Rediscovering Life After 180-lb. Weight Loss

At nearly 450 pounds, Wilton man seeks help from Genesis Center for Weight Management

Kurt Kritz after bariatric surgery at Genesis.

Kurt Kritz of Wilton, Iowa, shows
off a pair of jeans he used to
wear when he weighed nearly
450 pounds and had trouble fitting
behind the wheel of his truck. He
has lost 180 pounds with the help
of laparoscopic Roux-en-Y surgery.

Kurt Kritz looked in the mirror and was terrified at his image. He saw a morbidly obese man whose skin seemed to be turning gray.

He saw a man in the mirror who he predicted wouldn't survive more than a few more years if he continued in the direction he was headed. The weight he was carrying threatened his physical health, while also impacting his mental health.

At 41, Kritz was forced to consider the possibility that he would die and leave a wife and two children without a husband and father.

"Looking at myself, I remember thinking, ‘I will be gone by Christmas 2010.' That was only about three years at that point,'' he said. "I was having trouble holding a job because I physically couldn't be on my feet eight hours a day and there were work vehicles I couldn't fit into.

"I was depressed and was treated for that. I was being treated for high blood pressure. I felt so hopeless."

But like many before him, the Wilton, Iowa resident discovered hope through his introduction to the Genesis Center for Weight Management.

He weighed nearly 450 pounds when he began looking at the Genesis program.

Kritz lost nearly 50 pounds through a prescribed liquid diet program before having laparoscopic Roux-en-Y surgery. From a high of nearly 450 pounds, he now weighs about 270 pounds and is still more than a month short of his one-year anniversary of the surgery.

Patients still must make a lifetime commitment to controlled eating and other lifestyle changes.

As a result of the surgery, the 6-foot, 5-inch Kritz has gone from a size 60 to a size 42 pant size, and the 42s are now about ready to fall off. He has gone from being unable to exercise to walking 1-2 miles each night and jogging a couple of times a week. He is off the hypertension medication.

"I have new zest for life,'' he said. "I've done a lot of things that I couldn't do because of my weight. My only regret is that I didn't do this earlier.''

Weight-loss surgery at Genesis can transform lives, but only after patients have experienced the program's multi-faceted approach. Prospective weightloss patients attend introductory education classes, followed by consultations with nurses, dietitian, psychologist, surgeon, physical therapist, pharmacist and recreational therapist. Only patients who adhere to the preparatory regimen are scheduled for surgery. Support groups are available before and after surgery.

"It isn't as simple as just deciding you want the surgery and going in to get it the next day,'' Kritz said. "You are told throughout the process that surgery is only a tool and success also depends on the motivation of the patient. You still have to be careful about what you eat, and exercise has to be part of the plan.''

But for Kritz and many others, the surgery is life changing and in many cases, life-extending.

The last time he had tried to go to an amusement park with his kids, Kritz couldn't ride many of the rides. He couldn't fit into the cars. He also couldn't walk long enough to enjoy a full day at a park.

"It's funny how something like that helps motivate you. I wanted to go back and ride all of the roller coasters,'' he explained. "We went on a cruise. Now I want to go on a cruise where I don't have to wear the extended seat belt on the plane.

"There were a lot of things I didn't do with my kids because of my weight. Now I can do them. But the most important thing is that I now have confidence that I will be there for my wife and kids.''

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