TUPELO – Jeff Bailey, who has battled his way down the scale, was named one of Oprah Winfrey’s most memorable guests Tuesday.
The Tupelo man, who was once nearly 800 pounds, was originally featured in January 2008 as Oprah launched her “Best Life” campaign.
Bailey impressed her crew with a slow-and-steady approach that had made him 150 pounds lighter at that time.
“My viewers love this guy,” Oprah said as she introduced his segment on her show of “most memorables” on Tuesday.
Bailey now has lost another 100 pounds and hopes to break the 500-pound mark by the end of the summer.
“I can lace my own shoes,” Bailey told Oprah in an interview that was taped just before Easter.
Bailey was featured as one of the seven stories Oprah’s viewers have written the most about.
Others included fallen evangelical minister Ted Haggard; David Smith, whose ex-wife, Susan, drowned their two sons; and Mary Winkler, who killed her husband in Selmer, Tenn.
“The Oprah Show” has been keeping regular tabs on Bailey’s progress.
“They call me every two or three weeks,” Bailey said in an interview with the Daily Journal after the show aired.
Bailey, whose heaviest recorded weight is 770 pounds, has been working steadily since the fall of 2005. In March 2005, he was hospitalized with life-threatening complications of diabetes.
He started by walking laps in the wellness center pool.
These days he’s teaching water six to eight water aerobics classes each week, including a class geared to folks who are more than 100 pounds overweight.
“Today I had three classes back to back,” Bailey said. “I was in the water from 7:30 to 11:45 a.m.”
Michaela Morris/NEMS Daily Journal