It was football that kept Kommer in shape through his youth. He played football through high school and college at Campbellsville University. As a college senior, Kommer was 235 pounds – strong, athletic and quick.
“Then once I got out of football, life just started – career, wife, kids – and things just get pushed to the backburner. I stopped working out all-together and the weight just kept piling on year after year. I just let myself go,” Kommer said. “Sometimes it would just be 10 pounds in a year, then the next year I might gain 50 or 60. Then I’d lose 30. There was constant yo-yo’ing of my weight, up and down, but always progressively climbing up.”
Kommer’s physical and mental health suffered greatly. He tried every diet imaginable – Atkins, Keto, South Beach, you name it. He was desperate for a solution. That’s when he saw a post on Facebook from a high school friend who had entered a weight loss contest.
“I didn’t really think much of it, then a few weeks later I found out he had won the competition and a cash prize of $25,000,” Kommer said. “That piqued my interest because I actually knew the person who won. So that made it real to me and I checked into it.”
Kommer decided to subscribe to the online coaching program that had promoted the contest. Kommer also signed up to be on a team with the Henry County Public School’s Biggest Loser contest. Then, he became a student - listening to motivational speakers and reading self-help books.
“That combination really helped changed my mindset around food and exercise and life in general,” Kommer said. “I made a lot of changes in how I structure my life and the systems I have in place to keep me being consistent and staying on my program. I think the combination of the program, Biggest Loser and learning how different people handle and solve their problems or how they are able to overcome – those three things were the greatest factors in changing my overall mindset.”
Kommer’s “program,” Precision Nutrition, is an online coaching program that provides a daily lesson, workouts and a coach. The program helps participants slowly change habits, which in turn helps them change their ideas about nutrition and exercise.
“When I first started using the program, I just wanted to lose some weight and change some habits – that was really my plan,” Kommer said. “The weight started coming off pretty quick. Then I thought changing some habits and losing some weight sounds like a good goal. But when you really think about it, that sounds pretty weak, especially when you’re thinking about what you really want to accomplish in your life.”
Kommer said the more he pushed himself to be consistent with the program and with his diet and exercise, the more success he experienced, which in turn contributed to his motivation to take it to the next level.
“I had gotten to April of last year and had lost about 40 pounds, and I just made a commitment to myself that I was going to try to lose as much weight as I possibly could in that year,” Kommer said. “That’s what I committed to. I made up my mind and I did it. I think I just willed myself to get to the point where I wanted to be.”
Not only did Kommer lose 125 pounds, he also won second place in this past year’s weight loss contest, earning him a $10,000 cash prize. He said he has gained an incredible amount of confidence, not only in how he conducts himself on a daily basis, but in truly believing in himself and his ability to persevere.
“I really believe that if I want to achieve anything, I can. Before, those were just words. I really feel much more confident in myself, more able to take on life’s challenges,” Kommer said. “If you push yourself beyond what you’re comfortable with, then when when things get difficult, you can look back on those times and know that you can get through it.”
Kommer said he would like to lose about 10 to 20 more pounds and then maintain his weight loss and fitness routine. He’s also set some challenging goals for 2020, that he wholeheartedly believes he will achieve. Some are physical like swimming a mile or running a half marathon. Others will contribute to his well-being in different ways, like reading one book per month.
Kommer’s changes to his personal life have also positively impacted his professional life as a teacher, especially as it relate to goal-setting.
“It’s been good for my students to see, and that’s one of the reason I did the program. I wanted my kids to see that if you put your mind to something, if you have a goal, if you give everything you have, you can achieve the goal – maybe not in the timeframe you want but if you keep at it stay consistent it will happen,” Kommer said. “I’ve been able to share quite a bit with the kids on just the mindset around believing you can achieve something and setting up daily habits and consistency.”
Kommer’s classroom is decorated with positive and motivational quotes and advice, but he knows from personal experience that motivation is not enough.
“Every day is a choice to get better or not, or to get closer to what you want in your life,” Kommer said. “What our kids struggle with is just showing up for life. A lot of our kids would be content to just sit on the couch glued to their phones or watching TV all day. I’m trying to get them to understand that there’s way more out there, a much better life waiting for you if you just push yourself beyond what you’re comfortable with. Push yourself through those things you don’t want to do. Then you’re going to start seeing some success. Just showing up isn’t going to get you where you want to be, you have to put some effort into it.”
Kommer is a living example of this to his students. He said he thinks they are proud of him, but more importantly, he is proud of himself and his accomplishment.
“I am proud of myself. I wasn’t proud of myself before in any area of my life, but my weight was just a symptom of my problem. Everybody’s got something. We all have something that’s holding us back probably. I think it’s just figuring out what that thing is and attacking it,” Kommer said. “I had become the least important person to me. I didn’t make myself a priority. That might seem selfish, but you’ve got to take care of yourself first. Now, I’m a better husband, father, friend and teacher. My mindset is completely different.”