Stephen Brand, CPT, SFN, SSF

About Me

imageimageimageimageimageThis is my immediate family. From top to bottom: In the first picture: my oldest son, Ken, and my youngest son, Mike. In the second picture: my wife, Kathy in the forefront, then clockwise, my youngest daughter, Meghan, my oldest granddaughter, Danielle, and my oldest daughter, Lily. In the third picture down: me and grandchildren two and three, Livy and Gauge. In the next picture, yours truly and my 82-year-old mother, Pat. In the last picture, the newest additions to the family, my youngest grandson, Luke, and my lovely daughter-in-law, Tammy.

At the age of 45 at just under 5’11” and 253 pounds I found myself obese and feeling lousy. I didn’t understand it. I’d been trying my best to follow the advice of the USDA food pyramid - compared to that my diet was pretty good. I had high blood pressure, very high triglycerides, low HDL, high LDL, pre-diabetes, achy joints, heartburn and a diminishing libido. The doctor was most concerned about my blood pressure and said, “We have to get that blood pressure down, Steve.” The medicine made me feel even worse and further diminished my libido (and being a married man this precipitated a crisis of sorts). So when at my next visit my doctor said, “Steve, we need to get your cholesterol down [with yet another medication]” I declined to do so. About the same time I heard a husband-wife team, who were doctors themselves, talking on the radio. They were talking about their medical practice of helping people with all the conditions that I listed above. I thought, “They’re talking about me!” They spoke about how a low-carbohydrate diet cured metabolic syndrome and vastly improved an arrary of health issues. Doctors Michael and Mary Dan Eades ran a very successful medical practice that turned into a bariatric practice as well when they realized that the strategies that they used to cure their patients of high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL, heartburn and several other ailments also produced a significant reduction in their weight. So in 2000 I made a New Year’s resolution to try the program and stick to it. In 15 month’s time I went from 253 to 176. Shortly after adopting a carbohydrate-restricted lifestyle I came off my blood pressure medication, my triglycerides had fallen to 27, my HDL had risen into the 60’s, my LDL changed so that it was composed mostly of pattern "A" LDL's, the large fluffy ones protective of heart disease, my fasting blood glucose took me out of the pre-diabetes range, my joints stopped aching, my heartburn went completely away and (cue chorus of signing angels) my libido returned like I was in my 20’s again. The doctor looked at my blood work and said, and I quote, “Steve, you have the triglycerides of an NBA athlete!” More recently he said, “Steve, I haven’t seen blood work this good in a really long time.”
 
Fast forward to 2010. Having put some of the weight back on by allowing too many old eating habits to creep back in because of laziness, lack of knowledge and a lack of understanding about just how important it was to maintain my weight and metabolic health I found myself once again making that New Year’s resolution to lose weight. But this time was different. I had the internet! I had podcasts to listen to, recommended books and blogs to read and a way to connect with like-minded people on social networks! Rummaging around the internet I found this delightful fellow with a golden voice named Jimmy Moore. I found iTunes and iPods. Every day while working around my horse ranch for three to four hours I listened to interviews with dozens of health and fitness professionals talking about the latest clinical trials and scientific discoveries. In the nearly 500 some interviews I listened to I heard scores of doctors, health-care professionals, personal trainers, PhD's, certified nutritionists, science writers and individuals who, like me, were able to reverse the deleterious effects of poor nutrition for themsleves and others. I developed a passion for health, fitness and nutrition. I bought dozens of books authored by the people I heard interviewed and then more books that I learned of from other bloggers and podcasters.
Some time before this, in another serendipitous twist of fate, I got laid off of my IT job. Armed only with two old degrees in IT, one of which was from 1983 and the other from 1991, I found it impossible to compete with the young professionals entering the workforce with fresh, recent educations - I was like a Model-T mechanic trying to work on a new Chevy. Then I got an idea; why not turn my passion for health and fitness into a new profession and help people turn their health around like I and thousands of other people have? I heard Jimmy Moore interview some certified personal trainers and some nutritional health care professionals on his podcast show. I did some research and discovered that with a little hard work and with my new-found passion, I could get certified not only to help people with an exercise program but also with a nutritional program. I enrolled in college and took the courses at American River College to earn my certificate as a Fitness Specialist. I sat for the grueling ACSM Certified Personal Trainer examination which I passed with flying colors. While attending my Fitness Specialist college classes I completed the ISSA course as a Specialist in Senior Fitness and, more recently, have been certified as an ISSA Specialist in Fitness Nutrition.
 
In a recent discussion with my doctor, the subject of statins came up (cholesterol-lowering drugs like Crestor and Lipitor). I was arguing that not only are they unnecessary, but they are not worth the risk of the side effects (loss of libido, transient global amnesia and rhabdomyolysis-a rupturing of muscle cells). We talked for awhile and finally, in exasperation, he said to me, "But, Steve, not everybody can eat like you". I didn't say it then but later I thought, "Oh yes they can. It's easy if they're shown how. And I can teach them to do it".