Immobilized by morbid obesity, a bed-bound Oregon-based man claimed his life back after being on oxygen 24 hours a day. At over 700 pounds (317 kg), he faced an uphill battle, but then someone came along to boost his faith in himself, in love, and in a brighter future.
Less than a year later, and 260 pounds (118 kg) lighter, Matt Entizne got down on one knee and proposed to the love of his life, Jacqueline Oglesby-Nihipali.
‘I Was Suicidal’
“Spiritually, mentally, physically, I was suicidal. I was laying in a bed, naked, at 700 pounds. I hadn’t worn clothes in years; I hadn’t left that room in years,” Matt, 40, told The Epoch Times in an interview.
The father of three from Eugene found his weight spiraling out of control after a toxic relationship, his brother’s death, a workaholic lifestyle, and a nine-year addiction to painkillers. A prisoner in his own body, he spent five years confined to his bed.
Around Christmas 2015, Matt refused to wear his BPAP oxygen ventilator at night and went blind for a week. Coupled with his heavy dose of prescription narcotics, the depletion of oxygen caused potentially brain-damaging hypoxia.
It took almost a year for Matt’s vision to improve, during which time he started using his oxygen mask 24 hours a day. His ex-wife was a caregiver, but the relationship had soured; his three beloved daughters came every single day to help.
“I have hundreds of documented hospitalizations, doctors’ visits, all pertaining to obesity in the last 15 years,” Matt admitted. “The doctors told me I would never walk again … at one point, they said, ‘If you stay on this path, you have six months or less to live.’ That’s what they told me back in 2017.”
Matt quit opiates for good in October 2019. Still, in withdrawal, he endured his worst ever case of bronchial pneumonia two months later.
Shortly before his 40th birthday, on Aug. 4, 2020, he decided enough was enough and he wanted to take control of his life.
The New Regime
Adopting a vegan diet and intermittent fasting upon the recommendation of a friend, Matt, who was on a bed-bound workout, saw changes fast. On Day 40 of his new regime, he sat up in bed; on Day 60, he left the bed to work out with his band-retention equipment, soon putting down his oxygen mask for good.
Witnessing his progress, it was Matt’s daughters who told him to document his journey online. Jacqueline, a mom of two and marketing manager from Pomona, California, believes this was the reason they eventually met.
Finding Matt on a vegan forum in November 2020, Jacqueline was impressed and reached out.
“I see this man who’s in a bed, doing exercises; here I am, perfectly able and not doing anything about trying to lose weight, and so I messaged him just saying, ‘Hey, keep up the good work, you’re inspiring me!'” she recalled. “I wasn’t expecting him to message me back … I wasn’t thinking, ‘This is going to be my future husband’ at all.”
Meanwhile, Matt believes that it was love at first sight.
“I was adamant about not being in a relationship ever again in my life … but she kidnapped my heart.”
However, he was initially resistant to intimacy in the early stages, choosing to focus on his lifestyle overhaul as he hired a coach, named Gunner, who encouraged him to confront his demons from within. Additionally, he found encouragement from the motivational speaker Tony Robbins, on discipline, state of mind, and changing performance.
Then, there was God.
“I’m a very spiritual, faith-based person,” Matt explained. “It’s very simple for me: I would not be alive right now, I would not be where I’m at right now, without Jesus Christ. And that’s a fact.”
From Strength to Strength
As Matt’s mobility went from strength to strength, so did his relationship with Jacqueline.
“The day after I met her is when I finally sat up for the first time in all those years,” he recalled. “I’ve never had that affection from another woman like that … and that was a big difference to a motivating factor.”
Matt shared all his desires and what he wanted to do with Jacquline the first time he met her. However, she wanted him to put all of his plans in action, reasoning, “Sometimes I feel like I push him a little hard, only because I see the potential.”
For Matt, that was encouraging because, for the first time in years, he had someone who was holding him accountable.
He set himself a goal: to walk outside his room on June 15, 2021. On June 14, Jacquline called him and discovered that he’d forgotten about this. “He was scared to do it because he was afraid of failure,” she explained. Yet after their phone call, Matt got back on track, walking later that same day and posting footage online.
He didn’t stop there; he had another goal in mind, and this time it involved dropping to one knee. Jacquline remembers Sept. 4 in perfect detail.
“He was planning a little birthday party for me,” she recalled. “His mom, and his friends, and all the kids … we’re just out in the living room, chit-chatting, eating, and then all of a sudden he goes, ‘I need to go to the bathroom.'”
Matt left the room, sending someone to ask for toilet paper minutes later. Jacquline grabbed the paper and walked to the bedroom.
“When I opened the door, there was an Elvis Presley impersonator standing in the bedroom, and he starts singing [“I Can’t Help Falling In Love”] to me,” said Jacquline. “Matt got on one knee.”
His shocked fiancée “actually looked at the ring for a second to make sure it was real,” Matt joked.
He later shared the big news on Facebook, posting, “She said yes! … During the darkest seasons of my life, I never thought I’d be alive to see myself transform into a brand new man, let alone have an amazing woman like you in it all!”
The happy couple plan to marry in March 2022.
Ahead of the big day, Jacquline claims Matt’s success is motivating her to change her ways as she’s slipped into binge-eating after losing her father in June, but maintains that she and her husband-to-be “both want to be healthy.” “We both want to live a long life. We have goals,” she added.
Jacquline also revels in a sweet coincidence: her late father’s name was Matt, too. Today, her fiancé wears a pair of her father’s shoes, calling them his “lucky shoes.”
“I just can’t help but smile and think about what God is doing as far as bringing us together,” she reflected.
‘She’s My Biggest Fan’
Matt earned his driver’s license in July this year. Since then, he and Jacquline have taken a road trip together, with Matt behind the wheel. He’s planning a weight-loss surgery after losing over 260 pounds, and the couple plans to relocate to either Eugene or Pomona to be together.
Matt is even writing a book about his journey, from being suicidal at 700 pounds to being healthy and happily engaged.
Jacquline loves Matt’s humor and his passion. “My first flowers that I received from a man were from him. He’s just very thoughtful,” she said. “I love the person that he is right now, but I also see who he’s going to be, and I’m in love with both of them.”
“I can say a million things I love about her,” Matt countered. “She encourages me constantly. She’s like my biggest fan, you know?
“Honestly, I can see our future being amazing. Because now that we’re locked in, we love each other, we’re committed to each other … it doesn’t mean that life will be easier, it just means it’ll be worth it.”