Bariatrics weight-loss program gives couple new start on life

Katie Werth, APRN, with Brent and Darla Marriott

“And so they built a life they loved.” This message has been Brent and Darla Marriott’s most coveted quote since they married five years ago. But never has it been more a part of their lives than now.

Together, the two have lost more than 200 pounds in less than a year through the Nebraska Medicine New Direction® weight-loss program.

“It has been a life-changing experience,” says Brent. “I can’t think of anything else we could have done that would have changed so many aspects of our lives. Physically and mentally, we feel good, we look good, and we have never felt better about ourselves.”

Brent and Darla’s weight-loss journey started in January 2022 when Brent received some very concerning news from his primary care doctor that became the inspiration for change.

“He told me I was morbidly obese, I was prediabetic, and had high blood pressure,” recalls Brent. “I either needed to lose weight, or I’d have to deal with a lot of chronic health problems that would probably shorten my lifespan.”

His doctor suggested he make an appointment with the Nebraska Medicine Bariatrics Center, which offers a variety of physician-directed weight-loss programs.

Brent was 277 pounds with a body mass index of 40+.  He had been fighting his weight for most of his adult life, but nothing seemed to stick. He knew he had to do something. When he came home that afternoon, he talked to Darla, who was also overweight.

The two agreed that they would tackle their weight problem together.

“I was on board right away,” says Darla. “We just needed that nudge.”

Brent and Darla Marriott
Brent and Darla Marriott

The very next day, they had an appointment with Katie Werth, APRN, Bariatrics Center weight management case manager, to discuss their options.

The Bariatrics Center has many tools to help patients lose weight, including one-on-one weight-loss counseling visits with a dietitian, medical weight loss that can involve bariatric surgery, a meal replacement plan and/or weight-loss medications. The program is designed and directed by fellowship-trained physicians in medical weight management and bariatric surgery.

Brent and Darla decided on a very low-calorie diet plan using meal replacements and medications to help reduce hunger and cravings. “We wanted to do something that we felt would be sustainable over the long term, and that meant something that would require us to change our eating habits,” says Brent.

The couple became accountability partners and relied on each other to stay committed. “Being able to work together made all the difference,” says Darla.

After meeting with Werth, the two underwent a comprehensive evaluation that included lab tests and an EKG to ensure they had no medical problems that would preclude them from the meal replacement program.

“I meet and evaluate each person individually to make sure the plan they choose is medically safe and the best option for them,” says Werth. “Brent and Darla knew they had to make major changes in their lives and were very motivated and committed.”

The Marriotts saw Werth monthly for a medical evaluation and to discuss their progress. As the months passed and the pounds began to shed, they gradually tapered off meal replacements. They also learned how to prepare and eat healthy meals and learned portion control from one-on-one meetings with dietitians and monthly group meetings hosted by the program.

“We basically had to relearn how to eat,” says Brent. “Their advice has changed our lives.”

The Marriotts also made exercise a priority and turned it into something they could enjoy together. “We’ve always liked to walk and be outdoors, but walking was hindered greatly by our weight,” explains Brent. “Before we started the program, I could only walk a mile or less before I would be huffing and puffing.”

Now the two hike, explore different parks and trails on the weekends and walk three to five miles most days. “Being outdoors allows us to connect with nature and each other,” says Darla. “It’s been life-altering. We feel better and have more energy, which makes us want to go out and do more things together. Like our favorite quote, we like to say we are building a happier, healthier life that we love.”

With Brent’s 110-pound weight loss, his health has also improved dramatically. “I’m no longer prediabetic, and my blood pressure is normal,” he says.

“There are a lot of comorbidities that are related to weight and can be managed with weight loss, and Brent is evidence of that,” says Werth.

Darla has dropped over 100 pounds since starting the New Direction® weight-loss program. From the time they began the program, they felt confident they had the tools in place to succeed

“We went into this knowing it was a two-to-three-year commitment,” says Brent. “Before we started, we had no idea something like this existed. This program and everyone in it have been amazing. They have given us all the tools and support to help us succeed.”

Learn how the Bariatrics Center can help you
Interested in learning more about weight-loss options offered at the Bariatrics Center? Call 402.559.9500 to get started.