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Esko native unveils 'RealWeight Revolution'

He's not a doctor. He doesn't consider himself a scientist. Yet, one former Esko native continues to challenge current health and medicine perceptions year after year.

"The average person like me receives most of their health information from pharmaceutical ads," said Todd Nordstrom, a 1992 graduate of Esko High School. "Call me controversial, but I think that's kind of silly. Now the ads are educating us on weight loss and obesity? This needs to change."

Change is the goal for Nordstrom. In 2007, he co-authored the book "The Cure for Heart Disease: Truth Will Save a Nation" with world-renowned heart surgeon, Dr. Dwight Lundell. The book was considered controversial. It challenged current dietary and treatment recommendations for the disease and generated a swell of attention in the United States and abroad. The book was also translated and published in China and Korea.

"We expected skepticism," said Nordstrom. "What we didn't expect was the outpouring of support from our readers. We were focused on health. We were focused on revealing the truth. We were focused on eliminating a disease that shouldn't exist. But, a lot of our readers were simply thrilled to fit into their skinny jeans again after following our recommendations. So, Doctor Lundell and I went back to the research. This time, we focused specifically on healthy fat loss."

Nordstrom uses the word "fat loss" intentionally. His new e-book, "The RealWeight Revolution," again co-authored with Dr. Lundell, challenges the notion that "weight" is an indicator of health.

"Sir Isaac Newton discovered the Law of Gravity three centuries ago," said Nordstrom. "Why do we measure our health by the earth's gravitational pull? Better data exists to measure our health than a number on a scale. A ton of it is available through technology. Even an average guy like me can find it."

Nordstrom admitted that he wasn't the most focused student during his days at Esko High School. And, he wasn't extremely health-focused either. After high school, he attended college at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and the University of Minnesota Duluth. He also worked as a radio personality on several Duluth radio stations after receiving his broadcast start at WKLK in Cloquet. His career then moved him to numerous cities throughout the nation, until he and his wife settled in Scottsdale, Ariz. His parents, Dennis and Lynda Nordstrom, still live in Esko, and his three children love spending a few weeks each summer with Grandpa and Grandma.

"I love to get back home every summer to see friends and relatives," he said. "I love to see how much the area has developed. It's fun to jog down streets that didn't exist when I lived there, or to take my kids into Jay Cooke Park to hike on the trails. There are so many outdoor activities to experience up there."

Being active is a big part of "The RealWeight Revolution." It gives an easy overview of how, when, and in what order our bodies burn energy and fat during exercise. It provides a quick synopsis of why our bodies produce fat. And, it exposes how our bodies convert different types of foods. Yes, there are foods that actually help your body burn fat.

"Many diets set the stage for failure," Nordstrom said. "Most create unrealistic expectations, and simply focus on weight loss - not fat loss. The truth about fat loss is that it has very little to do with weight. But, that's not the biggest downfall of most diets. Most diets fail due to aspects that have nothing to do with fitness or food. They fail because they don't create habits."

"The RealWeight Revolution" e-book also explains the philosophy behind its online counterpart - the application that tracks your activities, offers you an online support system, holds you accountable to lifestyle choices, helps you set realistic goals, and provides ongoing instruction and education.

Nordstrom said that since the book and the system launched in early January, traffic to the RealWeight Calculator (an online tool that leverages national statistics related to lifestyle habits and body composition) has been steadily increasing. The launch of the book has already caught the attention of the media.

"Our goal is to create change," Nordstrom added. "I'm not a scientist. We're basically using technology and research data to give people a new perspective. Doctor Lundell and I are working on the printed version of the book now with the hope of really getting people involved. Nearly 70 percent of our country is overweight or obese, and the numbers keep rising. We can't sit around and wait for someone to stop that trend for us. We need to attack it as individuals, and as a community. We need a revolution."

What about Nordstrom? Has all this research changed him personally?

"Before I met Dr. Lundell," he said with a laugh, "I was 50 pounds heavier. That was seven years ago."

"The RealWeight Revolution" can be downloaded free at