Preston Hollow People: Preston Hollow Man Loses 300 Pounds

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Preston Hollow Man Loses 300 Pounds
Salewske slims down thanks to Cooper Clinic

By Margaux Anbouba

In 2000, Rick Saleske had reached a dark place in his life. After years of unhealthy choices, the Preston Hollow resident weight in at 538 pounds.

"I had a pretty destructive lifestyle," Salewske said. "I drank a lot, I had a stressful job, and as I got bigger and bigger, the only things I could do were go to work and come home."

As Salewske's friends and family grew more concerned for his welfare, his employer, Clark Dietrich Building Systems, stepped in as a beacon of hope. They CEO of the company, Bill Courtney, offered to help Salewske lose the weight by paying for $2,000 worth of lap band surgery. But Salewske wanted to drop pounds naturally, so Courtney suggested his employee look into the Cooper Clinic.

"I knew if I started eating right and exercising, [the weight] would come off," Salewske said. "I walked into the Cooper Center at 538 [pounds] and asked if they could help me. They said yes, with the Cooper Lean program."

For $600, Salewske was set up with a dietician and personal trainer. He soon began establishing the good eating and exercise habits he still maintains today. With the extra $1,200, he took hypnosis classes, hoping he could train his brain to crave healthy food instead of junk.

In the first four months of working out at the Cooper Center, Salewske lost 100 pounds and was faced with an obstacle: the Cooper Lean program was complete, but he couldn't afford to continue going to the gym.

Through a friend of a friend, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the founder of the Cooper Clinic, heard Salewske's story and granted him access to the gym for free. His dedication to his health caught the attention of Cooper's son, Dr. Tyler Cooper.

"I would see him working out, and saw his consistency and discipline," Tyler said. "I was playing basketball at the gym, and he would always watch us. After losing about 100 pounds, he started playing with us."

Two years after walking into the Cooper Clinic, Salewske weight in at 238, putting his weight loss at a monumental 300 pounds.

He has been able to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle for more than a decade. To celebrate this milestone, Salewske decided to run the New York Marathon last year, with a twist.

"i was brought into the Cooper Aerobics Center, and they gave me a free membership," Salewske said. "I wanted to pay them back, so I decided to raise money for Dr. Cooper with my marathon. I wanted to do it to motivate people, showing them at age 50 I could run a marathon and lose all this weight."

Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy had other plans, and the marathon was canceled. But that didn't discourage Salewske, or his running partner, Tyler Cooper, from entering the race again this year.

Next week, the pair will be heading up to New York to run their first marathon together. Along the way, Salewske is raising funds for the fight against childhood obesity through his campaign Run Rick Run.

"I've always been inspired by [Rick]," Tyler Cooper said. "He is a living example of what we teach and preach at the Cooper Clinic, which is personal responsibility for your health."