A tale of two, extreme weight loss stories in Tampa Bay

Posted at 6:45 PM, Mar 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-10 18:45:45-05

The CDC says 66-percent of Americans are overweight or obese and a recent study shows half of all Americans have given up even trying to lose weight.

So if you’re in need of some motivation, look no further than Jenna Melancon, 40, and Clayton Smith, 43.

Jenna and Clayton have lost more than 315 pounds between the two of them and even though they have never met, they have quite a bit in common.

“I’m 43!  So when those joints go and the knees go and the back goes and you have no mobility and you’re in constant pain, your attitude will change,” said Clayton.

It took him six years to drop the weight, but it started with the same struggles many people face.

“I started on my own. I only went two months and kind of fizzled out [like most people], because I didn’t really know what I was doing,” said Clayton.

At the time, he was dealing with several medical issues and finally realized it was time to save his own life. So he went from 360 pounds to his current 184.

For Jenna, it was about the same. Her doctor told her she had to lose the weight or she was going to lose her life. But she started trying to shed her 320 pound frame in a risky way; lap-band surgery.

“Surgeries give you a lot of problems,” said Jenna. “It was not good and my digestive system has never been the same.”

She warns people it’s not a quick fix without consequence.

Through it all though, she says it was ultimately her will to live, and the gym, that saved her life.

“When I first started working out, I wasn’t training. I was just walking. I had a cane and I was embarrassed to go out with a cane, but I knew I wanted to get out of the house,” she said.

Jenna is now 179 pounds and still losing the right way.

Both of them hoping their stories encourage others to just do something! They also mention, with so many fitness centers, athletic clubs and gyms in the Tampa Bay area, it’s kind of hard to find an excuse not to get started.

But in the event the gym is too intimidating or you just don’t have the cash for a membership right now, here’s Clayton’s advice:

“Just get up and get moving.  Just start,” said Clayton.



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