Steve Silva

stevesilva2.jpgSteve Silva, a 1971 graduate of Dakota State College, has been featured on the cover of People Magazine, had his story told in Sports Illustrated, appeared on Good Morning America, the Chicago Tribune, and the Boston Globe. Why is this man so notable? His story is one of personal accomplishment and victory in overcoming life-threatening circumstances in his personal life.

After graduation, Steve returned to his home state of Massachusetts and began to teach physical education. In high school and college, Steve weighed around 250 lbs. After college, Steve began gaining weight and in 1979, his weight had reached 425 lbs.

Due to 31 years of unhealthy living, the doctors gave Steve 5 years to live. His blood pressure was 206 over 135; his triglycerides were over 900; and his cholesterol was over 450. He had degenerative joint disease in both ankles, gout, and a very bad back. An intestinal bypass was considered but abandoned as too risky. As stated by Steve: "My reaction was sheer terror."

Steve tried diets including Atkins, Stillman, Grapefruit, and Weight Watchers among many others. He also visited physician after physician and tried pills and shots. In ten years, he lost 100 pounds six times, but always gained it back.

In 1979, Steve became aware of Dr. Lawrence Stifler's of Health Management Resources program which utilized a very low calorie diet with an intensive exercise program. For nine and ½ months, Steve ate only 520 calories a day in the form a liquid food supplement. His physical condition was monitored weekly. He also attended many classes teaching him how to live healthy. Under this program, he lost 235 pounds.

Steve realized that he "would have regained all that weight in half the time it took to lose it if I hadn't watched the calories and increased my physical exercise. Most importantly, I increased my physical activity."

Steve found that he best method of balancing calories was stair climbing. "The fact is that climbing stairs burns more calories per hour than most activities." Running to the top of New York's Empire State building became Steve's three year goal. Steve averaged 30,000 stairs per week along with weight training and aerobics.

In 1983, Steve placed 14th in the Empire State "Runup", beating 76 long distance runners, many of whom were world-class marathoners. He was the only non-long distance runner to qualify.


Dakota State University, Commencement Program, May 15, 1993.