A Nebraska man is known around the world as the "Half Ton Man." Patrick Deuel brought his battle with weight to the small screen as the subject of TLC's 2005 documentary.
Deuel was literally eating himself to death. At that time, he weighed in at 1,072 pounds. He hadn't left his bedroom in Valentine, Neb. in seven months.
Crews had to knock down a wall and drive a special ambulance in from Denver to take him to
a South Dakota hospital for gastric bypass surgery. A year later, Patrick weighed 570 pounds and went on to lose another 200 at home.
"I feel exponentially better. I mean, very good," said Deuel.
Weighing in at around 560 pounds today, Deuel is half the man he used to be. No longer confined to a bed, he is battling the bulge one step at a time.
Deuel said, "I can get up. I can move around. I can go places. I can't stand up for long because the years that I've spend overweight have taken their toll on the joints in my body and they don't work as well as they should."
He has gained weight back, after reaching a low of about 370 pounds in 2006. Patrick still suffers from diabetes and congestive heart failure, but doesn't care what the scale says.
"I will consider myself at my goal when I don't have to worry about whether or not I can get
up and do whatever I want to do," explained Deuel.
He's been on disability for 23 years and maintains that his obesity boils down to genetics.
"(It's) my metabolism. I can put out as much energy as somebody else and burn considerably less of the calories," Deuel said.
He usually has a small meal every three hours. He still samples his favorites, only eating less less often.
Deuel said, "You stay away from it. If every time you go to Las Vegas you lost all your money, the way you stop that from happening is you don't go to Las Vegas."
When the documentary aired, nearly five million people tuned in. Deuel said he doesn't regret doing the show and, hopefully, has helped others who are overweight get medical attention.
They don't get the help they need because people can make fun of them and just run them
into the ground," he said.
As for Deuel, he has shed his old title. You can now call him the "Quarter Ton Man."
"I don't know when I've had this much fun," he said.
Deuel and his wife, Edith, now live in Kearney.
Patrick said he's not completely following doctor's orders, since he can't seem to quit cigarettes.
Reporter's Notes by Jessica Phinney:
Deuel said the first thing people who want to lose weight should do is sit down with their doctor and contact a dietician to find out how their body reacts to certain foods.