Team Charles

Buzz Brown and Charles D’Angelo. photos by Jason Mueller

Determined to succeed and with his health at stake, Buzz Brown has embarked on many weight loss journeys throughout his life. He would set his goals and struggle alone, sometimes reaching his goal weight, only to gain back every pound—and then some.

    “I was always the typical ‘fat kid.’ My problems with weight and overeating began as a child, growing up on a dairy farm in Colorado,” Brown says. “I was the eldest grandchild on both sides of the family, and eating was always encouraged.”

    As an adult, Brown’s obesity caused tremendous stress on his heart, and he realized he could suffer the same fate as his beloved grandmother, who died from heart complications and diabetes when he was just 11 years old. After continued medication for atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm), and increasingly frequent trips to the hospital, Brown became despondent about his future. At his lowest point and his highest weight, Buzz Brown weighed 442 pounds.

    “Over the years, none of my doctors had a scale that could handle someone my size, and I had always managed to convince myself I wasn’t that heavy,” Brown explains. “And then I heard that number. I already knew Charles D’Angelo had tremendous success helping people lose weight. I had often thought, I should call him. I finally did.”

    Describing that first call, Brown says he was very encouraged. “Charles explained to me that I would be successful if I followed his instructions exactly, and I promised him that I would. He wanted me on the treadmill every day for 30 minutes.” This was simple, straightforward advice, with one problem. “It’s not easy to find a treadmill that can accommodate someone who weighs more than 400 pounds. There is a machine at the gym that can handle it, but it’s very popular with runners, so it was always in use.” Undaunted, Brown found a way to get in his 30 minutes. “I just got there every day at two or three in the morning, and I had it all to myself.” That resolute spirit, combined with D’Angelo’s coaching and a great support network, helped Brown lose an astonishing 235 pounds in less than one year.

    “At first my doctor was concerned, and ran tests to make certain I wasn’t bulimic or anorexic,” Brown says. “And she finally said No, you’re just healthy! I no longer needed heart medication. She’s delighted with my success.”

    With D’Angelo’s guidance, Brown learned about emotional overeating and how to manage it for life. “And those so-called ‘forbidden foods?’ They aren’t even appealing anymore.” He does admit looking forward to ‘refuel Friday,’ however. “That’s when I can eat what I want for one day.”

    A wood and metal shop teacher in the Fort Zumwalt district, Brown has the skills to build a bed that could support his bulk, and to repair chairs that could not. Special accommodations are now a thing of the past. “My wife and family are very happy with all the positive changes. I can finally play with my grandchildren—they love having a skinny grandpa!”  LN

On the cover: Following his own personal transformation more than a decade ago, Charles D’Angelo has helped hundreds of others achieve their weight-loss goals, including almost 100 clients who have lost at least 100 pounds each. One of his most amazing success stories is St. Louis teacher Buzz Brown, who lost 235 lbs. in one year. For more information call 495-3228 or visit