Major Weight Loss

By: Rachel Alig Email
By: Rachel Alig Email

Melanie Calvert Benton of Pearl, Mississippi struggled most of her life to control her weight issues. She made many attempts to lose the weight, but nothing proved successful until now.

Benton was partly motivated by the statistics of Mississippians. According to the Mississippi Department of Health, as of July 2009, Mississippi officially has the highest rates of childhood and adult obesity. This marks the fifth year in a row that Mississippian adults have topped that list. The percentage of children overweight in Mississippi is a full 6.9% higher than second place. Benton hopes her story will motivate change.

"Can you tell the difference? This is what I was wearing last year at about this time," says Benton as she shows the old pair of pants she used to wear.

51-year-old Melanie Calvert Benton has struggled with her weight for as long as she can remember. It finally occurred to her that her health was in jeopardy.

"I struggled with weight loss almost all of my life. And I had to make a decision whether I wanted to live or die. And I chose to live."

Choosing to live, meant getting into better physical shape and making healthier decisions. Benton tried Weight Watchers, Sugar Busters, and Alli. All of them were failed attempts to shed the pounds. That's when she decided to get gastric bypass surgery.

"I chose gastric bypass because I knew it would be permanent and it would be something that I couldn't cheat at."

After the surgery, Benton realized she had made the right decision for herself. Her physical appearance changed drastically.

"This time last year I was wearing 22, 24, 26 depending on how it fit me. I'm now wearing a size 16 in a top and still coming down. It's a wonderful feeling," exclaims Benton.

But the surgery changed more than Benton's outside appearance. Gary Benton, her husband of three years, says her self confidence thrived.

"As she said previously and has told me many times, she had low self esteem. low self-worth. But following the surgery it was a different makeup of her ego. She is much improved, much happier. She's realized the stereotype of a fat person always being happy is not true," reflects Gary Benton.

Now that Benton has gone through the surgery, she says she lives an overall healthier life style. With healthy living, she is able to do more of what she loves.

"It's an everyday commitment toward being a healthier person where I can do the everyday things I love like my photography, my writing, talking to people," says Benton excitedly.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Mime Location: Kosciusko on Jun 29, 2010 at 02:51 PM
    I would have loved to hear more of the person message that Melanie has. Overall I believe that she has a message to share and if one needs to have this surgery there is a way to have it. We are fortunate to have a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence in the Jackson Ms area.
  • by Vicki Location: Wesson, Ms. on Jun 29, 2010 at 06:56 AM
    I'm very proud of Mel and all she has achieved.. From personal knowledge this is not to be considered "the easy way out", I too have had gastric bypass and it is not easy by all means. There are continous challenges with medical issues after surgery so if this is the road you choose, be prepared to the fullest and know all the challenges that lie ahead after the fact.. Good Job Mel- Keep up the good work!!
  • by Classmate MHS 77 Location: Mississippi on Jun 28, 2010 at 05:05 PM
    My classmate lived here and attended Meridian High. Go girl! Local news? I would say yes, Mrs. Benton was practically raised here. Go Mel! More power to ya!
  • by Julie Location: Meridian on Jun 28, 2010 at 11:46 AM
    I am glad that this woman lost the weight she needed to lose, and proud for her. However, as another poster stated, this is not a local person to the Meridian area, and why do we need to consider this newsworthy? The fact that Rachel Alig considered it newsworthy shows the caliber of reporting that WTOK has. I would put Rachel Alig in a dead tie with Andrea.
  • by Melanie Calvert Benton Location: Pearl, Ms. on Jun 27, 2010 at 08:23 AM
    Thank you Rachel for helping me to promote living a healthier lifestyle for Mississippi. IF Susan Boyle and Kevin Skinner can come out of obscurity to show people how much they love singing to get their message out, I hope my story will reach out to people who live everyday needing someone there who understands & has been there. I love to empower people from all walks of life.
  • by another voice Location: Meridian on Jun 26, 2010 at 08:12 PM
    Nice story but this isnt local news. At least I dont think Pearl is local. And how many folks can actually afford lap band surgery! Surely you can find a similiar story in the Meridian area that is a weight loss success without surgery!
  • by cousin on Jun 26, 2010 at 08:08 PM
    Way to go girl. You beat the best, let go of the rest. Shine, baby, shine. So proud of you. Love ya cuz. n
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