Melissa Morris tells 500-pound weight loss in TLC's My 600-lb Life

Updated: 01 Feb 2012
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The woman formerly known as: Melissa Morris shows up her old skirt - made of a vast 12 feet of fabric - and tells GMA just how much her life has changed 

Her story is one of epic proportions - and a life-saving determination to change her body forever.

Melissa Morris, mother-of-one, has reason to be proud: She has gone from being one of the world's heaviest people, weighing a shocking 673 pounds, to a healthy weight of around just 170 pounds.

Dropping an astonishing 500 pounds, the Texan has undergone a transformation that is hard to comprehend, affording her new-found freedom and independence that she may never have lived to have seen.

Melissa's tale is now the subject of new TLC show, My 600-lb Life, in which she joins three other morbidly obese individuals on the journey of drastic weight loss.

Speaking with ABC News' Good Morning America, the now-slender Melissa, who says she 'literally lives for' her two-year-old daughter, recalls the moment that prompted her to end the extreme lifestyle to which she had become so addicted.

Recovering from a cancer operation, her mother, still in bandages, asked her: 'Can I get up and make you something to eat?'

It was all she needed to hear, she explains: 'My mom could die and she's worried about whether she can get up and get me something to eat'. She says that she knew that she had had enough and went in search of a doctor who would take on the challenge of performing gastric bypass surgery on her huge body.
 
  
From that, to this: Melissa's old self is unrecognisable to the woman she is today. Happy and slender, she says she lives for her two-year-old daughter - but was prompted to lose weight by her mum's cancer 
 
'I don't hope to be skinny, I hope to be healthy,' she is heard telling the cameras on a clip from the new show.

Her husband Chris remembers his wife's enormous appetite. 'It would be nothing for me to bring home 2 Big Macs, 20 McNuggets, chocolate bars, soda pop' he told the network. But all that has changed, with Melissa's post-surgery diet strictly limited to three well-balanced meals a day.

TLC shows the process of Melissa's surgery and the shift from focusing on food and little else to finally being able to start a family.

Looking happy and healthy - if a little shell-shocked by the experience - Melissa showed the GMA audience the skirt she wore to the hospital on the day she had surgery. Arms outstretched, the garment is made of a vast, 12-foot-length of fabric.

Her obesity was wrapped up in the nature of her marriage, and Melissa admits to the news programme that her massive transformation has taken its toll on her relationship with husband, Chris.

Speaking about her over-reliance on him - she was unable to move without his help or that of her mobility scooter - she says she 'let him' do everything for her, putting him the position of 'caretaker.'

'As I got skinny, I'm like "I don't want you to do that, I can do that,"' she said, describing how the marriage is going through a process of redefinition to come to terms with the couple's new independence.

The change, no matter how positive, is yet to permeate the way she sees herself - and the mom admits that she does not like to look at pictures of the old Melissa.

'Unfortunately, I'm still her,' she told ABC. 'That lady next to me is still me. Every day I look in the mirror, I still see the 673 pound lady.'
 
673 pounds and counting: Melissa features in the new TLC series, My 600 pound life. The show sees her aiming to lose a third of her bodyweight - but she achieves far more 
 
Bypass for your life: All four of the show's subjects have life changing gastric bypass surgery in 2004 - the four-part series charts their struggle to lead normal lives
 
My 600-lb Life, premiering on February 1, sees the group, each member of which weighs over 600 pounds, attempting to lose an astonishing one ton between them.

The story has taken an amazing seven years to document. In 2004, cameras started rolling to film the four overweight Americans as they each underwent a life-changing gastric bypass operation.

They were some of the heaviest patients ever operated on for the revolutionary surgery.

The chance of the grave procedure having a lasting successful outcome was just five per cent.

The four-part series shows the life-saving but traumatic experience of surgery, the highs and lows of dealing with addiction and dependence - and the transformation from being utterly dependent to gaining a modicum of normality and a sense of self worth.

At the outset, their extraordinary weight means the foursome have little or no independence, relying on care just to live from day to day.

Some are bed-bound, unable to move from their homes.

'It's awful to realise what I had done to myself,' says one woman in a sneak peak of the forthcoming first episode, while a man is heard admitting: 'I knew that I was gonna die.'

But, as Melissa shows, lives are very much interlinked, with the transformations affecting not only the health and happiness of the individuals but those families and friends around them.

The difficulties between Melissa and Chris are evident - their relationship shows the strain on camera, with the newly less-weighty wife admitting that her husband is struggling to come to terms with his newly active wife.
 
Checked baggage: One woman describes her husband's fear of her new-found independence. 'He's afraid I'm gonna leave him,' she sobs on a preview clip
 
'He's afraid I'm gonna leave him,' she sobs.

The clip shows a horrendous post-surgery wound - and many a tear as the changelings come to terms with what they had done to themselves.

Melissa said: 'I could tell you this whole journey was easy, but that would be a lie. But it wouldn't be a lie to tell you it was worth it.

'No-one can understand it's like to go from where I was to where I am today.'

Embodying that dependence - and independence - the story is about a lot more than weight loss: Facing the horrendous truth and taking the hard journey from forced medical intervention to developing a sense of pride.
 
SOURCE: Daily Mail
 

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