"I've tried many diets," he says. "I just felt that none of them were really successful. I want to live a long, good life, and I know if I stay as I am, I know that there would be some problems."
At 340 pounds, Nathaniel says he was struggling with his health. "I'm not a full-blown diabetic, but they think I'm borderline of being type two diabetes, and that's a big concern. I have major back problems, and then with my acid reflux it'll make my chest start hurting … I'm scared to the point where I feel like I'm having a heart attack."
Nathaniel's mother, Connie, hopes the surgery will help bring an end to her son's health problems. "His health was progressively getting worse. The diabetes, the sleep apnea, it was his knees, his ankles. He really had no choice but to get the weight off, and this was the last resort."
His weight has also affected his social life. "When I was in like kindergarten through like third grade, they would always tease me, you know, 'Fat boy, blah blah blah,' and it really hurt me. I got to the point to where I didn't even want to go to school anymore. As I got older, I learned to just take what they say and I kinda turn it into a joke."