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Kollin drops 121 pounds, skydives to celebrate feat

(Sept. 26, 2014) Some react to turning 40 by bringing home a new car.

Baltimore friends Josh Kollin, left, and Ron Chiverella Jr stand in their skydiving gear last Saturday, when the duo make a 10,000-foot jump from a plane with Skydive OC. Kollin trimmed down from 329 pounds to 208 to meet the weight requirement for the jump. (Photo courtesy of Josh Kollin)

Baltimore’s Josh Kollin dropped 121 pounds and jumped out of an airplane.

The Charm City resident visited Ocean City last Saturday to take a 10,000-foot plunge in celebration of his lifestyle change, marking the first of what he hopes will be many new goals.

“It was just a very exhilarating moment,” Kollin said. “It was worth every mile, every counted calorie, every moment of self-doubt and every moment of accomplishment to make it happen.”

After hitting 329 pounds and seeing a friend’s health suffer because of excess weight, the graphic designer decided in February to make a major change. He’s dropped to 208 pounds since, thanks to a daily dose of cardio, including 10.5-mile walks in the morning, and Krav Maga, an Israeli form of martial arts.

Part of Kollin’s inspiration came from Food Network Star Alton Brown, who did an episode on his own weight loss.

“He brought up a lot of interesting points on how you look at things,” Kollin said. “You don’t do a diet — a diet implies ending. He changed his lifestyle, his eating.”

A more unusual muse, and one that helped him dub the skydiving trip “Operation Laugh at 40 Penguin Drop,” was a Bloom County comic strip featuring Opus the ungainly penguin pouring over the latest diets fads.

A longtime Sunfest visitor, Kollin decided to stage his dive at the beach rather than his hometown.

“I really wanted to experience the view,” he said, adding, “if I’m going to plummet to the earth and possibly die, I wouldn’t mind dying in the ocean.”

A friend sparked the idea to making skydiving part of his weight-loss goal early in the process, because Skydive OC requires participants to weigh no more than 250 pounds, Kollin said.

“I thought, ‘OK, I’ve got to hit 250,’” he said. “When I started this, I didn’t expect to be losing 121 pounds.”

He and friend Ron Chiverella, Jr. took the plunge after the weather cleared last Saturday. The two are already planning their next series of adventures, from scuba diving and skiing to riding a mechanical bull.

Kollin hopes to lose 10 more pounds before his annual Thanksgiving trip to Mexico, the first time his parents will see him since he began the transformation.

“It was very, very nice to achieve a goal and now that it’s over it’s kind of surreal,” he said of last weekend’s jump. Still, he added, his work is far from complete.

“I can’t picture an end result,” Kollin said. “I see this more as a lifestyle change.”

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