Tony Bussey has lost 326 pounds in two years – and he credits his transformation to the wildfires that swept through Fort McMurray in 2016.
Just when everyone that that the blaze had diminished, Bussey and other workers were sent back to the area to asses the damage – and then the fires picked up again.
Planes were sent in to evacuate the area. Bussey was ushered to the front of the line of passengers because of his weight – and though Bussey says that he had become used to the looks that he received for his size, the final straw came when he had to take up two airplane seats.
He had already escaped the fires once by driving in his car to Edmonton, but upon realizing that he was taking up a valuable seat on the plane, he resolved to lose weight.
“I kept thinking, ‘Here it is: somebody’s wife, somebody’s husband, somebody’s family member is waiting for their mom or dad or their loved ones to come home, and their loved ones have to wait longer now because I’m too fat to sit next to,” he told CBC. “That had a profound effect on me.”
At the time, Bussey weighed 567 pounds and wore size 66 pants. Immediately after getting back to his hotel, he started ordering healthier meals. He started exercising 5 minutes a day; then 10 minutes a day.
“Two years ago, I could barely walk to my car,” says the 43-year-old. “I could barely fit in my car.”
After shedding half his body weight, he now weighs 241 pounds – up to 30 of which is simply excess skin which he soon plans on having surgically removed.
Next, he wants to join a gym, run a marathon on the third anniversary of his weight loss journey, and catch up on all of the traveling that he has missed out on over the years.
“You used to think there was no hope. That it was just total despair that you were that big. That there was no going back. It was almost as if you were just waiting to die, as sad as that sounds, but that’s all your life was,” he says. “There is hope. I was 41 when I started this, almost 600 pounds. If I can do this, anyone can.”
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