Check Up 13: Martin County man loses 83 pounds, on track to lose 50 more

Nate Wagler has lost a significant amount of weight, and he's not finished. (Photos provided)
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MARTIN COUNTY, Ind. (WTHR) - Nate Wagler knew he was gaining weight. He estimated each year he added another 15 pounds.

And then somewhere along the way, Nate lost track.

"You put weight on slowly over several years, you don't realize how big you are. I never even thought about it. My knees started hurting and I didn't have the energy anymore. Then it finally hit me that something needed to be done or you're not going to live that long," Wagler said.

It was during a trip to Alaska with his family that he realized that at 5 foot 10 inches and 350 pounds, he needed help. When Nate's blood pressure skyrocketed, his cardiologist recommended he consider gastric bypass surgery.

"My heart doctor told me I will probably gain fifteen years of my life back, and when you are 46 years old, that is a big deal," said Wagler.

Nate Wagler has lost 83 pounds, is on track to lose 50 more.

Nate and his wife Jan are raising their two teenage boys and operate JJ's Concrete. The couple just celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary and decided to research Nate's options at Meridian Surgical Group in Carmel, which is part of the St. Vincent Bariatric Weight Loss Center.

"Nate come to see me at the age of 45 and his BMI had just hit 50 because he was 350 pounds and this was really starting to concern him," said surgeon Christopher Crawford, MD. "We really like to catch people early, one before things get too far out of hand. Some people think that they need to be extremely obese before they would pursue this but it's actually better to try to stop problems before they develop, before they get advanced diabetes and before they have complications from advanced heart disease. If someone can come in when they are 150 pounds overweight and turn their life around and improve all of their medical conditions, we would like to try and see them then before things get too far along."

Eventually, Nate opted for laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass surgery. He had the procedure in December, 2018. By April, he had lost 83 pounds.

Crawford predicts he will lose another 50 pounds and plateau at the two-year post-surgery mark.

Crawford calls the Roux-en-Y the gold standard weight loss surgery.

"There is always potential complications and risks, but the risk of dying after surgery, which we measure in a 30-day interval after surgery, is .1 percent, which is one out of a thousand people, which is the same as having your gallbladder removed," Crawford said.

Crawford says post-surgery, patients do best when they network with one another and alter their diet to consume small portions in three to five meals per day.

In Indiana, obesity rates continue to increase. Nearly 39 percent of adults in Marion County are obese. Another 30 percent are overweight.

"Certainly, some people try to do this on their own and if they are able to lose weight on their own that is great, kudos to them. But the body is meant to try to keep the weight on. What we know is that 95 percent of people who try to lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off are unable to do so and it's because your metabolism is going to try to keep you at that weight," said Crawford.

Now that Nate has lost weight, he feels better and has more energy. He's more active with his teenage sons.

"We are excited for the summer and different things we have planned, and I know the boys are excited," Jan said.

While Nate had success, not everyone is a candidate for gastric bypass surgery. If you or a loved one is interested in learning what the bariatric options are and who is a good candidate, you may register on April 13, 2019, to attend a free Bariatric Seminar for courtesy St. Vincent and Check Up 13.

Click here to learn more.

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