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Held Back by His Weight

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Laura Zabriskie

February 15, 2018
Kevin Murphy spent much of his life in and around airplanes. He fixed them, flew in them, and sometimes, dropped supplies out of them. He loved it, but his weight grounded him...literally. Kevin was in the U.S. military for most of his life, and went on several overseas tours throughout his 33 years of service. Although he was incredibly dedicated to his work, he often felt held back by his weight.

He was always in what he described as "the fat boy program" because he was not within the Air Force's required weight range. He was regularly weighed and counseled on health and fitness. Despite this, he never lost enough weight to be in the required range and he eventually developed diabetes. Kevin’s weight got so out of control that he no longer felt comfortable flying and took on a more administrative role. Having to stay on the ground was a discouraging and very visible consequence of his weight, both to him and to his fellow service members.

Kevin fell into a depression and began experiencing severe anxiety; he turned to food for comfort. "It was like I was eating the last supper every night," he said. The more he ate, the more weight he gained. The more weight he gained, the more depressed he became. The more depressed he became, the more he turned to food for comfort.

After years of unsuccessful attempts to lose weight, he decided to consider the option of weight-loss surgery. He had been aware of bariatric surgery for some time, but he was hesitant to take that step for himself. When he was introduced to Dr. Elizabeth Dovec, bariatric surgeon and medical director of GBMC’s Comprehensive Obesity Management Program (COMP), he was immediately put at ease and decided to move forward.

Kevin had bariatric surgery when he was 60-years-old and has lost almost 100 pounds since the procedure in 2014. His diabetes is under control and he is in a much better place with his mental health. Almost everything about his life is different. He went from avoiding gyms like the plague to actively seeking them out and going three to four times a week. He is very involved in COMP and has spoken at several weight-loss information sessions. He can often be found volunteering and participating in COMP events.

Kevin feels better than ever and is doing things he never thought he could. He has never looked back.
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