now I'm eating more healthful foods without feeling deprived," she said.

Most important, the LiveWell staff focuses on habit change. "They help you find your individual path to success," said Speier.

Source: Healthy Communities Magazine, Fall 2011 edition
Reviewed By: Jennine Speier, MD
First Published: 10/01/2011
Last Reviewed: 10/01/2011