TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - New studies on American obesity projects that by the year 2030 56% of people in Indiana will be labeled obese. But one local man is using his own fight to make a change in the numbers here at home.
"Here we are climbing up the side of Half Dome and if you had asked me four years ago if I 'd ever done something like that, I'd just looked at you and laughed," Ryan Daffer said look at a picture of himself on top of a Yosemite National Park mountain.
The journey up the side of the mountain in Yellowstone National Park is impressive, but not nearly as impressive as the journey that Ryan brought there.
"My whole life I've dealt with weight in some form or fashion. Most of the time I was able to control it pretty well or at least maintain it," he explains.
But that control was something Ryan Daffer lost hold of in 2004.
"I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, as much as I wanted and I never really thought about what I was putting into my body," he said.
As he spiraled out of control, his weight rose to 735 pounds. Then late one January night he could no longer move and was rushed to Union Hospital in Terre Haute.
The doctor gave Ryan a bleak outlook.
"He said, ‘just visually gauging you right now, if you make it past 72 hours I'll be shocked," Daffer recounts.
Ryan was moved to a rehabilitation clinic. Late one night he made a pact to do everything he could to save himself, starting with learning to walk.
"It wasn't pretty, I couldn't do a whole lot, (but) the next day I went again," he said.
"Those 10 steps turned into 20 steps and those twenty steps turned into 40 steps before I knew it I was up walking around."
In 90 days Ryan would lose 200 pounds and when he left the clinic he continued his battle at home.
To date he's lost over 460 pounds.
A much slimmer Ryan now heads up the United Way and the Vigo County YMCA's joint community wellness program. Helping people just like him take control of their own health.
"Two years ago a friend of mine approached me he's like, ‘hey im gonna do the mini marathon in May you wanna do it?' he said. "I was like are you crazy."
A very sane Ryan not only started, but completed Indianapolis' mini marathon and that's what brings us to Yosemite.
"This year (my friend) comes back and is like, ‘hey you wanna do the mini again?'" Daffer explains. "I said yeah let's do it again. He said, ‘let's do something else this year too…lets go back packing through Yosemite national park'."
A man who could barely stand four years ago now standing tall on the summit of his health and a mountain.
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