Melissa has a childhood story viewers of “My 600-lb Life” have heard many times, but she still stood out and is remembered. For one, she was among the shortest contestants in the show, meaning her BMI (Body Mass Index) was off the charts based on a weight of around 600lbs or 272kgs. Additionally, although many participants since the show premiered in 2012 refused to move to Houston, her decision to give up further treatment was reasonable and not detrimental, at least at first. Let’s review her previous weight loss journey before checking the minimal progress she allows people to see.
Melissa had a rough youth, filled with improper parenting that included overfeeding. Then, her father left, her mother taunted her, and she had a teenage pregnancy and subsequent abortion. As if that wasn’t enough, both parents passed away in her early adulthood.
However, Melissa managed to turn things around and lose weight without operations before continuing on that path instead of relying on Dr. Now’s surgical skills. She shed even more weight after her TV show exit without specifying how much. Viewers assume Melissa chose to protect her privacy, likely due to her shyness. Nonetheless, we dug up some information about her life.
Neither Melissa nor Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, known as Dr. Now, could blame a single problem for her struggles with weight. For one, her mother threw verbal insults, such as ‘fat’ and ‘stupid’ at her, then placated her for abuse with food. Over time, as she kept her mom company, Melissa saw these meals as the only way her mom showed love. Unsurprisingly, the adult-sized meals caused drastic weight gain due to the overbearing calories she consumed daily. Her father was her confidant during that troubling time, and someone she loved and respected.
Unfortunately, things turned sour when her dad left her mom when Melissa was only eight, which became one of her life’s worst periods. She consumed food as a coping mechanism for depression, and her mom didn’t help the matter by berating her about the weight gain.
Although Melissa attempted to reduce calories at ages 13 to 15, a teenage pregnancy, then an abortion at 15 wrecked her emotionally. She dropped out of school, restored her lousy food habits, and weighed about 400lbs or 180kgs at 18. She returned to Coconut Creek High School, then got a job, and went to college, but disappointment and food addiction returned after losing the job.
Some time passed before Melissa became a patient during season nine, episode five of “My 600-lb Life,” aired on 27 January 2021, and stood out immediately. When she booked her flight and finally arrived at Dr. Now’s clinic, he pointed out her BMI was potentially the highest he had seen—115! That was because Melissa initially weighed 593lbs or 267kgs, yet was only 4ft 11ins or about 150cm tall. Additionally, because she carried significant weight around her waist, the pressure on her internal organs could endanger her life.
Despite stating that she felt isolated because she felt ashamed of what her friends would think about her body, Melissa bravely took the doctor’s advice. After embracing a 1,200-calorie diet based on no carbs and lots of proteins and vegetables, and started going to therapy and exercise, Melissa lost over 150lb or 68kgs.
Although she dropped to under 440lbs or 200kgs and felt happy because she could go out with friends, travel, stand for extended periods, and even begin dating, her success affected her journey. Instead of moving to Houston, Texas, to continue her weight loss and qualify for a bariatric operation, she chose to continue what she was doing to shed the remaining weight.
Her friends and boyfriend Elijah, all living in Florida, were also a part of her support system, and she wanted to keep them close. As the episode ended, Melissa looked into the camera lens and promised, ‘I’m not going to stop or give up until I’m living my best life yet and I get to where I need. I’m going to do it.’
Melissa presented herself as a shy individual looking for professional help, not the viewers’ attention, exposure, and perhaps freak admiration. She hinted at her unexpected exit online, and confirmed her desire to get thinner privately by keeping the few existing social media profiles locked.
However, Melissa updated her friends, family, and followers by posting several public selfies, indirectly showing her weight loss progress before and after the show.
Several photos from 2018, a repost from 2016, showed Melissa with a much slimmer face, suggesting she became thinner at one point after the untimely loss of her father when she was 27. However, they also reminded her viewers that Melissa put on weight after her mother died when she was 35 and couldn’t attend the funeral due to health problems.
Although she looked almost unchanged in pictures from December 2021, Melissa visibly reduced her weight by March 2022. Yet, the filters she used made it hard to determine how much. Sadly, the updates she posted in July and September 2022 made it seem like her progress slowed or stopped.
Though she kept quiet about her journey to becoming thinner, Melissa has repeatedly disclosed how much she loves seafood Couvillion, Cajun gumbo, egg sandwiches with bacon, and Jamaican Oxtail Philly cheesesteaks. She has also promoted fashion pieces from the plus-size brand T.Marie Collection by her friend Tyeshia Marie, and the website design business of another friend, Dinah Taylor.
Moreover, Melissa loves movies such as “White Men Can’t Jump” from 1992, and was excited that three actors, Woody Harrelson, Wesley Snipes and Rosie Perez, reunited for the premiere of an eponymous remake in 2023.
Melissa is also open about her likes and dislikes on Facebook, in many aspects. For instance, she is a massive fan of black musicians and singers. She posted about male stars such as Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, Prince, and Harry Belafonte, and old female celebrities such as Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Mama Africa, and Big Maybelle. Melissa likes Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Beyonce, and Kelly Rowland when it comes to stars from recent years.
Outside of music, she appreciates comedy and loves comedians such as Nick Austin, Armani Bailey, Indeskribeabull, and Napoleon Emill, and motivational speakers such as Jay Shetty and Dhar Mann. Moreover, she is a history buff and promotes the ‘black excellence’ of influential people such as boxer Joe Louis, formerly enslaved people Carter G. Woodson and Sojourner Truth, and dressmaker Sarah Boone. Melissa also mentioned being inspired by non-African-American individuals such as Maria Tallchief, the first Native-American ballerina.
Although Melissa is now a devoted Christian, prays often, and shares a lot of inspirational quotes and food-related posts on Facebook, she is still far away from the weight required for an operation such as a gastric bypass.
In contrast, the therapy sessions worked, and she values herself a lot more and refuses to ‘fake a vibe’ with anyone, even a significant other or a family member. Melissa also realized that she couldn’t force anyone to see her as a blessing and would let them miss out if they couldn’t recognize her worth. Moreover, Melissa paused dating as of October 2022, because she’s still looking for a meaningful relationship with ‘real dates, traveling, chemistry, and growth.’ Simultaneously, she expressed her disgust with male promiscuity.
Melissa shares nothing about unhealthy food or sugary drinks; quite the opposite. She informed her Facebook followers about the harmful effects of eating American sausages, and how herbal supplements, honey, and wildcrafted sea moss can help gut health. Moreover, Melissa has campaigned against drug use, and shared another Facebook user’s post about fentanyl’s sneaky distribution as a rainbow gummy bear in September 2022.
Although updates about her health and slimming efforts are few and far between, she may reveal more shortly. Melissa is becoming increasingly active on her Instagram, @blessedmel, and announced she wants to be a podcaster and reserved and linked a handle, @the_oneand_only_messymel, in the profile’s bio.
Over 10,000 people follow her funny posts, inspirational or religious quotes, comedy skit reposts, and general life advice, meaning she could engage with her audience if she wanted. For example, she could post progress pictures and full-body comparisons like fellow “My 600-lb Life” patient Bianca Hayes.
Although she doesn’t mention her friend, Shay, who was with her in Houston, Wendy, who drove her to the airport, and her ex-boyfriend Elijah, who supported her in 2020 during filming, they likely have her back behind the scenes. Whether they cheer her on is irrelevant to her desire to return to Houston and reach out to Dr. Now. She already refused to try and reach the weight goal for a gastric bypass operation, and showed no regrets or signs that would change. Her fans are happy she is no longer ‘running out of time’ as she said in a panicked voice in her episode, but also worried since the dire state motivated her.