When Clark Kolterman lost the first 50 pounds, he considered the weight of his achievement: a couple of his seven grandkids.
When he surpassed the 100-pound mark, Kolterman, a teacher at Seward High School, called one of the students to the front of his classroom.
“This is what I've lost so far,” he said, gesturing to the high schooler. “I've lost Morgan.”
Kolterman, 62, has dropped 211 pounds since August 2011. At 422 pounds, he was frustrated with his situation, tired walking the halls at school and uncomfortable bending down to tie his shoe. Then he started thinking about what he might miss out on if his weight cut his life short.
“You start realizing as you get older, if you want to be around to enjoy the good life and see your grandkids get married and graduate and everything else, you better take care of yourself,” he said.
“I want to be part of their life.”
His weight loss has been a family journey. “When you have people working with you, it's a motivator not to fall back,” he said. Kolterman joined Weight Watchers, a system that assigns points to foods. So did his twin brother, Mark, his daughter, Mandy, and wife and high school sweetheart, Linda.
“She's known me through thick and thin, literally,” Kolterman said. Linda makes sure he's “more stylish” now that he needs new clothes.
Small changes added up to make a big difference in Kolterman's weight loss — such as eating single servings.
“When you're (on the go), it's easier to grab something, and I was grabbing too much,” he said. He still treats his sweet spot for doughnuts, but stops at just one.
Kolterman walks three or four times a week, too, usually three miles. That's 24 laps at the local track. To keep track, he puts pennies in his pocket and transfers one to his other pocket each time he finishes a lap. The workout is over when he runs out of pennies.
He knows people who joke about exercise: “You only have so many heartbeats,” they say, “and you don't want to waste them.”
“I loved to be clever like that,” Kolterman said about his previous mentality. He'd refer to himself as the original couch potato. Now he's committed to working out.
“You can be flippant all you want, but you feel so much better (when you exercise).”
Better than watching reruns of “NCIS,” he said, “but I still do that, too.”
It's about finding a balance and starting slow, he said. He didn't lose weight every week but kept at it knowing the pounds would eventually come off.
“You have to take one step at a time. It's like when you're learning to walk. You don't get up and start running a marathon.”
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