David Penix was always “a bigger guy.” He weighed 250 pounds in high school in Harlan County.
“I tried every fad diet out there for years,” he said. “I would lose weight for a little bit. Then I’d stop losing weight and go off the diet and end up gaining more weight than I lost. It was a vicious cycle.”
Three hundred pounds came and went. His feet swelled so much that he was wearing a size 9.5 or 10 shoe, when he previously wore a 7.5. “I accepted that as my new normal and went on,” he said.
Age 30 came and went. “I couldn't weigh myself at home anymore,” said Penix, 33, and now living in Lexington.
He didn’t like going to the doctor because it meant he would have to get on the scales. He couldn’t make it around the grocery store, so he had to rely on his girlfriend to finish the shopping. He works in a prison and found there were times he couldn’t make it to the office.
“I got really worried I wasn’t going to see 40,” he said.
Just shy of 440 pounds, Penix made the decision to talk with the team at the Center for Weight Loss Surgery at Saint Joseph East.
He had his surgery in February 2020, just a month before the COVID-19 pandemic began and elective surgeries were put on pause.
“They saved my life,” he said of the team at the center. “I’m a completely different person than I was then.”
He lost 180 pounds and was down to 260 by December. His pants size dropped from a 64 to a 46. He started wearing a size XL shirt - something he hadn’t been able to wear since he was 12 years old. He’s able to walk a mile and not be completely out of breath. He’s happier.