PARKER, SD -
The Turner County Courthouse has a lost quite a bit over the last couple of months, but in a good way. Fourteen employees, including the Sheriff, have been taking part in a weight loss challenge, and the results have them celebrating their losses.
Standing at 6'7", Sheriff Byron Nogelmeier is walking tall, but these days he's much lighter on his feet.
"There's a lot less Sheriff there," Donna Slack said.
His commanding presence is still known, but he doesn't quite fill out his uniform like before.
"I stepped on the scale. I said, 'Holy buckets. I can play lineman for the Minnesota Vikings.' I weighed too much," Nogelmeier said.
The hit he took from that helped spur a challenge for not only himself, but employees throughout the Turner County Courthouse.
"We were all talking after New Years about our goals and stuff and we decided we'd start a weight loss challenge," Slack said.
Fourteen employees, divided into two teams, began a nine-week challenge to see who could lose the most weight and keep a sense of humor.
"Our motto was, 'If it tastes good, spit it out,'" Nogelmeier said.
All told, more than 145 pounds were lost; 30 came just from Nogelmeier.
"For me personally, I stayed away from breads, ate chicken and fish, and I did eat some red meat, lettuce, vegetables," Nogelmeier said.
Employees at the Turner County Courthouse plan to continue with the challenges. Next, they will encourage moderate exercise like walking. The goal is to stay healthy, but also maybe lower health care costs.
"Our insurance costs keep going up year after year after year. If we can get a little healthier, at least we're being a little more proactive and trying to help in that situation," Slack said.
Employees just wrapped up a second nine-week challenge. Final numbers aren't in, but Nogelmeier dropped another 20, proving a big loss is not such a bad thing.
"I want to stay healthy for my family and my friends and I want to be around forever," Nogelmeier said.
"If we can do it, anyone can do it," Slack said.
Since his weight loss, the Sheriff has been taken off cholesterol medication. He's also dropped his blood sugar level.
The county employees plan to put an official wellness program in place.
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